I had a great time seeing music Wednesday night at The Monkey House. It was one of those classic shows where it’s a couple of local bands and a band from out of town that I do not know. I like that I get to see bands I love then see bands I know nothing about and might get to love. I’ve been turned on to a lot of great music that way, and Wednesday was no exception.
Since it was my day off, it was easy to get to the show on time. It was listed as doors at 7:45 and show at 8:15. I arrived around 8:20 and Let’s Whisper went on as I walked in. I love shows that start on time. The first song sounded a bit overly loud, but I was in the back settling in, so it was hard to tell. They worked with the sound guy before the second song and sounded great as I moved closer to the front. They have played around a few times, but it’s always been bad timing so I had not seen them. I knew Colin and Dana from The Smittens, and they were joined by Brad on drums and Brian on electric guitar. Colin played electric also and Dana alternated between ukelele and acoustic guitar. It was bit odd that they had no bass player, but Colin filled in the low end when needed. While the songs had a bit of the Smittens light pop feel, many had a bit of an alt rock edge. The melodies were strong and they had me rocking for the whole show. The guitar interplay between Brian and Colin was fun to listen to as they played rhythms and leads together. Colin and Dana did most of the singing, and their voices blended nicely when they sang together. Most of the songs were short, but they played a lot of them, and I had a great time for every note.
The changeover was pretty quick, and soon enough Swale hit the stage with a simmeringly gentle Soft Fireworks, that flowed gorgeously into Dimedrop. They kept the pace of the evening on the mellow side, but even when playing a bit slow, their songs have a power that just comes through. They played sweet versions of Lost and Overcoat. They represented the new album nicely with Old School, a killer version of Golden Crutch, and the easy to bop along to Waiting For You. As the set had almost ended, they said they would play an extra slow one. Good Medicine took it’s time to gently coalesce, then as it moved though verse and chorus, it built and built culminating in a magnificent Eric Olsen guitar freakout, then gently settled into the ending. Swale, is there anything they can’t do?
Feeling sated but curious, I hung out to see Allo Darlin’. Their set changeover was pretty efficient and soon enough, they were on stage playing some bouncy alt rock. The first song had a jangle pop verse and a rocking chorus, and I was having fun from the first note. The full crowd was having a great time too. They mixed it up with some mid tempo stuff, and a couple that rocked out. Bright Eyes stands out as one that really rocked and that I liked the most. The band were super tight and had a fun stage presence. The bass player had the line of the night when he said the last time they played The Monkey House both Dio and Gary Coleman died. He asked us to check on the health of Bruce Dickinson and Steve Urkel. The band rocked for just over an hour and called it a night. The audience wanted more and Elizabeth returned to the stage solo with ukelele and closed the night with a gentle song. It was a brilliant night, and I’m glad I got to be part of it.