Brett - Thankfully a little more time has elapsed since I saw this area quartet twice in ten days some months ago. Seeing a band too often does not give them a chance to grow a little, write a few more songs, as well as give the listener more time to listen to many things in between. But it is good to see them again as they have a strong take on pop music. It is thick and loud, but more in the romance camp than in power pop. The guitarist also plays keyboards and works a lot of electronica into the songs, while the rhythm section lays it down with a firm and steady clarity. The lead vocalist has some nice power in his pipes to lead the way and bring emotion into their songs. The better songs work well for me and those are the ones that have just that extra bit of energy within or employ sharp hooks to keep me in the groove. Even if I don't want to see them every ten days, I am glad they are gigging frequently and they are a welcome addition to many a bill.
Chad Valley - This is Oxford's Hugo Manuel on vocals and with a table of electronics. He is aided by a female vocalist who adds some flourish to his pretty much straight up pop tunes. It is obviously modern, missing guitar, bass, and drums and his backing does not try to compensate for that, instead going toward the lush electronica sound. Personally, I like a full band for this music to really dig into me deeply. But there is high quality vocal work and the pop music does connect as it should. They do this music proudly and they pulled in a pretty good Wednesday night crowd, which was great considering that the original headliner Keep Shelly in Athens, was indeed kept in Greece with Visa problems. That topic stirs bad memories on an otherwise enjoyable evening.
Quote of the Night: From H.Manuel... "This is the first night of the tour, so you are privileged. We are fresh... and not sick of each other..."