Hop Along - This powerful band really snuck up on me tonight. They began with just vocalist/guitarist Frances Quinlan playing one song. She showcased rock oriented folk strum on he electric guitar while moving around her vocal range with a strange outsider intensity. She would make a quite arresting busker, no doubt. But then another guitarist showed up with a rhythm section in hand, and they proceeded to fire off some of the more explosive rock music that the backstage has seen in some time. They began with a Guided by Voices sensibility although the songs were fuller and a bit deeper in the vocals. Thankfully, Quinlan had the power to stay on top of this fierce music in a manner that also reminded me of Jesse Sykes. She even snuck in a smart little vocal loop to harmonize with. The songs got tighter as the set went on which was rather interesting as well. But I am spending too much time thinking about this music, it is best to let it kick you in the face and roll with it. Oh, and the large crowd totally dug this set, unsurprisingly. This not the first show for this Philadelphia based band (even if it was my first) and I hope to see them back soon.
Owls - This quartet is from Chicago, and although I probably had that in my subliminal memory, I don't recall purposefully thinking of the Chicago band Tortoise who they reminded me of. But you can also throw in some Slint, Sebadoh, and basically any creative indie band that has the talent and imagination to concoct catchy math rock tunes that weave rhythm patterns and guitar parts in more complex ways than most of the indie bands. Honestly, this music does not reach me as well today as it would have 15 years ago. That is more to do with me than the band, as they seem quite good at this sound and some of the songs have great spooky hooks to them. The vocals were too much in the strained seriousness range for me, but they were better than the stage patter. Still, when I focused on sinewy guitars cutting into chopping bass and drum patterns, there were intriguing moments to experience.
Quote of the Night - And still another quote from Tom Hawking's 'harshest musician on musician insults' list...
16. Alan McGee on Coldplay
“Coldplay are the dictionary definition of corporate rock. The singer is about as weird as Phil Collins. They are career rock personified. EMI should’ve signed Otis The Aadvark instead. At least he only sucks his thumb rather than corporate cock.”