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."