Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Matt Tarka - Charlie and the Contraband - Double Saginaw Familiarity -- Velvet Lounge - Feb 6 2012

Day 6 -- 29 Days Later...  One of the joys of early retirement is recapturing so much freedom. I do some consulting work primarily for extra $$$, but I am also helping out some friends establish what will likely be a successful company. Still, I dont' like the days like this that sour my mood when a late meeting pretty much forces me to change my schedule and miss the Yardbirds show at the Birchmere. I mostly wanted to see how drummer Jim McCarty introduced Dazed and Confused after we exchanged some polite emails on the subject after a previous show at the State Theatre. It involves the fascinating saga of Jake Holmes and songwriting credits. Here's the story, it is a good one. But hey, there's a nice show at the Velvet Lounge tonight, so let's get started.

Double Saginaw Familiarity - This is one guy with guitar, one mic, and looping technology. He plays in a band which is immediately evident with the songs presented. Although the songs have a moody indie rock feeling that cry out for a full band, he uses the loops well and is an effective player that this ends up working quite well as a solo presentation. The songs are low key with a nice clarity. I like the fuzz tones and he even works in multiple loops that do not ever get muddled. He played a long 44 minutes but the set worked quite well while he played and avoided his lengthy chattering. Actually that was fun, but as he says: "I like to establish credibility when I play and destroy it in between songs."

Charlie and the Contraband - We have a full band this time around. Charlie plays acoustic guitar, sings and provides all the songs. He is accompanied by an electric lead guitarist, a rhythm section and Jackson Edwards of the WeatherVanes who provides vocals, steel guitar, mandolin, and harmonica. Charlie is a Texan playing Texas music for DC. It is country and western, but since it is on the western side of that equation, I am liking it. The set is really brought to life by this high quality band he has with him. The honky tonk rocking tones are there throughout the 45 minutes. My toes were tapping and the songs were easy to immerse yourself in. This band has the sound down to where the fence sitters for C+W or alt country should be able to have a great time hearing this set. I did.
Matt Tarka - We are back to a one-man act to finish up the evening. Tarka's formula is to keep it simple and direct. He sings, plays acoustic guitar and that is it. The chords are simple and strongly hit featuring plenty of barre chords. This is a style comparable with a lot of rockers turned folk artists such as Kevin Seconds and TV Smith. I am reminded quite a bit of TV Smith with the powerful direct acoustic guitar and the moderately high pitched voice that also shares the direct intensity of the guitar. If you are looking for technical prowess, well I saw a lot of that this weekend, but if you want some good songs put forward sincerely, Matt Tarka's set will do the trick. There was a small but decent crowd tonight at the Velvet Lounge--after all it is a Monday. And after three long solid sets, I was not missing the Yardbirds at all.

Quote of the Night: Right after the first set starts, someone comes up to me and asks... "So are you just sitting here in the back and listening?"
"I was just reading your blog about that guy that asked you that at a previous show."
Kudos to Jackson Edwards for catching me off guard with that deja vu joke. It helped that I did not recognize him with his slightly longer hair and the dark Velvet Lounge ambiance. Well done, sir!

No comments: