Me & this Army - This duo comes from Baltimore and features guitar/vocals and drums. Apparently there is a wayward bass player in parts unknown. My first impression is that someone needs to get this drummer a decaf. Although it helps to be influential in a small lineup like this, I really wonder what band he thinks he is in. Opeth's drummer sounds like Charlie Watts by comparison. He's obviously gifted and is good most of the time, but the distracting runs were way over the top. But the vocals and guitar work were dangerously intriguing more often than not. The guitar/vocalist sounded a bit like a taller Poly Styrene and the raw emotive music reminded me of Vic Godard and Subway Sect covering Muse at the local punk club. Intriguing music to say the least. One of the reasons which I suspected (and confirmed later by talking to someone who was closer to stage) was that like Dick Dale and the guy from Entrance Band, she is a left-hander playing a guitar strung for a right-hander. There is something obviously twisted about that and as with those other guitarists, results in some fascinating sounds. This band is young and may be a bit of a work in progress, but it is a work in progress that I hope to study further.
Paperhaus - One of my DC favorites hits the stage with some new music and some old favorites. They tell me they are adding some poppier hook oriented songs to their already great set of catchy, psychedelic riffing. The first song tonight conjured up some newer sensations within as it was some sort of sixties SF psyche band merging with Velvett Fogg. And there were some catchy songs amidst some mesmerizing psyche jammers. This band has the skill to bring out twists and turns while never losing the groove of their song. They are locked in to something really vibrant and are always worth a look if they are playing at a club near you, or at one of their great house shows they put on. The audience was a little slow growing tonight, but the nearly 50 people here tonight was digging this, as well they should.
Mittenfields - Fresh back from their mini-tour taking them to my old home of Dayton, Ohio, they are wasting no time in hitting the stages of the DC club scene. These guys are a sharp outfit, and prove that to me with their pilgrimage to seek out the essential food of southern Ohio--Skyline Chili. But tonight they set up quickly and unfortunately the sound is not clicking. Some sort of monitor situation, feedback or tuning issues combine to make things a challenge. With three guitars, bass/vocals, and drums, it can be a challenge. Fortunately, these guys are sharp enough to rise to the occasion and the set rights itself nicely. They have some new material as well, and it is on the song oriented side of their Brit-rock shoegaze jam persona. They sound comfortably like a lot of the heavier shoegaze bands you may hear, but like Paperhaus, they present their individuality well. Not that they don't jam it out when they desire, as they can pack a sonic wallop. The set felt a little long tonight, but as they were getting better as it wore on, that was ok with me. But as what happens with weeknight shows, the club thinned out a little. There were still plenty of people left that enjoyed it all. And why not, with three great personal takes on loud rock music, what is not to enjoy?
Quote of the Night: Mittenfields summing up some of their stage patter... "With a microphone, you can say stupid things and people listen..."