E.M. Spencer - From Towson comes this tight little quartet who plays fairly straight forward rock music for the most part. The vocals are good and it is the keyboards that offer just a bit of funky counter punch that lifts the music up. Solid effort.
Joe Rathbone and the Mercy Alliance - Rathbone is a veteran and sounds like it with good songs that are a perfect fit for the bar/night club rock scene. He has assembled a fine band that offers quality 4-voice harmony on the slower cuts and kicks it up a notch for the rockers. They are slick and steady and look capable of handling just about any stage they find themselves on.
Radio Feedbak - This local band follows the pattern established tonight before we take a sharp turn for the last two bands. They have a straight enough rock sound, yet the woman on vocals has that strong bluesy rock style with pipes that elevates this into a different direction. Although her style is familiar and quite successful here, there are also guitar tones that combine to make a murky yet pop-rock sound that makes for even more of an interesting combination. A fine band that I would be happy to see again as long as they leave their annoying heckling friend home next time. It was not I that yelled shut up at him late in the set, but whoever that was, read my mind and probably more.
Glitterlust - This is my first experience of seeing this local electronic pop duo and it certainly is quite the experience. The focal point is the flaming eccentric showman vocalist who runs electronics, synthesizer and sometimes dabble in electronic percussion. But when not held down there, he is out in the crowd and dancing around or parading around in a great winged cape costume. They do live up to their name on stage and the music is fun. The key to me is the second member--a woman who plays solid crunching guitar chords which thicken things out perfectly. I recognize one cover, New Order's "Blue Monday"--a great choice that they do well with by rocking it out some (thankfully they chose the only New Order song I would recognize as I was more of a Joy Division/Warsaw kind of guy). This is crazy fun with fortunately just large enough of audience to make it worth (it was challenging in that department tonight). Keep an eye out for this band as they will elevate the spirits of almost any crowd, if they don't have them cowering in terror--they do list GG Allin as an influence (but thankfully stop way short of what he did).
Hi-Life Wedding - This is one of my favorite synth pop electronic duos. Just the combination of a woman from Missouri and a guy from Australia (and the Northern Territory, at that) connecting in Taiwan, spending time in London, all over Asia and touring the US is enough to perk my interest at what music will result. And that combo yields plenty of fine straight ahead electronic pop beats, supplemented by subtle bass and quality dual vocals. The sound did not quite bring the vocals out enough, but you could still hear the fine expansion of the musical scale that their harmonies provide. The songs are interesting and they can stretch them out a bit with some pulsating syncopated keyboard rhythms. It was a little unfortunate that for their second time in DC they were placed in the late hours after too many bands for one evening and the crowd had waned. Selfishly, that allowed me to drift into their music all the more without the earlier distractions and let their pop melodies and skilful playing to work its magic. This was a long night, but a fitting end to a night where the music got better and better.
Quote of the night: From Kate of Hi-Life Wedding commenting on seeing me with my red long sleeved shirt against the red wall... "You really blend in here."