Teen Mom - I liked this local trio the last time I saw them this past August and little changed tonight. They have smooth vocals atop a strong rock foundation. The guitar sound is instantly balanced between Neil Young and shoegaze, although as the set wears on, it takes a steadier indie rock tone, but on the heavy side. The sound is rather timeless bringing in the past, but sounding fresh and non-trendy. The rock instrumentation contrasts comfortably with the vocals and the resultant melodic music is easy to enjoy. It's akin to putting the right amount of cayenne in the dish without offending those that don't like the heat. I think a few tempo shifts or songwriting variances would bring this 34 minute set up a bit, but I enjoyed what I heard tonight, as did the moderate crowd (even discounting the obvious 'ringers').
Blackberry Belles - What is it now, five or six times? I am not sure how often I have seen them and I will only offer a brief commentary on what this band sounds like, as you should be out here finding out for yourselves by now if you have not already. It's a trio, but a unique one. The drummer is excellent, the guitar/vocals rock and wail quite powerfully and the third element is keyboards which offer bass runs, some piano and swirling organ sounds that give this band their distinct edge. Their garage rock sound has a bit more soul in it than most bands attempt. This works in concept and execution as their music has plenty of dynamic shifts to retain interest over 45 minutes. The crowd of about 60-70 was a bit more subdued than I expected, but I carefully observed them lightly dancing, head bobbing, tapping toes and listening attentively. And I certainly don't mind quiet when I see such a great audience getting into the music, so this was yet another successful set for the Belles.
Beach Week - This local trio was known as Bake Sale, but wisely chose something a little less generic. I only wished they had not used Beach in their name as that is popping up way to often. If I was starting a joke band, I would call it Wolf Beach for the benefit of those that would get my joke (although I see this name is already being used in business-sheesh, I can see why bands struggle with this). Anyway, there is almost nothing to change from what I saw last time at the Red Palace. The music is a little too light for me, but that is by design. And there is a comfort that they establish over the course of a set that I have a good deal of respect for. I also like the subtle psyche-pop sound of the guitar. I am not sure this band will knock your socks off, but you may be surprised at how much you are pulled in. They are on my 'keep an eye on' list.
Quote of the Night - While sitting on the raised concrete portion near the bar just after the Blackberry Belles set (I stood during all sets), a fellow tapped me on the shoulder...
"So you're sitting in the corner?"
"Is that what you do, just sit in the corner?"
"Well, sometimes I stand."
"I mean it's the corner, you just sit and listen?"
"Yeah, I have a bad back."
"Did you like the band?"
"I've seen them six times now, so I would say that I do."