Ezra Furman - We start with yet another two man group, a couple of guys from Chicago on guitar and drums with the guitarist singing. This trend has been tiresome for me since it has started, although often I am quite surprised when there is a duo who really gets me into this format. Tonight was not one of those nights. To be fair, there were moments of fun and charm in this loose garage blues rock that these two kicked up. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" added a Meat Puppets vocal style to the White Stripes like noise underneath. The set seemed overly long for a three band line-up (and me without a timepiece), but I think I was annoyed that they began with a Link Wray "Rumble" opening and then used it as a coda to finish songs three times, all of which I thought was going to finish the set. The third time was the charm as they closed with the familiar rumbling guitar. As an opening set, it had its place.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - This Springfield Missouri band features all the regular rock instruments and multiple singers, which makes me wonder if they can live up to their exotic name. What happens next is less exotic or wild, but more with a spirited and fun attitude as they deliver a pleasing dosage of quirky pop music. There is good drive in the bass and drums with just a bit of light guitar jangle and dueling runs to keep things a bit on seat's edge. The vocals all consistently warm and bright no matter who is singing lead. Maybe a smoother Shins? or how about a pop version of Fuschia? (which is my cheap way of paying homage to a cool prog band who just released their second album 43 years after their debut) There is a slight outsider quality to the band, which is likely based on their attitude of making this fun for them and hoping that audiences will join in. Although, they were not the headliner, I think they brought plenty of fans here tonight as this sold-out crowd was definitely joining in. This is a nice vision they have and a welcome path for me, as too often I am exploring the darker alleys of music. And keep an eye out, not only for future shows, but for a film they made of their trip to Russia where they engaged in a cultural exchange of sorts with a Boris Yeltsin foundation that liked their name--NY Post article explains further.
Ha Ha Tonka - It was hot, humid, and very tiring for me with my schedule, so I had to pass on tonight's headliner. I am sure they did well with this massive crowd that turned out on a Wednesday night.
Quote of the Night - From SSLYBY's drummer who sang some early leads... "I'm still trying to figure out how to do the Phil Collins thing." Let's hope he stops well short of when Phil Collins figured it out.