Jackpot Tiger - The guitarist finishes up on his deep scanning of the horizon with his hand over his eyes as if longing for the first signs of land after a long trans-Atlantic voyage. But no, just a crowd of 50 or so scattered about the large space on the big stage of the Black Cat. And, of course, their voyage was the van ride from Brooklyn. They instantly lay out some agreeable enough power pop with well thought out harmonies among all four members. They have some male-female lead vocal trade-offs and some snaky guitar runs that add a bit of light post-punk/Talking Heads sort of moves. They do a ballad that reminds me a bit of the Pixies with throbbing bass and interesting cutting moves by the lead guitar. Good fun set as the crowd continues to fill in from a rain soaked night.
The Mean Season - I have enjoyed this local trio in the past and they did nothing to convince me otherwise tonight. They have a female vocalist who handles a bit of percussion with two guys who play combinations of guitars and drums which create a diverse set of sounds that some how come together. One guitar has deep fuzz groove established while the other one is a bit spacier. The vocals are clean and expressive in a Natalie Merchant sort of way, but the music is more dynamic in a quiet atmospheric way. Interesting stuff here, and well worth a listen the next time they give you a chance.
Teen Girl Scientist Monthly - The crowd has doubled by now and crowds up front giving plenty of intimacy for this well named New York City collective. They have a highly energetic brand of power pop with a refined hard edge to it in the manner of the Rezillos. They are not as punk as that with one power-chord guitar at work here and two keyboardists going at it nearly full-time. Good Male and Female lead vocals with both alternating moments and harmonies in balance. The rhythm section cooks along to ensure that the pace is kept up from everybody, which makes for a fun rocking and dance-oriented set (were this a dancing city). I saw this band at the Velvet Lounge last time around and they look like they are building a fan base, and with their energy and personality, they should continue to do well. And even if I did not like their music, they would get loads of extra credit points for their name.
America Hearts - First time around for me seeing this local twin-guitar quartet with female vocals on top of the pop-rock stew. I wish conditions were more ideal for an assessment as I have been up for 20 hours now and I am not sure even a Led Zeppelin reunion could keep me going much longer. I was still able to appreciate this band's very basic by the numbers approach to pop music with a rock foundation that reminded me a bit of a milder Alley Cats... or perhaps Motels? Pearl Harbor? I don't quite remember all those bands' sound, but America Hearts does seem to fit well in this grouping. I will need another show to dig in deeper to their songs, but there is enough appeal here and desire for me to come back with a fresher listen. The crowd was enjoying the band, as they had enjoyed all of them thus far, so this was a good finish of a night of bands who are working to make names of themselves and proving that there are valid reasons behind this desire.
Quote of the Night: Recent quote from Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovich when asked what he had bought his wife for her birthday.... "Nothing, she already has Zlatan."