Sunday, December 14, 2008

Strip Mall Ballads/Southeast Engine/North of Canada - Red & the Black - Dec 12 2008

Another cold night in the funky Northeast quarter. I do enjoy H Street up here as it reminds me of Broadway in Denver, places that could be used for movie backgrounds from the 60s and possibly earlier in some spots.

North of Canada comes from the south part of DC and was a four-piece with two guitars. Started and finished strong with a middle that had my mind drifting a bit. Vocals were ok when they were straightforward and not straining to hit notes. Nice guitar rock at times and perfectly decent for an opener in an upstairs loft which this club pretty much is.

Southeast Engine comes from Southeast Ohio, Athens in particular--home of Ohio University. I spent a night there once in 1976. They had keys, guitar, bass and drums and kind of ran the gamut from California stylized 70s rock to more of a rootsy midwest sound. A couple of songs went a bit quiet, a couple of times the keyboardist did some honkey tonk, and once they even went part mystical ala Woven Hand. The variety and quality worked with me. Good set, not something I want to go nuts over and buy their back catalogue, but a band I was happy to see.

Strip Mall Ballads - This DC outift had some amusing songs from the lyrics I could pick out (not my strong suit). The singer played banjo and acoustic guitar with a guitarist, bassist, and harmonica player helping out. This sounded more of a talented busker playing with some other musicians who laid some notes out there without anyone really caring what the full effect was. And the effect was just a bit on the dull side for me. Nothing hdeous, just les interesting than I had hoped. I think there were some good songs there, but I would like to hear them in a different way. After writing this review, I looked for a weblink for them and found no website of Myspace page, so that kind of proves my point I guess.

Quote of the Night: "Thanks for being quiet during the quiet song" from Southeast Engine's bassist. The crowd hushed considerably when the singer was accompanied by light drumming in a couple spots which was nice as there were other times that it was the typical people carrying on loud and long conversations while the band played. I mean there are only a thousand other bars without cover charges that you can converse in along with plenty of down time between bands as well as a downstairs bar you can go. I did see less cell phone checking on the plus side, but I was kind of toward the front.

No comments: