Presto Bando - This is my second time seeing these three intriguing musicians. Unfortunately, the locals were not ready to get that early weekend start as the crowd was between 10 and 20 for the set. That was still enough of a sample to see the same phenomenon happen that I saw last time. This band's original, interesting style takes a few songs to get used to. But when you do, it is highly rewarding and quite a lot of fun. It is easy to see the crowd response increasing as the set goes on and that happened among the faithful here tonight. I still hear the Beefheart and maybe more of an Akron/Family at their craziest and not their heaviest. These guys would have done well in the old New York punk/no wave scene with James Chance-like vocals and quirky rhythms and melodies. There is more fun here, as opposed to the no wavers and the guitarist even had some moves that reminded me of the John Cleese funny walks. They play around town regularly, so if you haven't had your initiation, do so soon.
The Silver Liners - Generally, I get a little tired of writing about bands from the fourth time on. This is the fourth time for me seeing this five-piece and to my surprise, I am happy to add another review. Basically, I think this is the best set I have seen from the band. I have always found them a good quality band with nice pop rock hooks, but found just a little something lacking. Tonight, they had all their fine songs on display, but added a gutsy edge that brought them to a higher level. When bands have the songs and skills, it usually is a matter of time before the gigging and rehearsals move them to a higher plane. It seems to be working for this band and the swelling crowd of about 60 enjoyed it, but were a tad restrained tonight. This is always a pleasant band to see, but now I can recommend making an effort to make sure they are on your listening calendar some time soon.
The Riverbreaks - I enjoyed this local band's album, reviewed here earlier, but have not been able to catch the full set until tonight. They had their usual instruments (1-2 guitars, rhythm section, keyboards) and were augmented by a guest violinist for a majority of songs. That was a nice touch and hopefully they can do a bit more of that down the road. The early part of the set was a little too light for me and focused more on dance music. But the crowd went for it, and I have to say that it was the correct choice for the band. It pulled the crowd in and was the right move for the third set on a Friday night. It shows how sharp these guys are and the flexibility they have in their music. As the set went on, more of the Americana-pop-rock songs came through. They debuted a song which had the usual high quality craftsmanship on the structure, but also rocked pretty heavily with a nice finish. I see no reason this band will not continue to do well, as they have both the brains and the ability to create music for people to want to go out of their way to listen to.
Quote of the Night: from the headliners regarding their guest musician... "She just got a pick-up for her violin that's over 150 years old--just to play for you tonight".