Showpony - Huge crowd tonight, perhaps over 60 people greet this local instrumental trio. Instantly they remind me of a deconstructed Buildings, or perhaps that is renovated. They have some of the same sounds as that fine Sockets Records band, but are a little more straight forward. Still, as this set wears on, this band shows the strength and skill to easily handle a slot on one of those fine Sockets Records Showcase shows at the Black Cat. The drummer pushes things forward nicely and the guitar parts are pretty creative. At their best, I am just as happy I don't have a Mogwai ticket for Monday night. But other times, I realize that bands like Mogwai are pretty special. Ultimately this was a good 37 minute set that got things rolling nicely tonight. Although next time, encourage your entourage to stick around for the other bands.
The Fed - This twin-guitar four-piece continues the festivities by deconstructing pretty much everything Showpony did. But that is not a bad thing, if primitive garage rock is as regular a part of your playlist as it is mine. There is a nice thick dirty sound here with bright lead guitar runs well atop the sludge, that there is plenty of interesting musical moves to pick up on here. But ultimately, it is the blast of energetic garage rock which is where these guys can really bring it off. The songs vary a bit in quality and the higher energy numbers tend to stand out as the more exciting tunes. They closed with a real stomper and left me thinking this is the best they have sounded in the few times I have caught their set. Don't tighten a thing, guys, just keep jamming away.
The Fooligans - From the Chapel Hill, NC area, comes this power trio. Like a good meal, they bring in elements from each of the first two bands into a more unified theme. The guitarist has plenty of moves and handles most of the vocals, ceding a lead to the bass player on occasion. The rhythm section is tight enough, but rocking throughout. They do the garage rock, but have a pop component that fits in nicely. The first song reminds me a bit of the Nerves, although they tend to move to a more standard modern rock style thereafter. At their worst, they resemble a quality bar band that can play great, but are not too memorable. But certain songs do stand out and punch things up a notch or two. They broke a bass string and struggled with that for a bit determined to finish out their set, which felt a little long at 54 minutes. Still, a nice job by a decent little band from down yonder.
Presto Bando - Walking out on one of my favorite bands? Say it ain't so! Well, they won't be going on until 1am and although I am not overly tired, I'm mentally worn out with music and weekend crowds as I've endured, chipmunk conversations buzzing in my ear, a drink spilled on my arm, and a make-out session that almost spilled on to my lap (along with that drink). And... it is tough to write about the bands you like when you see them every few months. So I will defer tonight and review their show at the Paperhaus this Thursday night--a 'venue' where people listen to the bands and talk in between the sets. Novel concept.
Quote of the Night: From the Fed's singer/guitarist... "How 'bout Showpony, were they great or what? They make me want to take guitar lessons."