The Chance - I just saw this local four-piece a while ago and found them good in some respects, but I was ultimately hoping for more. They started a lot stronger tonight. The sound was more balanced for starters and they played together with a lot of conviction. The vocals were especially cleaner this time around. They still had the lush rock-to-shoegaze sound, thick and steady. They played for 47 minutes and as the set wore on, some of my previous issues still remain. Aside from one song, things are just too steady over too long a time. The drum beats stay pretty much 1-2 with some cymbal crashes. The thick stew of bass and guitars don't often enough break me out of the steady throb of their sound. It is a good sound and some people may enjoy the same things I have problems with this. But as this night would show, the headlining band can create some of this same sonic architecture with a lot more flair. Still, this was a solid opening set by a decent band that may be getting better and is worth a view to see if they fit into your wheelhouse.
Cobra Collective - This four-piece featuring one guitar and a full time vocalist immediately established an accessible pop-rock style with plenty of drive. Vocals were decent with their not as over the top Ric Ocasek style. The beats are varied and they move the tempo around a bit, but it ultimately retains a nice garage-pop tunefulness combined with a second generation punk edge. There was one song that really blended the early punk/pop sounds of the Weirdos/Nerves respectively. This band hits many of my personal sweet spots and should please most audiences, so I hopefully will be seeing them again some time. Their name is now etched in my memory.
Skysaw - This is an intriguing new band. The marquee value of the group is drummer Jimmy Chamberlin from Smashing Pumpkins. But the other five members come from various cities with the most interesting members for the Black Cat crowd being guitarist Anthony Pirog and singer/guitarist/keyboardist Mike Reina. The latter two are (were?) from a local band called the Jackfields who do an interesting light psyche pop-Americana style. They brought a bit of that to Skysaw, but it was a bit heavier about half the time. And the heavy songs really soared. They had as many as three guitars going at times, but two of them alternated to keyboards (singer Mike Reina spending more time there). I heard a lot of heavy King Crimson when they were rocking. I was thinking third album "Lizard" since the vocals reminded me of Gordon Haskell (one of the early of the revolving door vocalist/bassists). The synthesizer on top of the Yamaha even sounded a bit like a mellotron in one song. The very dense intriguing interplay between these solid musicians really stood out during the finer songs. When they really rocked, I even imagined Radio Birdman trying to cover Golden Earring's "Radar Love" sheet music after only hearing Golden Earring's "Twilight Zone". OK, I have now thrown down the gauntlet for challenging the craziest comparison I think I have made this year. I hope I don't top it any time soon, but the music did have my imagination working in a good way. The slower songs were nice as well, although I though their were a few too many. But this band has only one album out. Hopefully they will want to continue and see what they can do. I hope the rather meager turnout is not discouraging. There may have been 200 people there, but not that many at the end. But I am happy the coin flip in my head directed me to the Black Cat this night.
Quote of the Night: From The Chance... "Thank-you very much, kindly... that doesn't make sense, Thank-you kindly, very much."