You Won't - The modern style of guitar and drum duos is presented first tonight, which always has my mind racing of how to approach my somewhat lessening suspicion of this format. Fortunately, this Boston band takes my mind off of the cliches and into their music rather quickly. One of the keys to their success was the drummer's additional instrumention. In what was a first for me, he played harmonica while drumming on several songs. He also had a glockenspiel, ukulele, and electronics and keyboards which he sometimes employed while drumming in the same way as you see in Wye Oak. The guitarist handled the vocal work with a strong nasal tone and brought out a lot of pop elements with the rock and Americana base. The drums were crisp and quick with plenty of flourish which helps when your guitarist isn't named Jack White. But the guitar moves were playful and plenty rocking with great energy and cleverness added to the songs. One song even seemed to be a cross of the Meat Puppets and Presto Bando, so these guys were here to have fun with their 30 minute opening set. And most of the sold out crowd was here early and appreciated the unique yet comfortable style presented here.
Blood Red Shoes - This UK duo also has the guitar and drums approach with a sound that is much more straight forward in a hard rock style with a touch of garage pop. So basically, we get seven musicians tonight, which equals the size of say Lynyrd Skynyrd, but spread out over three bands. Yet from what I am hearing early in this set, the sound will be big, bigger and biggest. For there is plenty of rock intensity in this duo's quick hitting approach, although the early songs may have been a bit thin. But the guitar work toughened up and offered some creativity, but not as much as the vocal trade-offs and harmonies which were more the star. They also sounded almost too much like the headliners at times, but the songs were good and their 40 minute set breezed by and was a pleasure to listen to.
The Joy Formidable - It's only been a little over two years since this Welsh trio released their debut album "The Big Roar", but they have been touring so hard it feels like they have been around a decade. This is the third time I have seen them and I have missed two other area shows that I know of. But it is hard to pass up an opportunity to see one of the better young bands out there, so here I am again. And it was great to hear them feature much of their second album whose material is about as strong as that of their first. I was a bit worried at first as the vocals sounded pretty awful, but by the second or third song, the sound man made the correct adjustments and the melodious tones of Ritzy Bryan became clearer. Of course the band was roaring away with their brand of shoegaze tinged assertive rock. All three make a ton of noise but have a fluid style that meshes so well together in their hook laden songs. Everything is bright and energized when they are on, and they had it working tonight in one of their favorite clubs in a city that Welsh born Ms. Bryan knows well, living here for a while just before forming this band. If you like catchy rock music, you really can't go wrong with this band. I just hope they can keep their energy and not burn out with all the road work that has piled up recently. If so, they have a long career ahead of them.
Quote of the Night: "Eats... Shoots... Leaves?" from the Guardian commenting on Liverpool's Luis Suarez who bit a Chelsea opponent in the second half (missed by ref) and went on to score the last second tying goal before being greeted by the press wondering if he will be shipped off of the island, since this is the second time in his career he has been caught biting. Oh yeah, there was that ten game ban for racist comments, too.