Big Harp - I swore there was a fourth player hiding on the stage, but after a close-up examination, I find it is a classic trio up there with only a moderate amount of pedals. Yet somehow the guitarist coaxed a lot of fascinating keyboard and synthesized sounds out of his instrument. It really enlivened the sound, although I think the male and female vocal harmonies were warm and strong in their own right. The rhythm section was spot on as well and this band balanced power pop and popsike and ended up right in between with melodic rocking pop numbers that had enough of the 1960s psyche sound, without being quite as drenched by it all. Super catchy songs with plenty of personality will elevate things when you dare to combine or go between genres. Everything went well in this pleasant set, although I was mystified by a story of how they walked away from label interest in their new music when the label wanted to wait until 2016. That part made perfect sense, but then they released the music on cassette (and digital to be fair). Why not 8-track or wax cylinder? While I am not a vinyl fan, I am quite happy that the vinyl format is alive. But I personally have no use for tape whatsoever and I will be interested to see what the market has to say over the next few years.
The Good Life - Cursive's Tim Kasher's other band is back to DC after 8 years, which not at all coincidentally is the gap between albums. Their sound is more typical of that era and slightly before as they have a Weezer/Pixies sort of feeling. It could almost be too laid back for me, were it not for the fascinating guitar interplay that was far more clever than you hear from even good indie rock bands. The bass and the drums also had space to make their presence felt and the vocals were not quite as memorable, but decent enough. Stefanie Drootin is on bass for both bands tonight and brings a bit of personality to each set, which is endearing to the crowd that pretty much can't help but have a good time with this music. The music is much more heartier than cotton candy and candied apples, but you should feel at least a little of that innocent sort of fun.
Quiz of the Night: Name this brilliant work of literature for a prize. Email me your answers.