Midnight Faces - This DC duo is augmented by a couple other guys and comes out as a quartet with keys and guitar aside the rhythm section. The bass player handles the vocals well and they start off on a strong note. The sound is shimmering with pop moves that push into shoegaze volume at times. However, things let off as the set wears on before returning to a strong closer. So the basic formula of starting and finishing with the louder, faster numbers is used here, yet again. The band is solid and has a certain appeal, but they did not pull me in as much as I would have liked during the pop/light rock middle of the set. And I was not alone as the couple in front of me first arm wrestled and then thumb wrestled. I didn't see them later on in the evening as they were probably off in search of a 'squared circle' to settle it once and for all.
Brazos - This trio started off modestly enough with a quirky pop tune, but then went into some sort of lounge pop offering which I liked a whole lot more. It reminded me of some of the later day Donovan Leitch and showed some skill and confidence in pushing songwriting into interesting locales. The guitarist handled the vocals with a mix of upper register crooning and quirky diversions which kept the attention level up. The bassist moved to keyboards for a few songs where he did bass lines as well as some lighter notes. This was modern pop music with personality and flair and somewhat surprised me as it pulled me in. This is pop music for people that want a few more challenges. And I think most people thought Brazos met those challenges tonight.
Cayucas - This Calfornia outfit is fairly new to the scene and has a nice album out on the Secretly Canadian label, which they are touring into previously uncharted territories, including the DC9. Yet people were ready as the club sold out well in advance and made for a crowded, but festive atmosphere for a Sunday night. Cayucas completed this night of pop music, and like the 180 degrees opposite of the previous night for me, they had a unique style that stood apart from the other bands yet made for a sensible grouping. The vocals were warm and the singer put down his acoustic guitar after a couple of songs and focused on delivering his soft melodies. The band may not have been overly demonstrative, but they added some interesting African melodies and dub bass lines in various songs. Some of the music sounded like stretched out reggae where the percussive sounds were pulled into simpler pop melodies. "Deep Sea" even submerged into psychedelic territory. The crowd seemed full of smiles and it was great to see that such understated yet bright music can resonate in the clubs. Cayucas has some unique abilities for the offering.
Quote of the Night: After a long conversation which I was ignoring at my table, I looked up and a woman looked at my note book and said "Are you writing down everything we said?" Hah, normally I would be eavesdropping in search of a 'quote of the night', but I'll have to leave it at that... unless I use the follow-up to me from the guy who remained after she left. "Guess I am not going to get lucky tonight."