Color School - There's an old broadcasting expression about someone having a face made for radio. If I were to apply that here, I would say this trio had a stage appearance made for studio pros. Just three older average guys popping up there to rock out. And rock out they did. The early songs had elements of second-rate Husker Du (latter era) pop rock with even a few Wipers style riffs within. Keep in mind, second-rate Husker Du is a compliment, while fourth-rate is not. These guys delivered some nice pop rock songs in a no frills style. At their worst, they are a good bar band, while at their best, they can open for any decent indie rock band.
Fools & Horses - From Baltimore comes this two-guitar four-piece. One guitarist sings the leads with a strong convincing voice while the other adds some nice harmony vocals. They both trade leads and compliment each other nicely atop a strong rhythm section. The music is very pop-rock with almost too much of a mainstream feel for me at times, but never quite too much as they are always rocking with strength, authority and confidence. The crowd was digging this set and they easily had command of their set. This is a good catchy pop rock band that could do very well in the future. But for now, they are doing very well.
Otis Heat - This trio comes from Portland, Oregon and continues the tradition of showing off the interesting music that comes from that scene. There is a really good ringing indie rock sound with plenty of funk beats primarily from the bassist who also handles all vocals. I also get a feel of an old psyche-blues band. The bass lines are busy and steady while the guitar weaves in and out with psyche sounds, occasional strong riffs, and melodic counterpart. The drums are solid and creative at times. The vocals are intriguingly high pitched and bluesy and quite unique. The whole sound ends up being both unique and engaging. In trying to find comparable sounds, I can only come up with Quintessence meeting Morphine without the sax. Or perhaps Akron/Family crossed with the Minutemen? These guys are in find company, yet create a really cool and unique sound. The set perhaps was a tad long and maybe needed a couple of surprise twists late in the set (the types of which Akron/Family can do at the drop of a hat), but that is a minor complaint. This was an excellent band that hopefully are winning over some fans with this tour.
Quote of the Night: From the opening band after a round of applause from a very good audience tonight... "Wow, thanks. If you liked that, you're really going to like the bands later tonight."