(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Concert review - Sex Glove, The Fling, The Knew

1 August 2009 (Road 34, Ft Collins CO)
Back to local music or at least local music joined by smaller, lesser known bands. I reviewed Sex Glove less than a month ago, so this was a nice review session. They were followed by the Fling, out of Long Beach, California. Finally, the Knew from Denver closed down the bar. Across the board, it was an interesting shift of music: noisy psychedelia to laid back groove to dynamic rock.

Sex Glove
It hasn't been long since I've seen Sex Glove, but before the show they mentioned that this set wouldn't be quite as edgy as their show with Action Friend. There was still a little thrash, but the punk elements were dialed back. They led off with Atheist Love Song, a slow groove with some Dave Gilmour style slide guitar and heavily echoed vocals. A version of this song is on their MySpace page. After this moody beginning, they kicked it up.

Their best song of the night was Introvert, which they later joked was their "hit". It should be. It was a hard driving song with echoed Peter Murphy vocals, bowed electric guitar, a bouncing bass line, and noisy keyboard patches. The effect was high energy psychedelic, especially as it grew into something like The End by the Doors.

Once again, the set was too short. Some minor technical difficulties and a full line up of bands didn't help. You'll have catch Sex Glove live because they don't have any recordings yet.

The Fling
The Fling is sweeping the west, making the big loop through the south west, coming to the Front Range, and heading to the Pacific Northwest. It would be overly simple to describe the band as sounding like Tom Petty, although their front man, Dustin, didn't mind the comparison. The similarity comes down to a combination of factors: thick, three part vocals, jangly guitars, a slower, down tempo groove, and a retro ear for tone and arrangement. Maybe they share influences because there are elements of George Harrison and Electric Light Orchestra in their sound. So, if I hear Tom Petty and Traveling Wilburys, it makes sense. Listening to their EP, Ghost Dance, the George Harrison influence is even stronger, especially on songs like Get Back or Cold Comfort.

The vocal harmonies were a central part of the Fling's sound, well above what the average bar band pulls off. For some other band, these parts might turn up on the studio version, but not sound right in a live show. The Fling has clearly put a lot of work into this aspect of their music, but it felt fresh on stage, not over-rehearsed.

The line up for most of the songs was two guitars, bass, and drums. The lead guitarist also played keyboard. Also, for a couple of songs, the bass player just played percussion and melodica, providing a stripped down sound. The ringing guitars created a wall of sound, especially when alternate rhythm parts came together. One of the songs went well beyond Tom Petty, taking a churning discordance and harder beat into a Wilco space.

I think the last song they played was Cold Comfort, which I heard on the EP. This song had a cool Beatles feel. The chords, bass and vocals sounded like I Want You (She's So Heavy) crossed with Glass Onion. This grindy jam also had elements of Supertramp. It was the best song of the set.

The Knew
When the Knew took the stage, they owned the space. Tim Rynders (bass) and Tyler Breuer (guitar) danced around behind Jacob Hansen (lead vocals and guitar), half moshing. The constant movement kept the small audience rapt. Tim's attitude permeated the whole set. Nice bouncy rock numbers mixed it up with moodier songs, and they also threw in some country and blues. The drummer (Patrick Bowden) was steady, mostly keeping it simple, but still throwing in a few more interesting licks. He also played harmonica on a few songs.

The set was more varied than the Fling, hitting some good dynamics between driving rock and more laid back bits. The songs were interesting: good rock and roll without being simplistic. Even within the songs, they could shift the energy -- pulling back to make the faster sections stand out more.

Jacob's voice is a central element of the sound. Slightly nasal, it reminded me mostly of Marc
Bolan from T Rex, with elements of Ryan Adams. Listening to their Boom Bust EP, I hear some Morrissey and Gomez, as well. At times, it was hard to understand the lyrics, but the energy was strong.

The guitar work was excellent, with some slick slide work and shimmery tone. Tyler had some parts that evoked the Edge's tone (from U2). The whole band had a great time on stage and they're worth catching live.

I was drinking Odells' IPA, which worked well - piquant hops and full body match well with a full night of bands.

Photos available on Photobucket (full images on request).

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