Makeshift Shelters - Here's a fairly new local band, at least in this combination, making a crowded room happy at 7pm. They have femvox (female vocals) as we say in record collecting lingo and feature keyboards, a couple of guitars and the requisite rhythm section. They are a gutsy rock band with plenty of pop hooks and such, but are pretty heavy with a warm thick sound. I find it hard not to enjoy music with this kind of energy if the playing is minimally competent and it was more than that here. Great start to a busy night full of bands.
A Great Big Pile of Leaves - There are a lot of quick biting guitar thrusts from the two guitarists in this Brooklyn quartet. It is a little on the arty side, but the music never gets overly precocious or aloof. Instead, the vocals are incredibly warm and the guys pull it together into a sensible and powerful package in sort of a Sonic Youth-lite sort of thing. I thought I may not like this, but instead found it excellent. I believe they could connect with a lot of music fans out there. If you like a band like Lost in the Trees, but want them to rock out more, perhaps they would create a Great Big Pile of Leaves, which is well worth jumping into.
The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die - I used to think the Ray Dennis Steckler movie "The Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies" was unwieldly, but we have a new record. Also unwieldly, was the seven members flowing over the stage and onto the floor as this band created its shoegazey rock sounds. They had some of the spacey build-up sound from Mono or Mogwai, but tended to jump into the heavier songs rather than carefully work out the dynamics. That is fine, but the songs were not connecting with me as much as I hoped. There is some talent here and they connected well with some of the crowd, but I sensed it was not as many as the previous bands. This vision could work and may be just fine for select fans, just not so much for me tonight.
Into It Over It - This is a band project for prolific songwriter Evan Thomas Weiss. He is from Chicago and handles the lead vocals and guitar, but has a sharp talented band featuring guitar, bass, and drums and occasional keyboards from a member of 'The World....' He has loads of personality and gets along well with the crowd who also really enjoy the powerful pop-rock songs that come forth. There is just a fresh feeling with this sound, even with loads of energy and quirky moves, it all flows well. The songs are fairly short, but a lot goes on within. I particularly like the phrasing in the vocals, which elevates this material into something rather memorable, even if it seems like simple fun. This is clever stuff that thankfully is not too clever for its own good and is easily accessible. The sold-out crowd had not problem latching on to it tonight.
Quote of the Night - from the openers and a crowd member...
"Thanks for coming early since none of you came to see us."
"How do you know that?"
"Oh I don't know... look at us, I mean I am using an ironing board as a keyboard stand."