Don Zientara - We may have all been better served on the smaller stage tonight as there were all of nine people here to see the start of tonight's show (maybe 8, I think I counted a BC staffer). This is the first time I've seen Don Zientara even though I have known the name for thirty years as it has graced production credits of so many of the essential DC records over the years. I have heard he is one of the more laid-back nice guys that you would ever want to meet, and his stage personality indicated that as well as he was relaxed and enjoyed presenting his folkier material. That is until he said that was enough of the folk-shit and went into something funkier. Still, it was mostly folk with delicate flat picking through chords and his comforting vocals. Aside from one number that seemed to be arranged for a band, this was a solid set and I would welcome him on a variety of bills.
Harness Flux - Another one-man show with an acoustic guitar that sounded a little more electric and then a full fledged distorted electric guitar making the noise behind the vocals. He also briefly used a drum machine and did a bit of looping for his spacey solos. Basically, this was a solo set crying out for the band that was not there. There is solid psyche-rock material here and as I write this review, I read that I have seen this guy before in the band the Cheniers. I hope he tries to fill out a band further as I am not sure there is quite enough individual sound here to carry the way, yet clearly there is a lot of skill here and some decent songs. More beats and a thick bottom would allow my taste buds to pull out more from this set.
Ravenous - At least 40 people have made it into the club by now, so while it still would have worked better downstairs, there is a nice crowd assembled at the foot of the stage to see this local quartet. I just reviewed their record which was quite enjoyable, and this set was right in line with that. They have a guitarist/vocalist, a bassist and two percussionists. One has the standard drum kit, one a smaller kit that he stands at. I would have liked to seen more percussion interplay as it had a bit of that Melvins lock-in style to it (although not as metronomically scary as the Melvins). I still hear a lot of early Flaming Lips here with brazen hard and twisted psyche moves and high pitched vocal intensity. It is heavy while staying playful and fun. It was a bit ragged at times, but they were having fun along with the crowd and when they lowered their heads and let it rip, all was well.
Cinema Cinema - This was the modern two-piece rock band with electric guitar and vocals up front and drummer in the back. For this line-up to work with me, it better be noisy, loud, creative, and with quality playing skills. Check, check, check, and check as these guys quickly established a heavy psychedelic blast force worthy of a band three times the size. On the creative front, I almost heard Chrome or even MX-80 Sound melodies being played at loud death metal volume. The vocals were crazed and not over-used with the instrumental portion carrying the weight. The drummer has some creative rock rhythms in his arsenal and the guitarist understands harnessed metallic noise. They segued everything into a non-stop blur of songs, with only one break to announce their last song and such. This NYC band will hopefully make it back here as there are a lot of heavy music fans around here that would enjoy this sound.
Quote of the Night: Don Zientara scanning the vast space in what was a huge club dotted with less than a dozen people... "I feel like I know each one of you so intimately--oh yes!"