Glancing over the line up for the Blowout on Thursday earlier in the day, I began to realize that I’d only heard of a couple of bands. With that in mind, I had to develop a system to help me decide who to see over the course of the evening. Here’s how it panned out:
The Darts were playing at Paycheck's, which is very close to where I live. That seemed as good a reason as any to start there. Ten minutes later, their helium-voiced singer had driven me out. I immediately abandoned the "geography" system.
Citizen Smile were described as “pop-punk” in the Metro Times (I think, although it might have been “power-pop”), and a dose of sunshine-y melodies sounded like just what the doctor ordered. Their set at Smalls was suitably fun and smiley. The "follow the MT descriptions" system might just have legs.
Foolishly, I changed tact and decided to go see Public Pubes at the Trowbridge House, simply because they had a funny name. This was a big mistake. The duo sat/crouched on the floor wailing in an aborigine-esque manner over droning loops. The worst thing is, in the cold light of day, their name isn’t even that funny.
Fields of Industry were described in the MT as sounding a little like the Velvet Underground. Being a big fan of everything Lou Reed has ever done, this sounded good and so off I went to the New Dodge. Sadly, they didn’t live up to their billing. Maybe they sounded like the Velvets during a rehearsal of songs that Mo Tucker had written? I’m not sure, but I decided to go back to my "funny names" system.
I actually had more luck this time, ending up at Kelly’s Bar to see the Jesus Chainsaw Massacre. Sitting somewhere between the Stooges and Suicide, JCM were manic and terrible, but absolutely entertaining. No complaints here. My joy turned to sadness, however, when I discovered that there were no more bands playing tonight that had anything even approaching a silly name. What to do?
I was saved temporarily, due to the fact one of the few bands I had heard of tonight, Millions of Brazilians, were playing next back at the New Dodge. There’s a huge buzz surrounding these boys at the moment, and it’s absolutely deserved. They rip and tear through a set of Foo Fighters-meets-Arctic Monkeys alt-rock with a refreshing sense of passion and determination. OK, the angst may seem a little choreographed at times, but they’re making a loud noise and having a good time doing it. God bless ‘em.
While watching Millions of Brazilians, I bumped into local bass legend Paul Randolph, who informed me that he would soon be making his way over to the Belmont to see his friend's band, Beverly Fresh. Hence began my "Shit, I might as well follow my buddy’" system. BF weren’t at all bad, even if the frontman did look and rap like a drunk homeless guy. I mean that as a compliment.
I once interviewed the Dial Tones and they seemed like nice guys, so that simple fact led me to Kelly’s Bar once again. They were OK. There’s really not a lot to be said about them, though. They were actually more fun on the phone than onstage.
For the final band of the night, I used the "Who will have the most people on stage at the same time?" system, which led me to the Knights of Columbus Hall to see the Silent Years. They’re actually a pretty good band, their lush melodies falling somewhere between Arcade Fire and Radiohead. But the nagging question remains" How can 14 or so people on stage sound like just four? Were the choir’s mics even turned on? I could see saxophones but couldn’t hear anything approaching a brass instrument. Still, you’ve got to admire their ambition.
Finally, I used the 'Fuck me, I'm tired' system" and went to bed.