The Potomac Accord are not the most active band in the universe, so a rare performance was enough to bring many Minions out to The EARL. The Potomac Accord were actually the second band tonight, and unfortunately we missed the first band. Apparently, they played on the side stage, and we were sitting out in the front room of The EARL drinking, talking, and keeping an eye on the Stagecam, which shows the goings on of the main stage on one of the TVs at The EARL. Well, a fatal flaw here is that the camera only points at the main stage, so when the first band (i don't even know their name) went on the side stage, we didn't know. Oh well.
Anyway, The Potomac Accord went on at about 9:45, which is pretty early. In their ever-changing lineup, they are now a three piece. They had the same vocalist/guitarist/pianist, the same drummer, but a new face on second guitar/violin. They played to a mostly empty club, which is a shame because they put on another typically brilliant performance.
Their music is catchy, moody, passionate rock, based on the piano. Usually their music seems vaguely melancholy, but tonight they seemed angrier than usual. Maybe they had a bad travel day or something, but some real angst came across.
The material they played was all new, at least to me. However, two of the pieces stood out wonderfully. The second song, called Newly Fallen Century II, is a piano and violin driven number that reminded me of Final Cut era Pink Floyd, especially in the stylistic vocals and the minimal pianowork. This is a good thing in my book. The tune they followed this up with, Push Me Pull You Resign, really rocked out. The drummer was going crazy, and both of the other members were hammering away on their guitars. Good stuff.
At this point i should point out something odd that all of the assembled Minions noticed, and that is the violist/guitarist had a very quirky way of moving. He kind of jerked around, almost like a bird or something. Very weird. Still, he played well.
Overall, this was another great performance. And, fortunately for those of you who missed it, The Potomac Accord recorded their set and have it available on their website. You can download it here. Act fast, because i am not sure how long it will be available.
After The Potomac Accord finished, there was a wopping great intermission while the next act, The Marsh, set up on the side stage. This really confused me – the whole point of alternating bands between stages is to speed things along. Why did The Marsh wait until The Potomac Accord were finished before they even started setting up? Annoying.
Anyway, The Marsh are another three piece, consisting of a man playing a very large old looking keyboard, a bassist, and a drummer. They were, in short, one of the worst bands i have seen in rather a while. The vocalist had a nasally, affected way of singing that made it seem as if he was trying to be Axl Rose. That didn't work for me. His keyboard playing reminded me of Procol Harem, or one of those 70s bands. Overall, the music was slow and ponderous, then would get jammy in the middle. We lasted one and a half songs before we headed out to the front, fleeing to safety.
And then they kept playing, and playing. Their set must have lasted about an hour, so we killed an hour sitting out front and chatting. We went back at 11:50, when the Stagecam showed that The Licentious 5 were about to take the main stage. Fortunately, they did their setup right, and started playing rather quickly after The Marsh were done.
The Licentious 5 are a newish Atlanta band. They are, in fact, a five piece, and they play jangly pop music with deep rhythms. I would say that their guitarwork is reminiscent of early R.E.M., and their rhythms have a certain motowny feel to them. Tracers says that they are like the Atlanta equivalent of Saturday Looks Good to Me, and i think that is a fair comparison. The bassist and the rhythm guitarist trade the vocal duties, one of them singing in a deep, rich voice that reminded me of The Lemonhead's Evan Dando, and the other having a slightly nasally more normal indie rock voice. Both of them do a fine job, and i thought that The Licentious 5 put on a fun performance tonight.
Now, apparently the local bands on the bill this evening were doing a benefit for Tommy Chung, who is the bassist for the final band on the bill. His band, The Selmanaires, took the stage around 12:50. They are a three piece, with Mr. Chung on bass, a guitarist, and a drummer. One of the other members is also involved with The Licentious 5, but i am unclear at this point in what capacity the bands overlap. Anyway, Mr. Chung is a fine bassist. His playing style is clear and moody in a way that reminds me of the very early work of The Cure. Overall, the band plays angular, catchy indie rock. Tracers said that they sounded like a stripped down version of Devo. I found that when they all sang harmony, the band sounded more like the Gang of Four. Either way, there was a certain danceable element to their work, and i found that i really enjoyed their set.
My only regret is that the night hadn't run so late. I, personally, blame The Marsh for this. Overall though, it was a fun night. It's always good to see The Potomac Accord.