Dela Sante - The opening band has just started as I arrive upstairs. The room is packed so if I count correctly, I see six members featuring a couple of guitars, rhythm section and two keyboards electronic guys. One guy brings out a trumpet, trombone, and sax for different songs and there is only one microphone for stage patter. Their instrumental music is clearly progressive, but with a modern electronic touch. The brass is a great addition and adds a vibrancy to the songs. But the core four guys would be enjoyable enough on their own as the rhythm is solid and the guitars shift between power and interesting noodling with good skill and touch. I enjoy a good prog band and these guys fit the bill with a personal approach that succeeded nicely tonight. Being fully instrumental may be a challenge to their songwriting as they go forward, but they have plenty to offer now.
Two Alpacas - A trio is up next, but not a power trio. Guitar, drums and the third guy mostly on guitar with some keyboards. They all sing with different lead voices at times. I thought they started strong, but kind of lost the formula as the set wore on. The second cut had a great Lou Reed/Richard Hell storytelling wordy coolness to it and the music was on the edgy side. Then they went to an indie rock/pop hybrid that did show some personality, but varied depending on the catchiness (or lack thereof) of each song. The final two cuts reminded me of the openers and gave me hope that they will continue to hone their craft and come up with some exciting music.
Presto Bando - This is the farewell show for one of the most creative bands in the DC area. Back in 1987, I saw farewell shows for the Meatmen, Blackmarket Baby, and Marginal Man. I saw all three of them in the last three years. Time will tell if it happens here, but if not, I certainly hope these three guys continue doing creative things, hopefully on the stages of DC clubs. My mood has been overwhelmingly somber in the last couple months anyway and somehow that vibe was here tonight. The band still put on an energetic set, and although there was sadness, their quirky songs still put a smile on my face many times. We all move forward and I eagerly await the day when I will let everyone know of a hot new band featuring some ex-Presto Bando member. Stay tuned and hit the clubs and see if you can find other bands with this level of creativity. They are out there, but it takes time.
Quote of the Night: From PB... "This song is called 'Live Without End'. It is the song that got us quasi-not famous."