Wes Tucker & the Skillets - It has been some time since I have taken in this fine local band and I was anxious to hear how they were doing. Wes Tucker has also played solo folk shows, but he has a fine band surrounding his acoustic guitar and lead vocals and they were integrated well tonight. His vocals were warm and have that homespun feel, yet the band rocks hard but with touch. The guitarist and bassist switch off half way through the set and leads are just as intense, but in more of a classic blues bass rock than the more modern indie moves shown earlier. Drums were rock steady and the keyboards added color now and then. It's a nice contrast of sound and the songs are strong enough to keep it all together. The crowd of 30+ is enjoying it and the 50 minutes showcased about everything I hoped for--a songwriter that is worth seeing individually, but is even better with the four guys behind him.
Round About - Here is another solid local band with Baltimore-DC connections. My interest tonight was hearing their new guitarist who replaced a key element in their old band. Immediately, he was up to the task, showing off some quick fluid lead work. It was a more subtle sound than before but it was tasty rather than powerful. Either approach works as long as the songs are good, which happens more often than not with this band. Like the opening band tonight, the lead vocalist/acoustic guitarist is the main songwriter, although in this case, the bass player adds some nice style variations a couple of times (a touch funkier). The music is a bit more indie/classic rock with less Americana than previously, but still these are compatible bands. And if that was not obvious enough, the Skillets keyboardist jumped up for a few songs. This was another fine 50-minute set that was well received by the decent Friday night crowd.
Color School - Some of the crowd is turning into empty space as it is getting late (the band quipped that people were out for a pancake breakfast). Although the bands tonight did a great job of setting up and getting their sets going. This starts off quite nicely with a Flamin' Groovies power-pop style sound. The second song was particularly excellent and reminded of that sort of post modern power pop. Unfortunately, things slid back into somewhat less interesting songs and perhaps an under-rehearsed sound. Hard to know for sure and a few more people left and took some of the positive vibe with them. Still, this is a band I would give another chance to as they have some good ingredients and a few good songs.
Quote of the Night: From Color School guitarist... "Hey guys, thanks for sticking around. You already heard all the good guitar players..."