The Beginner's Mynd - A good crowd is on hand backstage at the Black Cat ready to get this night started. A local pop-rock psychedelic act is up first and is expertly paired with tonight's headliner. This quartet has the same instrumentation as the headliner and works the same terrain. This band has a way to go to get the full ripened fruits of their labors, but they are off to a good start. They have a nice understanding and control of psychedelic pop and rock sound with screaming organ, jangly guitar, and a steady rhythm section. The vocals were not as confident and strong as needed to stay with this music. This could work, but with material not quite this bold and rocking. There were a few songs that sounded particularly good, so they clearly know how to pen a tune that will stick in the memory. I hope they continue to grow and work themselves into a strong presence on the scene.
Jacco Gardner - From the Netherlands, returning to the USA, comes one of the finest artists out there, particularly for those who enjoy psychedelic music. Gardner can play about anything, but sticks to keyboards and lead vocals, bringing along three guys on bass, drums, and acoustic guitar. Although to say he sticks to keyboards is like saying Jimmy Page sticks to guitar, as Gardner coaxes organ, synth, harpsichord, and even mellotron sounds out of them. The music is pop oriented, but heavily psychedelic making it hard to imagine you have not been transported back to 1967. I am not sure too many bands have vocals as exquisite as this. Gardner has a warm voice that caresses you into his world of gorgeous pop hooks. The harmonies are otherworldly and elevate this seemingly simple music to heights not obtained by all but the finest bands. This is sensual music that reminds me of Aigues Vives, Ferdinando-Howell (Ithaca, etc.), and the psychedelic songs of the Zombies. But pick your favorite baroque-pop, psychedelic pop group from the 60s, and jump onto the music of Jacco Gardner, a pure and natural extension. When you are this good, it does not matter what year you are in, you just absorb these brilliant little songs and dig the vibe. There were people in the crowd who looked like they were having an out of body experience, while most everyone else was digging this in a more relaxed manner. I did note a handful of other musicians who I rarely see if they are not on the bill, which is yet one more clue of how Jacco Gardner is making a big name for himself with those who really live music. Enjoy the small stage shows now, there is little chance he will not be moving up to bigger audiences once people start listening.
Quote of the Night - Nothing profound, just something to set the mood from JG... "This song is about summertime. Did you enjoy the summer this year? I did, too."