Shapiro - A local five-piece with a couple of guitarists, rhythm section and lead vocalist with keyboard. Both guitarists used small synthesizers, quite often as it turned out. The vocals shined brightly and were at the forefront of the sound along with the keyboards. The drummer offered some good backup vocals as well. The band was solid and in a good indie pop-rock style that leaned more toward pop. The sound was a little soft at times, but a propulsive rhythm section kept things moving nicely. The last number rocked hard and there were nice changes in that song and others. I do appreciate that they play with their songs in a different way and not go into too many cliches. Nice job, well received by the crowd.
Last Tide - Another local five-piece with the same instrumentation as above without the extra keyboards. The vocals were buried early but the soundman righted that problem as the night wore on. A guitarist sang most with the female keyboardist filling in nicely and doing a couple leads herself. I always find it nice when you get varied vocal styles in a band. There was a muddy garage sound that clarified itself as the songs went on. But it was good mud, very dense with good psychedelic feel. All three axemen had lots of pedals and switches but retained a solid rock sound. I really liked this band a lot. I am not sure they are a break-out band destined for stardom, but they have a great command of psychedelic rock and good variance in the songs and I will be happy to see them at any show.
Retribution Gospel Choir - Two members of Low make up 2/3 of this band. All that changes here is that the guitarist's wife is not here on drums. Instead they have a guy who also contributes backing vocals. I have seen Low and they are a smart, talented band--very good songs that rock out, but keep the focus on the song. Well, that structure has been amped up big time with this line-up. I was not prepared to how amazingly heavy this band would be. Tough, muscular playing, gutsy, powerful. There were great psyche sounds coming from the guitarist who did some looping to fill it out even more. The bass playing was fluid and excellent and the drummer pounded away nicely. They sounded more like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club I thought, but even more rocking. The songs were as also as good as the overall sound. This is a fantastic band that has moved up very high on my list.
Quote of the Night: "Greetings from Lake Superior". Oh yeah, I forgot that these guys are from Duluth, the city where both myself and Bob Dylan were born. Maybe that's an added connection.