SoSoSo - I just saw this trio a while back and thought they were ok. After the first song, it seemed more of the same, but then the guitarist and drummer switched places for the rest of the set with things falling into place. Both of them sang but the full-time guitarist did a tad better with the lead and the full-time drummer did a nice job on the beats. However, the bass player stood out most with some smooth lines and colorful runs. The sound was power-pop and indie rock combined nicely into a mostly propulsive result. They did vary tempos a bit, but like usual for me, the quicker stuff worked best. Nice energy, good attitude and I think a better performance than last time. They proved themselves to me tonight.
Transient Attack - This was a twin-guitar four-piece that began with a Gang of Four type song that had a lot of space for guitar jabs, but ultimately lacked Gof4's dramatic impact. The sound thickened out some thereafter but still was not quite coming together. The sound was a bit off with the lead guitar barely audible and maybe even too lightly played. Then all of a sudden, it was even too loud for one song, before things evened out a bit. There were some nice off-kilter moves by the band, so there is an approach they take that would be welcome when it comes together. And the jangly, bluesy number was good. But, I just don't think it gelled tonight and the crowd of about 30 was pretty quiet.
North of Canada - This was their first show for a year and a half? Not bad in the end as they seemed poised and ready to deliver the goods. The local twin-guitar four-piece had a very balanced sound featuring pop and rock moves that was not too heavy and not too light. The two vocalists were interesting. Often the first note sounded odd, but it quickly moved into an interesting register that offset the music nicely in a quirky way. At times, they sang together well doing different patterns. It shows me that there is some care in the songwriting at work. There was a lo-fi 60s garage pop-psyche feeling present which I always welcome. There were a couple of songs that reminded me of the Grant Hart school of songwriting with a vocal style closer to Swell Maps. The band played together well with the whole sounding better than the sum of its parts, which should be the goal of most bands unless they have someone named Hendrix in the band. More shows and more songwriting should continue to help this band along. But for now, they lay out a pretty nice balanced rock set.
Quote of the Night: From No of C... "We'd like to thank you all for skipping "The Jersey Shore" for us tonight". You are welcome, and some day I'll try to find out what that is. (I know, it's a television show, but I have no idea what it's about and this is an area I prefer to keep my ignorance as long as possible).