Young Rapids - This local four-piece starts with two guitars, keyboards and drums. Eventually everyone sings as the drummer comes out to play bass on several songs with a guitarist moving behind the kit. This somewhat radical shift was the only real switching around they did, although the sound did not vary a lot with the keyboardist handling classic bass runs when needed. It was more of a style shift. And style was what intrigued me during this set. They started off with good classic American tinged barroom rock, hearty, rootsy, rocking.... But they kept adding intense blasting guitar and drum chaos into many of their songs. Not only is this almost always welcome to my ears, it also seemed to resonate well with the crowd. And even with several songs moving into quirky pop territory, they successfully avoided falling into the cutesy traps that doom many a band (Name names? OK, Band of Horses, Maps & Atlases...). It was Saturday night and this band warmed the crowd and then some.
The Riverbreaks - I have not seen this local band in a while and I was expecting another solid set tonight. They eventually got there, but it started a bit oddly to my ears. They have a nice array of sounds with drums, bass, electric guitar, violin, keyboards and occasional acoustic guitar. However, the first song sounded rather disparate. No one seemed particularly out of sync in the playing but it felt like the tones were so soft, the spaces were too noticeable and distracting. The soundman may have assisted things as the set went on, but I also think the songs got a little better and the band a little more energized. They are a talented bunch so they brought it home nicely by set's end. If they find a way to add some musical drama to more of their songs, this can be powerful material.
The Silver Liners - I am always happy to catch a set from this young local band and have probably caught about a half dozen by now. They were fairly accomplished from the get go, but they continue to develop musically and exude a lot of confidence these days. Rightly so, as their songs are well above the average to good material you get on the club circuit. The key is the balance of all things old and new, soft and heavy, clean and fuzzy.... While I enjoy an extremely focused band that sticks to a style or genre (if I like the genre), it can be more of a challenge to bring off the blends and combinations. But when it works, you can really generate excitement with lots and lots of people. And that continues to be the case here, as the crowded house was quite enthusiastic as if there favorite touring band was gracing our city with their presence for the first time in years. I do not like to predict who 'makes it' in this confusing business (since for every Husker Du or Nirvana I get right, there is a Ragged Bags or LoveLikeFire that I should have gotten right--damnit), but these guys have all the tools to do well. So catch them now and share the ride.
Quote of the Night: From the Riverbreaks bass player and yes, I was confused... "This song was written before I was in the band so if it sounds like it is missing a part..."