The Blackberry Belles - This local trio features acoustic guitar/vocals with keyboards and a tabla/percussionist. They have a grungy Americana folk-rock blues sound for the most part. At their best, they had a noisy garage background with a smooth keyboards and tabla base which flowed forward allowing the guitar and vocals to thrash out a melody. At their worst, they had some twisted folk rock songs. This was a nice set for a band that I believe has not been around terribly long. Over time, they could become something quite good. For now, they are a good band to have on a bill with their energy and creative sounds.
Gene Ween - One of the two founding members of the experimental pop rock band Ween graces us with a solo set featuring voice and acoustic guitar. The club looks slightly more than half full and I think this is the largest show I have ever seen where there is no merchandise table. Which I guess means that even though Ween has promised an album for some time, they may actually follow through on it. And this gig is just something for Gene to do while Ween album progress goes slowly onward. I have only heard a couple of songs and I am assuming much of this set was from the Ween catalogue. There were plenty of fans that greeted some of the songs with quite a bit of fanfare. The guitar playing is adequate, the songs are catchy and his voice is what really sells the set. It somewhere between Frank Black and Alasdair Roberts I think. He uses it well to bend the notes into a psyche-pop feeling that is tough to capture with such light instrumentation. I would prefer something fuller, but this is not a bad experience at all. He seems happy enough and is all smiles at the reception (reminding me of the Columbus legend, Ron House). Or maybe he is just stoned? The song after I wrote that note was all about being blissfully stoned, so I think one thing lead to another here before the show. Good effort, well received. Nice night at the Black Cat.
Quote of the Night: Gene Ween.... "I wrote the song for "Chocolate" but it didn't get used. That's ok because it is all chocolate anyway."