(Peter) Maybarduk - Maybarduk is a band primarily focused on the singer songwriter guitarist who shares his last name with the band. He performs a little solo material but is quickly assisted with a female vocalist, some percussion, keyboards, and ukulele. He has some backing tracks for some of the songs while others have spare live arrangements. Either the full sound or the spare sound worked well enough depending on the song. The guest performers were undermic'ed and too low in the mix which was due to another late Velvet start and the lack of a full sound check. But they soldiered on and I heard some fine songs and some interesting musical moves on the guitar. No comparisons come to mind, but I would like to hear more with better sound and an audience that wasn't rudely talking and laughing during his set. Yes, here I go again, but I surprised to see this at the Velvet Lounge. My main advice to him is to leave the typewriter at home next time. Some ideas are better in the planning meeting than on stage. I did get a CD from his friend handling merch, so I will be digging into his songs more in a couple of weeks. And he has a new record out soon that was recorded with J. Robbins, so there hopefully will be good things ahead for Maybarduk.
The Echo Wall - Although a full band is present, the focus clearly goes to the singer/guitarist at center stage who plays a solid Americana folk songbook on acoustic guitars. He is helped with female vocals, violin, glockenspiel, keyboards and bass. The accompanying musicians at times take a back seat, but at other times do add some strong sounds to the mix and the arrangements are pretty decent. It's a little loose and mistakes sometimes jump out, but the song is never lost and the emotions come through quite well. I think they have the makings of a nice little band, as I tried to stay optimistic in spite of some of the worst rotten fruit/human sweat smell I have ever encountered. Not sure where that was coming from.
Justyn with a Y - Fortunately the nice large crowd tonight was quieting down as the night wore on and most people stayed to see Justyn hit the stage and sing along to his electric guitar work. I am glad he brought the electric as the DJ downstairs was blasting away to the point I was tapping my foot to what was going on downstairs rather than up (C'mon Velvet Lounge, I know you need the $$$ downstairs, but this has been happening too much lately). Anyway, Justyn's songs and playing easily overwhelmed the distractions as he had a great folk and rock style that combined good riffing, basic chords, with some tricky unusual moves. At one moment it's a bit like Billy Bragg, at others more Beau or Nicodemus. As I said in his CD review, he channels obscure artists as well as mainstream singer songwriters. It is that combination that made for an entertaining set and someone worth seeing again.
Quote of the Night: Justyn... "This is a new one called Year of the Rat, some astrological junk or something..." Actually I was paraphrasing and using this space to say that this was an excellent spooky sounding song that will sound good on a new record some day I think.