I posted on Twitter/Facebook Friday night that Brimstone Howl’s set at The Barley St. had made me reconsider the band. Someone quickly asked in a comment if I meant that “in a good way.”
I’ve always liked Brimstone and thought they were a fun band to see live, but like a lot of other so-called “garage bands” all their songs generally sound the same to me. You could step outside the club, come back in and hear a song that sounded just like the one that was playing when you left. It’s a common criticism, and in the end, does it matter? Isn’t that part of the reason why so many people like the Ramones? You not only want but you expect all their songs to sound the same. It’s not so much about the music as it is about the energy. And if you’re not drunk, a little goes a long way.
That wasn’t the case with Brimstone Friday night — their set was was their most musically varied that I’ve ever heard them play. I point to the new album, Big Deal, What’s He Done Lately, which combines elements of garage with ’60s psychedelic and straight-up vintage rock balladry. It’s easily my favorite among their catalog thanks to how it combines styles and sounds that compliment each other, making each song even more interesting. And that’s what we got Friday night.
So the short answer was, yeah, I meant it in a good way. Brimstone Howl is dragging itself to the next level, whether they’re trying to or not.
Brimstone was the late show. Earlier that evening I listened to a set by The Answer Team at The Waiting Room and was underwhelmed. My enthusiasm was probably dampened by having to wait what seemed like a half-hour for them to take the stage after their pre-set soundcheck. Oh well. They were opening for Honey & Darling, who in a very short time have managed to generate nice crowds to their shows. There were about 100 on hand for their CD release party for their new EP, What Became of What I Love. The trio of Sara, Matt and Robert sounds like a cross between a riot grrrl band (Dresch/Huggy Bear) and Sebadoh, and aren’t afraid of drenching songs in feedback. Check out the EP if you can find it.
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Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s Pennsylvania folkie Langhorne Slim with Dawes and the amazing Bear Country. LS, a.k.a. Sean Scolnick, just released a new album on Kemado called Be Set Free. $8, 9 p.m.
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