Weakened Friends at DC9
Lead singer Sonia Sturino's voice reminds me of Gwen Stefani's. Even I think that's a weird comparison. There is not a hint of ska or pseudo-hip hop in Weakened Friends' music but somehow the comparison feels so obvious. That's who she sounds like, if Gwen Stefani sang rock songs.
Weakened Friends' music is defined by its sense of urgency. Not that the band sounds particularly aggressive. Noone would mistake this for punk. It's just that they sounds vital, like they really care about what they have to say. I can imagine a singer-songwriter type performing some of their songs acoustic, emphasizing the lyrics and the emotion, but I prefer them as they are: catchy rock songs with feeling.
Their band name, on the other hand, is a pain. It is impossible to spell without backspacing at least once. Believe me, the wrong form of
WeekendWeakened is just too easy to type by accident. Ack!
Beach Slang at Black Cat
Rock-n-roll lives on. Not that it has evolved so much over its lifetime. Beach Slang have that small but still grandiose rock sound which is reminiscent of more than a few bands from the 80s. They seem to know quite well how much they were influenced by The Replacements. So maybe it's not impressive in some sense that a current band sounds like one of the best bands from thirty years ago but... that's what I want to hear.
Dude York at DC9
Dude York are about 180° away from that last band I saw. Real whiplash weekend I had there.
Dude York's music is super-high energy... Pop? Hmmm, can it really be Pop music when there's this much volume? Not to mention all the guitar solos. They're really more like Pop-Punk except without the, uh, Punk, if that makes sense. No? Fine. I mean it's not that they lack attitude but they're not really "Punk" exactly. Power Pop? Well, their sound is really too crunchy for that. So I guess their music is just "Rock". Not very descriptive though, is it? "Rock" could mean anything. They could be playing Skynyrd or BTO covers or whatever and still be playing "Rock".
How about this. Dude York's music is a cheery, sometimes cheesy, fun, high-energy, mix of Rock and Pop and a dash of Power Punk. Yeah, that should cover it.
The Black Heart Procession at Rock N Roll Hotel
I lived in San Diego from 200-2003 and saw The Black Heart Procession several times while I was there. I also picked up a few albums (2, Three, Amore Del Tropico) so I've certainly heard their music often enough over the last 17 years. Yet somehow I never once saw this band in my photographer days. I guess they dropped off my radar, though I hear they haven't been touring as much lately either. Whatever the reason I am definitely glad that I finally got around to photographing them at least this one time.
Oh, and yes there was a boxing match (of sorts) in the middle of the show. A full set of these guys is a pretty strong dose of pathos so I guess they figured a comedy break was in order. See, The Black Heart Procession's music is emotional. Not "Emo" mind you. Emo is serious weak sauce compared to this. TBHP play some of the saddest music in the rock-n-roll genre and at its best, some of the most real as well. And they still sound good live! So go see them!
Clearance at DC9
Welcome to the world of Zero Glam Rock. Clearly rock and roll but rather chill, Clearance are so down-to-earth they kind of reminded me of 70s Southern rock. Perhaps "Ramblin' Man" is some part their musical history but the jangly guitars and nonplussed vocal style put them solidly in the realm of modern rock, which is to say 90s modern rock. Goes well with Yo La Tengo or maybe Parquet Courts?