Thursday, July 1, 2010

US Royalty - Dinosaur Bones -- U Street Music Hall - June 30 2010

Dinosaur Bones - I am developing a rule stating that I will not pass up seeing a Toronto band. I have seen so many fine offerings, that my expectations were maybe a bit high this time out. We have a five-piece with full-time keyboards and a part time rhythm guitarist who handles all vocals. The sound is mid-tempo indie rock and immediately did not stand out in any way other than hundreds of other bands. However... As I continued to listen, the songs got a bit more complex and I sensed an interesting interplay between the bass and the lead guitar. The bass playing had kind of a pulsating Jah Wobble quality to it, although it was not as loud in the mix (as if that could ever happen). The lead guitar had a subtle hard clanging style which goes in a different direction. The keys and drums were solid and the vocal lines carried a fairly straightforward melody. So I saw an anchored pop-rock song in the middle surrounded by the bass and lead guitar and two different sides playfully twisting and turning me as they moved forward. Maybe I am watching too many futbol formations at the World Cup, but I liked this band's geometry. A pleasant surprise that bears further listening and keeps my faith in the high quality of music coming out of Toronto.

US Royalty - A good crowd had fully developed for this local band. They go five strong, although the keyboardist sits out a few numbers leaving the basic core musicians. The lead vocalist plays some guitar, although it was a bit buried in the sound. And that was the main problem I had here. The sound was quite loud and the club did seem to have more concrete and hard surfaces than most. The vocals were bouncing around a bit at too high a volume with plenty of loud guitar as well. It was not terrible, just a bit off for me. But the band itself was rock solid. They have sort of a mainstream indie rock sound, but plenty of good hooks and guitar work to hit high marks. They had a guest violinist pop up to add some nice color to one of their Americana-esque tunes. So there was also enough variety in the songs to make for an entertaining set. Although there was one song that kind of hit the cliche rock'n'roll lyrical moves which I have heard way too many times, but to be fair I could not make out all of the lyrics. We have a very solid quality band here and I hope to see them again some time as they are definitely worth another listen.

CD Reviews: Issue 42 of the long running Netherlands magazine, Folkworld, is now on-line. I have a boatload of CD reviews in the English language section. Obviously folk is the focus, but there are some rockers and other oddities so check it out. I review CDs for my site and this magazine (also had reviews in issue 41), so contact me if you want your current product reviewed.

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