Go Cozy - This is the second time I have seen this local band in the last ten days (they even commented that they are doing a lot of shows around here). So I really don't have much to add about their basic approach as outlined here. But tonight's 38 minute set sounded excellent with the two guitars and keyboards cutting into the rhythm section perfectly with enough room for the soft vocals to shine on top. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on.
Heavenly Beat - Like all of us, I can only speculate on what Heaven is like, but I can say that in Heaven, the beat is far, far from this. First, it would not have drum machines. Even if Keith Moon and John Bonham did not make the cut, there will be plenty of live drummers there. And on earth, I still believe bands should go out and find anything resembling a good live drummer. This trio had beats and keys programmed and playing behind their two guitars and bass. They played dance music, but had a murky quality in the sound that did less to create dark atmospherics and more just to dull things down. They referenced John Popper and brought a harmonica which was a nice touch, but the set still seemed awfully flat. There did not appear to be a lot of enthusiasm in the very large Tuesday night crowd (nor the band for that matter), so in a rare moment of irony I actually went to the upstairs bar at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel to escape the large crowd and blaring dance music.
Small Black - Now this quartet showed me and this nearly full room how dance music is done. They started with a rock solid drummer and had three guys in front that handled vocals, guitars, bass, electronics, and keyboards. One guy primarily sang and carried their excellent pop melodies with style and substance. The electronic sounds were a strong part of the sound, but didn't overly dominate as they sometimes do. Guitar and bass work was crisp and everything balanced together nicely. The set flowed extremely well and you could see the dancing increase as it went on. Small Black has a great command of this style and certainly earned the respect of the assembled crowd tonight. They were looking for tunes, beats, and energy and got it all in full. And although this is pretty low on my list of favorite genres, when you have that pop connection like this, I will happily come back and take in another set some time.
Quote of the Night: From the second band... "We have an album coming out in September... or October with nine tracks. This is about the sixth or seventh best, so adjust your expectations accordingly."