The Sea Life - A local twin-guitar quartet hits the stage to get things rolling tonight in a highly crowded DC9 with a young excitable bunch (and four of us that add nearly two and half centuries to the room). The band quickly emits frothy indie pop that the crowd can enjoy digesting. The one aspect that works for me is the one noodling guitar contrasting with the fuzzier one. It is a nice dynamic and the rhythmic section keeps things brisk and busy to fill out a likable and personal sound. There is briefly a touch of whimsy like the Akron/Family did so well and if they explored this further, they may be able to vary things more and add even more dynamics to their set. But this was quite fine as it was and the Sea Life got the night off to a hot start.
The Lemons - From Chicago this collective has to be the silliest band I have seen in decades. And that is a badge they would proudly wear as that pretty much is their point. Their child-like sense of fun is something you will not see too often at a rock club. This band makes the Dickies look like Wire or Jonathan Richman look like Morrisey. Their sound would go down well in between a Frankie and Annette beach movie marathon, although those films may be too highbrow. The jangly pop rock here is a pleasure to listen to and the band can certainly play it well enough. It is hard not to have a blast with this as they play a really short song "The Ice Cream Shop" and immediately say, "let's play it again!" and do so at least twice more. You may want to be careful not to eat too much ice cream with this band and get one of those freezer headaches, but if you relax and take in the sweet creamy flavors, the Lemons will be a wonderful treat for you.
Twin Peaks - Also from Chicago comes a much tougher quartet, although they have a lot of same sense of fun as the previous bands displayed tonight. The toughness is in the music starting with the drummer who pushes hard to keep the two guitars and bass alert to staying with the pace and volume. This is crafty rock music with a teaspoon of pop and a tablespoon of punk and lots of creative guitar solos and jangly chords. The songs are good with three different lead vocalists adding subtle shades to the powerful music. And indeed they were so hot, they were smoking... or at least their bass amp was and they had to switch a cabinet which slowed them down a tad, but not much. I sensed a casual Heartbreakers or a pop/punk Dead Boys vibe within the sound, but they had the youth and energy (oh, and lack of serious drug habits) to keep it all fresh and relevant to 2014. With Ice Age taking a bizarre left turn on their latest video, I may have a new favorite band that can take me back to the very early punk clubs of my memory, back when you had pop-rock-punk bands that were still finding the genre (or moving beyond). Good stuff and it went over well with a happy crowd tonight at the DC9.
Quote of the Night: We continue on with our musician on musician slams list...
9. Robert Smith on Morrissey
“If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’ll eat meat — that’s how much I hate Morrissey.”