Thursday, June 30, 2011


The Stone Hill All-Stars "The Stone Hill All-Stars"
The Stone Hill Allstars
From Baltimore, we have four all-stars making their own unique brand of music. Two of these musicians starred in the Polkats a couple decades back. They are back with a new rhythm section, new name and new musical direction.

This album contains six originals and four covers from such diverse writers as Harold Arlen and Buck Owens. The style is a bit old school dance hall-barroom music, but with modern pace and sensibility. There is even a touch of reggae but mostly there are excellent jazzy bursts of spirited playing. Dancing piano work, jazz-rock guitar and a nice quietly sharp rhythm section achieve an interesting balance of sounds and styles.

This is thoughtful music that generally requires the work of all-stars or at least veteran musicians. There is a lot of jazz, but I still sense it can find its audience in coffee houses and versatile rock clubs. I think any time where I can say that a band's originals are far superior than their covers, then we have a band that is worth listening to and watching down the road. I hope to see these guys in DC some time.

Songs to try:
Darling, It's Official is very catchy and has a feel-good sound that really can put a bounce in your step.

Miles Below the Surface has steady guitar and bass rhythms with more challenging piano and drum bursts. Nice vocal line, too.

Two Empty Slates - Good weaving guitar lines and keyboard punctuation.

White House Band "The Method" EP/"The Stimulus Package" EP

Heavy drums and hard and spacey guitars are a great backdrop for the powerful "The Bond Song" which leads off "The Method". The vocals seem between a rap and singing and adds to the power. More of the same in the remaining three songs and the sound and songs remind me a bit of Death, that great rediscovered Detroit band. It's not quite up to those heights and is more crossed with hip hop, but it could share the bill. There is a little spaciness not unlike that of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain".

The Stimulus Package EP has plenty of rocking guitar and varies the sound a bit more. There are more psychedelic moments and rhythmic changes. He has an excellent grasp of the strengths of rock music and hip hop and has put together a great EP here. "That's my Ish!" is a powerhouse. My only complaint is that 98% of rapping uses the same language and cliches we have been hearing for decades. That is also true in hardcore punk and heavy metal. I always hope artists can find a few new angles and twists if they don't have a new poetic insight. I would bet that the White House Band is capable of taking that next step. They are off to a roaring start in that direction.

Songs to try: Try them all since there are only nine songs on the two eps, but give "The Stimulus Package" first listen. There should be something for everybody here.

Kuschty Rye Ergot "Senescence"

This EP came out on a limited edition three inch CD and features over 18 minutes of live music. Like most all good live releases, it makes the case of going out and seeing the band on stage. And this band is a must if you have not already seen them. The recording quality is good, but not crystalline as it is a straight live recording. You do hear the bass, guitar and drums clearly enough which comprise the core of the band. It sounds like there is an additional loop or electronics sound in the mix. I have seen this band have anywhere from two to five or maybe six members, which is part of the fun. The music is improvisational psychedelic music. It is generally driven more by a guitar melody (often eastern flavored as it is here) than that of Kohoutek, a larger band featuring the core three members here. By the ending, I kind of wish there was another 10 to 15 minutes as there usually is live. This may fit comfortably in the experimental music category, but it is easy to grasp on to and float away with.

Interesting hardcore variations are on display from this Bronx based band. No sweet Americana sounds here, that's in Brooklyn. But it is not just the raw sounds from the street, although half-listeners will pick up on that quickly enough. But a full listen yields much more complex work by this band. They remind of Boston's The Freeze, were they trying to emulate Chrome or MX-80 Sound. There's a bit of Helmet in here too, I suppose. A couple of the songs are a bit thick and less interesting, but most of them have loads more than you get from 90% of bands calling themselves or being called hardcore. So I will not complain and simply give this a few more spins. They are fairly new on the scene from what I gather, so hopefully they can afford to make a few trips out of town and head this way. I am quite careful in selecting hardcore (and metal) shows to attend, but this band would be one I would line up for.

Songs to try:
Trap Door - Right out of the gate, this trap door leads you to a hardcore industrial blast.

800 Jerks - This one reminds me of the immortal and largely forgotten MX-80 Sound.

Decide to Sleep - "I've been thinking of becoming a maniac" Catchy bit of madness this.

The Blackberry Belles - "The Blackberry Belles"

This band is one of my local favorites in recent times as they have offered a nice retro garage styled sound to deliver their fresh original songs. They line up with guitar/vocals, organ, and drums. There does not sound like they did a whole lot more than that in the studio, although they thickened up the mix enough. The organ shimmers ever more brightly here, which really gives the band its stand-out sound. Everything is strong and holds its spot in the overall sound nicely. The drums vary from holding a simple beat to pounding out some intense breaks. The guitar work is rocking and varied enough to give each song its own identity. Vocal work is gutsy and akin to the blues-soul-rock hybrid done in the very late 1960s. It reminds me of a pretentious band leader in some Robert Altman movie that I cannot place. But its not any pretension here, but the combination of styles that worked there and works here. There are not as many bands that capably capture that advanced garage sound as you may think. Kudos for this band for achieving quite a bit in a short time.

Songs to try:
Listen Baby - Great organ, manic drums, hot guitar, intense vocals... what else is needed?

Go On Home - This one sounds like one of those Led Zeppelin songs from left field, vocally at least. The music is much snappier.

Don't Believe - The hit single in an alternative universe where creative radio is still vibrant. Catchy song, moving along at a fast walking pace.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sloan - Hot Kid -- Jammin Java - June 27 2011

Hot Kid - A woman steps up with guitar and microphone and a guy is behind her on drums. They start with kind of a psychobilly sound, but I am a bit mistaken as it actually moves toward and sticks with a fast, heavy rock/metal sound. They remind me of my early prejudice against two instrument bands that I thought I had overcome. Well, like most things, it depends on the specific situation. Quite simply, if you keep your sound really simple, you better be doing those things really well. To be fair, I did warm to their grind it out style a little by the end of their half-hour set. The crowd was supportive, but not terribly enthusiastic from what I could tell. They are from Toronto and probably a part of the massive Sloan tour bus I saw outside (used previously by Snoop Dog). It was so huge, Sloan did not need to skimp on opening band size and could have had an Arcade Fire like ensemble with them and still had plenty of room on the bus. A tasty appetizer here.

Sloan - Twenty years, ten albums, singles/eps, and a lot of touring is the scorecard for this Halifax quartet. They still have their original four members, no doubt due in part to being able to hide from each other on their tour bus. They are appearing with a touring keyboardist/backing vocalist. There is a bit of instrument switching allowing the drummer to come forward for 4-5 of his songs (they all write). I read something calling them folk-rock which misrepresents them terribly. They are pretty much a high quality pop-rock band. I would call them power-pop but there was only a song or two that had a beat that reminds me of a punchy power-pop sound (maybe something akin to the Zeros). This is smoother with lots of hooks and only slight tempo adjustments. These guys write and play songs that sound balanced and simple, but the hooks, vocal abilities, and group playing are all at levels much higher than many bands you will see. I have read good things about these guys and am finally happy to have had a chance to see that the critics are right. Kudos to the Jammin Java for getting this show and their sound system did well with the volume. The place was pretty full and their were plenty of rabid fans that were quicker than I was in getting into this fine band. Over 90 minutes of music breezed by with smiles all around.

Quote of the night: Sloan was making Garfield references much of the night and I am likely misheard this so remember these quotes are filtered through club noise, rocked out ears, and intracranial connections (creating an in-joke here for my sharp readers)... "What day is it? Monday, you know Garfield hated Mondays. An angry Henry Rollins hates Mondays. Garfield..."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Constant Alarm - Amateur Hour - The Echo Wall -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - June 25 2011

Before I start in on the bands, I would like to highlight one of my "audibles". I sometimes change my mind on which club to go to en route to a show or just a little before leaving. I had the choice of seeing Dinosaur Jr., Henry Rollins interviewing Dinosaur Jr. and Off! for $30 or seeing three local bands for $10. I tried to figure out the positives for the Dinosaur Jr. show. Yes, the two bands are both good and worth seeing. But, I just saw Off! a month ago and their 20-25 minute set does not change at this early point in their career. Dino Jr. is an act I have seen three times since their reunion and once in the olden days. They are good, but I think I have seen them enough. And a live interview with them? Ummm, they are about the quietest set of people since Syd Barrett passed. And they were almost as dysfunctional, although they've matured. Lou Barlow is engaging, but still I've heard from him and read about these guys plenty. And Henry Rollins with a microphone is about as over-rated as they come, unless he has Black Flag or SOA behind him. Of course, his energy is good, but there are so many more people I would rather listen to. So, it was off to check out the local fare that this fine area has to offer...

The Echo Wall - I have seen this band once or twice and have enjoyed them. Nothing has changed tonight and they may even be a bit better. They have a rhythm section, keyboardist, percussion-ukulele-backing vocalist and a guy with acoustic guitar and lead vocals. I am guessing he is the main songwriter and his folkish Americana songs could come to life nicely as a solo act. However I am happy he has a full band with him, as the other players offer enough nice touches to bring additional strength and feeling to the songs. I like the finger picking on the guitar and the keyboards fit in between the notes in interesting ways at times. The last cut had a bit more pace to it, but stayed in character. Good set by a band that is worth a look beyond the 25-35 people tonight.

Amateur Hour - I have seen this band quite recently at the Red Palace. They seemed kind of new and in need of some work. Well, I do not know how hard they've worked in these few weeks, but they seemed like a new band tonight. They feature two guitars, bass and a singing drummer. The sound was excellent as the rhythm was solid and the guitars were rocking. There was more urgency and confidence that I did not detect last time out. And a few of the songs really had some quality to them and some nice guitar lead sections as well. There were lesser moments, so more songwriting and playing out will only help, as it is for most every young band. But they showed that they can put on a viable and enjoyable 40-minute set.
Constant Alarm - I heard a cut from this band and they reminded me of one of my favorites from the other coast, Lovelikefire. They line up with female vocals, guitar, bass and drums. They did have some of the earlier Lovelikefire sound with good pop rock hooks and strong vocals, but they ultimately went toward a more straightforward rocking style. The pace was somewhere between Bad Company and Bad Brains which tells readers absolutely nothing. But I kept coming back to Bad Company far too often as I was listening to them as the pace and style was more in this direction. Fortunately, they varied the songs a bit to get me off this train of thought, but I still think there is room for improvement here. They have good vocal work between the singer and bass player and everyone plays competently if not quite well. I just did not see the creative spark or leadership that really brought these decent songs to life. Toward the end of the set, the guitarist began soloing a bit more which helped but still more was needed. One song had a Banshees style sound that perhaps showed a direction to move toward? Again more work could pay real dividends here. They have some great raw material and are fun to listen to, but I will be very curious to see where they are in six months. I am optimistic AND I see from their web site that they say they have a second guitarist. Whether he missed this night or they are down to a four-piece, I think adding a member may pay dividends.

Plug of the Night: If you are not already a reader of The Big Takeover, I would recommend it over any other music magazine. They have an improved on-line presence and a radio show as well, so there are ways to sample them before trying the old fashioned fanzine. Jack Rabid and his cohorts do the best interviews in the business and you can tell the band has fun talking to them, unlike many of the mainstream magazines. Oh, and you can get all you need to know about the Dinosaur Jr. show in Philadelphia.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Art Brut - Reptar -- Black Cat - June 22 2011

Reptar - From Athens, Georgia comes this five piece previously unknown to me. They line up with keyboards, an extra percussionist with the guitarist providing the vocals. And it was those vocals that perplexed me early on. Simply put, this guy made Devandra Banhart sound like Scott Walker. The first few songs were all rhythm based with only the bass lines showing any kind of melodic delivery, well with the vocals, too. Things continued to throb, but it all got a bit more tuneful. The pop tones started coming through, although everything was a bit twisted which did help. They were engaging enough, although I could not detect that the crowd was getting into this much. Some people were as there was a bit of energy up front. It was not a large crowd tonight and this was the second time I have seen the seating area curtained off to push people forward (some tables and chairs were brought out off to the side of the merch table). Ultimately this was a challenging 45-minute set that won enough people over, but may need some work to get more people into it. But hey, they are playing Austin City Limits this September, so you can judge for yourself from your living room.

Art Brut - A bit more brute than art maybe, but neither word describes this fun energetic UK band. Actually the term as a whole describes outsider art which is accurate, but this band is steadily establishing itself with a solid fanbase of bright energetic rock music insiders. The crowd does have a lot of 'x'es on their hands and many of them were happy to meet some of the band members at the merch table before the set. So the energy was excellent and the crowd grew enough to make for about a half full club with the back seating area closed. Art Brut's sound is pretty straight ahead pop-punk-rock. I immediately think Adam Ant with the Buzzcocks in a happy mood. But the LA scene with Angry Samoans and the Dickies is also appropriate, especially since they made their fondness for LA known (before singing about LA being dumped in the sea later in the set). The two guitars blast away with a solid rhythm section moving along at a good clip. The singer is a real hoot with a mixture of dry British wit and over the top humor. He would be a nice addition to the antics of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in "The Trip" although I am not sure there's room on the screen for anyone else (great movie, by the way). He apologized after a song where lyrics inspired him to give the finger toward the crowd, but not at them... "I apologize to the people up front, especially the young people. I wasn't telling you to fuck off. Stay! Buy our t-shirts." They played some new songs with plenty of well known older songs and some requests as well. After a couple of new ones, he mentioned that "they say after a new song, you have to play a hit. But we don't have a hit." I had a great time for the 75 minutes they played and the crowd is filled with fans that will return the next time they are in town. But there are always other opinions. I am not sure if it was one of my loyal readers or just some guy with a lot on his mind, but one guy bounded over to me at the end and said that "the band was outstanding, but that vocalist was just a droning poet." There are worse things than that and I would add that this set does not have any real lulls, so I will be back again when Art Brut comes to town.

Quote of the Night: Many good ones, but I did enjoy the droning poet going into the crowd during "Modern Art" maybe? I am terrible with titles. He had most everyone sitting down and was telling a long, long story about the Van Gogh (VAN GOFF) museum in Amsterdam (where I have been) while the band played on... "I was in the museum and sat down and the security guard came up to me and said, he said Eddie? Yes? You may improvised yourself into a corner."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Coathangers - Bake Sale -- Red Palace - June 21 2011

Bake Sale - But the bubbles are free, as this local three piece has a bubble machine garnishing the stage for their set. Nice effect, although the guitarist did ask a fair question of whether the drummer was getting slimy. The music present was soap and water scrubbed clean indie pop. Maybe the Vaselines without the hooks? Or the Fastbacks without the pace and power? Good simple pop music with a modern style more than something classic. It seemed a bit lightweight early, but it grew on me as the set went on and there were a couple of nice songs later in the set. The vocal work, both lead and backing, really made the set work. This falls into my broad category of "lightly likable" reviews, but that isn't just a matter of being polite. The band is designed to be light and is genuinely likable and there is nothing wrong with that.

The Coathangers - If you like Raincoats, you need Coathangers. Punk Rock is correctly known for bringing forward the DIY concept for bands. But there is another key component that does not always get the mention it deserves. Punk Rock also empowered kids everywhere to pick up instruments and jump on stage as quickly as possible, spending a little time to write some original songs. Learning instruments can come much later on. And that was even more successful for the women in the punk scene. Thanks to that era, it is barely worth mentioning when a band is all women or which woman plays what in this century. I usually make the distinction for vocal work where it aids description. I will bring this up now as the Coathangers are proud descendants of the early punk scene. They are touring their third album this time out and I was curious to see what sort of growth has occurred. In lieu of becoming wildly proficient on their instruments and/or radically moving another direction, they have just kept their energy high and clearly tightened up their playing while still keeping things fun. Jagged guitars, pounding keyboards, simple melodic bass runs and more pounding on the drums. Vocal work is amusing, intense, and even scary at times. This was my third time out and I have enjoyed the set every time. Nearly 40 people were here tonight including a surprisingly intense handful of dancers, so their work is slowly paying off. Crazy fun is heading a bit more toward serious fun.

Quote of the Night: Overheard at the bar... "I saw a bunch of fetuses, which put me off a bit."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Uriah Heep -- State Theatre - June 19 2011

Uriah Heep -This marks a first where a touring band comes from a show from the town I grew up in, Kettering Ohio, and makes its way to the DC area (they played Annapolis on Saturday). The first time I saw them was when I was in high school there making our way to Hara Arena to see Trevor Bolder's first tour with Heep. Bolder is still on board and this line-up (aside from drummer Lee Kerslake's retirement) is the same one for the last 16 years. I hope the Kettering show was better attended than this one, as it looked really bleak in here. The balcony was closed to push everybody a little closer to the stage. This was instantly noted by Heep's sharp singer Bernie Shaw as he commented before the first note was struck, "Golf's over, now for some rock'n'roll. We have a small but rocking crowd tonight..." They kick it in and it is loud, but I kind of expected that as I was right up front with Mick Box's four Marshall stacks right in front of me. Shaw invites people to get up front and have some fun. Enough people do, so it is a good solid set of fans up front and enough people at tables in the back to make this look like a decent rock show. They ripped through plenty of the hits and debuted several songs off of a new album, as they are a full working and recording band. They said the new album was the reason they were back in the US which is reasonable, although since they had visa struggles delaying their tour last year, they were also trying to recoup some of that expense as the upfront costs are prohibitive unless you get a lot of tour dates out of them. The US is just not their turf, as they do extremely well in Europe and Asia still. Oddly enough, Deep Purple is another even bigger band that does fantastic in those markets and just doesn't come to the US any more, even though they were much bigger than Heep, Wishbone Ash, Strawbs, and all the others that tour here. Anyway, the new songs were fair except for the title cut, "Into the Wild" which was a red-hot smoker. Frankly, better than some of their old hits even. The band are pros and had fun. Mick Box made amusing gestures and facials to keep people into it, including a brief gesture to me which made me smile. He smiled back and he does seem like one of the good guys in rock. The singer was working the crowd in his usual manner of smiling, but with a very cutting and intense undercurrent. He really reminds me of... well, me (for those that really know me). So I enjoyed the set. The music is solid, they play the songs the crowd wants and mix in a few they want to play in the usual correct formula. Box can still rip into "Gypsy" 42 years later as well as keep the pace on the faster songs. Trevor Bolder is a great bass player as he shows tonight as well as on album 30 of my Top 100 albums. I hope the Kettering crowd enjoyed them as much as the hardcore fans did here and as it turned out they got the exact same 1:40 set, so they probably did.

Set List: I'm Ready/Return to Fantasy/Stealin'/Rainbow Demon/Money Talk(new)/drum solo/Nail on the Head (new)/The Wizard/Into the Wild (new)/Gypsy/Look at Yourself/Kiss of Freedom (new)/July Morning/Lady in Black... Encores: Free 'n Easy/Bird of Prey/ Easy Living

Quote of the Night: The 'umble Mick Box... "Free'n'Easy is a song someone in Europe said was the first heavy metal songs. Actually, there's loads better than this, but..."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fabuelonna: A Soccer Tale by Presto Bando - Paperhaus - Frau Eva -- St. Stephens Church - June 18 2011

Frau Eva - A four-piece takes the stage or rather the floor to start the festivities. The opening couple of bands are on the side as the stage is set for the theatrical presentation later. I loved the opening number which featured two guitars and rhythms section playing a lo fi psyche rock song that featured simultaneous male and female lead vocals that brought back memories of Mourning Phase. Flute, brass and keyboards work their way into the songs and the band shifts into other styles quite smoothly. Only the jazzy song had my interest wane. The rest of the pop rock experiments that added to the psyche and folk foundation worked surprisingly well. Sound was a bit challenged, but the band handled it well. This was a creative set that has me wanting to see this band in a bigger club some time soon.

Paperhaus - Another four-piece comes up with a steady two guitar sound. The vocals were so drenched in reverb that stage patter was unintelligible. The guitars were less treated which created a disjointed sound early in the set. They achieved a loose wailing vibe at times which worked, but it just did not hit the mark enough times for me. The second to last song was a great rocker, so that shows some nice potential. The final number had a sax and guest flute and the parts just did not seem to mesh. They seem like a decent lot and could really bring it at times. Maybe a little more focus next time?
Presto Bando presents "Fabuelonna: A Soccer Tale" In addition to my extensive knowledge of psyche folk, punk rock history and some other arts, few people know that I am also a huge European soccer nut. I made the top percentile in a score picking contest this past year for the English Premier League. I also netted over $75 of cash, food and clothes in other fantasy games. I can give you the scouting reports explaining the difference between Emmanuel Adebayor and Gabriel Agbonlahor. I can name Manchester United's starting eleven and their reserve eleven plus a couple of youngsters loaned to other clubs. So I was looking forward to what one of my favorite DC bands would cook up. Presto Bando began by having a guy from the first band play the National Anthem on a vuvuzela. Their drummer ran the samples, drum machines and loops while the bassist played an electric upright when he was not acting and adding vocals. The guitarist did vocals and lots of running around. He kept the story going. The stage was set with a nice painting, soccer goals and lots of light weight balls. The PA made it a bit of a challenge to pick up on the vocals and the energetic running around was tough on them, too. But they did a great job telling the story of has-been European stars coming to die in the old elephant field of American Soccer leagues. The program they provided had it all laid out and it was both a funny and accurate storyline, not as surreal as it may seem. The audience had about a dozen vuvuzelas going, but not non-stop as was the case in South Africa. These are virtually illegal in every league outside of Africa, but thankfully St. Stephens is not a vuvuzela-free zone. The acting was good although the guitarist made a meal out of his knee injury. The finale was soccer ecstasy with the band kicking soccer styled beach balls out into the crowd for the 50 people to keep moving as we all contemplate the excitement of the future of this great world sport in America. Well done lads, a cracker of a show.

Quote of the Night: Hard to hear with the PA in the cavernous hall, but I did enjoy the second band explaining "In fact, two members of Presto Bando played drums for us. We're like the Yardbirds."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bobb Trimble - Kuschty Rye Ergot - Pablonious Bill -- Velvet Lounge - June 17 2011

Pablonious Bill - It has been a while since I have seen this odd little outfit. They line up with two guitarists (one on vocals) and a drummer. Their saxophonist is ill so it is a bit more lo-fi tonight. They play bluesy low riding psyche in a manner similar to MV & EE and whatever backing band Matt Valentine is playing with. It is also a bit like Vetiver, but more twisted east coast than California styled. They get a chuckle of their very accurate self description... "We're a slack rock band, used to be a folk rock band". The songs are interesting, nothing fancy, but oddly compelling in their own odd way. The band creates a good atmosphere. The drummer's breaks are a bit odd and sometimes I feel a bit jolted out of time, but with no bass or saxophone and guitarists that probably don't care a lot about the time, he is a bit on an island. If you are willing to meet this band on their turf, you can get something out of the experience. The sharp Bobb Trimble crowd was willing and did.

Kuschty Rye Ergot - The core of Kohoutek is at it tonight in the guise of Kuschty Rye Ergot. This "side project" has been around a while and has a distinct personality all its own. It is instrumental music with guitar, bass, and percussion.  The two long songs tonight each have their own style. The first follows the A list of Krautrock (Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, Amon Duul II) and probably many other bands that don't start with 'A'. The music is melodic and full of the expected dynamic strengths that these guys know how to deliver, time in, time out. There are twists and turns along the way, the path of the song is assured. The second song in this 40-minute set has a more American/UK style psychedelic feel to it. It is spacey with a good straight forward melody where the band continues to show their grasp of their sound. And even seeing them many times as I have, they are creative enough to keep it fresh so I can come back for more. And if I see them in a support slot, I also know I will be privileged to see another great band next...
Bobb Trimble
Bobb Trimble - A cult figure if ever there was one is Bobb Trimble. His music has long been a part of my collection, but I always had trouble putting him in a category. Psychedelic for sure, but his music was straight rock at times while folky at others. He worked out of Massachusetts in the early 80s which was a time to get lost if you were not doing some sort of punk or edgy post punk music. Perhaps it did not help that he did not play out much as the three dates on this weekend tour in Philly, DC and Baltimore were his debuts in each city. Trimble is playing with a second guitarist, female vocalist and a rhythm section. Two things were great to see straight away. He still has his unique high voice, a bit older, but still capable. Also, that amazing swirl in his guitar is still there giving even the simplest song its psychedelic spot in the universe. His female vocalist sings along with him in all but a few spots and their voices work magic. I also agreed with her two favorite songs (Glass Menagerie Fantasies and Selling me Short), although "When the Raven Calls" was brilliant as well. Trimble reminds me a bit of Pete Hammill without the burning intensity as he seems to want to have more fun playing his music than driving out his demons as Hammill will do. Trimble's music is hard for me to place, but it is psychedelic and he calls a couple songs country, some rock, some folk, but it's all his and all worth a listen. 30-40 people drifted in and out and were treated to a lovely set that went over an hour. I will happily stay up late to be this engaged. Smiles were all around. Hopefully he is having enough fun that he will get out some more.

Quote of the Night: Trimble... "There's a video of this on YouTube or EBAY or somewhere."

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Diamond Center - Creepoid - Sri Aurobindo -- Bella Cafe - June 16 2011

Sri Aurobindo - This bit of volume comes from Baltimore. They line up with the usual guitar, bass and drums and have a singer who also plays some organ through some noisy equipment. They lay out the heavy psychedelics and remind me of Lyd or a heavier Ant Trip Ceremony, due to the reverb drenched vocals. The guitar work on the early songs had that Piper at the Gates of Dawn styled quick noted guitar moves thing going on. All of this was enjoyable enough. They had a good cover song selected with MC5's "Looking at You" but they played it at a tempo similar to the demo versions on the MC5 boxset. And I missed the scale solo--as a guitarist friend has said to me, some solos can be improvised while others are so singular they need to be note perfect for the song to work. This is one of those others. Still, a good choice. They finished up with a song almost hitting Kohoutek like heights, so these guys can play some pretty mean psyche. Good heavy set.

Creepoid - This psyche outfit is from Philadelphia and they also sound a bit like Ant Trip Ceremony. OK, I finally realize that this is due more to the sound set up in this Red & the Black styled room. The small PA is pretty much limited to the vocals with all amps and drums operating at stage volume. So with the reverb on the vocals and the challenges of mixing all instruments, you get the lo-fi psyche sounds of some of the sixties groups that did not have ace studios to work in. The band's sound was interesting. It was dreamy sludge that could rock out when they desired. They were a bit like fellow Philadelphians Bardo Pond, but not nearly as intricate (maybe closer to Asteroid 4). They were having some equipment struggles (as did the opening band with a 12-string) but they kept it going smoothly. They closed with a sludgy guitar that edged into a full out psyche assault. Nicely done and the last song showed the potential that this band has once they get full control of their sound. And I have this note to leave with one of their band members If you want to roll a joint after the set, do the venue a favor and not do it right out in the open. I guess it could have been tobacco which is in some ways worse, but at least won't screw up anybody's license.

The Diamond Center - Richmond Virginia sends us this band comprised of bass, drums (standing), a couple guitarists and a keyboardist. Three of them sing, two of them female with one of the women handling lead vocals. The vocals were the best of the night and this band did manage their sound extremely well during their set. They really had command of their material which was a controlled song oriented psychedelic rock not unlike Black Mountain. With the vocals and some of the slower passages, I was even reminded of Fit & Limo. I rarely find bands that sound like Fit & Limo, so I was quite excited by that. Every song was well written with lots of dynamics, quality vocals, good interplay between instruments--basically everything one would want of a band in any style. The keyboards were a little too quiet in the mix, but otherwise the sound was spot on. It was in the direction of Black Mountain but there was a darker mystery to the music here. The set went over quite well, although the crowd was just about 20-25. Both this band and this venue deserve better and hopefully the word will spread about both. It was nice to see such strong music in this comfortable setting.

Quote of the Night: "I have a Wipers record." I probably misheard that because we always want to hear wonderful things. And speaking of wonderful... kudos to the Bella Cafe for serving me a Diet Coke in the can and not as a blast of foam from a gun into a glass full of ice. Like George Pelecanos' Nick Stefanos, I constantly search for the diet sodas in a can or bottle, not the gun.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Elikeh - Lucky Dub -- Red Palace - June 15 2011

Lucky Dub - I realize the redesigned Red Palace stage is bigger, but eleven members makes a crowded stage and they also have a twelfth guest vocalist about half the time. The instruments include drums, bass, keyboards, guitars, sax, trumpet, trombone, congas, keyboards and two backing vocalists. With all that instrumental power, they do whip up a frenzy. There is not a lot of intricate playing with most of the solos coming from either trombone or trumpet. However, the rhythms are strong as they do the usual dub thing of putting together reggae, soca, R&B, ska and whatever else they want to into energized songs. They kept a great attitude throughout and the positive energy easily made its way to the dance floor. And by the second song, the crowd outnumbered the band and eventually grew to more than 30. The positive vibe was there and made it feel even bigger in the room. Strong 45 minute opening set here.
Album review: Elikeh, “Adje! Adje!”
Elikeh - This is the first time I have seen this local band at the top of bill. Previously, I have enjoyed their excellent support for Vieux Farka Toure a couple of times. The 40 plus here tonight showed that they do have the workings of a deserved local following who were willing to come out on a Wednesday night and enjoy Elikeh's brand of African-rock-roots music. The singer/rhythm guitarist is from Togo, although he has been in DC a while and has assembled some other African, US, and local musicians into a tight little unit. They are nine strong and have similar instrumentation to the first band, with the brass section as two saxophones (and one guy also switches to flute and percussion). The percussion is powerful and intricate with the kit drummer wailing away as the conga player punches away in the gaps. The guitar work is crisp, keys solid, bass playful and the brass players chip in creatively. The music is more intricate than that of the opening band, but is just as danceable, catchy and fun. I even got a chuckle how their song "Get Ready"  had an intro similar to Yes's "Roundabout". Fortunately Jon Anderson was nowhere in sight and the song rocked out in its own groove thereafter. I see this band will be playing opening night at the Capital Fringe Festival this year. Hopefully this will help grow their audience as I see nothing fringe about this band. They are the real deal and we are fortunate to have them in DC.

Promos... I am a big fan of theater and subscribe to three different companies and visit several more on a show by show basis. There are a couple of bands I have enjoyed that are employing theater with their music that are worth checking out. Presto Bando will be at St. Stephens on June 18th debuting "Fabuelonna: A Soccer Tale". Also Stripmall Ballads will be dusting off their giant puppets and bringing back "The Perfect Pipe Bomb" to St. Stephens for two nights, July 22nd and 23rd. I hope people support these productions, as you get great music and excellent visuals and storylines.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thao & Mirah - Bobby - Led to Sea -- Black Cat - June 10 2011

Led to Sea - This band is a solo project by a woman singing and playing violin. She does work with a band, but as has been shown throughout the ages, a band is far more expensive to tour with than going solo. She thickens things out by laying down loops including some fairly complicated rhythms of a plucking pattern that she bowed and percussed on top of. Her singing was pretty without becoming precocious. Some of the songs were good and not surprisingly reminded me of Rasputina, although there was nothing quite as rocking here in this set. Decent enough set, not overly lively, but respectable and well received by the growing crowd.

Bobby - This six-piece begins with vocals, keyboards, and percussion. The music is dream pop without a lot of pop. I saw the band members shifting instruments with a guitar being brought out. I decided to shut my eyes and see if I could hear the guitar in the mix in the next song. After a minute or so, I thought I detected a deep sound that may have been from the guitar. As I opened my eyes, I saw that they were playing a bass and 3 guitars. So basically everything came out like dreamy keyboards with a bass and percussion. There was a song later in the set  that had some nice counterparts that were a bit edgy, but much of this long 37 minute set was in the meditative style. I think the crowd was a bit too relaxed to offer much in the way of support.

Thao & Mirah - It seemed like there was an unwarranted wait until the set began, but the 34 minutes seemed longer as I was really tired by now. Fortunately the band launched into some catchy music to wake me up a bit. The duo are vocalists and also play guitars and some other things. They are joined by a drummer and bass player (the only male) who also switched around a bit. The opening violinist joined in as well. Quirky minimalist pop sort of like the Low Anthem meeting 1/2 Japanese? That is a stretch, but this band does have its own voice. It alternates between moody and edgy and it never gets too dense. I would like a little more to grab onto at times, but I do have to respect the unique approach they take. However, as I see a large crowd here, I wonder how much of the present hype of this band will sustain itself over a year or two. We shall see, but for now? Eh, not bad.

Curator of the Night: Curated festivals have been a successful innovation in recent years, thanks to ATP. Thurston Moore (no surprise) and Nick Cave have done very well at this and I had only wished I would have spent the funds to have seen their shows. I noticed that Wilco and Ray Davies are both curating festivals. I was rather stunned to see that Davies did a very good job, while Tweedy must have picked some pretty cool bands that I really don't know of... or so I hope. Anyway, Ray Davies is curating Meltdown with sets by Wire, Current 93, Sonics, Fugs, Madness, Lydia Lunch, Ex Kinks playing withRobyn Hitchcock and Bruce Foxton, Dengue Fever, Yo La Tengo, etc. While Wilco has themselves, Levon Helm, Thurston Moore, Purling Hiss and a few others at the Solid Sound Festival. I am sure budgets are quite different, but I know the trip to England would be more fun than the drive to Massachusetts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rap Rocks!! -- Velvet Lounge - June 9 2011

Rap Rocks is a tour of newer hip hop artists breaking down barriers of other rock related genres. There was good evidence of that tonight, although as usual the Velvet Lounge gets things going late and in spite of the great job of the artists getting off and on the stage, sets are a little tight.

Ralphy Boy - The evening begins with pretty much straight ahead rap from this Brooklyn artist rapping away in front of recordings. Frankly, at first its the usual language of the street which I hear enough on the street and can leave me pretty uninterested. But by the third rap, I hear some better individuality coming though. One of his next songs had a sharper rhythm that pulled me in with its pace and conviction before the usual call and response for "yeahs" and "hell yeahs". Fair start.

Shyvonne - Also down from the big apple is this singer with a DJ assisting. Shyvonne has a deep confident voice that sounds like it works for just about any style of music she chooses. Things were moving along nicely until the request to clap along came and was on a slower than average beat that the audience really messed up on (me included). But that was more amusing than distracting as she went into a gutsier ballad thereafter. There is more sensitivity in her music than merely power, so it goes over quite well with the crowd. I would gladly see here again some time.

Navi and the Whole Damme Delegation - A local hip hop collective takes the stage in colorful outfits with a nice set of wigs on one guy that looked like a cross between George Clinton and Sideshow Bob. They had drums, keys, the prior DJ and two vocalists. A bassist joined in for the last couple of songs. So there were lots of sounds going on and a whole lotta fast and not too furious vocal exchanges between the two rappers. Pace and music lorded over the lyrical content, at least with my long battered ears, but it was easy to hear the reference to "Banned in DC" and the Bad Brains. Gotta love that. Some tried and trued patterns, but plenty of zip and rhythm that had the crowd into it. I enjoyed the last cut that had a simple keyboard melody with lots of bouncy beats and shifts cutting into it. Nice set.

The White House Band - A one-man band takes the stage guitar in hand, with microphone and original recorded songs in the background. He has really got a nice psychedelic spacey guitar sound working. I am hearing Steve Hillage or Tomerclaus. And if I can get my usual oddball references of cult and obscure (respectively) prog-psyche artists into a hip-hop show, then it should be obvious I am having fun. Funkadelic at their spaciest is probably an even better comparison, but I haven't mentioned Steve Hillage in 2 1/2 years, so put it all in a stew and let a young and creative lyricist put something on top and there you have the sounds of this set. He put the guitar down a couple of times to rap over the recordings. And that worked well enough, too, although good guitar work usually does the job with me. He had a story of how he was saying MTV had banned his video and he got correspondence from them asking him to cease and desist from saying that (even though true). Funny, I thought they had banned all videos in lieu of their round the clock reality shows featuring people I don't want to meet or even watch (at least I assume so, since I don't watch). Hopefully, the White House Band can find better platforms to get the music out, since it is well worth a listen. Unfortunately, the crowd tapered off to 10-20 due to the late weekday hour, but they agreed with me and were as loud and as enthusiastic with their support as the larger crowd was earlier.

A Cool Stick - From Philadelphia comes a three piece with vocals, guitar and drums. No recordings, samples or pedal boards, just straight ahead music. The vocals are rapped and sung at different times and with the drums, the focus is on the rhythm. The guitar is simple clean and mostly in the background. However after listening for a while, it appears it is a matter of choice and not lack of skill. During one song, he has some real panache with his runs. There is a lounge feeling to it, although the rhythm always keeps things moving and there is no leaning back here. Great attitude from this band as well. I liked the story the singer had where he saw a slew of people leaving (it was crowded between 10 and 11:30 or so) and he ran after them to convince them to stay. They said they had to go to bed and get some sleep. So he sang a song at the street corner to them instead. So it was nice to see a positive band close out the evening. Hopefully shows like this can happen again. I am always keeping an eye out for interesting live hip-hop alternatives (trying to sharpen up my knowledge base from what is an embarrassingly low starting point) and this sort of tour is perfect for me as well as long time rap fans.

Quote of the Night: Call and response from the opening set...
"Can we have some fun?" 
"Can we have some fun?" (repeated 5 times)
"Yeah, we're waiting."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dengue Fever - The Eternals -- Black Cat - June 8 2011

The Eternals - A couple of guys take the stage with vocals and samples/keyboards handled by one and guitar/bass/keys/samples handled by the other. A drummer joins in after a bit as well. It sounds like stripped down rudimentary TV on the Radio I suppose. Or perhaps a jazzy Sun City Girls style featuring less amazing instrumentation, but better vocals. Not much to these songs, but mostly good vocals and some interesting sounds now and then. Early in the set I am reminded of an old show in 1983ish where my friends bet that I would like Happy World's set which they all hated. I was sensing I was liking this a lot more than the rest of the crowd. And based on the muttering I heard from more than one person (see below for one item), this band was annoying people. And frankly, I kind of liked that. No, they were not dazzling, but they had a kind of punk spirit you don't see too often. There was a day when prog-heads, Dead-heads, and hippies despised the many punk bands that are now revered by the masses. I don't see these guys making the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in 2038, but it's nice to see someone show some moxy and do something original on stage.
Chhom Nimol of Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever - The crowd has swelled some--over half full. It is a mixed crowd of varied ages, ethnicities and loads of different genre fans no doubt. Dengue Fever does attract an eclectic bunch with their Cambodian singer, Brazilian bassist and a few LA garage rockers channeling world music. The night is oppressively hot and thankfully the Swans are not here with their 'no air conditioning' policy. Dengue Fever begins with the same two cuts they did when I saw them a couple of years ago at the State Theater. Both "Lost in Laos" and "New Year's Eve" are from their first album. Thereafter, they mix in a lot of cuts from their new album with some other recognizable old favorites that much of the crowd were familiar with. It took a few songs for the sound to come together and although improved, it didn't come through as crisp as I expected. Chhom Nimol is a fabulous singer, so I don't know why she needs as much reverb as I heard tonight. It's tough touring for vocalists, so maybe it allows a little less voice strain, but at least her vocals sharpened up a bit in the second song. The crowd was enjoying things quite a bit and gave the band a strong ovation at the end. For the encore they brought up some dancers from the crowd and had their Cambodian merch guy come sing backing vocals. Then they launched into a pretty wild rocker to finish off their eighty-minute set. Definitely a nice hot set prior to my hot walk home and cool shower. This band is always one of my favorites and nothing changed tonight.

Quote of the Night: Overheard after the opening band... "What was that? Jazz fusion? I don't what that was, but it was garbage. I mean the first song was about police brutality. I mean it's not the 70s. It's not the riots. He wasn't even old enough."

Yes, never mind the videotape of metro police bashing on a prone guy who did make any attack moves that I saw on the news only yesterday. Or perhaps when they grabbed a homeless guy out of his wheelchair and threw him on the ground a week or two back. We live in such an enlightened age now, were it not for those damn cameras!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stiff Little Fingers - Edie Sedgwick -- Black Cat - June 2 2011

Edie Sedgwick - Hard to believe that this is my first time seeing this long running DC band. Edie is now comprised of three females on drums, bass and backing vocals. Fronting it all is a guy who did not dress like Edie as has been the case in the past, but looked more splendid in white like James Chance. In fact, musically I was reminded of Chance and his various bands such as the Contortions. Unfortunately, the music was more rhythmically plodding than that of the Contortions, so I was not getting into this much. Vocally, things were good and ultimately they played a few catchy songs, just not enough to really get people to stand up and take notice. I thought the crowd was a little flat, although appreciative. And I always appreciate a band that is not a cliche, so kudos to this band for doing it their way. They did one good song that laid down a good groove and ripped off the Paint it Black riff toward the end. Fair enough.

Stiff Little Fingers - One of the more important punk bands is still playing, touring, and recording. The have always been as or even more relevant than their more famous brother bands in the early punk scene. Coming from Northern Ireland has much to do with that, but it ultimately comes down to the quality and conviction Jake Burns and his band mates have always had. This is the third time I have seen them at the Black Cat and the third band version I have seen. Jake Burns is the key behind it all, but he has had original bassist Ali McMordie back with them for some time. McMordie brings a tough energy to the music and still does fine with the dub parts as well. Steve Grantley has been on drums for a while, but I could not recognize the guitarist. Apparently Ian McCallum was seriously ill (coma for a few full days even), so they needed a sub. They found a ringer in John Haggerty of Naked Raygun, Pegboy and Terminal Beach (more on them later). He no doubt was having a ball playing the classics and even learning some of the newer material. The songs rocked and swung as SLF has always employed lots of rhythm and structural shifts in their material. They even had a subtle swing feel in "Tin Soldier" tonight which was really fun. I really can't be too objective as the band was so important to us in Dayton. I think this band influenced the band I worked with (Toxic Reasons) as much as anyone did. So if Jake's voice was a bit strained (he fought through it well) or if the guitar sound was a little too thick and ringing at times, no matter. I will eat these songs up every time out. And the crowd was quite into this as well tonight.

Set List: Roots, Radicals, Rockers & Reggae/At the Edge/Just Fade Away/Oath to...(new song)/Straw Dogs/Just Fade Away/Listen/Doesn't Make it Alright/Barbed Wire Love/Strummerville/Fly the Flag/Wasted Life/Tin Soldiers/Suspect Device  Encores: I Fought the Law/Alternative Ulster

Moment of the Night: Seeing John Haggerty was a nice nostalgic moment. He was a part of the great Chicago punk scene that we Daytonians were quite friendly with. John was definitely one of the nice guys of that scene. I actually booked an early band of his that was started by Strike Under's Steve Bjorklund (another guy I liked who never quite "made it"). The band was Terminal Beach and played only a few shows in all. They came to Dayton to play a hall show that we put on which was a lot of fun (and really hard work). I saw John a bit later at a party in Chicago. He said he had just joined Naked Raygun. Oh that's nice, I said, as I was thinking of this band with some mediocre cuts on a Chicago compilation LP and an only slightly better EP. Well, after he joined, they became quite brilliant as most people know. It is nice to see John looking well, playing well and no doubt having a lot of fun playing with a band that was as influential to him as they were to the rest of us midwest punk rockers.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

NRIs - Seas - The Amateur Hour -- Red Palace - June 3 2011

The Amateur Hour - A four piece featuring a couple guitars with the unique point of having the drummer do the lead vocals. The Romantics they were not although they played a straight forward pop rock style. Style was a bit of the hang up here as I really did not detect much. Credible playing, good singing, but there just was not the spark in the song writing and execution where anything really stood out. Likable guys, a few nerves detectable, nothing wrong at all and nothing to complain about for an opening 40 minute set from the third band on the bill with an $8 cover charge. They did prove why we need to suffer through tuning delays when the rhythm guitarist strapped on an acoustic guitar late in the set. I don't know who's wince was larger, his or mine. I predicted that I wouldn't recognize their cover song and I didn't, although they did a second one "Back in the USSR" (See my previous review regarding Beatles covers--some time in the last 3 weeks). I hope they had fun. The crowd was supportive, although it only grew from 7 to 20 and got much larger for the following bands.

Seas - I had forgotten about my review of this band in March 2010 until just now. I found out that I liked them then which I was hoping for as I really enjoyed their set last night. Three guitarists stepped up in front of the rhythm section. My immediate thoughts veered to my youth of the Outlaws, Molly Hatchett and Skynyrd! You really weren't a southern rock band unless you had three guitars. Thankfully these days allow all kinds of variations in all kinds of genres. What I look for is whether it sounds like 3 guitars. I recall seeing the Brian Jonestown Massacre playing some festival with four guitarists creating the sound of one guitar. Well the Seas had good patterns for mostly two guitars but the third guitar provided some added thickness to the mix. So well done, guys. The songs were good with the style going from a tough indie rock to even a hard slow psyche song that reminded me of a Monomen song that shuffled up on my IPOD moments before they hit the stage. I was amused that one guitarist had rushed over from the Youth of Today hardcore matinee which I passed on at the last minute. I almost felt obligated as I sold a frayed t-shirt of the band on EBAY a couple years ago for $70 to some guy in Germany who had a museum dedicated to straight-edge hardcore band t-shirts. What a world. But for Seas? Keep playing guys, I will be back.
The NRIs - It is a CD release party for this local collective. I have enjoyed the band previously and they looked ready to kick it in tonight. They have a couple of guitars, rhythm section and two women on keyboards, violin and background vocals. The songs are pop, rock with some interesting hooks and flows. There is a maturity there, but the band also has the ability to cut loose a bit and not keep things overly formal. They rock and allow listeners to keep their minds working. The crowd was enjoying it plenty and even my glare worked to get a couple of people to move their conversation from 30 inches away from me far off to the side at the bar where it belonged (imagine Richard Burton in The Medusa Touch--actually don't, it's an awful movie). I had more notes on movie references, but only one per review allowed when the music is this good. And it was. The band looked like they were having fun playing which certainly affects the audience and so forth. It was a good night by a good local band who was happy that so many people were supporting local music. Preaching to the choir here.

Quote of the Night: From the opening band... "This is a song about Big Star."
"Big what?"
"Big Star...and Phillip Roth."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Against Me! - Screaming Females - Lemuria -- Black Cat - June 2 2011

Lemuria - Three bands playing punk rock at the Black Cat? Sounds like a fun evening ahead. This three piece from the wintry city of Buffalo hits the stage. Perhaps they brought some of the cold northern air with them to end the intense heat that had enveloped DC, but there was nothing cold on stage. Instead, they played really nice punk-pop music that reminded me quite a bit of the Penetration style in "Danger Signs". The guitarist sang with a more subtle style than most female punk screamers and the duet she shared with the drummer reminded me a bit of Exene and John Doe even. The music was pretty simple, but they did a nice job with keeping it coming, avoiding tiresome tuning breaks and inane chatter. Being lively and fun gave listeners no time to think, but only to react and join in with them. The crowd did and the 1980 style pop-punk worked well in the opening half hour set.
Screaming Females - Another three-piece here with a woman singing and playing guitar again. I take a spot by the sound board and hear music that is tougher than that of the first band. The vocals are a little more toward Joan Jett this time. Then, the guitar work which had kind of a post punk, edgy beginning starts going into wild places. Normally I don't care a lot with trying to figure out a band's sound, but I really felt the need to get up close and see if all these sounds were coming from the one guitarist (while handling all vocal duties for that matter). Shortly after I moved up, Ian MacKaye popped out from backstage to also take a look. I am not sure if he was amazed as I was to see Marissa Paternoster play such amazing guitar runs, but he was joining me in bobbing his head around to get a view of her playing. And it really was amazing. There was a punk metal style to it all, but post punk and psyche moves were also present. I was hearing Bevis Frond/Entrance Band style jams and flourishes along with really odd post punk angles. Power chords, fast near-Michael Schenker style leads and I swear I even heard some Thomas Mapfumo runs and Wipers patterns. I can pretty much guarantee you that I will never describe a guitarist like this again. Remember how Bubba Dupree amazed people in DC with his band Void many years back? Well, this was all of that and then some. And I won't forget the rhythm section who also did a great job. I don't get blown away by a band these days as often as I did when I was young, but it happened here. It seemed that much of the crowd agreed with me that this was one amazing performance tonight.

Against Me! - The crowd was really revved up for this Florida four-piece. The band did not disappoint as it launched into its anthemic punk rock attack with song after song after song. Or rather it was more anthem after anthem after anthem. Frankly, it was a little much for me as earnest intensity is something I handled better 30 years ago with a quaint band like Sham 69. For an example of how to balance anthems with more variety and dynamics, do join me for the Stiff Little Fingers show this Saturday. But I can see I am somewhat in the minority tonight, as the club has filled up more than I expected and is getting into this set. Can't say that I blame them as the band is crisp and has loads of energy. I think I preferred Rise Against in the battle of the "Against" bands. Thankfully, I don't think we'll see a run of Against bands like we saw with Wolf bands a few years back. I have the same issues tonight that I have with Flogging Molly to some degree. I don't begrudge anyone for thinking how great these bands are, but I will stay a bit more in the 'I respect them' camp. But to try to explain a bit of my cynicism, I did particularly enjoy these brief comments I heard. The singer said "This is a protest song called (muffled title)". Yes, I didn't really need to hear the title because I think many of your songs would fit that intro. And the next song had a lyric "You aren't saying anything we haven't heard before." I'll leave it at that.

Quote of the Night: Nothing notable not already mentioned, but I promised a friend I would mention a quote we heard while at our jobs scorekeeping little league baseball games over 30 years ago. The quote has lived with us and haunts us still. Woody Woodring ran his mouth (as he did frequently) so that anyone within 30 yards of him heard "Like I said before, I don't care if we win or lose, as long as we shut 'em out."