Bad Veins -This duo is from Cincinnati, near my old stomping grounds of Dayton. They come at us with far more than the sounds of drums and guitar. They have lots of keyboards and bass and such coming out of their equipment which includes a big reel-to-reel player constantly spinning around upstage center. I had one of those once. Anyway, I hear a rich sound within the indie rock world with catchy melodies, strong vocals and good pop from the drums. I am hearing things in the Radiohead-Muse direction, but maybe it's because they look like they could be members of those bands as well. In any event, I was hooked by the songs with half of them really fully reeling me in. And on the last song, the old school telephone was used as a microphone. I thought it was a kitsch prop. Great set, guys.
Maps & Atlases - A couple guitars and rhythm section with one guy on vocals. Vocals... well, maybe these vocals remind me there are things I like less than demonic metal voices. I have heard other singers in indie pop rock bands sing in this direction and it just doesn't move me. It's kind of like a guy trying to hit Peter Gabriel's upper register while singing through waxed paper and a comb. As for the music, it's just the kind of noodling pop that also does not bring me in. I am sure there are people that like this and I don't like to trash bands that give a good effort but this set had nothing of interest for me. I have to say that although the cute pop songs may have brought a few people in, the crowd response seemed pretty tepid.
Frightened Rabbit - I was quite wary of this band with all the hype surrounding them. I do recall hearing some songs long ago that I liked, but I just don't trust the bands that the music magazines gravitate to. But they get it right sometimes and Frightened Rabbit is a perfect example. This Scottish 5 piece continues to tour and sell out larger and larger clubs. The Black Cat was packed with fans that thoroughly enjoyed the band's very catchy indie guitar pop-rock. The one vocalist was strong and the songs were nicely varied in pace and presentation. They did a 12 song set with many songs recognized by the crowd who sang along, danced and were into every note. I felt the band had really classic pop sensibilities with some rural Scotland background in the songs as well. Scotlacana perhaps, although I hope that word is never used again. The three song encore featured "Poke" done on solo acoustic guitar with voice. The next two rocked out and sent most everyone home happy.
Quote of the Night: "I don't know, I think that child molesters on the internet are real scary. I am going to go out and have a smoke."