The Band Concord - In one of those wonderful cosmic alliances, no sooner had I typed this band's name, ready to begin my review, when on came the song "Ho Hey"--the fifth cut from the Lumineers album I was playing. The connection was that this band played a nice cover of this song complete with a loop of the 'Ho Hey' chorus. This band features a singer on acoustic guitar and a mandolin player assisting. The vocals were in a Don McLean style and the folk material was mostly straight strumming with the occasional mandolin solo. Later in the set the guitarist employed some finger style moves which were a welcome accompaniment. There was even one original song that sounded eerily similar to Jackson Frank, which is someone more folkies should be modelling themselves after (or at least learning from). Good set with a nice early crowd to hear it. And why not? This is a comfortable place with good food, nice sound and they are continuing their fine coverage of the local scene with this series of JamnJavadoorGal's Local Scene shows.
Blind Man Leading - This Baltimore trio has a rather straight pop-rock sound with a modern indie feel to it. The vocals are soft and wrap nicely around a somewhat jagged guitar at times. The rhythm section is solid and the band almost hits that soul-rock sound, but does not quite get there as things are a bit more modern and understated. They do not generate a lot of immediate excitement within me, but they slowly work their way in to my brain with some quality songs in the latter part of their set. And it is hard to complain with a nice steady set from the fourth band on a five-band billing. Keep at it lads, with additional quality songs, this can be a good act.
The Echo Wall - I have seen this local seven-piece band before and have liked them with a few reservations. And once again, the formula of taking some time off between seeing a band has paid dividends as I thought this was their finest show yet. They still do not always integrate the strings (cello and violin) as much as I would like, but with guitar, glockenspiel, and trumpet/french horn, and rhythm section, they have a lot going on already. I particularly thought the rhythm section was flowing beautifully tonight and even on the opening number where they apparently played it on the fast side, they were making all the right choices. The songs are good in the Americana folk-rock style and this band really brought them to life tonight.
The Share - Two sisters--one blond, one darker hair; one with guitar and vocals, one on vocals... sounding a bit like the Wilson sisters and probably a few other sister combos through the ages. Like the Wilson sisters, these two certainly create some magical vocal work together. They are joined with a guy who adds some acoustic guitar, but not really enough to matter much. The women are the focal point, although I do hope they can work in some musical heft as there were some songs where I felt something was missing. But they are on there way to becoming a Smoke Fairies or Chimera in sound, and just lack a little of the intensity and songwriting for now. But there is a lot of potential here.
Carousel Rogues - The three core members of this Frederick band are on guitars and keyboards with a little bit of instrument swapping. They are joined by a rhythm section and have a timeless rock sound, not rooted in any particular place or scene. When then happens, you certainly need quality and there is enough here. The keyboards are used well with variety, helped by the different players' style. The vocal work is strong and they occasionally put out some nice hooks. There were a couple of rough edges in some of the songs, but maybe when I see them again in a year or so, it will come together even better (see above). But there is nothing wrong with the set now, as they employ some nice skills to these good songs.
Quote of the Night: From me to myself... "If I ever quit this vocation, one reason will be to attain the eternal peace of being spared the question put to me hundreds of times a year...'how are you guys doing tonight?'"