Catching My Brightest Diamond and Auld Lang Syne at the Bug Jar

I went to the The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) with high hopes. First, I'm a big fan of Auld Lang SyneMySpace link 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 DiamondMySpace link. 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.

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Catching Stereophone and Red This Ever at the Bug Jar

I got a later start than I wanted but it turned out to be timed perfectly. Just minutes after I arrived at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.), Stereophone started their set. The trio played fast, hard-pop-rock with a notably deceptive effortlessness. Although they jokingly implied they were new to live performance, they were proficient with their songs.

Next up was Red This EverMySpace link who played great punk synth-pop. Listening to their album after the fact, I reinforced the notion that they were influenced by bands like Ministry and Depeche Mode, bringing in the hard instrumental aspects of the former with the a singing style closer to the latter. I chatted with them after the show — apparently they decided to make the road their home for the next 2 years, leaving Baltimore, Maryland in the rear-view mirror. I wish them well and hope that lead singer Roy stays serious-injury-free (despite my best efforts, advising improvements on how to attach plastic milk crates to one's feet.)

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Seeing Young Empires, Hosannas, and Black Elk Speaks at the Bug Jar's Tympanogram Show

Music blog Tympanogram hosted another show at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) After their show earlier this year, I knew I didn't want to miss this one. That, and their prolific blog has a lot of good stuff.

As always, I went in cold, having not even listening to the sample songs Tympanogram posted. Black Elk SpeaksMySpace link started things off. They do some great vocal-harmonies, and play rock influenced by a lot of genres. Although I have nothing bad to say about them, I did lose interest after a while.

Next up was HosannasMySpace link who I enjoyed a lot. They played great synth-rich atmospheric rock. I picked up their latest CD Together and have been enjoying it as well. Finishing up was Young EmpiresMySpace link who played an excellent set of synth-rock alternative.

In all another successful show — and another reason to keep an eye on what Tympanogram is up to.

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Seeing Illimanjaro, The Missing Teens, and Thunderbang at the Bug Jar

It's been a while since I wrote about seeing music at all … but I have been out. I spent some time at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) and met some cool people from the bands and from around town. The bands didn't start until late, but another local musician and friend of members of The Missing TeensMySpace link offered to let them play a bit in the basement. So we went there for a few minutes and a few songs — a proper preview of the great, high-energy rock with a lounge-jam edge we were to see later on.

Back at the Bug Jar, IllimanjaroMySpace link kicked things off with some high-power, melodic, fast rock. Their guitarist was particularly apt at very fast playing and did a few impressive solos. The Missing TeensMySpace link was up next, replacing the temporary iPod with Illimanjaro's drummer and not one but two keytars. Thunderbang!MySpace link finished things off with some well-executed funky lounge-rock and even got a few people dancing.

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Jon Moses and Les Shelleys at the Bug Jar

Once again I found myself back at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) This time it was an extraordinarily light crowd — even for a Sunday. Shelley ShortMySpace link had apparently canceled most of her tour due to some issues that kept her wanting to stay near home.

Jon Moses started things off. He's clearly more comfortable improvising and being inclusive and seemed a little off being on-stage separated from the sparse audience. Nonetheless, he showed his acoustic soloist skills admirably. Then it was Les ShelleysMySpace link turn which shrank the audience notably further since Jon relinquished the stage to once audience-members Tom BrosseauMySpace link and Angela CorreaMySpace link. They provided an impressive display of their elegant vocal harmonies and evocative lyrics — the only other instrumentation being Tom's guitar and Angie's percussive clapping and stomping which gives exactly the kind of minimal-but-not a capella sound you'd expect.

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Dave Donnelly, Daryl Fleming and the Public Domain, and Hinkley at the Bug Jar

I was pretty psyched to go to The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) tonight. I knew I couldn't go wrong with HinkleyMySpace link, I had good memories of Daryl Fleming and the Public DomainMySpace link, and recently saw the excellence of Dave Donnelly who started things off. This time on the Bug Jar's main stage, he brought a mix of original and classic country songs with a well seasoned skill and the perfect voice to do it.

Daryl Fleming was next and played his own style that is loosely an interesting mix of lyrical, groove-rock-ish country/folk/rock. He was saying beforehand that he's recently been fascinated by the unusual chord progressions in some fairly popular 1960's songs — he demonstrated it with a vocoder-enhanced cover of The Seekers' "Georgy Girl". You really never know where Daryl's mind is going to take him on stage.

Finishing up was HinkleyMySpace link who I consistently re-experience as excellent, deceptively mellow, complex rock-and-roll. I never catch on right away, but quicker-and-quicker I'm swept into the nuances of this excellent band.

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Seeing These Electric Lives, The Static Jacks, and Walri Play at Tympanogram's 1-Year Anniversary Show at the Bug Jar

I headed over to the show at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) so I could get back in practice staying out very late for tomorrow's show. It turns out, it was the 1-year anniversary of Tympanogram blog and they arranged the show. I chatted with one of the guys doing it and he seemed nice enough — and glad the show was going great.

First up was WalriMySpace link who are a nice, harmonius rock band; "psychedelic love rock", they say. Gerry Szymanski told me to check them out, and despite numerous performances in town, this is the first time I've seen them. The Static JacksMySpace link were next and did an entertaining, animated, high-energy punk-rock show. I lent a hand to plug in a lost microphone cable and keep the show going. These Electric LivesMySpace link finished off the night with some excellent, thumping, power-pop rock. And, like The Static Jacks, I was there to try and keep the microphones connected, working, and not breaking in half (the last of which without success as the lead singer was so brutally strong and/or the mic stand was already busted.) In all, it was a fantastic show in my book.

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Watching Hinkley, The Corrections, and Burning Daylight at the Bug Jar

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 JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) to catch the show. When I got there, from HinkleyMySpace link 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 CorrectionsMySpace link. 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 DaylightGarageBand linkMySpace link 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.

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The Bogs Visionary Orchestra and Eric the Taylor at Boulder then Cuddle Magic at the Bug Jar

I braved the snow and headed to Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) to catch Paul BurkeMySpace link's show there. Paul himself stopped by for a while, but he was performing with his other band, other/other/other at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) that same night (in a sadly under-advertised show). Starting out was The Bogs Visionary OrchestraMySpace link who played a rich tapestry of their modern Americana. Next was Eric the Taylor who I also liked: one guy playing ethereal, meditative, synthesized soundscapes. I'm really glad I stopped by.

Paul encouraged me to go to The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) as well so I went there and caught the tail-end of other/other/other. Next was Cuddle MagicMySpace link who I hadn't seen before. They are a large band with a variety of instruments. They play what I've come to call "motley folk" like Baby Shiver's BoutiqueMySpace link but with their own nearly orchestral arrangement. I was getting tired, and alas, couldn't stay for the rest of the night. I'll look forward to seeing them sometime soon, though.

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Old Boy and the New York Vaults at the Bug Jar

I went to The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) and caught up with Old BoyMySpace link who played great power acoustic like I expected. I can rely on these guys to really pound out some awesome music. They were followed by The New York VaultsMySpace link who played some excellent punk-rock. I didn't stay for long, though: I've been less of a party monster lately and headed home early.

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