Wheelie - This local trio starts off with a video/audio projection which is well done and sets the mood for the band to kick in and for two female dancers to come to life. The band with their white clothes reminds me of Johns Children, although the guitarist with his hair and white framed glasses (nice touch) reminds me of more of Elton John. And the pop music is not wildly far from the core of that either, although the vocal style is more of a cross between Bryan Ferry and Frank Discussion (Feederz). The music is designed to get you to dance or at least to move with crisp beats, a bit of funk in the bassline, and some keys and extra percussion worked in. But I liked the fact that they crunched out some strong guitar chords as well and varied the sound and structure in their fairly distinct songs. They had to be good musically, since visually it was impossible not to watch the two dancers with their matching outfits and short blond wigs. They had well done synchronized moves, using flash lights and hula hoops at various points. There was a time when this sort of presentation was NOT unusual, but in today's world of Americana indie rock this really stands out. The crowd of 50+ seemed to appreciate that as much as I. Bravo.
Brett - Unless you are Husker Du or the Stooges, I do not try to see bands twice in one week (last week's review of Brett here). But if you work hard to get yourself on good bills like Brett has this past week, I will come along for the ride. They have some really good elements that work, but I do want to see something more from them as they progress. When it works, they exhibit strong guitar sounds that move to that downward gaze sound we all know, coupled with assured vocals and strong drumming. Less interesting to me is their pop R&B moves, although maybe a bass player tonight would have sharpened that up some as they only had drums, guitar and vocals (along with keys and electronics that the guitarist employed in lieu of guitar or to loop and run in the background0. I hope they keep getting the shows and to be fair, I will try to wait a few months to see how they do.
The Dig - This is my third time in seeing this New York quartet but I have spread it out over a few years, as evident that the first time with a tiny audience at the old Red & the Black. They have worked hard to develop a few more fans and frankly it should be a lot more based on the qualities they possess. They certainly make their psychedelic roots clear with some excellent colored lighting coming up from the stage shooting beams upward. The music heads more to the psyche-pop nuggets as they feature luscious vocal work with superb hooks that still have bite. I particularly like that in addition to the usual rock trio, the fourth member switches from keyboards to guitar from song to song (or within song) which adds great variety to the songs, not only with the obvious sonic qualities but also his skills in playing both instruments so well. Both the bassist and guitarist sing better than most band's featured vocalist, so the quality is really high with these guys. Probably the only downer tonight, was the lateness of the show had people filtering out during this set as it ran well past Metro hours, being a week night. Still, the Beats club is a great place to see a show and I was told there are plans for some redesign and an improvement on the sound system (absolutely needed, although they do a fine job with the small setup they have). Hopefully the Dig will return next year to this or an even bigger club. I'll be there for a fourth time.
Quote of the Day - Actually this was last week where a friend sent me something from the NY Times about crazed Arsenal soccer fans and I offer it as proof of why I don't write for the NY Times (as if anybody truly needs that)....
man sitting near me was uttering a torrent of profane anti-Wenger
imprecations in a low monotone, in the manner of a psychotic cattle
auctioneer narrating a pornographic movie.