Although some would say my musical tastes are
fairly straight-forward and easy to guess, Iíd suggest that
within some broad boundaries, I tend to like almost everything.
And this is especially true when it comes to live music. In
general, if a band has energy and fun in its set, Iím inclined
to be lenient and enjoy the music.
How is this relevant you say? Well of the three bands playing
at The Star Bar this night, Iím not a big fan of any of their
recordings (admittedly I havenít heard anything by The Ed Kemper
Trio), but I really enjoy their live sets.
The first band up was The Ed Kemper Trio, a three piece from
Montgomery, Alabama. Once they began to play, their angular
hard rock reminded me of the Dead Kennedys meets something.
At first I thought Fugazi, but thatís so trite, and doesnít
really tell you anything. Then, later on, the guitar distortion
hit me upside the head and I suddenly thought: this is sort
of like Sonic Youth. I donít like Sonic Youth, but this amalgamation
of hard guitars, bass, and drums worked for me. Of course, the
simple fact that all three band members are great musicians
really helped, and I suspect less talent would have made the
genre less enjoyable. Either way, I really liked this band,
and I felt that the crowdís tepid reception didnít do them justice.
Afterwards, the most popular of the bands this evening -- The
Young Antiques -- played. Some Minions are really big fans of
this band, but Iím not. Thatís not to say theyíre a bad band;
in fact theyíre rather talented and quite accessible (if one
judges by the large numbers of fans they draw). I just find
something missing in the music; I canít quite tell you what
it is, but for some reason The Young Antiques just donít connect
However, this live show was something else entirely. Filled
with energy and drive, their older songs were pulled along by
a newfound energy that gave the music extra pep, and kicked
it up a notch. Furthermore, in the past when theyíve debuted
new music, it has seemed somewhat slow paced and hesitant. Instead,
on this evening the trio attacked every song, moving forward
without breaks or pauses. As their too short set ended, I was
very pleased and looked forward to seeing them live again.
Now, I really want to like The Close. Their indie rock/garage/dance
band sound is pretty much right down my musical alley. In fact
the couple of times IĎve seen them in concert, Iíve really enjoyed
their sets; however, I have their self titled debut album, and
it does nothing for me.
As usual, though, I liked this night's live performance a lot,
even though it seemed like the keyboardist sang and played less
than she had previously. Even without her, the band drove forward,
propelled by the vocals and by the bassist. At their best, The
Close reminds me of the late, lamented Kiss Offs, with the interplay
of male and female vocals over keyboards and guitars. Even then,
they donít have the passion and fire of that other band. At
other times, however, they remind me more of early Verbena,
a band in which the female voice isnít as dominant and the vocals
have a slight whine to them. Still it all works in a live setting.
And I think they put on a great show to a small crowd, and like
both previous bands, I want to see them again.
All in all it was a good solid evening at The Star Bar. Even
though the bill didnít seem like the most coherent one, all
the bands sounded good, and it even seemed like everyone on
the stage was having a good (if not spectacular) time.