Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band - KD is on vocals and guitar and his goddamn band has drums, lead guitar, and the bassist from the headlining band doing double duty tonight. They create likable enough music, sort of a poppier Green Day. They had a couple of songs that roared more strongly with some wild guitar breaks. I would hope they go further along those lines in future as that seemed to wake up what turned about to be a rather sleepy crowd (until the headliners' set). Devine had an odd moment where he talked about his past mistakes and was just reunited with his biological son who was going to guest on drums. Did he say mistake like here's the little mistake right now? I will assume his mistake was abandonment or being unready at that age for parenting (since the young lad looked like his younger brother). But what was a bit weird is that he drummed on a kit facing the other drummer and was doing well, but was whisked off quickly as the band went into another song with no proper send-off. Even the day after, all I can think about were much better ways of handling this. But the 30-35 minute set did have enough highlights to make for a good warm-up.
Balance and Composure - There are three guitars in this alt indie band from Doylestown, PA. That always creates a challenge for me to spend time quickly focusing on each guitarist as they play to see if they are moving around the fretboard in different patterns or staying too locked in together. Unfortunately, it was more of the latter here, although there were exceptions thankfully. Still they could have brought more to the arrangements of these decent but not terribly memorable songs. I wish they would take the psychedelic inspiration from the oil/water/glycerine light show they used (reminiscent of the Jefferson Airplane and many more). Maybe this band is too balanced and composed? There is something here for someone, but aside from a really cool slower psyche number they did, it just did not connect well enough tonight.
Manchester Orchestra - It did not take more than a few notes to hear that this was a significant step up in quality tonight. This band rocks hard and connected with steady and earnest hooks to the large crowd assembled tonight. They play in a post Nirvana/Smashing Pumpkins world that makes me wonder if these bands were forming today, would I have supported them as much as I did then? Probably not, but the much younger crowd here is connected well with this band and that bond helped make a strong set tonight. I have to say that the smell of corporate sponsorship in the air made for a less pleasant experience (or lack of smell as this corporation would aver). I am not against all sponsorship, but this one was a negative distraction for me. But Manchester Orchestra did succeed in rocking the house down, so kudos to them.
Quote of the Night - Number 29 from the Harshest Musician on Musician Insults in History by Tom Hawking...
29. Christina Aguilera on Lady Gaga
“I’m not quite sure who this person is, to be honest. I don’t know if it is a man or a woman.”