Dumpster Hunter - One guy on stage with electric guitar and microphone leads me to wonder why he is called Dumpster Hunter. Actually, he quickly explains he is Jeff Taylor of the band, Dumpster Hunter. Even in the first song, I quickly determine that this is music in search of a full band. The clean vocals are on top of spacey, trippy rock guitar with interesting textures, but rhythmically all over the place. This could be really good if there was an anchoring rhythm section and weaving patterns among one to three instruments. But not to be tonight. He's got a crazed fun style at work here and even reminded me of Presto Bando once (obviously I am missing their sound already). Maybe there is a more rational Daniel Johnston in here as well. At the end of his 48 minute set, I am still left with the feeling that I witnessed a tease of something that could be very good, but gets the dreaded grade of 'incomplete' tonight.
Trixie Whitley - I enjoyed seeing Trixie Whitely this past November at the Jammin Java and looked forward to the quick return visit to our area. I was again disappointed that her rhythm section did not make the trip and it would be a solo show tonight. However, in this case, it was not as glaring an issue as with the opener as Whitley's lounge jazz/deep quiet rock music functions very well in a stripped down format. In fact, there are plenty of musicians who should vary things between solo, duo, and full band arrangements on record and live as it keeps things interesting for people on stage and the ones that came to listen. She shifted between a couple of guitars and electric piano which kept things fresh and vibrant. Her guitar playing is sneakily effective as her deft touch and intriguing tones do far more than merely accompany her dazzling voice. Unfortunately that dazzling voice was limited tonight as she was apologizing for being extremely hoarse. It forced her to tune down her guitars which did create an even deeper and darker environment for her songs. She still had a lot of excellent vocal moments as she soldiered on and only struggled with certain breathy high points. I doubt anyone complained as the large crowd was still highly involved with her music. My favorite was a duet with Jeff Taylor on piano which was quite magical the way they blended together with a great Patti Smith like rant in the middle of the cut. Her debut album is now out and she is enjoying good crowds, good press, and at even less than 100%, she can still back it all up by delivering some amazing music.
Quote of the Night - From the Jeff Taylor, who apparently understands my point to some degree... "Just have a few more (songs)... most of them I like playing with a band."