Paper Masques, Homesick Elephant, and Attic Dancers (all myspace links) performed Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010 at Johnny Brenda’s. All three bands have Philadelphia connections, although Homesick Elephant now calls L.A. home.
The three bands showed flashes of talent in varying degrees, and the show was an eclectic mixture of styles, which made the evening a fun experience.
First up was Attic Dancers. Here’s a video for one of their songs:
Attic Dancers is a three-piece band. While they showed flashes of talent, their overall presentation left something to be desired. I, for one, do not consider the bass guitar an instrument suitable for use as a lead instrument as one would a 6-string electric. This made it somewhat difficult for me to appreciate the stylings of the bassist/vocalist who attempted Hendrix-esque feedback-laden solos with his Hohner bass.
Next up was Homesick Elephant. Their sound is acoustic folk, very stripped-down with just harmony vocals and a guitar.
This is a live concert video of their song “Quiet as a Mouse” that I shot at the JB’s show.
The duo’s harmonies are exceptional, and their sound reminds me somewhat of Simon and Garfunkel. Sadly, some in the audience weren’t so interested in listening to them, and the quiet, slower tempo was sometimes interrupted by people talking loudly at the bar (you can hear some of that in the background at the end of this video).
Last band of the night was Paper Masques. Here’s a video from a previous show at Johnny Brenda’s last month:
The only change from the show Dec. 28 was their outfits, and a neat Christmas gift for audience members in the form of a two-song CD. At certain points during their show, I heard echoes of Camper Van Beethoven, probably through the interplay of the two violinists.
On the one hand, there is definitely some talent in the band. On the other hand, their live show could use some more variety in the song selection and pacing. By the end of the set, the songs were beginning to blend together.
Also, the band’s stage setup was somewhat puzzling to us. Guitarist Stephen Quaranta, who helped form the band and sings lead on most of the songs, is shunted off to the side of the stage, while one of the violinists occupies stage center. No offense to the violinists, who performed well in tandem, but Quaranta should move to center stage if he’s going to be leading the show.