This post might be a bit short. I was tired as hell for this show for some reason. I’m not sure what it was but something wore me out and left me feeling a bit sleepy from pretty much the outset. I don’t know if that colored my enjoyment of the music, I don’t think it did because some of the music was very good I just wasn’t able to invest myself fully in it because of the tiredness. Anyway that being said, on to the music.
I had very high hopes from the outset for these guys because they opened with the singer doing an acapella version of John the Revelator which I was first introduced to by Son House so you know it’s old school as fuck. It’s an old traditional and though it’s clearly religious I’m not sure if it’s the kind of thing people actually sing in church. Anyway I liked it, it had a touch of soul and there was some feeling there. It really got my hopes up, but they were quickly dashed.
The first song that they played was very bluesy and I was into it, because I love the blues, after that first song though they drifted into this sort of generic 70s rock sound that I just wasn’t impressed by. They were a little unpolished, which is actually pretty acceptable for a first opener at the Hi-Dive, but they were also unoriginal. All I heard as they played was a sound that has been done so much better so many times before. I was ready to condemn the lead singer too as his vocals sounded muddy but I actually think that had more to do with where I was standing than with his performance because I had a hard time hearing singers all night. The Hi-Dive doesn’t really have the greatest acoustic but the fact that I was a little tired made me seek an area I could lean on near the back and I found that, aside from the bar chatter (which is less obvious where I usually stand) there were other strange reverberations that detracted from the music as a whole.
Still, in the end, whether his vocals had been audible or not their sound was just too generic 70s rock for me to care. If you’re going to play that stye of music you need to also bring some innovation some change or you’re just going to pale in comparison to those who came before you.
I’m not sure if these guys are recently formed but I couldn’t find a video of them performing so instead here is their front man performing solo.
These guys had the exact same makeup as the above bad but they had an entirely different sound. They were Alt-Country to the core and they were good at what they did. They had a smooth mellow sound that, on some nights, would have been refreshing and chill. Last night however it just served to drive me toward sleep. It really was unfortunate because I liked what they were doing I was just in the wrong mindset to really enjoy it.
Their vocals were simple but effective and they really had the Alt-Country sound down. They worked in some harmonica, which I’m always a fan of, and they threw in a few tempo changes here and there but in the end everything came back to mellow. They have a sound that would be wonderful on a warm summer day while relaxing at the park with some friends but at a bar on a weeknight when you’re tired that sound betrays you. It makes your eyelids heavy and distracts you from the music.
The sound issues mentioned above persisted with their set as well but I could tell that there were some things here that I liked. I hope to see them again when I’m not so tired and I can give them my full attention.
The Moondoggies have a really good sound, strong harmonizing vocals over simple American roots music. They’re a little country, a little blues, a little bluegrass, and a little rock. All rolled into one complexly layered sound and tied together by excellent vocals. Granted the sound issues didn’t allow me to fully experience the vocals but it’s to the band’s credit that they were able to sing through the sound issues and come through mostly clear at least seventy-five percent of the time.
Prior tot his show I had no experience with The Moondoggies, I hadn’t heard a single note I just read a bit of their blur on the Hi-Dive’s website and decided to give them a try. There were some real diehards in the crowd who were singing along and dancing and that’s always nice to see. Especially for a small band that so far from their home state. A few of their songs struck me as sort of Allman Brothers like with their bluesy feel and simple harmonies but for the most part their sound was their own and I enjoyed it. They seemed to be playing a lot of new stuff, either because the crowd was into it or because they were working it out, but it was all good. The suffered somewhat from the same mellow tone as the band before them. Which, again, isn’t to say that it was bad just that it didn’t work for me that night.
At around 11:45 they took a set break and I had to leave. I would have liked to hear more but even if I wasn’t exhausted I work way too early in the morning to stick around much later than that. I’ll likely see them again, hopefully on a weekend night or, at the very least, a night when I’m not exhausted.
This is a much simpler sound than they presented at the show but it’s beautiful so listen:
This is a bit more like what we got last night: