Appomattox - I don't know who needs to surrender here, but this ridiculously hot day has transferred itself into this club making me wonder if this is over before it starts. To the credit of the staff, they were trying to get the air conditioning to work, but the circulation was not sufficient. This is another upstairs club with no backstage. It is quite comfortable even with some odd proportions--narrow in front, sunken and more spacious in back. First up is a NY trio that I thought was far too raw to be touring. The guitarist played some keyboards at times and I thought that material worked a little better. The songs were jagged in the wrong ways. Abrasive can be fun, but not with this choppy material. A couple moments clicked, so maybe there is some hope. The awful feed back did not help, although it is difficult to judge a band when I am encased in sweat.
Tartufi - I really enjoyed this San Francisco band's recent album (reviewed here) and looked forward to the show. They came on to a slightly cooler room as the staff got some outside air circulated and were trying to get things as humane as they could. The first cut sounded like Dead Can Dance playing on top of the bass line to "My Sharona". That staggering concept worked very well and foreshadowed a mostly excellent set thereafter. This band is clearly in the modern prog, post rock genre and has a nice array of mostly instrumental sounds with some fine vocal layerings as well. At least that was the case when there was not some ear piercing and unintended feedback. Where was that guy who was upset with the sound at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel the other night? He needs to go far deeper into clubland and house shows before he gets so worked up. I will need to see this band again some time when they hit this coast again, but this initial taste was quite tantalizing. I hope they continue to make their unique brand of creative music.
ShowPony -It was nice to see a good crowd here in this now more comfortable room thanks to cooling temperatures. This local band is a straight ahead guitar-bass-drums trio with no vocal microphones in sight. They played a far more aggressive brand of progressive rock music than that of many of their peers. It was fast, but not with abandon. Instead, the guitarist created intriguing patterns over countering bass runs atop crisp snare and cymbal attacks. They have some similarities with local band Buildings with an injection of Les Rhino energy. The music is mobile with some jagged cuts as an ice skater may fly by leaving a crystal trail. Oh, and not a sound problem to be heard here, as perhaps this band controlled their amp volume better or more likely it was the exclusion of vocal microphones. Whatever the case, this rocked clean and hard with loads of skill and intelligence behind it all.
NOTE-- Readers before 2pm had a review where I mixed up the latter two bands (due to limited viewing access--not hearing any mention of their names from the stage, change of planned order, etc. Thanks to ShowPony for letting me know quickly).
Quote of the Night - "You are over 18, right?" from the friendly staff at Ghion. With summer coming on, I am wary, but there were plenty of positives here to make me want to come again as it appears they are booking some interesting shows.