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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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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Autumn in Halifax, Part of Baby Shiver's Boutique, and The Leaky Boat Blues with Dr. Hamburger at the Bug Jar

I stopped by The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) for the show — one I was quite excited about. Dr . HamburgerMySpace link was providing projected video over the bands. Starting out was The Leaky Boat Blues which was Tim from A WonderfulMySpace link. He played some great acoustic that I really liked. Next was a nearly minimal version of Baby Shiver's BoutiqueMySpace link. I have to make it a point to see these guys more often — their "motley folk" music is enhanced by their singer's crystal clear and ever-so-melancholic voice. Finishing up the night was Autumn In HalifaxMySpace link — just Dave this time accompanied by the electronic-boxes form of the Leaves. His luscious, poetic acoustic rock always cracks open some inner creativity and I'm left longing for the night to never end.

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Autumn in Halifax and the Weird Weeds at the Bug Jar

I got to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) a bit early just in case but things got started later than usual. I chatted a bit with Dave Merulla of Autumn In HalifaxMySpace link who was interested in what I'd think of the show tonight. Despite my description last week, Dave would be playing things vanilla acoustic style: no "Leaves" (additional members who join him now and then) and no "band in a box" (a reference he made a few years ago to the digital effects he uses).

In the end, the show was excellent. It's still Dave and still his songs. He was clearly itching to use some effects or have people accompany his playing at times, but he persevered. Afterward he said that he likes to do a few shows all alone like that to shake out the songs. It's like he's building a foundation: that the melody and lyrics have to be strong on their own before he fiddles around with adding decoration and style. And they are generally strong songs to start with. He'll be playing them with "The Leaves" in July at The Little Theatre Café (240 East Ave.).

I've come to really appreciate what he's trying to accomplish. He said that he enjoys playing with additional people for the variation it causes — that there's always something unknown by doing that. He commented that it's usually a matter of trying to figure out which of the wheels is going to fall off first. And as such, the band is constantly changing … I said that my notes on bands are thrown way off with this kind of thing: by this time next year, Autumn in Halifax will have a completely different sound, although rooted in the same quality of music.

I got to thinking about how I like to see people do what they've done before, but it kind of makes them machines. I already have machines for that: they play back audio recordings. So no matter how many times any band plays something different, there's always the possibility of revisiting what was through the last CD.

Anyway, the other band up was The Weird Weeds. They do a sort of accessible experimental music — a bit of alternative-rock and with a bit of experimentation and a bit of harmonization. One of their members was nursing some kind of cold with whiskey, but they still did a great job.

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