Friday, May 10, 2013

MS MR - Sir Sly - Magic Man -- U Street Music Hall - May 9 2013

Magic Man - I am getting a sense that this club does not get sound checks done in a timely fashion. First, they have the early comers (check that, the people that arrive on time) wait in the rain until 18 minutes after the posted time before opening the doors. Then, the opening band (for the second straight time I have been here) starts off with abominable sound. This is pop music through  a wall of mud. Fortunately, by the third song, the crisp synth pop of this Providence band starts taking on a nice shape. The vocal work is airy and tuneful and there is a nice guitar and rhythm section bit underneath go give it some heft. It is still on the light side, but is likable enough and effective for warming the crowd to a night of catchy, danceable pop music.
Sir Sly - This LA quintet also has to do a lot more checking of their sound while they set up. I've seen punk bands on stage for their sets for far less time that it took for this band to get ready for their 31 minute set. Thankfully, the care was worth it as the sound was crisp and strong right from the word go. The vocals are far edgier here in more of a direction toward Brit-Pop of the 1980s and maybe even a touch of stronger post punk noise. There is a lot of percussion going on with a drum kit and some side drums and even a couple of guitars going at times. The club is filling up rather well by now and the crowd seems fairly into the sounds here. I like the toughness in the sound, while they still have the requisite pop hooks seamlessly flowing throughout. At times it was rather by the book, but there were a few songs that really popped out and showed what the band is capable of when they really have a great song to present. They should do quite well with this approach and did so tonight.

MS MR - Sorry guys, but I had to get back and continue recovering from my sore throat before a very busy weekend (see promo below).

Quote of the Night: Sir Sly - "This last one is called 'Ghost'" Innocuous enough, but I thought I also heard the opening band say they had a song called 'Ghosts'. Plus I also had the Strawbs song 'Ghosts' come on my IPOD earlier that day as well as the Japanese band Ghost come on my IPOD during my walk home. Sweden's Ghost AD is playing the 9:30 Club this week and Shirley Kent's UK band Ghost is still broken up after 43 years. I could go on...

Promo of the Night: This was the kickoff party for the Sweetlife Festival which takes place this Saturday at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, starting at noon. There is lots of interesting touring talent here, but get there early to catch hot local band Shark Week starting things off. And come say hi. I'm the old guy scribbling in a notebook, hopefully not coughing.

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