I was excited when I discovered the three bands would be playing together after last night's Black Lips show.
The High Strung went on around 8:30. I don't think many people there had heard them before. They are a typical three-piece. I love their albums and was pleased with their live show. Fairly energetic, really catchy tunes, sometimes obnoxious but sometimes funny stage banter. Their bass player is very good and really anchors their whole sound. They had some nice harmonies going on too. I would give them a 7 out of 10. Maybe a 7.5 because I love their music so much. I wish the vocals had been a tiny bit louder.
Apollo Sunshine exceeded my expectations. They are a four-piece group with two guitars, a guy on bass/keys and a drummer. But people would switch instruments and at one point all four people were playing drums, which was really cool. One of the guitar players had a hybrid bass/six string. Anyway, musically they were very psychedelic like their record I had heard. I was expecting more tunefulness, however. They played songs, but every one morphed into a huge freakout. I dig this sort of thing a lot, but I was disappointed at their inability to reign it all in. It was almost too psychedelic. But they are very talented musicians and if you dig psychedelic rock you will like this band and enjoy their show. I would give them a 7.5.
Dr. Dog were very, very good. They are extremely tight musically and their harmonies were top notch. The crowd was really into them, and it was hard not to be. Melodic rock n' roll songs, heavy Buffalo Springfield vibe but with more 70s rock and pop. They sounded fantastic. They were fairly energetic as well, but the strength certainly lay with the tunes. While I thought they were excellent, they didn't have that one intangible thing that led me to think the show was incredible. I really don't know how to explain it but certain shows or bands have it and others don't. Ornette Coleman had it. Crowded House had it. Whatever "it" is, it elevates a show beyond just being a very good musical experience. It turns a show into something incredible that transcends the music that is being heard. Dr. Dog did not have "it", but they are certainly a great band. Maybe they will grow into it or maybe they have "it" on other nights. They get a 9.
The moral of the story is catch these bands in your town. Really worthwhile show, definitely worth $15. Also, the Troubadour is officially my favorite venue in LA. I love the vibe there.