Junker Grain - This local quartet features the usual guitar, bass, and drums with a female singer who adds just a wee bit of welcome trumpet now and again. This band generates classic bar band sounds with rock music at the heart of it all as they shift from light ska to R&B to country (they may want to rethink that one) to lounge jazz. The lounge moves show a bit of swing, which is something they should try to incorporate further. The sound is a little thin, part due to the band and part due to a preset sound system here. Although the Pinch is a fine place to see a show, a house PA with a soundman would help. Junker Grain did a nice job and will hopefully continue to improve and find their sound.
Novakaine - This local band has been around a short time, but shows a strong muscial background member for member. The vocalist plays acoustic guitar and is the chief songwriter. The electric guitarist offers up some very tasty leads and careful and highly successful use of a wah-wah pedal. The bass player is rock solid and adds some excellent backing vocals. The drummer has creative moves well beyond the average rock drummer and I would guess could handle a lot of styles. The best part of these players is that they come together with more confidence than I expected and really pushed their quality songs forward. There were a bit too many covers for my liking, but their set lasted over an hour and I enjoyed a couple of them (I Want to be Sedated? That was a trip). Some of the original cuts from their recent album were excellent, particularly the opener and the long closing number. This band has a great foundation with the skill to stay on the stage with just about anybody around town. For balanced rock music with some creative flourish and just enough pop, give Novakaine a listen.
Quote of the Night: From Novakaine introducing their Ramones cover... "We have another old school cover for you"
Arggh. How did this crazy far off the mainstream punk rock music make its way into TV commercials, CNBC discussions, and now 'old school' music. What a future I am living in!