by M. Lewis Barker
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Night 5 brought some surprises.
White Elephant played what seemed to be only covers. Despite the fact that they had a really good guitarist and everyone was more than competent, they just weren’t very good. They seemed young so inexperience is the most likely cause. A whole pack of high school kids came to see them play. Even though the performance was mediocre, I can say I like the singer’s voice. Marina Tijerino is that rare breed of alto that rarely fronts bands. Just write some good songs guys then practice them a lot. You’ll get better.
My good friend Nate Baldwin and his band, the Sound (Grace LaBass, Robbie McGuire, and Archie Crisanto), put on an excellent show. Nate writes good, catchy songs. A couple of his tunes wouldn’t be out of place as the theme song to a 90s sitcom. I’ve seen him perform enough times now to be familiar with them too, and that always makes a show more enjoyable. He puts a lot of raw energy and emotion into his sets. He’d benefit from a solid lead guitarist though, like he used to have, but it’s not necessary. My only complaint (and yeah Nate, I know you’re reading this) is that he sings too much from his nose, which always reminds me too much of New Found Glory who are so very awful. It’s more of a psychological problem on my end than anything.
Third last night was the horribly dressed and even worse-mannered Lovecapades, fronted by everyone’s favorite Puerto Rican Englishman, Colin Rivera (who really should have tucked his shirt in). I’ve seen them play a number of times over the past few months, and they’ve really improved. The Lovecapades are very catchy and very pop. A djembe is enough for percussion and fits the sound well, while Steve Foster’s lead guitar keeps them from being too boring or generic. It’s too bad they’re all such jerks. (I kid. They are awesome folks.)
About 30 seconds into the fourth band, and I was right at the front of the stage watching them play, mesmerized. The Lunatic is an alternative, shoe-gazing yet energetic 6-piece. It’s rare to see a band brave enough for three guitarists, but they pull it off. They are reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine or Yo La Tengo. They use a lot of two to four part vocal harmonies, and it works every time. Despite the fact that the use three guitars, a synth, bass, and drums, the sound never feels overly cluttered and each serves its purpose quite fine. Honestly, it was my favorite performance all week. It’s not that they were the best musicians and maybe not even the best band, but they play the kind of music that appeals to me and that’s a rare thing in this town of acoustic folk and generic pop/rock.
Due to some issues with the counting system, White Elephant and The Lunatic “tied” and will both be playing tonight in the finals. So it’ll be six bands instead of five, and only two of those six are worth watching, but definitely come, because they are really worth watching.