Tuesday, November 03, 2009

In a cold country

Despite a nagging case of the sniffles, I decided to go to Zaphod's and check out their free showcase since there were a couple of local acts I'd heard frequent mention of, but hadn't been able to see, along with a newer combo of which I'd heard little.

Riishi Von Rex commenced the evening with some bare-knuckled balladry played on a shiny new Gretsch. Made me think a bit of P.J. Harvey in her husky-and-low mode.

Riishi Von Rex at Zaphod Beeblebrox
Riishi Von Rex at Zaphod Beeblebrox, November 2, 2009

Bloomistry held down the middle slot with some arty pop-rock. Something about singer Wayne K. Spear's singing voice reminds me of Mark Hollis from Talk Talk, though the rest of the music isn't outwardly similar. They're a bit more like Anton Barbeau, the San Francisco cult favourite. There bassist was off with the flu, so I imagine they sound a bit heavier on other occasions. They've got a show coming up at the Live Lounge November 18.

Bloomistry at Zaphod Beeblebrox
Bloomistry at Zaphod Beeblebrox, November 2, 2009

The Donna Litas were the unknown quantity. Apart from some photos courtesy of Ming Wu, who caught them sound-checking with The Property Line a few weeks ago at the Mercury Lounge, I basically knew zip. They obviously take a fair amount of direction from the blues - they covered Robert Johnson's Me And The Devil Blues and I believe I heard some mention of lemon squeezing. They also played The Beatles Yer Blues. I'd trace their lineage back to outfits like Big Brother and The Holding Company, through seventies combos like Truth & Janey and Poobah and onto 1990s bands like Fluid and Screaming Trees, who were occasionally lumped in with grunge without being really of it. I liked them quite a bit, and they're good at working the stage, too. You'll note that despite the name there are no women in the band ... there's also another guitarist off to the left.

The Donna Litas at Zaphod Beeblebrox
The Donna Litas at Zaphod Beeblebrox, November 2, 2009

And now it's time to take copious amounts of cold medication and go to bed.

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