Green River Junction - Just some good foot stomping music here with equal measures of rock, rockabilly, blues, funk, and more all rolled out with acoustic guitar, bass, and drums. No frills, just cut loose and have fun and even though it was an early start, the crowd was ready to join in and help create a good atmosphere for the night ahead.
The NRIs - It has been some time since I've seen this fine local collective that fills the stage with a couple of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, violin, and sax/percussion. There is a lot of noise making, but they have been together a while and know how to work as a band to keep it cohesive and interesting throughout the set. They can rock pretty hard with plenty of pop hooks and slow it down a bit too and opt more for moody pop. The vocals are good as they use 2-4 voices frequently, elevating the songs even further. If there was not enough sound, they added a guest trumpeter for the last couple of songs. This is band that should be welcomed on any bill around here and the fairly large crowd would seem to agree with that tonight.
Dads - How did this Jersey band sneak into the third slot of this local show? No matter, as this duo gave an interesting take on a slightly more punk sound than anything we heard tonight. They do more the emo/earnest thing in the vocals (performed by both the drummer and guitarist). They have indie moves as well and stretch out sounds and songs. But here's the thing, when they rocked they were skilled enough and busy enough to work up a welcome racket. But when they slowed it down and created some interesting guitar textures, there was nothing to weave into, as there would be with four and five piece bands. Some of these duos can do it, but I would still like most of them to hire some road warriors to join them on stage for their tour. And I hope they stay heavy as that is where they shine brightest.
You Monster - And we finish with another fine local outfit that I have not seen in a while (actually in a slightly altered format and name). This quartet goes two guitars strong with work well together in classic hard rock rhythm chording and interesting lead guitar integration. The rhythm section keeps things steady and grounded allowing the other two to be more playful. The vocals have a 999 intensity to them and the pop-punk-rock moves that 999 had are not too far from what this band achieves when they nail a particularly good song. This was a solid set and this band, like most tonight and most on virtually every night, has there share of strong songs and weaker ones. But as long as there are enough strong songs and they have command of their sound, they can bring off a good set. And that happened frequently tonight.
Quote of the Night: As the NRIs brought on their guest trumpeter... "You might recognized him from such bands as any other band in DC".