The Yes Way - This 2-guitar four-piece from Brooklyn (sounds familiar already) came on with a nice delicate pop rock that had signs of shoegaze, but did not really head in that direction. Steady drums and a funky bass allowed the guitarists to dance around the melody with interesting moves. The bassist and guitarist switched after a few songs and the set got progressively heavier. Perhaps there was more switching, but the stage lights went out for the rest of the 45 minute set and came back on right at the conclusion. The darkness did allow me to focus more closely on the music which was ultimately rewarding. The band starts off in a kind of guitar based Caribou sound, but has lots of interesting moves with personal touch and feeling. Good songs and a confidence in the playing make for a successful set. And bonus points for having one member's grandparents present showing that older folks can rock out and that I was not the oldest person in the club tonight.
Courtesy Tier - Another Brooklyn band with just a guitarist/vocalist and drummer this time. I immediately think White Stripes, which is a safe guess. The other no-brainer is that the drumming will be better than the White Stripes and the guitar work worse. With the obvious out of the way, I get down to the sound. There is an annoying buzzing between songs and during the quiet moments. Fortunately, those were few as the guitarist created a nice thick sound that sounded like synth-guitar at times. The drummer was strong and the songs rocked out nicely with some very good psyche-drone jams that I enjoyed. The songs and vocals were average, so I see some room to improve and perhaps a fuller band with the right members may create some fun dynamics like I saw in the first band. Still, a good live set that eventually won me over well enough for tonight.
Drawbridges - We finish at the DC9 with a local five-piece. This is the first time I have returned to the club since the fateful night where I saw Agnostic Front. It looks a little refreshed, although they had done a redesign a few months prior to their closing, so I don't know how much is new. It is still the same set-up. The crowd was a little sparse, but it was Sunday and I think it will take the club a little time to get fuller audiences. We shall see. Anyway, This band has drums, bass-vocals, guitar, keyboards and cello. The first song sounded a little odd with the instruments a bit too separated and at odd volumes in the mix. The song was good and thankfully the woman at the board and the players got it together quickly thereafter and things worked out very well. The instruments merged together well with some nice creative patterns, with the cello helping forge an original identity. The keyboards were a bit more for sound thickening and even the guitar did that at times. The songs were generally creative explorations in an indie rock style, but also with throwbacks to a bit of classic rock. I did not have a good comparison, although during one song I had a feeling that the sons and daughters of Quintessence were playing their father's music in today's style. I also felt a bit of San Francisco classic psyche in some of the more jamming moments. Drawbridges are a nice addition to the scene and they look to be capable of improving as they continue to play out and acquire full confidence in their voice.
CD Reviews: Months and months of CD reviews have now been published in the latest edition of Folkworld magazine. Take a look and see how I try to distinguish the many blues band's CDs that I listen to. If anyone has any idea of how to review a blues band in 2011, please let me know. Anyway, click on CDs and start at Stevie Palmer and continue to Victoria Vox. Kudos to anyone who makes it all the way through.