The Beanstalk Library - The first of a trio of local bands tonight at the BIG stage at the Black Cat. Ultimately, the crowd was equivalent to a sizable crowd downstairs, but it was nice to get the better facilities and have some room to breathe. This band had not played in a while. They started as a duo and then brought out the rhythm section. The first couple of songs were pop, but started jangling in a latter-day Husker Du manner. They brought a guest keyboardist which filled out the sound quite nicely with the two guitars working. The songs slowly rocked out a bit more in a Neil Young-like Americana bent. In fact they covered Young once. Nice set that won the crowd over.
The NRIs - A fairly new band from what I gather is up next. They are lead by an Indian-from India-American on guitar and vocals with a full crew of rock band participants including keyboards and violin. The violin is a great touch as a few of the songs need the extra touch to bring something original to the mix. But most of the songs are really quite good and I was thinking of sort of a Port O'Brien brand of folk-rock with the emphasis on rock. Good use of female backing vocals. I liked the improvised song of "...what a good idea it was to throw down your guitar..." which was sung when the other guitarist ended up needing a timely tuning job after a rather rousing move. "Was he loaded?" was in my notes prior to that as he did show a wry sense of humor in his patter. No matter, this was a good set from a band to watch. So go watch them next time.
The Moderate - Before reading my review of this band 13 months ago, I wondered if they had gotten a bit better. In fact, I was thinking they were going to get better and they have. They feature dual guitars, with one of them singing, and the usual rhythm section. The drummer had some creative and powerful fills and the bass player had a nice throb working at times like a Jah Wobble light. When the songs were on the strong side and when the guitars had some nice interplay, the material was excellent. The actually began with the lead guitarist playing some sax which they had done before. I liked it then and I even liked it better this time. It really reminded me of some of the early live King Crimson. I think they should use this quite a bit more. I have not always liked saxophones mucking things up, but it can be extremely effective when done well. These guys do it well. A nice enjoyable night and thanks to the Black Cat for opening up the big stage for the locals.
Quote of the Night: From the opener... "Thanks for coming out early." You're welcome, but it's 9:45pm, which I would not exactly call early. But I know what you mean.