Thursday, November 26, 2009

Girls / Tamaryn / Dominant Legs @ Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, 21 Nov 2009

The Bottom Of The Hill, San Francisco

I saw one song by Dominant Legs which is new Girls' guitarist Ryan Lynch's band. This was fun in a REM plus girly harmonies way.

I liked Tamaryn. The main sound comes from the John McGeoch style guitar of Rex John Shelverton, coupled with a driving bass. The focus of attention is on singer Tamaryn Brown. She is serious and passionate, brave and likable. She emotes, and dances, and throws a few shapes. Their fast songs are best, where the drummer starts to pound like Budgie. There's something not quite right about their sound, the singing is hard to hear at times because too much of the rest of the band are trying to play in the same tonal spaces. But overall this was rather good.

Both Tamaryn and Girls setup their own equipment. The main act didn't have a dramatic start as the guitar tuners slowly morphed into guitar players. Girls are an up and coming band from San Francisco. When they play at home they add to their lineup Miles, a percussionist, who is a bit of a Bez (without the dancing). The core of the band is singer/guitarist Christopher Owens. His songs seem to be to be about catching a mood, or a fleeting instance of happiness. The songs often end in a shimmery bit of improvisation as we try to keep the happy feeling from fading away.

It was a weird crowd at the Bottom of the Hill. Although it was a 21 and over gig there was a whiff of immaturity about. There was a lot of pushing near the front and eventually a small fight broke out. After the handbags had been put away I found the lost glasses of one of the combatants and was duly hugged. Then some people were shouting at the band, stupid things like "you rock". I saw pain and disgust pass across Christopher's face. The band seemed rattled. Can such a sensitive and subtle band survive in the world of rock? I hope that the inevitable transition to larger venues will actually help them. I am sure they will be successful as they are a bit special.

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