Original music showcase in Hampton featured prime local hard rock

The Let's Make a Scene original music showcase in Phoebus on Saturday, July 9, shined a spotlight on some refreshing guitar rock from across the region.

Bands playing the showcase at the Olde Towne Tavern featured tough, aggressive sounds, but each of the four bands used hard-hitting, distorted guitar in very different ways.

Alpha Whale played lean, hypnotic riffs with a distinct Southern accent. As stripped down as a punk band, but with more of dark undercurrents and plenty of sizzling guitar solos, the band takes familiar elements and assembles them in a way that's distinctive.

SICMaN of Virginia -- also a guitar, bass and drums trio -- brought more improvisation to its show. The Virginia Beach-based group evolved out of a recording project, but the group's tight, classic rock-influenced jams showed off lots of chops.

Guitarist Matt Holloman played Jimi Hendrix-influenced solos -- he even plucked with his teeth a few times -- but his playing rose above mimickry. SICMaN is an experimental band that bridges 1960s rock with more modern elements. The band's website mentions Frank Black of The Pixies, for example. While Saturday's show displayed more of a fascination with guitar gods such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, rays of post-punk experimentation and Frank Zappa humor shine through in the band's songwriting.

I missed the night's final act, Popular Vultures, but I did catch a few tunes by the speed metal act Possessor. They're a head-banging band from the classic mold. Their power and ferocity -- as well as total devotion to the form -- spread smiles and fist-pumps throughout the tavern.

For more news about upcoming showcases, visit the Let's Make a Scene website.




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