The Sea Life - The one local band tonight gets proceedings started. The singer guitarist seems worried that the quiet crowd is ok. Well they are, but only 20 people of what will be a large crowd are here early enough to catch this set. Thus, a problem of being the third band on a weekday bill, which usually caters to two bands. I am not sure that too many of the late arriving crowd will have felt like they missed much, as this band while creating a nice sonic racket, does not really stand out in any deeper way. But as an opener, it was still a good warm-up. There was one song with some tempo shifts that showed some promise and I hope they can continue to work up some interesting songs to go with their sound.
Ultimate Painting - If you were thinking that this might be a California band laying out some lovely easy going psychedelic indie rock, you may have been surprised by the English accents from the band. This quartet (a duo of guitarist/vocalists along with a rhythm section for the live dates) has great ability in capturing a groove with their music. And the songs are top drawer, which is what really catches my ear tonight. The hooks are there and the guitar parts work off the beat in different ways, always locking in by measure's end. These are lovely, carefully worked out songs with vocals that also show care and flair with different leads and harmonies when desired. They close out with a longer jam to remind everyone they can also extend these songs into free flowing fun. Great ovation at the end for this superb band--what a treat!
Woods - I have already had my fun, but why not stick around for an always interesting American band that has a style that works well off of Ultimate Painting's set. This quartet is now five with a keyboards/vocals/harmonica/saxophone player in addition to the twin guitar quartet. The music is liquid as ever with a strong current running deep. Their albums have shown clever variety within their overall scope and this set shows some of that as well, as the intensity and sonic strength ebbs and flows smoothly. Smooth is a key word with Woods, for as they flex their active basslines, and sharp guitar solos, the overall effect warmly flows over the well populated room. Woods once again puts on a fine show at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel and they are a band I am happy to see every time through. All the better that they have such a great touring partner. You won't beat this bargain tour.
Quote of the Night: overheard at the club (nothing exciting but I don't get accounting talk any more)... "Like Dollar Cost Average, that sort of thing?"