Friday, June 27, 2003

Rock Shows of Note LXVII

Playing catch up on a relatively busy show-going week. Tuesday night, I went to the Kendall Cafe with Andrea to see Francine play a low-key set. We arrived just in time for their performance at 11 p.m. I really enjoyed the multiple small-group settings -- Clayton and Steve played several songs as a duet before being joined by more people, who later stepped away so the band could end on a small-group note. This was the first time I really listened to Francine and appreciated their music. Well worth going out rather late on a school night!

Wednesday night, I met Hiromi and Audubon at Club Passim to hear their friend Ryan Montbleau, who leaves today for a five-week tour of the west coast. Ryan's a lot of fun live. He writes interesting, energetic songs in the vein of Stevie Wonder and Jamiroquoi by way of Ani Difranco. Ryan's got an amazingly soulful voice, and even though his songwriting and guitar playing can follow the thump and growl of so many singer-songwriters, Ryan's much more than a jam band-inspired musician. A solid set.

Next up was Rachel McCartney, who also performed a nice set. I don't always know what to make of music like this because it's not quite folk, it's not quite pop, and it's not quite rock. But it was enjoyable roots-oriented rock, I guess, with Rachel playing with an able four piece. The drummer seemed to have a lot of fun during the show. The bassist doubled on soprano sax for a couple of well-detailed pieced. And the guitarist, Brian Webb, was amazing. Such a good sense of humor and several moments of explosive rock guitar to counter the more folk-oriented material. He was definitely a standout and one of the best things about the set.

Then last night, after hanging out with co-workers for the last bash seeing everyone off, I caught the E line to Brigham Circle to catch some of the last Handstand Command residency show at the Choppin' Block. I arrive just as Origami wrapped up their set -- and too late for Choo Choo la Rouge -- but I did catch the Operators in full. And I wasn't disappointed I made the trip. They opened with my favorite song, and the set was energetic and fun to watch.

A couple of late nights, but good music all around.

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