Octaves - This Baltimore five-piece kicks it off with a ton of energy. The music seems post-hardcore to me, if I may coin a term (or steal one I haven't really heard of). In the same way post-punk offered complexity to punk, I think Octaves take hardcore punk energy and add a lot of interesting guitar and keyboard noises going on underneath the roar of the rhythm section and vocals. I hear a touch of the pre-grunge Tales of Terror and some sort of foreign hardcore influence like the Finland bands or something. Good crowd tonight (1/2 to 3/4 full as the set went on) at the downstairs Black Cat room and they were into the band. And the set was dedicated to the drummer's recently deceased cat, which I can sadly relate to in years past. And a good set it was, even if it clocked in at only 22 minutes. But I will likely be seeing more of this band after they return from their Southern tour.
This Town Needs Guns - From Oxford (England, not Mississippi or Ohio, etc.) comes a four-piece with a very modern indie pop-rock sound. The band sounds accomplished but the vocal style and vocal lines kind of resemble those of latter Talking Heads and their many followers including Modest Mouse. That just happens to be a personal dislike for me and it has taken me quite a while to figure out why, since those bands I mentioned are so successful. But in recognition of that, this band did dish out effective music to an appreciative crowd that knew their songs. They were a bit slow between songs with lots of intelligent, but inane chatter. Still, they were super-nice to the crowd, so I did not mind so much only that between tunings and other delays, it slowed a bit of the momentum. I thought the last cut was excellent as it had some real chunky rhythms in addition to the good melodic guitar lines that the rest of their songs had. They were over big with the crowd, so all went well for them.
Native - From Northwest Indiana (perhaps Merrillville where I worked once for a few weeks in 1984?) comes this inventive dual guitar four-piece. The sound is immediately powerful and creative--quite similar in style to the first band tonight. There were very creative dynamic shifts with the guitar moves and underlying rhythms. The vocals were a bit one-note, but there was still plenty of room for movement in the song structures. Very heady stuff for what is otherwise a powerful blast of rock. Again, it is kind of post hardcore to me, very much akin to John Lydon going from the Sex Pistols to PiL while reaching in the can for... well, Can and his other krautrock influences. I did hear some of the krautrock dynamics here, but in a louder rock setting than what PiL did. Good music. I hope to hear more of this band.
Quote of the Night: From the English band... "We are This Town Needs Guns from Oxford. We don't have guns. It's a joke."