Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tommy Keene - Doug Gillard Electric - Sally Crewe & the Sudden Moves -- Iota - Sep 9 2011

Sally Crewe & the Sudden Moves - Sally Crewe is Austin based, playing electric guitar and singing. Her Sudden Moves include a bassist and drummer. Things start out nicely enough with a couple of short punchy pop-rock songs that remind me of the early work of Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds. From the third song on until the last two songs, Doug Gillard joined in. Obviously the sound thickened up nicely with lots of additional twists and turns from Gillard's quick little leads and fills. Clever and fun little gems here. She played a long set and the crowd ate it up.

Doug Gillard Electric - Doug Gillard leads a trio for most of the set with Sally Crewe joining him for several numbers in the middle section. I first saw Guillard with latter era Guided By Voices when he was clearly the one guy on stage who drove the music forward and kept it all together due both to his skill and his relative sobriety. He has loads of experience, most of which I have never heard. Oddly enough, not only do I know his work with Death of Samantha, but I also had a record with his hardcore act, Starvation Army, which I doubt anyone in this audience had heard of.  So he has a massive body of work and he showcased plenty of it tonight with some songs that sounded familiar (from Gem, maybe GBV, maybe not but I heard some of this on Jack Rabid's radio show). Anyway, this is quirky, catchy indie rock with really great songwriting. The human jukebox, Robert Pollard, is not needed as Gillard can come up with super catchy songs on his own. He has a decent voice and the music combines a busy sense with a smooth flow. The bass player was from Phantom Tollbooth. He and the drummer did well and the band ultimately delivered a great set.
Tommy Keene - DC's Tommy Keene has had a great presence on the national scene for some time. He has been a major presence in the power pop scene as well as working with some other masters like Paul Westerberg and Robert Pollard. He leads a four-piece tonight and has a sizable crowd, many of which know his material quite well. Recovering from my cold meant I had to cut this set a bit short tonight. It was going pretty well, although it was just a little too smooth for my tastes. I think a lead guitarist with a more jagged edge would have worked wonders and brought what I heard up to the level of the earlier bands. The songs are there, but I bet the arrangements have been better in years past.

Quote of the Night: Sally Crewe after changing a guitar midsong... "Sorry, but I always play that A string." Yes, well there's a mathematical principle in their somewhere. Still, full credit for soldiering on and not stopping the song.

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