Black Clouds - A local power trio gets things underway with heavy sounds cut with some synth overtones lurking in the background. Even when it is just the three instruments, things are thick and heavy with the musical din created here. It is all instrumental, save for a vocal sample in the last number. The band keeps things interesting with enough shifts in the songs. I also liked the guitarist's sound where he would hit low chords with a deep crunch, but could also cut to a shimmering highs. The set did not have as dramatic and mannered a buildup as that of Tone or Mono, but these guys would be great additions to those bills, or right here before tonight's headliner. This is a fine foreshadowing of the things to come and the growing crowd was into it.
Hunters - This New York quartet features guitar, bass, drums, and a female vocalist. The guitarist also adds some vocals. They instantly made me think of an alternative history where Arri Up joined Wire and sang atop of their fastest and loudest songs. This was classic punk with just a bit of experimental touches as opposed to post-punk. It rocked and was a fun little blast. I think they were smart by keeping the songs coming fast and furious and ending it in 22 minutes. It was never boring and was surprisingly effective between two bands that take a different approach while employing the same basic principles being assertive and loud.
A Place to Bury Strangers - I really enjoyed their set prior to the Joy Formidable earlier this year and had many good things to say about their album last month, so it was a no-brainer in deciding to come to the show tonight. This New York trio has been here enough times to establish a solid fan base and they turned out tonight, nearly filling the club. They were treated to the usual great sound that balances shoegaze, psyche, and heavy rock. The vocals were deep in the mix but quite effective in adding to the character of the song. They did get a little too deep late in the set as the volume seemed to creep up a bit. The light show was not quite as effective, particularly in the projections, but they still had some of their great backlighting where the shadowy images enhance the music greatly. Some of the songs (perhaps of the new album that experimented a bit more than usual) sounded like a crazed pre-Joy Division Warsaw, which is a very good thing to my ears. They have the dynamics in the songs and can really nail heavy freak-out shoegaze moments as good as anybody. It continues to be a treat to see this band as it is a band you will want to see live. Thankfully, they appear to be willing road warriors, so I expect to do this again soon.
Blog of the Night: Just a quick plug for an old friend of mine, Jeff Wilson, who got back in touch with me after I got lost in my moves some 20 years ago. He was a college friend who was a music lover in the extreme. His forte was jazz and he exposed me to all kinds of great music such as Coltrane, Sam Rivers, Anthony Braxton, and David Murray. I in turn, gave him the lowdown on punk and post-punk (which was an easy enough sell with his Velvet Undrground album snuck into that great jazz collection of his). We created a few issues of a fanzine in order to shake up the dreary musical lives of Miami University students back in 1980, which got us both started in our musical writings. I am so happy that Jeff continues to write about music for magazines, newspapers and now his own blog, Gaslight Property (also about the Cincinnati neighborhood he lives in). He posted my write-up on my favorite concert at Bogarts and even wrote up an interview in his mid-July postings. So check out his blog if you want intelligent and passionate writing about jazz and rock music with an occasional Cincinnati perspective.