Wes Tucker & the Skillets - The first of two bands I have been following a long time hits the stage at a reasonable hour in front of a reasonable crowd upstairs. Wes and the gang have their heavy duty brand of Americana working well tonight. It is balanced song oriented rock music with touches of folk, blues, and western music worked in. The sound is a little soft and fuzzy, but improves a bit over the set. These guys can really rock and the bass and lead guitarist switch instruments about half way through so you get a couple of different styles of leads augmenting Tucker's rhythm and occasional harmonica. They can really bring the tempo, which is always fun on a Saturday night. This is a fine set by a band you should be able to catch at many a venue in the extended DC area.
Round About - And we have another veteran area band proving their professionalism by getting on stage only eight minutes after the previous set. There is nothing like keeping the dead spaces at a minimum with the rock music flowing. And they make a fine combination as Round About moves the Americana style subtly into a more universal pop rock format. The lead guitar work is clever as he invoked a light touch even as he played quickly, not unlike Buck Dharma Jr. perhaps. The rhythm section is crisp, vocals clear and melodic. There was a little more electric guitar from the lead vocalist as opposed to acoustic as the songs from their new album had just a bit more rock in them. It was a good move as the two electric guitars worked well together and the variety always helps. They could take the easier path of being a high quality bar band playing the usual covers, but aside from a fine Dire Straits hit, their original music will pull you in and make for a fine set of music, well worth visiting some time.
Quote of the Night: from the headliner... "Here's another slow one, because we're old" ...and I'm feeling all of that because I can recognize so many older songs from local bands that I've now been hearing for six years (and a few more in some cases).