Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sam Champion, Drug Rug, The XYZ Affair, Salt and Samovar @ Bowery Ballroom

Sam Champion; Drug Rug; The XYZ Affair; Salt & Samovar
@ Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY - February 15, 2008

So Sam Champion apparently isn't named after the local-turned-national weatherman. Yeah right. Either way, the band Sam Champion revels in an array of 70's arena, southern, and hard rock with many deviations to 80's pop rock (including a cover of Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby"). It's easy to see why they've been a New York happening band for awhile, but they also really should have taken off by now. What's the hold up? This is prime material for major success.
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The other 3 bands of the night have all been reviewed before and while none of them were bad the first time around, they all exponentially improved since those first times.
Drug Rug has mutated some of the country stomp from the CMJ show into power chord rock n' roll. They can really get a fire going, especially lil' Sarah Cronin with her Angus Young-style spasms, using a guitar that's probably twice her body weight and practically her height. The band, which seems leaner from the first review, has really tapped into something solid, whether it be from their own material or in a cover of a friend of theirs, who is in a band called Viva Viva (though I swore Sarah said "Diva Viva" which had me wondering about the rhyming schemes and what they are smoking up there in Boston).


Alex Feder and the lads in the XYZ Affair bookended their set with their twin power pop hits of 2007 but in the middle they played a sly take on Indie pop. They really sound like no one else. The affable, friendly quartet were joined by a small horn section to do a little Earth, Wind, & Fire post-Valentine's groovin'. Watch out for these guys: they had the largest crowd of the night. Side fashion note: guitarist/keyboardist Russ looked like the second coming of Billy Zoom last review in July, now he's sporting a Joe Jackson/Woody Allen combined look. It's good.

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Salt & Samovar seemed to offer a lot more than what was kind of a lumbering set at the O'Death show in December. They incorporate a larger sound, variations on rock and country, and maybe even a little surf on one or two songs?

DJ Awesome Goodtimes spun records between sets and now some observations: The Rapture's "Get Myself Into It" is a smash hit and PEOPLE STILL LOVE THE DARKNESS. THE DARKNESS. But the Strokes' "Hard to Explain" killed the crowd. That's right. New Yorkers were still sweet on the Darkness but not the Strokes. `

Whoever booked this show deserves a slap on the back. This is one of those rare gigs where every act on the bill is a known or budding quantity in the New York music circle. And it was the right mix. Kudos.

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At February 21, 2008 at 11:10:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>It's easy to see why they've been a New York happening band for awhile, but they also really should have taken off by now. What's the hold up?

The band is dull. That's what is the hold-up.


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