Invisible Hand - Would that Adam Smith's writing on the invisible hand sound this good, it would be on a best seller list (instead of a quoted classic that no one reads). This Virginia four-piece featured a couple of guitars and immediately put them to work grinding out a strong, gutsy punk-power pop sound. The basslines were really quick and the drumming quite assured. The songs were really catchy in a Dickies/early Lemonheads sort of way. Vocal work reminded me of the Buzzcocks in that there was a pleasing attack to it. The guitar breaks and solos were freakishly good and reminded me of the thrash-era Meat Puppets in noisiness and unpredictability. The sound was a little unsteady at times, occasionally with the vocal levels, but the whole set had a certain unpredictability to it in spite of the fact that each song was quite easy to access. Sharp, striking material delivered with great dexterity, assurance and charm. Winning set enjoyed by all.
Eternal Summers - Next up is a trio from Roanoke with the usual instruments and vocal microphones for all. The female guitarist sang lead throughout the 35-minute set. I was hearing sounds reminiscent of the Alley Cats and maybe a touch of early Toyah. The music definitely took me back to the early punk days when all kinds of pop, rock and hardcore styled musicians got together and played cutting edge music in many different degrees of skill, tempo, and volume. There was an acceptance of intriguing visions then before things became too compartmentalized. It seems music scenes are more open again these days and Eternal Summers is a lovely band that could have been at home in 1979, but has an important place today. There was a spacey undercurrent to their sound with nice reverb levels on the guitar. The songs seem thoughtful and the musicians allow some space for the sounds and words to sink in. It is catchy and has some pace, so there is plenty of pop within the rock, but they are able to keep it down a notch and groove in their own little world. A sneaky good set of songs that required an audience willing to listen. Thankfully, the room was about half-full and was filled with good listeners tonight. They were rewarded once again with this band.
Cloud Nothings - I saw this trio open up for Wavves some time back and they held their own then and were a band that I definitely wanted to see again. They exploded into their sound instantly with hyper-energized non-treated guitar chords. Their new bass player was up to the pace and picked his way through his fast lines. The drummer was unbelievable good. A super-fast player that even had a Keith Moon touch now and then. Stunning effort. The songs were all very catchy pop songs played in the manner of the Dickies or maybe Ted Leo. These guys are from Cleveland, so I was thinking that maybe this sound is similar to that of the Choir if they had come around at the time of the Dead Boys. Really pop with superior pace and just a touch of attitude. The vocals were fine, although the singer was chugging from a bottle of honey all night to keep it going. I see plenty of honey along with hot tea and lemons on band contract riders, but it isn't often consumed straight-up on stage. Great music from this moderately tight band that controls their abandon at incredible pace. Hopefully things will go well for them. I think they have surpassed the entertaining Wavves already, so hopefully they can grab some of that band's buzz.
Quote of the Night: from the openers... "Two other great bands are playing tonight. Don't go anywhere. Yeah, we sure didn't some to see you." Well maybe not, but this was one of those nights where I told the doorperson that I had come to see the headliner, but I felt like going back and splitting my vote between all three excellent bands.