Celestial Low - We have a nice little area band showcase tonight with four bands from the surrounding DC area. First up is an Annapolis entry that is new to me--well, they all are. These guys line up in classic indie rock style with a couple of guitars, bass, and drums. But though the heavy indie rock sound is somewhere from within, they are far more exploratory. Early on they even remind me a bit of Kattatonia with that sort of delicate but heavy progressive sound. Vocal lines were a bit more standard, but the guitars took more chances and occasionally worked up something special. The songs are not all there yet, but if these guys keep expanding their horizons, they could develop into something the cult music fans would dig, while the mainstream fans would also pick up on. I am intrigued.
Fadest - This Baltimore quintet follow the themes from the opening band well with some very dark chords. The vocals contrast a bit, but are firm assured and bring out an accessible melody. There is a musical roar underneath it all and the guitars do not play it safe it pivotal moments. While there is some EMO punk in here, it is more Happy Go Licky than Rites of Spring, which I find more fulfilling in this day and age. These guys have all the component parts and take just enough chances to make for an exciting set. As earlier, as the songs become more expansive and challenging, they can develop into something that you may want to go out of your way for. For now, it is still an enjoyable set that works on any moderately heavy bill. It appeared most of the crowd would gladly be back to see them again some time.
Wander - Continuing the theme of heavy is Wander, a Frederick quartet that features a couple of guitars, vocalist, drummer, and some bass and other sounds worked into the mix in some manner. There are some good things at work here, but the EMO sound is a bit more standard this time around. The drumming is exceptionally powerful and there are some nice sounds and shifts at various times, but I would like to see more exploration away from comfortable expectations. But if the energy of rock music is enough for you, check out these guys as they have plenty of that.
Calm the Waters - These old bones and muscles were not holding up well, so I had to take a pass on this band. They are from Fairfax, so there is a good chance I can catch another set.
Rehearsals for Retirement: I've more than hinted at it, but the body is sending me more signals the last two nights that retirement from the live circuit will be happening some day soon. And this photo grab portends my future.