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 Star...and Phillip Roth."