Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Rail Runners - The Blackberry Belles - Jackie and the Treehorns -- Red Palace - Feb 11 2012

Jackie and the Treehorns - Rather basic looking rock trio here, in fact it looks like the Stern Brothers in the old band Youth Brigade (now in the AARP). The sound is much more arty indie rock and just as I am thinking it is nice simple material, the guitarist throws a curve ball by finding some deep dark psyche chords to add in. It continues on in an arty indie rock manner, but there is often this under-lurking sound as well as some songwriting twists that keeps this listener on his toes. The songs are tricky and the style is sometimes easy to grasp, other times not. The bass parts often are in the quiet Joy Division songs direction with soft highs and plenty of space. Although the songs lean more to the Fall perhaps. Intriguing set, not always a success, but utterly fascinating at times and worth another look for sure.

The Blackberry Belles - Regular readers know I am a fan of this local trio and you can go deep into the archives for show reviews, album review and interview if you like. The garage-soul-rock sound they create is retro but unique to this day and age. Out of the gate, I could not hear the keyboards, although it faded in during the first song. The sound was exceptionally soft tonight for some reason. They were politely asking for all kinds of monitor adjustments and I felt like asking for some PA adjustments as well. They were not served well tonight. There was also a little less energy than I am used to for a Belles set. Interestingly enough, it allowed the slower more relaxed songs to come through better than in the more raucous sets. However the rockers did not explode as they usually do. The guitarist/vocalist was recovering from a nasty bug, which I am so far fighting off a bit myself, so maybe both of us being less than 100% may have made things a little less vibrant tonight. Still, good songs and a great sound when the PA pushes it forward make this a band you should check out next time (where they are opening for a pretty good touring band--stay tuned).
The Rail Runners - These four guys from Alexandria play light lounge soul-funk. Parliament-Funkadelic they are not and that makes it a rather tough sell to me. They have bass, drums, guitar and organ and are mostly (all?) instrumental. The lack of vocals coupled with the relaxed style make this too much background music for me. It's nice club music for Saturday night dancers, so it has its place. It is just not something myself and I think a lot of rock music fans will really want to go out of their way to see. I did leave early tonight as I sensed the simple professional approach would continue without much variation. My throat does need a little extra rest tonight.

Quote of the Night: From the opener... "We will dedicate this set to a Woman from New Jersey who we have just learned died earlier today." Patti Smith? Say it ain't so! "So we dedicate this set to Whitney Houston by playing a full set of her covers." Do NOT do that to me, guys. In fact as they said more someone said "Not funny." and later when they brought it up, the drummer said "Too soon." Sage advice from the guy behind the traps.


Chris said...

I checked out the Rail Runners when I saw the Belles were opening - they sounded to me like 1/2 of the early Meters when they were mostly instrumental, the 1/2 consisting of Art Neville and Ziggy Modeliste. I like the sound, but as sometimes happens, I wondered by the Belles were the openers instead of the headliners. But I was elsewhere anyway.

I look forward to the Belles show you alluded to - I'll keep my eyes open.

David Hintz said...

I think it's at the Red Palace and it is opening for someone that sounds pretty good (but my memory is being sorely tested these days). And the Belles opened as the Rail Runners invited them in for this one. Some times it is better to have that slot, although when a show does not go really early or really late, it all works out as it did that night.

Anonymous said...

They're opening for the Dex Romweber Duo.

b3playr said...

Thanks for coming out to this show. We had fun despite the occasional sound issues and foul weather.

The Rail Runners will try some singers soon, just working on the core foundation first. This was only the third gig together!

David Hintz said...

Thanks b3playr. That certainly sounds like a good approach. Good luck and I'll see you again sometime.