Looking back (Live Review: The Ointments, AA, The Wilderness, Kite Pilot); looking forward (Compost reunion; Criteria for free)…
First, a brief glance at the weekend. I caught just about 8 minutes of The Doobie Brothers at Memorial Park last Friday, and I must say, they sounded rather good. My vantage point was below stage right as I waited for them to finish and for the fireworks to begin. Note to self: Always view fireworks from this vantagepoint — they were going off right over my head.
Sunday night was a long one. It started with a trip to West O to check out Shag — you’ll read more about that tomorrow when I post this week’s Lazy-i column. On stage was The Ointments — a trio featuring singer-songwriter Reagan Roeder on guitar/vocals, singer-songwriter Kyle Harvey on bass and singer-songwriter Landon Hedges on the skins. The result is guitar-fueled power-pop a la Matthew Sweet or (in a couple instances) Teenage Fanclub. Sound good? It would sound even better if the songs had better hooks. While all three are competent musicians, the songs fell flat and were generally forgettable — which was surprising coming from three talented singer-songwriters. They were followed by what I’m told was a two-hour set by Anonymous American (or two one-hour sets, as Whipkey says he was planning a break in the middle to sell merch). I caught most of the first set, and as always Whipkey and company delivered high energy Stones-meets-The Boss-meets-altcountry rock, complete with the Whip’s trademark drumset dives.
I took off at around 11 and hightailed it to O’Leaver’s where Baltimore’s The Wilderness was about to take the stage in front of 30 people tops. Despite the thin crowd, the band played a potent set of feedback-driven, guitar-chime rock driven by throbbing tribal drums and lead singer James Johnson’s John Lydon-style chant vocals. Johnson, looking like David Cross but with (a little) more hair, did a weird T’ai Chi-style slow-motion dance, at one point wrapping himself around a post and laying on the ground pounding his palms to the floor. Weird, in an early David Byrne sort of way. I guess you had to be in the right mood, and I was, while the guy next to me hated it.
Kite Pilot, featuring new drummer Jeremy Stanosheck, was next. I’d heard from a couple people that their last O’Leaver’s gig was spotty and off-kilter. They sounded pretty spot-on, however, Sunday night, unveiling a couple songs from their upcoming CD, which were something of a departure from the stuff on their EP. The opening song, for example, was launched by full-on screaming by Austin Britton before moving into more traditional territory. Another sported numerous time- and key changes that at first felt awkward before it all pulled together in the end. I’m guessing their new music will be more challenging for the traditional listener to grasp; it’ll also likely be more rewarding. We’ll see when the CD becomes available later this fall.
And now glancing toward later this week — Thursday to be precise — when two interesting shows will be taking place concurrently. First, influential ’90s-era LinOma band Compost will reunite at Mick’s in Benson for one night. The line-up includes guitarist/vocalist Matt Rutledge (The Third Men), bassist Mike Fratt (Goodbye Sunday), drummer Mark Quinn and guitarist/vocalist Todd Grant. Headlining the show is Sonata Form, a new project by Jeff Carlson, formerly of ’90s power-pop act Gladhands.
Meanwhile, the same night down at O’Leaver’s, Criteria will be playing a last-minute set (apparently by themselves). Frontman Stephen Pedersen says it’s a free show. I’m guessing it’s a tune-up before the band takes off on a European tour for a couple weeks, eventually swinging back to the U.S. for a handful of dates with The Appleseed Cast.
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