Cigarette - There are five of these guys that play some sort of combination of rock instrumentation that may have 2-3 guitars and/or keyboards. I am not sure I have seen such instrument switching which seems more to keep themselves fresh as opposed to any real change in the sound. And that is primarily due to a very focused quiet, dreamy psyche vibe that they lock into . It is like Nick Drake jamming with John Cale's backing band while everyone is on quaaludes. The crowd grows from 20 to 40 during the set and is a little noisy, but for once I will not fault them as rarely will you hear three electric guitars play so quietly. I do like their vision, even though it does not always make for an effective set. Although I bet I would enjoy their recorded efforts quite a bit. They offer a unique sound and do manage to pull in attentive listeners who dug the half hour set.
Lightfoot - No instrumental shifts here, just three guitars, keyboards, bass and drums much of the time with some nice trumpet blasts from the keyboardist. The lead vocals are female and merged with the guitars into a nice sound that reminds me of Electric Circus, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, and even Savage Rose (although nowhere near that daring vocally--not that anyone quite hits Annisette Koppel's range). They shift around from some cool psyche garage sounds to more mainstream rock. It is quite accomplished and has just enough creativity to keep me interested, but could also pull in a really large crowd if people get a chance to hear this material. They really banged it out for 31 minutes as the crowd really picked up to 80 or more. Good vibes all around.
Frankie Rose - Ms. Rose is a former Crystal Stilt, Dum Dum Girl, and even a Vivian Girl and is beginning a ten day tour right here in DC. She has brought along a guitarist, drummer, and two ladies on bass and keyboards who start out by sharing in the vocals creating a nice three-part harmony on a near a capella song. But quickly the guitars crank up and they start rocking. There is a mainstream approach but it is more modern indie than say that of the last band. It's not quite Brit-pop, but it is closer to that than American west-coast. She invokes dreamy qualities in the songs and her singing, although the guitars add stinging jabs to spice it up a bit. They do a cover song that probably everyone in the crowd knows but me. It sounds like Magazine at their fastest. There are some songs that remind me of the solo work of Greg Sage (Wipers). Even more than the melodic patterns, the rhythm section really conjures up a Wipers vibe with a rock steady smooth manner. The band controls the dynamics really well and that is what makes this set work. There was some annoying feedback a few times (alas, Dennis was not there at the Board), but overall the sound was decent enough. And with a building shoegaze guitar freak-out at the end, everything wrapped up nicely. This was a Wednesday night and I sensed there was not the energy that often occurs for this band, but it was a fine set and people were into it.
Promo of the Night: Don't forget... this is Sonic Circuits weekend with outstanding music happening at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, right next to the Rock'n'Roll Hotel. Carve some time into your weekend schedule for this.