Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Caustic Casanova - Southern Problems - We Used to be Family -- Velvet Lounge - Aug 23 2011

We Used to be Family - From Baltimore comes this intriguing five-piece. It is all instrumental with drums, a couple of guitars, cello, and a violin or trumpet. They are loud and strong and play with great authority. They shift tempos and volumes effortlessly and I give kudos to the drummer for the smooth tempo shifts. All the instrumentalists create their own sonic space and meander among one another with comfort and agility. They hit psychedelic space when they quiet things down and cover all kinds of interesting rock formations when they amp it up. I would say they are a combination of Kohoutek and the Klezmatics when the trumpet is out, maybe Kohoutek and Curved Air with the violin. Whatever it is, it worked magic tonight and they impressed this decent crowd of about 40 people. I will keep my eyes open for return appearances from this band.

Southern Problems - This local trio played some really nice post punk songs of the pop variety. It is a really nice sound with strong basslines reminding me a bit of the Ruts (if my memory is correct as I haven't heard them in quite a while). They were a bit loose in spots, but they opted for energy with their sense of fun keeping the proceedings upbeat. The only thing I would suggest would be rethinking the vocals. They were a bit quiet and added a sense of tentative distraction from the otherwise fun music. It was a bit like Richard Butler (P-Furs) singing at Leonard Cohen volume. Finding a good full-time singer is no easy task, so maybe some effort can be made from within. But this is still a recommended band to have on a bill for now.

Caustic Casanova - I haven't seen one of my favorite local trios in a while, so I was looking forward to this show. They immediately connected with their original brand of off-metal, slight psyche, quirky and powerful rock music. If you have not heard them, the vocals are a bit Richard Hell/Rich Stim(MX-80 Sound) in nature atop powerful drums, inventive bass lines and strong rock guitar. There are quirky angular moves in their songs that set them apart from the sludgy pack and always make them a treat to listen to. They covered the intro to Black Sabbath's "Lord of this World" but segued it into one of their songs. They finished with nice Husker Du choice, "Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill", which medleyed into something else as well. So there is plenty of playfulness here along with a great variety of heavy music and good original songs. The band was sharp and this may have been their finest show I have seen. Their energy level was about as high as I've seen. By all means, check this band out next time if you have not sampled them. You will likely see me there.

Quote of the Night: from the Southern Problems bass player... "WorldCom is to Enron as...Whitesnake is to Motley Crue"

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