Red Sammy - It has been a while since I have seen this Baltimore singer songwriter Adam Trice. I do recall that the last time also featured the same Red Sammy line-up as he had tonight. While he sings and plays acoustic guitar, he has a rhythm section, and an older guy playing some great slide guitar on an even older resonator guitar (1931 vintage!). The two guitars work nicely together atop the steady rhythm section. Trice has a voice that varies between a deep folk style and that of an old bluesman. The more he varies things, the better this sounds. The songs are all solid and easy enough to dig in to. I was starting to make a note that things were almost a bit too steady, when the band slowly moved into rockier territory for the last two songs with some nice bass lines and a bit more heft. This was a strong finish to another fine set from this quality songwriter and sharp band.
The Beanstalk Library - Even seeing this band a few times already, I never seem quite ready for their sound. Frankly, I think it is getting even better although it was always pretty good. There is some of the Americana tinged folk rock that I expect, but there is much more creative rock music going on as well. They have that Neil Young thing going on, although the band seems a bit tighter than Crazy Horse (don't they all). Sure enough, they cover Neil Young's "Powderfinger" to fine effect. These guys are clearly on volume growth hormones as they not only provide foot stomping powerhouse honky tonk, but classic double-lead fury which is a part of their latest single. They seem to be challenging themselves to keep moving forward and appear to be winning. I am clearly becoming a fan of this band, check that, I'm there.
Raise the Roofbeams - This is an Album release show and it celebrates a new record that I enjoyed when I reviewed it a few weeks back. Nathan Robinson is the guitarist/lead singer/songwriter here and he also works in a fine local band, the Archivists. While that band is more indie rock, this one features a more acoustic Americana base with mandolin, upright bass, drums, and acoustic guitar. There is a touch of electric guitar and melodica tossed in, as well as harmonica. Personally, I like the Archivists a bit more, but that speaks more of my desire for louder rock (perhaps their following a raucous electric set may have reinforced that tonight). But I would not want to miss this band's live shows, as Nathan Robinson pens some mighty fine songs and the band does a nice job delivering them to the assembled fans here tonight. They remind me of Elliott Brood, who I am a big fan of, with the way they bring some intensity to what could be a comfortable, safe acoustic song. I wish there had been a little more push from the backing instrumentation at times, but that was about the only real flaw I found tonight. Otherwise, this is excellent music that is well worth a listen.
Quote of the Night: From Red Sammy noticing the empty dance floor... "It's a black sea out there, so this is dedicated to the dance floor..it's called 'Shark Bait'". Fortunately, the crowd picked up by set's end as the latecomers arrived.