Phonic Riot - Another late Friday night at the Velvet Lounge and a very full club is raring to go with some live music. At 10:45, a guitarist/vocalist and drummer hit the stage. The drums were solid and the guitar playing quite rudimentary but cool. Her vocals were a bit too loud, but pretty good. They had a really nice style to them that was hard to place. It had a raw Cramps feel, but not in that style. More like Siouxsie Sioux singing for Alternative TV in 1979. I thought the set was quite strong, but the band may have a tricky time doing much more than this. The second to last song was well written and shows some potential for future growth and direction. Here is a band to keep an eye on, for certain.
Night and the City - This local four-piece also had female lead vocals from the bassist along with guitar, drums and keyboard/guitarist. Both guitarists sang some backing and lead vocals, too. They create some nice sounds and drones and are moderately tuneful, but there is not much going on at the heart of it all. The third song was not bad, but it sounded like something Sonic Youth rejected for Daydream Nation. The vocals were a bit flat and dull at times, but sometimes a nice punch was delivered with the sound. For now, I will stick to the Jules Dassin movie, but there may be hope here.
28 Degrees Taurus - A power trio from Massachusetts is next with more female vocals from the bassist. It is a bit more of the Kim Gordon style at times, but at a dreamier pitch. The guitar is loud and raucous with a nice shoegaze swirl going on. In fact, it did go on and on and on, perhaps a bit too much. A little more variety may help things. They did try some variety in the middle of the set, but they kind of lost the formula some how. It was quite alright to slow it down a bit, but it did not click as well and they seemed to lose a bit of confidence. They also lost some audience as the club's 70-80 people had cut back to about 35 at the peak here. Perhaps that proves my point about these late shows, but I'll need more evidence to be sure. They picked it up a bit and the drummer was flying on the second to last song they did. There is work to be done here, but there were good things in this 40 minute set and it was fun.
Dark Sea Dream - Back to the local scene as Dark Sea Dream sets up its massive backline to support the two guitars, bass and drums. It took 28 minutes tonight which meant they got rolling at 1:33am. I enjoyed their sound the last time I saw them, but they couldn't get rid of a buzz and had trouble with the sound. I still heard a buzz as they got started tonight, but it quickly blended into the massive volume they produced. They basically are out to blast away at high volumes and create a psychedelic sheet metal ambiance where interesting sonics weave around in and out of the maelstrom. And they succeeded quite well tonight for the 25 people remaining. The vocals were barely audible, but they are just another instrument anyway. All but the bass drum were drowned out early although the soundman was able to get the drums up a bit as the set went on. They are an interesting band to experience. They seem to be getting a good handle on this sound and things look promising for them, if conditions improve for these late night weekend bills.
Quote of the Night: Interchange between opening band and crowd after a minor false start by the drummer: "Sorry about that."... "We're cool."