Sunday, July 10, 2011

Caribbean - Archeaology - The Loom - We Were Pirates -- Velvet Lounge - July 9 2011

We Were Pirates - The third time for me seeing these local rockers. I have enjoyed them before, but there was something just a wee short in their music to allow me to rave about them. They started strong tonight and the sound was really enhancing their songs. The vocals were clear and at a nice level. Rhythm section was fine and the reverbed guitars were strong and clear. They slipped in three new songs, the first one being great and the others good. They started to lapse a bit as the set went on and that is where it hit me. They tend to start well, but keep things at such an even pace that when a few lesser songs come into the set, I don't feel as energized. That being said, I thought they did a better job of avoiding that tonight. This was the best I have seen from them yet and if they can just mix it up a bit more, I think they may really have something. The talent and the sound is there.

The Loom - I have not seen this Brooklyn five-piece in almost a year and was hoping they would be as good as last time. Well, even better tonight. Aside from the rhythm section, they have a french horn/trumpet player, a keyboard/percussionist/female backing vocals (one lead) and a guitarist/banjo playing male singer. I think if you using weaving concepts in your band name, you make a challenge for your music to weave complex elements together into a colorful output. Like my favorites Woven Hand, The Loom also is able to weave many distinct sounds and styles into one of the more satisfying patterns you will find. If you are hearing this from another room, you may think that they fall into the basic Americana music that is so popular these days. But it does not take long to hear the serious edge they have. There is a Velvet Underground thing going on similar to where Lou Reed could play three simple chords and sing a couple of lines and scare you out of the club. It's not as scary here, but there is some urban psyche jazz offsetting Americana psyche folk. Unknowingly, they have grown out of the rural Americana psyche scene of the late 60s that produced tons of forgotten records like Relatively Clean Rivers or Bear Mountain Band. They tell me they have a new record ready this November and have some serious touring planned. Catch them quickly, so you can say you got here before the masses.

Archeology - A Portland four-piece featuring a couple of guitars is next. They feature two vocals going almost at all times, although it is more of a tone strengthening result as opposed to intricate harmonies. The guitars are strong, the rhythm good and the band has good command of the songs. As easy as it was to get into their music, I found it quite challenging to actually grasp. It's like when I was a kid and we would stick our fingers in cups of mercury and couldn't feel anything as the silver liquid surrounded them. Yes, in days of old, children played with poison and it was fun. After a few intriguing songs, I imagined a couple members of Arcade Fire got together with a member of the Cure and a member of Slim Cessna's Auto Club (Denver) and put together this side project. This was a fun set that I found quite compelling. And with as much music as I put into my head, I am quite happy when that happens.

The Caribbean - Although feeling alert, it is getting late, so I decide to stay for just a few songs. This local outfit had two guitars, one voice and drummer tonight. The guitars were sounding interesting but the songs were not quite there. And the drummer was playing something that would have sounded good in another band, but did not seem to relate here. The songs were kind of like the secondary Guided By Voices or Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments songs. I did feel a lot of that Ohio style lo-fi pop thing going on. I think I could enjoy this if and when it clicks. I will probably see them again and get a better read some time.

Quote of the Night: Megan from the Fuzzy Logic blog asked if I was going to use this We Were Pirates patter... "So, since we are playing with the Carribean does that makes us We Were Pirates of the Carribean? I know, I think I'll go drink some rum."

Maybe Bob Mould's book is getting me with its many dark moments, but I rather liked We Were Pirates telling the modest crowd... "glug, glug, Thanks for making the trip upstairs." I don't know about anyone else, but I wouldn't set foot in this bar even if I did drink were it were not for the upstairs shows. But later that night, there was the usual weekend "battle" between the noise of the downstairs vs. the upstairs.

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