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.