Band: Hudson Bell
Venue: Tangier Restaurant
Loud rock bands should not play Tangier. Tangier is an expensive restaurant with a side room with a stage and about 20 tables. Acoustic bands that you prefer to listen to sitting down should only be booked in the room. The lead singer (Hudson Bell) looked very nervous and the band seemed like they'd never played a show together. It was incredibly loud and the sound was bouncing off the walls so bad that it was unpleasant to be in the room. Between songs, the band asked trivia questions and gave away prizes. Since most of the crowd probably wasn't there to see them, it was a bad idea. Since I knew I could see them the next I left after about four songs. Maybe it got better?
Band: Hudson Bell
Venue: Sea Level Records
This show was a million times better. The band seemed much more relaxed and didn't hold a trivia contest betweeen each song. Sea Level doesn't have an expensive sound system but it still sounded good. Bell was so into it that he even fell to his knees (on the hard concrete floor) during a guitar solo. He capably pulled off the guitar sounds from the record (with the help of a second guitarist and about ten pedals) and his voice sounded like the record. After the negative experience at Tangier I was questioning my interest in the band but it was restored.
Band: The Gourds
I showed up really late and felt like I had been transported to Austin, TX. The room was packed with laidback, non-hipsters who were drinking a lot of beer. I'm not a fan of the band's music, but if I owned a club I would definitely book them. They have a great relationship with their fans and a very loyal fan base who likes to drink.
Bands: Valient Thorr / Sleeping People / Goblin Cock
Valient Thorr was silly. Like a manufactured version of Fu Manchu mixed with Nashville Pussy all the way down to denim jackets with their band name on the back. Sleeping People was the surprise of the night. They're really clean cut and play instrumental math rock that borders on prog. It's all odd time signatures that needs to be seen live. They were incredibly tight and pulled it off well. It's nice to see a female guitarist in the band because I've always associated that music with white dudes working at college radio stations. Goblin Cock came out in black hooded robes obscured by smoke and strobelights. The lead singer praised Satan and said fuck a lot. About half way through their set they did a cover of Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels." They played it straight but sloppy. It was neither funny nor good. I was on the fence before and they never got me back after that. A disappointing performance. There are a lot of things they could do to make it more interesting visually (maybe watch some Alice Cooper performances for ideas). After seeing such a tight band, they seemed sloppy. The robes and smoke only got me through the first song, then I wanted more.