Alex Vans - We begin with a folkie of sorts. Alex Vans has the requisite acoustic guitar, voice and the dreaded harmonica. But he also switches to an electric guitar and has brought a percussionist and a female backing vocalist. I usually find that a little bit of accompaniment can bring even mediocre folk songs to life. And that happened here. As a bonus, some songs were quite engaging and well above the mediocre level (Remember there is nothing wrong with mediocre. It is above pedestrian or worse and not everyone can be Bob Dylan or David Eugene Edwards). There were some good Americana touches, nice reverb in the electric guitar, and good vocals from both singers. There was even a cool organ sample used. Nice set.
Spectral Vision - We have a local four-piece with the singer adding a second guitar to the sound. The singer puts his shades on after the sound check to go with his hat and vest outfit. Nothing wrong with dressing up if the other three guys give it a try, too. The songs begin and I am thinking maybe he should spend as much care on his vocal work. Sorry, sorry, my back pains are making me overly critical here. The songs start out with a good rocking psyche vibe that isn't have bad. They all can play and sometimes the vocals work, they just seem a bit erratic. They do a song called "Endless". Thankfully, it's not. Sorry, sorry, that line just kind of writes itself. Look, these guys can play and they have a grasp on some nice sounds here. I think it can work with some effort. If they keep working on song structure and playing out, it could develop into a pretty cool set. It's close. I will happily see them another dozen times before I see Exodus again.
Caustic Casanova - The power trio is back after a longish hiatus. They are working on a new album and brought along some new songs to go with a few of the good ones I recall from past shows. The first Hawkwind/Amon Duul II psyche jam makes way for a post 2nd album Wire kind of song with maybe a touch of Pavement? Unfortunately there are some sound issues I can't quite figure out. The guitar is too low and something is off. Oh, as I write that note, the soundman is up on stage trying to re-mic the guitar amp. The guitarist is having to do a lot of tuning early on as well. The soundman jumps up again on stage. The drummer is banging away wonderfully, the throaty bass is solid, but the guitar sound is kind of fading in and out. They soldiered on nicely and did get a thicker sound as the night went on and rocked the house pretty effectively. I liked a new song they played which sounded like Swell Maps succeeding in trying to sound like the Damned. Still one of my favorites and hopefully they will be one of yours some day soon.
Midnight Spin - Apologies to the headliner. My back is crushing me and I am just so far behind on writing up statements for a legal action, writing up 35 CD reviews in the next 3 weeks and an industry article that is 2 months overdue that actually pays real money. So I just did not feel up to staying, even though it was not overly late. My bad, some days just come to a crashing end.
Quote of the Night: From the opener... "We've got a couple more songs for you..." And then, two songs later... "We've got a couple more songs for you..." And two songs later, it's good night. Sorry, being a little anal tonight I guess.