Sunday, July 17, 2005

Gig Reviews

The Von Bondies; World Leader Pretend, Dan Dyer
@Pier 54
New York, NY – July 7, 2005

The Von Bondies headlining free-show engagement in the Big Apple was exactly like their last time here. Good, if not great songs, with solid performing but missing that oomph that makes a rock band memorable. Debuting a litany of new material, Jason Stollsteimer and company seem poised to head down a path of pop riffs, rather than the raw garage that gave the band its legs. Drummer Don Blum’s singing debut wasn’t too shabby but the mic system was bad for everyone except Jason (who still has a great voice). And it must be said, just because: Marcie Bolan is so cute and pretty. World Leader Pretend work a mostly weak but sometimes engaging pop-rock band from New Orleans. Their persistent smiles and overzealous body movements accelerated the dork factor and sullied the band. Dan Dyer (or as he credits it, “The Dan Dyer Band”) is an Austin, Texas dude who mixes it up between Ryan Adams’ Rock N Roll record and r & B tinged pop. That’s right – alt-country rock meets modern soul. A great voice with an expert band, if just a little pedestrian, there is great potential for Dyer.

The Caesars
; The Sights; The Golden Republic
Brooklyn, NY – July 14, 2005

Behold the sleek black dressed smooth yet feisty garage of Sweden’s the Caesars. They remind me most of Del Shannon. But to be honest, there is not much else to say. It was solid fun but not exactly much to go on about. There is something gravitating about them but it’s hard to sell. Just go see them and enjoy. Another biased report from me on the Sights, as I helped out with roadie duties, received attention for my “It Came From Detroit” t-shirt, and once again got good and smashed with Eddie Baranek. Musically, the Sights were tighter this time. Opening act the Golden Republic, from Kansas City, was sensationally good live, sparking their pop songs with dance-rock hooks. They pounded away and yet sounded smooth as silk. Warning: Their album is nowhere near the same, simply dry indie-pop. Shame.

Holly Golightly; The Woggles; The Insomniacs
Hoboken, NJ – July 15. 2005

Returning as always with Bruce Brand and a couple young pups, the lovely and talented miss Holly Golightly dishes out the blues in her jazzy and country-ish cabaret garage way. Intimate and subtle, the Golightly band conjures up something along John Lee Hooker meets Marlene Dietrich. The Cramps without the Goth, Georgia’s Woggles are assuredly one of the most highly charged acts I have ever seen. Their own little legend, the Woggles show no signs of aging. While many a lead singer and/or guitar player can go crazy in the crowd, to see the singer, the guitarist, and the bassist all go out into the crowd and out of the room and come back…that’s something special. The Insomniacs – breaking the streak of good things from Jersey only starting with the letter S – are 60’s looking throwbacks and garage making monsters. A rocking set of tunes culminating in their hit “Switched On”. Good stuff.

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