First of all, I have to say all five (yes, FIVE) bands that played did an excellent job. They had a lot of respective fans/friends/family attend to support them, and it was an amazing (but long!) night. Only two bands go on to join Harness Unseen and This Patch of Sky at the finals next Friday night, June 10, 2011, at the WoW Hall. I’m pretty sure I know who is moving on but besides some FB posts, nothing “official” (i.e. on the NRQ webpage) has been posted…
Also, another complaint from yours truly about the house PA system being WAY WAY too loud on the last two bands. Seriously. People were leaving the floor covering their ears by the middle of the first song of the Eastman Band’s set. While it did eventually get kinda fixed by the end of the song, it was still entirely too freaking loud. Just because it was late and half the patrons were in various stages of inebriation doesn’t mean they can’t hear, okay?!!
Alright, on to more important things – pics and quick reviews of each band’s set! In the order they appeared, were:
Forever Growing – 3 1/2 stars
These guys will always be close to my heart – they are so earnest and dedicated to their passion and love for music. =) The guitar transitions (from rhythm to lead) by Andrew Becker were much smoother than the last time I heard them perform (see TCC show review column dated May 20, 2011 and interview dated May 18, 2011). I really liked the samples Andrew was running on the second song, and the third song of this kinda short set had a great dance beat as well. Adam was solid as always on the drums (check out the pictures below – those drumsticks just fly!). I just like the pretty jazz sound of this duo – they are consummate artists. Adam does an excellent job of building the energy on drums, providing a perfect compliment to Andrew’s strumming and riffs. Always a pleasure to see these guys play!
Forever Growing, John Henry’s, June 3, 2011
The Lowmen – 3 stars
I loved their opening song, reminiscent of an Irish drinking song with a rousing chorus of “Don’t Forget the Lowmen”!! I always love the energy of this group – C&W gone punk! They’re a fun band, with a good mix between drums, guitars, bass, and vocals. The audience really should have been 2-stepping to “Drunk and Lonely” (but they just stood there!). Jeff Curry lays down serious lead guitar runs, with Tad on bass kickin’ it, and Evin Marshall on drums keeping everything lively. See the TCC column dated April 28, 2011 for the review from their first Last Band Standing show, and see them next Friday night for the finals at the WoW Hall =)
The Lowmen, John Henry’s, June 3, 2011
Transcending Maya – 4 stars
I’m glad I was only drinking diet soda when they took the stage – loved the rubber chicken hat Cody was sporting! It didn’t seem to interfere with his pounding on the djembe for the opening song tho… I really like how uniquely this band puts the pieces together (see TCC columns dated June 2, 2011 and June 3, 2011 for interview and previous show review). Craig’s drums were excellent, with Jason and Cody on guitars keeping the flow and weave of the melodies running. while Josh’s bass lays a dark and lovely foundation through the songs. Bowie’s lead vocals weren’t as solid as I’ve heard them before, unfortunately, but his samples on the instrumental bridges were awesome!
Transcending Maya, John Henry’s, June 3, 2011
Slow Children – 4 1/2 stars
I just love the way drummer Kevin Hutman reminds me of Cubbie (guitarist from Foster The People) – in appearance of course! But seriously, these guys are great – building layers upon layers and using different time signatures, drums pounding with the bass, vocals you can understand, guitar riffs making everything fly. An excellent rock band, the SC fans were front and center, bopping and grooving. It always amazes me that there are only three guys in this band – they just sound so much bigger – see TCC columns dated May 20, 2011 for previous show review and interview. I really was hoping this band would go on to the finals, but they were photographer Jeanice Marvel’s personal pick for the night!
Eastman Band – 4 3/4 stars
When I interviewed this band (see TCC column dated May 6, 2011), John Eastman (lead vocals, guitars, samples) told me that since I had previously reviewed the band (TCC column dated May 30, 2011), I wouldn’t have to review this performance and he instead expected to see me at the front of the stage dancing – ha! Like I could have gotten anywhere NEAR the front of the stage anyways, with the front half of the floor filled with EB fans screaming and pumping their fists! Besides, I’d never miss the opportunity to review one of Eugene’s premier rock bands!!
As I mentioned in the beginning of this week’s column posting, the sound SUCKED – the bass and guitars completely drowned out John’s vocals on the first song, “Facebook Friend.” While that was semi-fixed by the end of the opening number, the house PA was still completely too loud for this entire set. Still, John absolutely played to the crowd, Terry kicked a$$ on drums, and Jimmy’s bass (while too freaking loud) was wicked driving. Of course, their signature piece “Last Band Standing” met with solid approval from the crowd, as they screamed the response for the chorus (“Who you gonna vote for? EASTMAN BAND!”). John also gave TCC a shout at the end of the set (thanks, John!!). Absolutely top-notch musicianship, audience participation, vocals/lyrics, original presentation and their performance as a whole. My vote for the evening – see them in the finals this Friday, June 10, 2011 at the WoW Hall!!