Big Hush - This local twin guitar quartet tried to teeter on the brink of feedback early on, occasionally getting it wrong, but quickly finding that edge, giving their music a fascinating mix of safety and danger. They work well with melody in some sort of a post shoegaze world of intensity underneath a dreamy vocal line. In fact the vocals are quite good and at one time spectacular. They have three voices, one female, that take turns with leads and harmonize in different combinations. One song had some counter vocal lines at work, the type of which is nearly foreign in most songs I encounter these days. At worst, this is a decent band, but at their best they have some excellent songs that will stay with you. I hope to see them again later this year and see if they can resonate as strongly, then I will get a good read on their talent. For now, I'll keep them high in my charts with a bullet.
Swirlies - There is nearly a full room in the backstage of the Black Cat as this occasionally active Boston band now scattered about many cities in a couple of continents. The hardcore Swirlies fans should be excited that original member Seana Carmody is back on guitar and vocals along with Damon Tutunjian, original bassist Andy Bernick and two more recent veterans joining in on this 25th anniversary tour. It is easy to see why they have a devoted following, but do not quite hit the mainstream (much to the mainstream's loss). They have a deep 50-Foot Hose feeling in their mysterious songs, which they twist around with their proto-shoe gaze sound filled with dreampop vocal lines, a hard hitting rhythm, and a mix of jagged and (yes) swirling guitars. Frankly, every Sonic Youth fan should have jumped aboard with this band as the creativity and sonic interest is every bit as high. And with catchy songs fully evident tonight, the show is a big success. The crowd is stoked from beginning to end as every song helped build this splendid set, including Shawna's solo voice and guitar closer. Great band--I hope this isn't the last time I say that following a live show.
Photograb of the Night: Look carefully. This is a stellar makeup job from Natalie Sharp who has done other classic rock album covers and much more.