Kentucky Jim Faris - Kentucky Jim sings his songs accompanied by his trusty uke. He also does some covers including the ubiquitous "Freebird" with a "Stairway to Heaven" stanza starting it out. So clearly, he is shooting for a light and entertaining approach in the humorous folk arena. Well not exactly arena, as there are not a whole lot of people present, beyond the bands. He had enough wit to keep me entertained although the star of the show was his daughter who was just of walking age who showed more movement than most of the trendy crowds in front of the 'fill in the blank' Pitchfork band of the month at the cooler clubs. His daughter also navigated the Everest like step onto the stage and tumbled back out to the floor, thus making her the youngest stage diver in history. Musically this was just fine, and he had a decent mouth trumpet as well, not quite up to Victoria Vox levels, but close enough. Likable set, this.
Josh Flagg & the Obligations - The first of two twin guitar rock bands from out of town begin the volume attack. I never am failed to be impressed with the sound in the Tree House Lounge compared to other smaller venues and this band knows how to work it perfectly. Early on I thought I was getting another of the many good bar bands that every city has a plethora of. But this New York outfit kept pushing the barriers of stinging rock music and crafty songwriting. The guitarists dueled well, but never in a showy manner. The rhythm section was thick and powerful and I was even hearing the Who in one song and that was before the bassist took the lead with thick chordal passage that John Entwistle would likely smile upon. The 50 minute set went by smoothly with high quality, every song of the way. Hopefully these guys stay dedicated and continue to work together as good things should happen to bands this good.
Delta Routine - These guys hail from Milwaukee, so it is two Wisconsin bands in a row for me, a homecoming of sorts as I lived there in the sixties for a bit. These guys rock out, but go more in the direction of their accurate name--even if they do come from a place closer to the source and not the delta. Classic rootsy blues moves and hard rock tones of the heaviest of the alt country bands are part of the make-up of these songs. I hear a bit of the Elliott Brood sound, but even more variety here. They ebb and flow in various tempos and volumes and never get dull with the skillful playing that these guys employ. The music is warm, constantly flowing and evolving into a rock solid set that made for a fine ending to a strong night of music.
Quote of the Night - But first, a vow... I am going to try my best to not convince people to come to the smaller clubs and house shows any more. Yes, it will suck for the bands, but hey, tonight I got to have a focused musical experience without the distractions of jostling crowds, nearby people engaged in loud meaningless conversations, pissed off people demanding a manager, watching the bands on a TV monitor, etc., etc. -- all of this just in the last week alone. I had a great time tonight and if you want this experience, join me at these shows. But don't tell too many of the folks at the sold-out shows. It's our secret.
Oh and the quote is from Kentucky Jim Faris - "I was privileged to play at George Harrison tribute shows at Wolf Trap and the Hamilton. They were all sold out shows, pretty much like this one."