Chute - Where has this local band been hiding from me? If I did not pay attention, their brand of straight ahead heavy rock could easily slip into the background, but that would be a mistake. Although they draw from good hard rock roots that were established over 40 years ago and will be played long after I'm gone 40 years from now, Chute has great command over their sound and delivers personal and rock solid heavy music. They have two guitars with the rhythm guy offering vocals that are very Matt Bellamy. It is as if the Muse singer were fronting the veteran blues rockers of Black Cat Bones or Savoy Brown and taking heavy old school hard rock to fresher terrain. They also make me think this is what Green Day may have sounded like if they tried to mimic Blue Cheer rather than the Buzzcocks. They did a cover of "Break on Through" which had a nice bounce to it, giving it a personal spin as good covers require. The two dozen people in the crowd were into this set, and if you like classic rock moves, there was nothing not to like as these guys locked in and played.
Clockwork Kids - This is the second Chapel Hill band I have seen in the past three days, but unlike the veterans Love Language, these five guys are playing for the first time outside their home state. It took about 30 seconds before I began wondering why it had taken so long. Yet, they were likely wise to stay home and work together to come up with this incredible sound before allowing us outsiders in on the fun. The first thing to note, unlike a few other bands I have seen recently and not to mention the post-Skynyrd brand of southern rock bands, these three guitarists immediately move all around the fretboard with their own patterns that some how magically come together. The bass player is also quite nimble, even as he handles the lead vocal duties, while the drummer bangs out powerful quick beats. They have a certain MC5 swagger with some of the psychedelics of a Mighty Baby mixed in. It can work well enough on any indie rock bill, although they will be pushing the envelope much further than most. This is a crowded field, but music like this will find its place over time and hopefully this first east coast tour will get the ball rolling for this fine band.
Black Dog Prowl - This local quartet has been a mainstay in the DC area for some time now and are a welcome add-on to any bill. I'm not sure if all of the members are the same as when last I saw them, but their heavy rock sounds remain along with clean melodic vocals out front [and I have learned they had two replacements who work with one guy in other bands, so it was a unique line-up, but people who know each other well]. I recently heard that a third-rate heavy rock band from the 1970s called Starz was playing out some. I checked Youtube to see if there was anything redeeming that I may have missed. And no, there was not, but I was amazed at how the commenters throught they were so brilliant and so heavy. And that had me wondering why these old folks do not spend more time in clubs like this seeing bands that can really bring it, unlike those big label mediocrities that never rose above opening band on the hockey arena circuit in 1975. Black Dog Prowl, as well as the openers, delivered the type of music that hard rock fans were always looking for, but only found with the very best back in the day. But tonight, the Velvet Lounge provided great examples of what is out there if you get down to the clubs and seek it out.
Quote of the Night - From Chute's rhythm guitarist while tuning after the first song... "Maybe I should tune my guitar before the set starts--that'd be a real fucking smart thing to do."