Archivists - I have enjoyed this band the many times I have seen them and it has been a while, so it is time for me to catch up with their sound. And I needed to catch up as I believe they have reached new heights. This local four-piece features two guitars and rhythm with both guitars on vocals, one of whom takes all but one lead vocal. The songs have always been good in an indie rock sort of way, but have truly elevated their sound into something exciting. The key is the difference of sound in the two guitars. The lead guitar has a nasty garage bite to it and the rhythm has a solid rock tone with just a bit of fuzz. The bass player is inventive and the drummer has quick hands keeping things smooth, yet powerful. A few of the songs sounded like Gray Matter covering the more rocking songs on the latest Wire album. They varied styles a bit within the 35 minutes they played and things remained fresh and interesting throughout. I hope a lot more people around here 'discover' this band as they have plenty to offer rock fans of all types. the 35-40 people coming into the club tonight certainly found that out or if like me, they had seen them before, have found even more reasons to come back again next time around.
Color Bars - This New York duo features a drummer who handles some prerecorded bits and a vocalist who moves from several songs on bass to a few on keyboards with a bit of acoustic guitar as well. The pop seemed a bit precocious at first, but the second song had some dazzling pop shifts that were fun. Things settled back a bit thereafter with a falsetto voice and various recorded sounds leading the melodies forward. The drumming was not terribly exciting which does not help in two-person bands. There is some intelligence here and although the room got a bit smaller, this connected with some of the audience. Still, not terribly transcendent for me.
Beanstalk Library - I have seen this local four (or five or six) part band before, but was anxious to see what they had going tonight in the headline slot. The club filled to more than 50 people with a lot of people that were going in and out at various times. I want to highlight that as the chatty people left the room to chat and the remaining crowd was quietly into the music (until songs' ends when they showed plenty of appreciation). "You guys are too quiet" the singer once said while they were taking extra time for tuning. No, YOU guys are too quiet. Have the drummer or keyboardist make some noise or additional stage patter if you are taking too much time between songs. The audience was waiting for more music. And with that long around the bend story, the reason they were waiting is because they were very much into what this band was doing. There are equal parts hard rock, classic rock, indie rock, Americana, with a touch of folk or country sneaking in. It is pretty much guitars, keyboards and rhythm section, but the violinist from the Last Monarchs adds her touch to about half of the songs. A guitarist from Middle Distance Runner also jumps in for a few songs (the band is adding a lead guitarist starting next show). There are some experimental touches that genuinely surprise me (which of course I like). The bass playing is really cool, but was too fuzzy initially although the soundman seemed to correct that. He wrote what I felt was the best song of the night, a new one which will be released shortly as their new single prior to their full album release later this summer. I would advise keeping tabs on this as this band can really deliver a heartfelt rock song when they nail it. They pushed the envelope by playing for 65 minutes tonight, but they have both the material and the style to bring it off. The crowd stayed with it the whole way (and was even larger by set's end). A fun night out for me after a rare three nights off.
Quote of the night: From the Color Bars... "Who wants to hear a good old fashioned American tune about time travel?"