I went to the The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) with high hopes. First, I'm a big fan of Auld Lang Syne with their fantastic, heavy, electric, lounge-folk. Tonight they didn't disappoint with a set that built from catchy, straightforward acoustic rock to a wall of sound in that same style. A friend of mine had mentioned that his friend would be playing as My Brightest Diamond. Playing a variety of instruments in turn, she's an excellent soloist with a melodic voice. In all I was thrilled to have been there.
I walked through the blowing snow (because, believe it or not, it beats dusting, scraping, and shivering in the car several times) to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) to catch the show. When I got there, from Hinkley was already playing. If you read other critics, or talk to local rock band members around town, you've likely experienced the universally glowing reviews of Hinkley. In my mind, they're one of a few bands that I have weak memories of strongly enjoying, but when I'm actually at a show, I find their musical intelligence to be overwhelming and I kick myself for not going to every Hinkley show. Perhaps it was the [literal] cold weather, but I thought they sounded [metaphorically] extra warm. I describe their sound as deceptively mellow, complex rock-and-roll. I find there isn't much more point than saying, "I think they're worth seeing for this reason", and avoid the "sounds-like-these-three-bands" cliché [and remember, kids, the trendy way to pronounce is "clitch" as "clee-SHAY" is totally cliché].
Next up was the new-to-me band The Corrections. I threw the word "warm" in the adjectives in my notes, down from "extra warm" for Hinkley, so I guess it was all about average kinetic energy after all. I also described them as bouncy, alt-country rock. I'm easily swayed, and visiting their website, I decided to add "acoustic pop-rock" as well. Any of those descriptions will do. Their musicmanship was also top-notch — and their lead singer was a charismatic smiler, sending a message of welcoming familiarity to the audience. Their musical style led me to compare them to early Barenaked Ladies, 1980's Elvis Costello, and a bit of Tears for Fears, even though cliché dictates the last band be obscure. Alas, I may have tainted you alls opinions, but I believe in your ability to ignore me.
Finishing up was Burning Daylight and I was getting tired and still had an hour of walking ahead of me, so I left after just a few songs. I can't help but give them lukewarm monikers like "solid acoustic-driven bar-rock" because I just don't hear the complexity. It's good, accessible, and it rocks, but I'm seldom surprised. Like Hinkley, I have weak memories of enjoying them. However, in this case, it's indistinguishable from strong memories of somewhat enjoying them. Lots of people love them, so don't take my word for it, and don't sweat it that I'm not a big fan.
I started out by heading to The Record Archive (33 1/3 Rockwood St.) to catch the in-store bands. First up was Jay Repp playing solo. I generally liked his acoustic-rock and modern-rock style, but I wasn't particularly drawn-in by it either. As before, I greatly liked other/other/other with their melodic trancey synthesized music. It just touches on dreamy and ethereal, but stays rooted in gently danceable beats.