Strange Fur - This trio had the Americana folk thing working well right from the get-go. They had guitar and vocals going the whole way with banjo and violin mostly in support. Those two players did some accordion, glockenspiel and percussion at times as well, which was helpful in rounding out the sound. The source material seemed rather timeless and had a modern indie rock feel in addition to possibly Appalachian sources. There were 20 of us that enjoyed the set and another 20-30 that seemed to enjoy their loud conversations more than the quiet music on stage. Typical enough, and generally worse on a Saturday night. Good half-hour opener.
Satori Trova - A large band featuring drums, congas, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar/keyboards and female vocals hit the stage. They start with a rather basic funk/R&B song, but move into some nice crossover songs during the rest of the set. I heard some straight hard rock, blues, lounge blues among the R&B moves. They reminded me of Mothers Finest (not always a compliment here) and were not always clicking. But the last few songs were really strong and this band showed me they have loads of potential. But I have a few recommendations. Although Byron Coley's point that no one should ever cover the Beatles (because he doesn't want to hear it, not that it is sacrosanct) may be too extreme, I think it is good advice. "Come Together" here only reminded me that if this band can truly come together, they can really be good. Second, do not play so much to your entourage. I felt like a real outsider and I did notice that some of the noisy people I moved away from in the first set tonight were this band and entourage. I will give you back the points I deduct, as I noticed the band and some entourage enthusiastically supported the next band. That is good as I get tired of some shows featuring band entourages that don't stay for any of the other bands. But enough advice. This is an interesting band that is worth a look now and could be really good with more gigging.
Blackberry Belles - Why do I always picture some sort of Americana band when I think of this trio? I quickly dispel this image as this trio of electric guitar/vocals, organ, and drums kick into their heavy music. This is rustic garage. Imagine 1970 when garage bands are getting better equipment and they are discovering their abilities to siphon off some R&B and soul moves and add them to their raucous approach. That is pretty much what I hear when this band lets it rip. A lot of fun to be had from this approach and they have some really nice songs that move from heavy to moderate to light, giving their set some nice variety. This band is getting good and is becoming one I don't want to miss.
Quote of the Night: From the Belles vocalist/guitarist... "We have got a bachelorette party over here. And me, without my cop outfit."