Three-band weekday shows that start on time and end early are a rare and beautiful thing. And when the weather is nice and you can sit outside at a table editing photos between bands, we're nearing perfection. And when it's a bill featuring a local you like, a local you haven't seen, and a touring act you adore, well, you've found nirvana. Cherish it.
The night started promptly at 8pm with Lake Love. I'd seen the band recently and found them enjoyable, yet I was distracted by several thorns. This set removed the prickly bits. Guitarist Jarrett Dietz handles most of the vocals in the band with a minority coming from fellow guitarist Erza Whitaker. Rhythm is delivered by bassist Cullen Cearnal and drummer Stephen Mayernik. Whitaker's vocals were rough last time, but now they pushed the band's indie rock along nicely during its 35-minute set, serving as a nice complement to the dreamier vocals of Dietz enlisted during the band's poppier material. And while Cearnal's bass disappeared, becoming merely atmospheric support in the last show, this time his quick and bubbly playing added color to the swirling shoegaze material. Mayernik's crisp drumming was the anchor that both tethered the dreamy tracks and propelled the band's more aggressive fare. While it's only the band's finale that truly sticks with me (largely due to the full-voiced screams of Dietz), time listening to Lake Love is always well-spent.
It was just a bit before 9pm when the four members of Thank You, I'm Sorry began that awkward stare toward the sound engineer. Are you ready? Can we start? The band is fronted by Colleen Dow. They're tiny with an expressive face and even more emotive vocals. Those vocals broke into a powerful scream in several songs, including one where Dow asks us to "think of the worst person in the world." For most of the set, they played guitar alongside Abe Anderson, whose own guitar offered flowing, keyboard-like leads that added atmosphere and depth to what might otherwise be standard pop-punk fare. The bass of Bethunni Schreiner bounced throughout the set reminding me of '90s favorites like Cub and Go Sailor. Sage Livergood's drums carried the mood from the sparse, sad songs to the ones that spurred on minor dance parties, such as the one that sent Dow into the audience to jump around in united catharsis with the small audience. Although the band didn't play any of my favorite songs in its short 25-minute set, I was happy to hear new cut "Chronically Online" in a live, stripped-down arrangement that proved the quartet still has the teeth it bared on earlier recordings.
It was only 9:45 when the four members of Remorsefully Numb took the stage. The band is fronted by vocalist/guitarist Andrew Gibson, and completed by Chaz Florido (guitar), Warren Beal (bass), and Jake Ayers (drums). Having never seen the band before, I quickly tried to find touchstones and context to understand what I was seeing. I heard post-hardcore and emo collide regularly. I heard songs that were crashing and thick second wave, rather than twinkling third wave. But where I expected to hear soaring leads, I found none. Maybe it was the fault of a guitar line getting lost in a mix, but without that release, compositions often felt oppressive and heavy. Gibson's vocals started rough, but after third song, "Ponderosa" – with its big screams and emotional delivery – Gibson found his footing. This one also had its loyal audience of friends singing (and stomping) along. Because the band limited itself to a six-song, fifteen-minute set, I never had time to fully lose myself in the din, but an active run of upcoming shows should afford me that opportunity.
So, even with three bands, the show was over at 10:00. That's a fine time for a gig to end. A wonderful one, actually. It's not often I see a delightful rock show and still get home in time to complete my video editing before The Twilight Zone comes on. More of these, powers that be. Please and thank you.