PWR BTTM - Thanks to a slow line, I missed a song and a half. I didn't mind the half as they were doing their thing to the 'Wild Thing' riff. But I quickly settled in with the crazy fun sounds of this guitar and drums duo. They both sang leads and switched instruments, vowing to attempt to destroy their new instrument. Crazed pop songs and gutsy rock moves with quirky twists and turns kept me on edge throughout. The real success was their patter, which was some of the best ever and had the crowd laughing all through the set. Flaming weirdness here from a couple guys who list their hometown as Sodom and Gomorrah. What a great way to start the night.
Sun Club - The craziness continues with this Baltimore outfit that is also doing many dates of this tour. They invoke some sort of party with Sparks, Devo, and the Dickies, although at times they are more like Comets on Fire, with a bit more pop moves in the formula. The sounds they cook up with guitars and some keyboards are pretty wild. I swear I even hear Tommy Hall's electric jug in the mix at times. The vocals are twisted, the energy is great, and even with less patter, there is the same sense of fun and reckless abandon we had from the opener. This is already a successful show with two different sounding bands working along the same theme.
Ra Ra Riot - While not as crazy as the first couple of bands, this veteran Syracuse collective injects plenty of fun to their lively pop rock songs. They have been around for a decade now and this is the first I caught up with them since I caught an outdoor show in Denver in the first couple years of their existence. I thought they were decent then, but now have even a greater command of their sound and songwriting. They feature a cello and violin among the usual rock instruments, yet they do not dominate the sound. They rather remind me of a post punk ELO with their sound being more nimble and crackling. The strings occasionally smooth out the tough rhythms and sharper edges, but not often and it is a fun contest to watch and hear. Quite a pleasure and this band might as well accept their status as a headliner for a club this size, although I am sure they enjoyed the little club tour they did last year that included the DC9. But they are big, bold and can entertain the masses with the best of them.
Quote of the Night: From the openers... "This is the perfect place for us to make jokes about politics... but we don't know anything. I only recall what I learned in school: So hey there, how about that Louisiana Purchase?"