xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

A Night at the Theater

Not long after City Paper's feature on the Lo-Fi Social Club ran, the Brooklyn venue was unceremoniously shut down by the city. Consequently, many good shows that had already been booked were canceled, postponed, or moved to other venues at the last minute. One of those, last week's release party for local quartet Gary B. and the Notions, was shifted to the Mobtown Theater in Hampden. And Lo-Fi owner Neil Freebairn was there on Friday, working the door for the show, and he sounded reassuringly optimistic about the club's upcoming new location in Charles Village. In the meantime, an old-fashioned community theater turned out to be an acceptable stand-in for a rock club. At the very least, Mobtown's seats are comfy, providing a rare combination of two of the greatest experiences in the world: live music and sitting down. And the bands themselves mostly suited the laid back environment--even if that meant that none of them was great enough to rouse you from your seat. Gaithersburg quartet Bellflur has been kicking around for a few years now, a perfectly good band that has always been hard to take seriously, as Bellflur doesn't sound to have listened to anything but Radiohead. It's a comparison that the band forces with almost every note it plays, right down to the lead singer's Thom Yorke-esque head wobbling. It's a shame, too, because Bellflur has some pretty strong original material, with proggy song structures and inventive arrangements--just entirely filtered through the aesthetic of an established band. Even Muse would be embarrassed by how hard Bellflur is on Radiohead's jock. Next up were Bellflur's tourmates Deleted Scenes, a Washington quartet whose twangy, yelping jams were exactly as enjoyable as they were the last time we saw them. Again, broken guitar strings momentarily held up the performance and forced a switch to an electric guitar, when the band could've done with some more of the energetic acoustic strumming that drove the first half of the set. And once again, the closer, a shuffling, slightly gimmicky tune called "Got God" acted as a buzzkill to an otherwise solid set of songs. But while Deleted Scenes merely hinted at classic rock roots, the Payola Reserve, a local group of longhairs in boot-cut jeans, was refreshing in just how thoroughly and convincingly retro it was, as if the most recent album in the band's collection is Marquee Moon. The night's headliners, Gary B. and the Notions, played a set to celebrate the recent release of their debut EP, Get Those Crazy Notions! Though fronted by Gary Barrett Jr., who previously played in the Idea Men with a young Rjyan "Cex" Kidwell, Barrett's new band possesses none of his high school combo's dedication to mathy sludge. Instead, the Notions' sound was a gawky, unadorned approach to power pop with straightforward song titles like "I Got a Car," pointing maybe more toward Buddy Holly than Elvis Costello in the lineage of nerd rock. But after sharing the stage with some bands that have been together much longer--and have their aesthetic down to a science--the amateurish charm of the Notions came off as a welcome palate cleanser.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement