Black Checker - This trio hit the ground running with their first song as they began with an up tempo number featuring their strong power-pop moves. The guitar has the pace and the crunch to push this along nicely as the vocals and rhythm section kept up. These guys channel the Nerves, 999, and the Zeroes along with countless other great power pop bands of all eras. They don't wimp out on the power or pace and even vary the tempos a bit for a nice well rounded set. They appear to be playing out regularly and that will keep things nice and crisp with that extra bite to pull the crowd in. Oh, and it never hurts to toss in a fun cover--Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" fit the bill nicely tonight. No wheels reinvented here, just good honest rock music with enough hooks that will keep Black Checker as a welcome addition to any bill.
The Way Home - This Philadelphia quartet has made it down here before, although this is my first time. The crowd grew during the opening set, so it's a decent sized room by now around 20 or a bit more. These guys feature guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards. The guitarist handles the lead vocals well and the full band offers solid harmonies which take theme a cut about the norm. The sound is pretty mainstream rock, akin to a solid bar band that adds a touch of soul to rock'n'roll. The better songs work well and all of these guys can play. I particularly like the keyboards as he has some flashy runs that remind me of the late Jon Lord or John Hawken flying around piano or organ. A few songs were better than others (as usual) and it felt a little long toward the end, but if you want to straight up rock music, this band can bring it. And few of their contemporaries will feature vocals of this quality and that can take you a long way from home.
Fujank - This Maryland based band does a jazz-funk thing that I sadly could not take in due to an exhausting few days. Hopefully they'll back some time soon.
Quote of the Night: From the Way Home after a long, long introduction... "This song is called 'Summer feels like Forever'"...
"Your stage patter felt like forever." Actually, their band members were chiding him without exactly saying that, but these guys had a great personality to them, so it was all in fun.