Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chameleons Vox - Black Swan Lane - Dot Dash -- Black Cat - Nov 28 2011

Dot Dash - We begin with a local four piece who clearly show this city's love of Wire. And there are indeed some songs that do remind one of Wire, which is always a good sign. But more often, this band exhibits solid power-pop tunes that rock loudly with enough hooks to keep things interesting. But they mixed it up a few times to great effect such as the oddly dark minor-chord led 3rd song which could have been off of "Chairs Missing". And they were clearly aware of the effect with their comment "back to effervescent pop" (or perhaps they said punk, but pop/punk works). I think this band is quite good and with just a few more rhythm shifts or sonic variations, they could really add some flourish to their really nice core sound. If they figure that out, who knows how good this could get? But for now, it is still an enjoyable half-hour set.


Black Swan Lane - Mark Burgess of the Chameleons helped form this band a few years back, but does not play with them now after redoing the Chameleons as what we will be seeing after this set. Instead, there have been some member shifts and this unit is going along quite nicely on its own. They have a rhythm section and three guitars going. When I was young, that usually meant southern rock, but these days it is more likely shoegaze. And after a nice steady rock beginning, the shoegaze sound did build up nicely. It was not overwhelming as the vocals were always leading the songs. The singing was in a Mark Lanegan-The National style with a touch of Ian Cutis at times. There was a little pace now and then, but steadier mood creating mid-tempo speed was the core of the formula. They were in full control of the style and after a few minutes of thinking this was merely nice, they pulled me in further. The really large crowd tonight was enjoying it as well. This is a fine band on what is turning out to be a solid bill that just about belonged upstairs on the larger stage.

Mark Burgess Book A View From A Hill





Chameleons Vox - Another one of these Manchester bands that I kind of missed over the years. I knew the name, but the sound and history was all new to me. Mark Burgess is the main force behind this and I was slow to learn that he was standing next to me during Black Swan Lane's set. It took all of my extensive investigative experience from another career to determine this. Perhaps the several people who came up to say hi and have him sign CDs and LPs helped. When he and his band hit the stage, the crowd was more than ready for some great Manchester rock. And the guys delivered in what was a sound reminding me of the early Smiths among others. I always hear John McGeoch (Magazine/Banshees) in this sort of guitar work, but Johnny Marr is perhaps the better comparison. The songs were balanced between hook oriented post punk, pop/rock and only a touch of shoegaze. What is fairly easy to pick up, even on first listen, is the quality of the song writing. Not only are the songs catchy, but there are some highly personal original moves that sneak in at various times with the phrasing and melody shifts. Add this band to my list of 'why haven't I been listening to this for the past several decades'. But that's why I go to shows of all types, to keep finding out about quality bands, both starting out and those that I have missed. The crowd was having a blast tonight and went home happy.

Quote of the night: From Black Swan Lake... "We're selling t-shirts and CDs to pay for the fuel for that big fucking tour bus out back."

4 comments:

Chris said...

This evening reminded my of why it is sometimes good to take a chance on a band you don't know. Dot Dash was OK (not what I had hoped, based on the CD review in the Post), Black Swan Line was really intriguing despite playing a style I would not have guessed I would like, and Chameleons Vox was absolutely one of the best shows I've seen this year. I was unfamiliar with them except for listing to a dozen or so songs a few days earlier, so I went in pretty cold. Yeh, they whole fine show could have been upstairs (I wa actually thinking the 9:30 at the time), but seeing such a great performance in an intimate setting was a real treat.

(Chris) said...

(Sorry about the typos.)

David Hintz said...

Fortunately, the crowds weren't at sardine levels, so the intimate setting was best--generally the Black Cat has the experience to choose the right stage. Kind of like Dead Meadow, I think the band deserved another 100 ticket sales to get the top stage. Hopefully, they will stay at it and pull in a few new people along with their core fans. Thanks for hitting on the key point I bring up from time to time... people really should take more chances on unknown bands. You can take the price of one expensive ticket and have a blast going to multiple shows, learning about lesser touring bands and fun local acts on smaller stages.

Agustin said...

I saw them in NYC on Nov. 25, in a very small venue I didn't like. But hey I had the opportunity to shake Mark's hand :O) That really made my day. I Couldn't make it to the Black Cat that Monday. The Cure on Friday and Chameleons Vox on Saturday left me exhausted, I guess I'm not that younger anymore. Nice post!