Duskwhales - Geeze, these four guys seem young and the four x's on hands confirm that observation. They have keyboards, bass, guitar, and drums with everyone singing and shifting with a two guitar sound for several songs as well. The most formal talent here seems to be in the keyboards as his piano flourishes were high level. The rest of these sounds were all competent, although I am not sure it ever really fit together at times. The vocal work was garage pop and I marveled at how four voices would join in and yet there was no real harmony with just one part coming through. This was all quite insane and fiendishly clever in a similar vein of Daniel Johnston or the Modern Lovers. Although these guys had a tentative side to them, they were audacious enough to ask the 11 people in the room (half of them parents) to clap along to one song. I love it. After a big outdoor festival and a trip to the Big Apple, it is refreshing to head back to the garage or basement and indulge in youthful rock spirit. This is what it is all about.
Teen Girl Scientist Monthly - The headliner takes the stage next and delivers 41 minutes of fun pop rock that feels like the grown up version of the opening act. It has a B-52s feeling with the energized pop, two female singers (one on keys) and male guitarist/vocalist, along with rhythm section and Gary Wright style keyboard (as guitar). The sound is less B-52s and far closer to that of the Rezillos, although not as punk. The interesting feature that really brings it together is the driving rhythm section. The drums are great and the bass player locks in with quick and fluid, nearly jamming lines. This allows the keys, guitar, and singers to indulge in putting forth their personality and keep things frothy and energized. The lead vocals have a sultry lounge quality, although they never lose perspective of fun pop music--quite tricky, actually. I would only advise them to tighten up endings as crafty songs like this deserve a tighter finish. Still, they were highly effective at pulling in the now larger crowd by keeping their enthusiasm high and their charming, yet rocking pop music moving at just the right pace.
Grand Revival - These four youngsters (all x'ed again) are a lot tighter than the openers as they take their twin guitar attack backward into the days of hard rock with enough modern metal touches in their as well. The rhythm section does have a little swing to it in the basslines, but the lead guitar work and overall heaviness is the star. Hard charging bluesy rock, with a bit of slide, a double lead or two and powerhouse drumbeats. I get a feeling of Richie Blackmore on one guitar solo, although most of the others are in the bluesier strain. All in all, this flat out rocks and although they are presently in a good place, once they get their full direction worked out--something about new members, missing singers, or what not--things could take really take off. And oh yeah, they are young, so they can work on their banter. But for now, I will leave them with a suitable blurb... Better than Foghat!
Quote of the Night: Although the first band was far more musically skilled than 1/2 Japanese, the spirit was similar, so I am reminded of this classic quote from Jad Fair... "The only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp."