Anna Rose - Joined by Adam Stoler on lead acoustic guitar and backing vocals, Anna Rose handles the lead vocals and offers rhythm guitar much of the time. They occasionally employ a bass drum beat whose unwavering rhythm surprisingly adds an anchor to show how interesting the guitar parts are. The lead guitar rarely mirrors Rose's chords, but locks into the vibe of the song well and can offer quiet sonic coloring to searing rock solos. Rose carries the songs further with a powerful voice that does not merely go into over the top blues style. Blues based rock music is far more the heart of their sound with only traces of folk or country here. They use effects well, again never overwhelming the listener. I loved their little nod to Led Zeppelin tossing in a passage from their interpretation of 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' into one of their songs. They also covered Dolly Parton and Warren Zevon, much to the pleasure of this large audience. This was an excellent set of music with the just the right balance of daring and comfort. Her music and live performance is a great match with a wide variety of styles and has the power and presence to move the front of the line.
Howie Day - This was more of a standard set featuring this Maine veteran on voice and acoustic guitar. His expressive vocals are clearly the star early on as the guitar playing is decent, but along more predictable lines. The songs are fine folk-pop numbers that are easy to latch on to and listen to his vocal work carry them further. The third song really awakened me to his potential as he looped a percussive pattern he created on his guitar body and continued looping tricky little guitar sounds and voice to create a mysterious and broad soundscape. I have seen this all before, but his nearly effortless way of creating magic showed why he gets the following he does. He has great personality on the simpler songs and they are all well and good. But I enjoyed the more original moves in this set.
Quote of the Night: Howie Day... "All right, I've just been playing sad stuff so far, so I'll just continue doing that."