Monday, June 24, 2002

Rock Shows of Note XXVI
Ended a two-week rock 'n' roll and social bender Friday night at the CD release party for 71 Sunbeam. As soon as I walked in the door at TT's, Jeremy asked if I'd work the merch table during their set. So much for seeing the band! (Just kidding; I love working merch.) I hung out with Ariel and Dan (the latter of the Jack McCoys, who have a new record to be released soon) for a bit before sequestering myself behind the table. As Neil and the gang took the stage, I "met" Tammy Ealom from Dressy Bessy, which was also playing, as she dragged their merch table over next to ours. We made a happy little merch corner.

From what I could tell, 71 Sunbeam did well. They added an interesting psych edge to their usual emo/alt.rock flair, and Neil's singing sounded clearer and more intense than normal. Wish I could've been up front (ahem). A good, powerful performance for a CD release party. Kudos -- and congrats! Next up, a solo act featuring a guy and his guitar performing under the name Sea Navy. Turns out that Sea Navy might be an Ivory Coast side project that the band uses to test new material. Regardless of whether that's true, it struck me as a harder-edged pop-rock Neil Halstead, only without the country twang. Interesting, but not totally my thing. He brought out a drummer for the last couple songs, and that added a lot to the overall sound and energy. Rock duos are almost always better than rock solo performers.

Mmm, Dressy Bessy. I haven't suffered from a band crush for a long, long time, but that Tammy sure is something. We hardly talked at all, and I was too shy to go over and say anything when she was hanging out over at a side table by herself. But her bandmate John was really nice (thanks for the cigarettes!), and the guy who worked the merch table most of the time was cool enough, so she seems to be in good company. She's certainly in a good band. Dressy Bessy specializes in slightly riot grrl-inspired garage pop with sweet-as-sugar vocals and loads of spazzy energy. Fun, fun, fun. I need to get some records. It also turns out that the band is loosely affiliated with the Elephant 6 collective -- and shares at least one member with Apples in Stereo. Yay, Dressy Bessy. I came to see 71 Sunbeam and left needing to see Dressy Bessy again.

Lastly, there was the Fly Seville, a pop-rock band previously based in Providence. From where I sat behind the merch table -- as the evening progressed, I refused to give up my post -- they sounded pretty straight-forward, and nothing really wowed me. But I wasn't turned off and will seek future exposure.

Congratulations, again, to Neil and the rest of 71 Sunbeam. Y'all should be proud.

By the way, a great place to pick up records by bands such as Dressy Bessy is Twee Kitten. They'll appreciate your patronage -- but none of your patronizing.

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