John Bustine - We have a singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar up first. Amazingly, the show started on time with an early start time. Unfortunately, the crowd was a bit small but was building some toward the end. Bustine's skill is in his voice more than guitar playing, although that was certainly competent enough. His songs were good and they were on the down side of life, as most of these songs trend toward, but had great touch and feeling. A good set of songs and someone worth checking out next time.
Milkmachine - Second time for me with this eclectic combo. The last time was a fine set at the Red & the Black. This one may have been even a bit better, allowing for the delays as the tuba player had to release a veritable river of saliva at several points between songs. They play tuba, trumpet, accordian and drums. Musically, they are closest to Gogol Bordello in spirit, but not as electric and manic. The energy level is plenty high on a few raucous songs and the slower ones are also excellent. They have plenty of spirit for rock'n'roll people who normally don't venture toward acoustic sets. The songs are strong and just a lot of fun. I cannot imagine a bad review of this band. It is a more a question of how good. And I say very good and I think the future is very bright for them.
Members of Morphine - I like both their names, one accurate, the other amusing and completely it goes as "The (Ever Expanding) Elastic Waste Band/Members of Morphine and Jeremy Lyons". Basically, Morphine was an excellent three-piece who's singer/guitarist/bassist died of a heart attack while performing in 1999. They had a very unique sound and the drummer and alto saxophonist continue in that vein with an additional musician, Jeremy Lyons. Lyons plays a bit of blues on guitar for a couple cuts, but goes to their special "traditional" 2-string slide bass for the rest of the set which combines jazz, blues, folk into an avant-lounge sound. He does most of the singing aside from a few times when Dana Colley takes a break from blowing his sax. The songs are quite unique and wonderful as the instrument choices are good and they are played through some electronics which add some subtle textures to the mix. The singing is low key and surprisingly evocative. There is a droll quality to this band in some of the songs and certainly in the engaging stage patter. They really nail a mood and pull the audience in. The crowd had swelled nicely and it was good to see a big crowd here after a few disappointments in the Lounge. Everything clicked tonight for band and audience. This was a wonderful set and my expectations were surpassed significantly.
Quote of the Night: From Mr. Bustine who had just finished his set.
"Nope, no more."