Review by Alphonse Leong
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
I thought the drummer for the first band, the Liminals, was late, but, no, the girl of eighteen was just hidden behind the cymbals! She and the band immediately laid down a hooky groove that drew everyone to the dance floor. Like a cross between Red Hot Chili Peppers and maybe the Grateful Dead, the group's sound was unpredictable, and even somewhat discordant. The vocals, too, were a little choppy and maudlin (possibly deliberately), but, overall, there was a danceable appeal to the group's set. The bassist had the flaming red locks and aggressive string sliding of Rush's Geddy Lee -- but didn't have the bank of foot pedals.
Next band Web featured a flute-playing lead singer! While the reedwork fit nicely with the band's syncopated style, the often didactic vocals seemed extraneous. Certainly, several of the songs had very original structures, but these seemed a bit long and veered too much into self-indulgent territory. Of course, any rock flutist has to be compared to that Jethro Tull guy, and Web's frontperson held her own nicely, even if she didn't do any barefoot pirouettes!
Headliners Silicon Souls are supposedly on their way to big time recognition, according to some hypey statements I heard floating around me, but I'm not convinced. Yeah, the four-piece horns were sharp and lively and the bass playing exquisitely hypnotic, but the vocalist seems a little too imitative of 60's soul singers. It's also one thing to lay down funky tunes in a frat party-like environment and completely another thing to actually compose and record heartfelt soul that will last the ages.
They were a lot of fun, though, slipping in a cover of "Play That Funky Music" and thoroughly invigorating the crowd. Musically, the chops are there (nice licks from the most egoless guitarist I've ever seen: he was content standing hidden behind the brass section!). And these guys have done their groundwork: they did a nice cover of "Superstition," something you could hear coming right from their set's opening, but which didn't appear until after last call and all the lights were up!
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