Psychic Subcreatures - A local quartet starts us off tonight in the big room of the Black Cat with a decent enough crowd that is pushed forward, which is a good sign that there is some enthusiasm in the air. We have drums, guitar, female vocals, and a synthesizer player on stage. Yes, he handles the bass sounds and more frequently than the occasional classic synth quirkiness. The opener reminds me of 50-Foot Hose as just about any synth-mysterious female vocal song will do. But they move into more garage punk territory with a bit of that surf-reverb sound working in, such as in many LA bands. The vocals are solid, not over the top, and come somewhat in between Alice Bag and Niagara (Destroy all Monsters). There are some catchy moments in here along with plenty of power. When they nail a particularly good song, they really show off a strong ability to attract a lot of rock fans who seek both intensity and flair. Nice set, well received.
Caustic Casanova - My favorite homegrown trio is back and I am seeing them for the first time in a long, long while. Although I have missed them, it does offer an opportunity to take a more fresh view without the memories of recent reviews in my ever evaporating short term memory. All the signature moves are there: Stephanie's accurate powerhouse drumming along with increasing vocal help; Francis' vocal intensity and throbbing bass runs; and Andrew's sonic assault guitar style that keeps it psychedelic in sound but metallically powerful throughout. The one thing that strikes me is that all the touring has paid off with an even more together and confident band that has the great noisy style that Hüsker Dü used to employ by keeping transitional noise going between songs that never allowed you to catch your breath. And the songs are distinct enough to have their own character, although tonight it was more about the overall effect. As usual they had my mind wandering around to all kinds of great music from different scenes and eras as their opening riff took me back to Ted Nugent's 'Stranglehold' (?!) and their closing freak-out reminded me of the MC5 cutting into 'Black to Comm' but not quite hitting the Paik finish (which is possibly one of the best all-time). And based on the big ovation at the end, the sonic effect of the entire powerfully constructed set worked on all the enthusiastic rockers in attendance. They are off to explore the country further this summer, so if they head to your town, do yourself a favor and check them out.
Kill Lincoln - And the local showcase of strong talented band continues with a power trio that makes room for a brass trio downstage center. The guitar and bass player handle the vocals and along with the drummer cook up a loud raucous dance punk musical blend. Of course you can toss them into ska punk with this kind of lineup, but it was even more straight up rock than many of those bands. The two trombones and one saxophone were up to the pace and power of the rock band and everything came together for some great hard edged dance tunes that the people up close to the stage were taking advantage of. Even us older, cooler heads in the back were enjoying this all. I did not stick around for the full set, due to a late night plan tonight, but I highly doubt any of the energy faded throughout their set. I just didn't get to see if the one on-stage dancer/jumper did anything more than that guy for Madness did in the early days.
Facebook Grab of the Night: Happy 40th anniversary to the Damned one of my favorite and still undersung bands of all-time (and check out this great BBC Radio6 documentary). Their recent shows have gone well, but still allowed time for long-time Crystal Palace supporter Captain Sensible to take in that tough loss to ManU at Wembley with UK Subs bassist, Alvin Gibbs.