The Jones - I get way too many blues records to review and I always look for bands that don't try to cover the classics, either the songs themselves or the aping of the traditional style. Thankfully, the Jones play blues rock their way. It's a way that many other bands have done since the days of Blue Cheer, the Groundhogs, and tons more, but the Jones' original songs, vocals, and style are strong enough to allow them to stand out. They debuted some new songs off their upcoming album "five years in the making". One of the cuts sounded particularly good to me and I will certainly be getting a copy. The playing seemed a tad restrained tonight, but their approach was really effective in allowing me to flow with the groove they always are able to establish. Another rock solid 33 minute set by one of the more consistently fine bands you will see around here.
Erica Blinn - She is from another one of my former hometowns, Columbus, Ohio. She plays guitar and harmonica and handles lead vocals while playing with a drummer who adds some vocals as well. The stripped down format is a little thin for me here. I do see that her latest video has a full band which would be a big help tonight, but with the expense of touring, having a full band play in front of one or two dozen people in the DC9 is not always a viable option. Her songs seem pretty good in a rural blues-rock sort of way. She heads toward country, but in the Americana way and it is all balanced nicely. The performance was good, but I would be able to judge her work better via album reviews or seeing a full band, I think. Great MC5 shirt, by the way.
Watershed - Another Columbus band here, but a little better known... maybe. Watershed has eight albums out, none of which have made it my way. Two of them were on Epic Records, so they have had their moment in the 'big time'. They play a nice brand of power pop that we have all heard before many times. They seem to be building on the traditions of the Choir and the Raspberries, along with later bands like SS-20 and even Guided by Voices. That finishes my timeline with Ohio bands, and I covered all the major Ohio cities aside from Columbus (sorry, they just don't sound like Great Plains!). Two guys handle the lead vocals with the drummer adding some harmonies. It does not take too terribly long when I am finding myself sucked into their music. They do have just enough power to the pop and work in the hooks in a less obvious way at times. I can see why a major label would want to give them a chance. For more on that story, the bass player has written a book about it (see below) and NPR interviewed them yesterday, so stay tuned for that. All in all, a strong a fun set that was sadly not too well attended, but did have some major fans here. They should probably cut the manager begging for noise for an encore as that is as passe as Epic Records, and this is the DC9 where the back stage is out front. But ultimately, the 78-minute set (!) was a winner.
Quote of the Night - From Erica Blinn (and her drummer)... "Their bass player wrote a great book available here. We've been reading in the car out loud to each other as we drive between cities--sort of a hillbilly book-on-tape."