Grammar - A local four piece gets things underway. The usual two guitar rock line-up with all three guys up front singing, although one guitarist takes the lead. I am guessing young, inexperienced, but with good energy. Even being a little optimistic, they quickly achieved a much higher level than I expected. It took several songs to really try to get a handle on their particular brand of quirky pop, and of course, that is good. The lead vocals have some great high pitched pop characteristics that sound oh so familiar, but I could not quite place it. Maybe Robin Zander, but tougher. Good pop in the drumming with bass lines and guitar runs moving around nicely in conjunction but with loads of personality. There's some Britpop in here along with some California pop garage touches. The third song was a cover of a local rap song which sounded more like Magazine on steroids the way they rocked with it. They next performed their toughest rock song that had a shimmering Steve Lillywhite production sound to it. And as they finished up, there were undertones of well, the Undertones (sorry). Forget the inexperience part (well they reminded us of that in the stage patter), the energy and songs are here and this is a nice little band to get behind.
Prussia - A Detroit band that is not an outgrowth of the Stooges or MC5? Perish the thought. This cannot possibly work with me, or can it? Five guys are on stage with a rhythm section, a couple of guitars, couple of keyboards and lead vocalist who mostly sticks to singing and a little guitar. The first song sounds like Jah Wobble is playing bass with the Feelies guitarists. The vocal work sounds like an odd take on Akron/Family (so that would be odder than odd). Dub-jangle twisted pop music seems to be the verbage in my mind to describe this interesting and engaging music. The songs are really pulling me in and there seems to be quite a bit of intelligence lurking within this madness (as often there is). There is some 60s psyche worked into some old pop/ rock'n'roll moves, too. Did these guys play a Lesley Gore record at the same time they were playing Public Image's second album? Another song sounded like Sounds of Salvation trying to cover Scott Walker. That is really not it either, but I do hear some things that I just can't quite name (and when that happens I usually pick an obscure band like Sounds of Salvation that readers won't bother looking up--but trust me, I don't do this too often, although I am tempted). The last comparison I come up with is the band sounds as if David Lynch is trying to score a film by acting more like Tim Burton. And since there set is only 33 minutes, they have mercifully given my brain a rest from trying to dream up more half-baked theories on where this sound comes from. But it was indeed good fun.
Quote of the Night: From the bass player of the first band after the guitarist questioned whether he should get a haircut... "Sounds like you should get your glasses cut."
February is coming! Yeah, so what. Well with the excitement of having 29 days of February, I am going to challenge myself to do 29 shows in February. Even though I know this insane and will wipe me out, I just can't talk myself out of it. There are some issues like finding a club willing to book a show against the superbowl and having theater tickets, let alone getting sick or tired or whatever. So I will probably end up short. But we'll see how I do. The one thing I am confident of is that my quote of the night at the end of the month will be "Never again."