Presto Bando - Here we are again with my favorite whacked-out trio. Only the music is whacked out as these guys have an intellect and creativity along with the musical chops to turn the crazy into routine. Well, not exactly. It still takes a little bit desire on the listener's part to engage oneself in this fascinating music. But that goes for everyone even remotely adventurous and anyone beyond those looking for straight pop or the sheep following the latest trend. 27 minutes of twisted fun was delivered to 30-some odd people who wisely arrived early. They played their new ep which featured slightly shorter songs that were compact, but had lots of melodies and little runs going on. They brought a smile to my face several times and I think that's why I chose this show to go to tonight (among at least three others of interest)... FUN.
Southwork - Continuing the fun theme was this Philadelphia seven-piece rock band. The three horns and keyboards worked behind orange and blue paisley bandstands which gave off a whimsical formality to their set. I was expected more dancey sounds, but there was actually more of a driving quality to much of their music. Eventually some more rhythmic components came out in the songs as they kicked on a bubble machine. Balloons followed and the crowd was enjoying the set. The songs could use a little sharpening but this had more than a fair share of quirky fun and again, light fun works for me tonight.
Ugly Purple Sweater - Why did I write down 'Big Ugly Purple Sweater' in my notes. I have seen this band and I should know their name by now. Maybe it was a subliminal reminder that this band has the potential to make it big. I was chatting with someone before the show who felt their singer is one of the best in DC. He is absolutely correct as the lead vocals are some sort of merging of the Decemberists' Colin Meloy with Freddie Mercury and Ray Davies. Frankly, with so many excellent musicians here and in other major cities, the really good vocalists are one key area where a band can stand out. Of course, you need the songs and this band delivers the goods there as well. They engage in some daring pop moves like the Feelies, but things are a bit bouncier and up-front. The rhythms establish that bouncing, floating quality and I detect a 3/4 beat a few times which may have something to do with it (I'm hardly a musical expert, but I like to find the beat). They did a really nice twanged-out song that was a pleasant curve ball and kept the playful songs coming for over 50 minutes. This band could easily fit in with one of the more pop-oriented SubPop bands. The crowd had built to over 50 people who hopefully will take their enthusiasm home and convince a friend to come back next time for this band, as well as Presto Bando.
Quote of the Night: from Presto Bando... "We are going to play our EP, but in reverse order, so be careful and listen for a message from the devil in it."