PS I Love You - It's Canada night at the DC9 with an east west connection. This Ontarian duo gets us started with a riveting 40+ minute set. Unlike many guitar-drums duo, there is no time spent wondering about what they might sound like if they had a bass player or keyboards or both. Instead, the drums lay it down and the guitarist/vocalist creates enough tuneful noise for three people. He does this by controlling bass sounds with his feet and having a strong guitar style that is full of thick noise and plenty of colorful fills and runs. It's like Dinosaur Jr. with less soloing or Husker Du and Christmas with that busy hard rocking attack at pop songs where a catchy hook is not lost amongst the noise. Vocally, he is similar to Pere Ubu's David Thomas with a strong but quirky voice that adds loads of personality to the songs. At one point he switched guitars which had a bass string on top which he played with his right hand on the fretboard, while his right hand cut the intricate guitar parts below. Great work and no one (including a tough sale like me) should feel the need for any more band members needed. This music was thick and a lot of fun and the crowd went from interest to full born enthusiasm by set's end.
Frog Eyes - And from the far western realms of Canada comes this quirky quartet with guitar/vocals, keyboards, bass, and drums. The music is light, eclectic, with plenty of space for keyboard raindrops and guitars to rev up or scale down. The singer is very Bowiesque with a good range and intensity. In fact, as I wrote that note I was rather shocked that I don't see nearly as many Bowie styled singers as I did in the post punk years. That's actually a shame because we need more stylists that at least try to work this territory. And it was worked well tonight as these fascinating songs were quite lively and unique. This band is really hard to describe, but perhaps they are a slightly brighter Fall styled band? That's safe as the Fall were actually about nineteen different bands over the years. His stage patter was bizarre and disarming, but ultimately quite fun. He was so nutty and semi-sequitor at times that he made Robyn Hitchcock look like Walter Cronkite. The crowd was also digging this act and it was one of the more attentive and energized crowds I have seen this year. Thanks to everyone here from club to crowd to bands, this turned out to be a great evening.
Quote of the Night: More musician on musician insults here (great quotes from Frog Eyes tonight, but impossible to make sense of in a written column. You had to be there)....
7. Elton John on Madonna
“Anyone who lip-synchs in public on stage when you pay £75 to see them should be shot.”