Adrian Hardkor - My second time seeing Mr. Hardkor, playing this time with violin and bass. Hardkor plays acoustic guitar and sings throughout. There is a nice energy to the Americana-laced folk rock songs. The accompanying musicians fill things out nicely and the bass player switching to mandolin is a nice touch. The violinist has some chops, although his fooling around with pedals created more distraction than anything else on one song. I enjoyed the third song the most and I could detect a couple others that stand out well, with others that are ok. It is a little loose by design, and a bit too loose for my tastes. But it still was a fun listen for the 44 minutes they played. They still have a ways to go, but there is a foundation present to build from.
The WeatherVanes - The headliner went up next and I thought it would be a bit more of the same. The starting point and approach was similar, although their were drums, bass, keyboards/mandolin backing the singer/guitarist. The first song showed a great dexterity with the acoustic guitar sound that had a great rock feel in addition to the Americana folk underbelly. His slide moves were clever and really livened up the song. He went to electric guitar for half of the nearly hour-long set and really had some flash moves that rocked out a lot more than I expected. The songs were put together well and always maintained a rootsy base. The keyboards gave a great high end sound, while the rhythm section was strong, but not overpowering. The band was able to raise it up a notch as a unit, which shows me they have done this for a while and have a great command of their fine material. This just may be the area's finest band at American-based folk-rock, with the emphasis on rock. They did a Tom Waits cover which fit their style and were quite funny, although I don't need to be reminded of the next band five times. The crowd of 30-ish was excellent tonight and really wanted some fun on a Wednesday night. These guys delivered.
Benny the Band - They are probably officially Benny, but it is often good to add 'the band' to common names. This is the third straight set from a flannel shirt wearing singer/guitarist with band. In this case, the band is comprised of bass, drums, and electric guitar. They have a quiet presence on stage, but work together nicely. The songs are a little more akin to the opening band at times, but there is and added rootsy rock'n'roll element. Also, the electric guitarist can play some smoking leads while grinning sheepishly afterward. They remind me of Johnny Rivers for some reason, although I am hardly a Johnny Rivers expert. Well, at least one time, I thought a song was going to break into "Midnight Special", but didn't. They had a tough act to follow but did a nice job of it. This was a great night of music and it only cost $5. Considering, this was initially my 5th choice on where to go tonight, I was quite happy.
Quote of the Night: There were many good ones, but I missed a few lines so I'll paraphrase The WeatherVanes singer... "Thanks to Adrian Hardkor, is he here? (no). Those were very kind words... considering he's such a dick. Someone stop me if you see him coming..."