Two great live music weekends in a row now, and more coming. Raleigh is just an awesome place for live rock and roll. Last weekend the Husband and I made it out to see Sugar, now called The Design, for the first time. They essentially played as a cover band, although they are working on more originals (I only got to hear one, it was fantastic) and looking to tour.
For me, a great live rock show is made up of three elements: music, flow, and show. Music means not only do I like the kind of music they play, but they are great musicians. The Design’s lead has phenomenal pipes, but the drummer and lead guitar also sang quite a few songs and they weren’t nearly as good. They did have good show, pogo-ing around the stage, dancing, and having a great time. But the flow wasn’t great, mostly because they constantly interrupted the music in order to talk with the audience, promote their MySpace page, get email sign-ups, encourage the crowd to sing, etc, and after a time or twelve, I got tired of that. Still, it was a good evening out and I’m glad I went. I recommend you catch them at the Lincoln or a place where they are going to function less as a cover band and more as an original group.
The band playing at 42nd Street was Big Johnson and the Members. They are more southern rock and bluegrass (not my favorite) but musically they were very talented and the crowd at 42nd Street were clearly fans. There wasn’t much in the way of flow or show, but with great talent like they had (and crowd support!) they were a pleasure to see.
This past Friday night at 42nd Street, Soul DeCree was keeping their fans warm with a blend of R&B, soul, and funkadelic. I love me some trumpet in my rock and roll, but there wasn’t much show or flow, and they weren’t playing songs I knew, so I headed out early.
Across the street at Napper Tandy’s, Aftershock was sounding great, as they usually do. Lance, JD, and Rob all have stellar vocals, and every member of the band is musically skilled, but I was particularly pleased to see how much they have improved their flow recently. They are not a “show” band at all, but when they stitch the songs together one after another like they did Friday night, the party never stops. I was amazed at the turnout they were able to pull on a cold, rainy, Good Friday weekend. If you love 80’s rock, you need to see Aftershock.
On Saturday night (after watching the Carolina Rollergirls get trounced), the Husband and I went out to see our friend Greg and the newest version of Hip Sauce make their debut at the Red Zone in Garner. They have recently replaced their lead singer and drummer, and shifted their blend from all blues to a good selection of r&b, blues, and (mostly 60’s) pop. There were a few songs that surprised, too, so don’t go thinking you know exactly what kind of music they will play. The new lead is charming and has a fantastic and compelling voice; their guitar player had his best lead moment on a Beatles cover. I think the new drummer is formerly of the Lounge Lizards, and sang lead on a few songs, too. The Husband says their bass player (one of the few women bass players I’ve seen) is outstanding. Hip Sauce isn’t a show band, and it takes time for a new band to develop flow (Aftershock is still working on it and they’ve been together over three years), but they were refreshing and enjoyable, and I will look forward to seeing how they continue to develop.