The Moondoggies - A four-piece with keyboards takes the stage and for two songs, dished out a rather cliched California country rock/Americana hybrid. Just as I was ready to start a rant about the ever increasing amount of bands in this overly mined style, they switched gears on me. The third song was very gutsy and rocked nicely. The fourth song was very well written with enough creativity going on underneath in addition to the quality vocals. And it stayed at this high level the rest of the set. Not too many bands start with a whimper and turn it around so quickly, but the Moondoggies succeeded nicely at that. Now guys, work on the stage patter and tuning delays some. Although I think one delay was due to a broken string which may have required complicated tuning adjustments versus merely switching guitars. But those are minor quibbles, as I was happy that this band did so well.
Blitzen Trapper - The club had now filled out nicely and was raring to see this hot and up and coming band. Their first record got a lot of raves and was certainly decent, but I am even more interested in hearing what is reported to be a rather strong and very different second record. And I will really get my fill of this band as coincidentally, their new CD arrived in the mail for me to review. But first, the live show. This band has six members who smoothly switch between a variety of keyboards and guitars with the usual rhythm section keeping the beat. They started with a crowd favorite in their classic pop-rock vein. They mentioned their new record and shifted into a series of newer songs. I did detect a bit more strength in the sound as a few of them added a British psyche-pop style in the manner of late sixties Kinks or Tomorrow. Very catchy songs and not a huge variation from their sound. It is interesting that Midlake and now Blitzen Trapper have or at least seemed to have made conscious decisions to shift directions from record to record. The key to making this work is to retain the base where people will recognize your individuality in the sound. I think both bands were very successful at this with their latest albums (I am guessing with this band based on the live cuts tonight). As the set continued, older songs came into play more and the band did a solo song and a duet between their main singers. A very good variety of sounds tonight and this band really does write some great songs. Truly a band on the rise in my mind. Now, time to listen to the CD.
Quote of the Day: "I think I am related to about half of Denver" from Pam Grier when we were chatting about her Denver high school days and some of my friends who also came from that era. I was so happy to have that to talk about and not go into the "I have all your movie posters" spiel. Do check out her autobiography which I will be digging into shortly.