Thursday, June 24, 2010

Good Old War - Yukon Blonde - Audra Mae -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - June 23 2010

Audra Mae - Audra Mae is the singer/guitarist here. She is assisted by a stand-up bass player who adds some mandolin and various players who will be showing up later in subsequent bands. She did not do anything too out of the ordinary, singing good solid folk songs and a blues number. However, she had a deep rich voice with excellent range and used it with great confidence. She had a touch of southern C & W at times in her voice as she is from Oklahoma relocated to LA, it sort of fit. The music never went C & W and was always easy to like and well performed. There really was just enough extra to her performance to give her a real shot at establishing a world-wide audience. Great beginning to this evening.

Yukon Blonde - From Vancouver, comes this intriguing foursome. The immediately begin with a serious shoegaze instrumental buildup easing into rural psychedelia. There are shifts from song to song roughly in these general areas. They can be loud and heavy, west coast twangy country rock, shoegaze psyche and all points in between. There were good transitions and dynamics keeping me on the edge of my proverbial seat. The songs were good, the arrangements even better. I will compare them to an oddball band named for their singer, JD Blackfoot (at least on "The Ultimate Prophecy"), although the sound has more modern touches. These space cowboys really laid it out and even had band members from each band jump in and help out. Good fun, great set and a decent appreciative crowd agreed with me.

Good Old War - This three piece from Philadelphia has a pretty good following, but this was my first exposure. They have a fascinating sound that is energetic happy pop with a good rootsy base. They have drums, keys and guitar on most songs with strong harmonic three-piece singing. The vocals really are key, although the instruments do their parts well enough to keep a good pace going. The guitarist plays acoustic, although he has a unique way of adding electric leads. His electric guitar is on a stand at playing height. He keeps his acoustic in place and reaches around to play several assertive electric leads throughout the set. It looks odd, but his dexterity is good and it works. A lot of snap and fun to the songs, even if the lyrics run the course of happy/sad--maybe more contemplative from what I could pick up (and I don't often do well with a bands' lyrics on first listen). Good set and it was nice to see people getting into it without much prompting. It's nice to see simple pop music delivered with an individual voice and creativity.

Quote of the Night: "So tonight we're playing with Good Old Boys... what? Good Old War? Well, it's your fault for not introducing us. They are a great band and great guys... or so I'm told." Amusing good hearted patter from Yukon Blonde. Clearly these bands got on with everyone playing in each other's sets.

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