Wylder - A DC collective starts us off tonight, and if the band contains drums, bass, guitar, keys AND violin and mandolin, you would be hard pressed to guess anything other than Americana or some rootsy nearby sound. And you would be correct, although the band's diversity and pop integration create a more original and satisfying sound. The violinist is particularly talented and has a lot of original moves that really give this music a unique touch. But the band is loaded with fine players and songs that are mostly bright and fun, but with just enough deeper and darker moments to keep a long set continually interesting.
Marrow - After I got over my 'did Chris Darrow cover Yarrow?' thought and wondering if I specifically chose to come out tonight with the 'I shot an Arrow in the air, where it landed I know not where' sense of randomness as the reason; I settled down to listen. No Americana here but a quartet from Chicago that has loads of sound and precision spraying off in many less than random directions. There are folky Velvet Underground moments, American krautrock excursions, and even math rock that somehow sounds positively poppish. The female vocalist on keyboards often harmonizes with the male vocalist on guitar emitting an intriguing but melodic focus. Their instrumental moves are quite adventurous as well and I like the fuzz in the guitar that sounds great, but somehow does not really invoke the sixties. Well, except for one song where they sound like Fifty Foot Hose, who only through sheer accidental birth, was a sixties band. Clever, accessible, weird, and wonderful--this band with only one album to its name is on to something. It was a small crowd tonight, but the enthusiasm per person was as high as anything I've seen in a small to moderate sized crowd in some while. So grab on to this band, while you can, although I think that there may be a ceiling for bands with this much creativity. Then again, bands like Sonic Youth have raised that ceiling, so I will anxiously watch how Marrow develops.
Video of the Night: Well let us give credit to Fifty Foot Hose, as they are not exactly a household name.