I've determined, especially after Friday night's show, that the Montage Music Hall needs lots of bodies in it to make it sound right and absorb some of that immense boom and swell. And there's nothing other than laziness that keeps would-be rockers from peeling their eyeballs off the boob tube and putting themselves in front of some good ol' loud 'n' heavy.
For Instance, as I rolled up, AFR was brandishing its set like something a Viking might use to disembowel an opponent. There was no 0; the band hit the ground at 60, cranking the intensity incrementally until the climax at the end of its brief set. People Can Be More Awesome followed with interesting percussive additives to music that sounded a lot heavier than I expected from a band that I figured more for indie rock. Who knows, maybe this is the next wave to fall under that category. It was interesting at the very least.
A Beautiful Ending made its debut with a quick set of intensity that hovered in the twilight. Singer Lisa Canarvis' voice is as penetrating as her gaze. It was not the least bit shrill, but it capably cut through and rode the band's seriously pounding sonic swirl. There was a sense of elegance to its largess. I liked it, I liked it.
Like a cross between Hasil Adkins and those bearded, square-dancing hillbillies that Bugs Bunny had to deal with, Filthy Still rocked a three-quarters-full Abilene Saturday night with an unparalleled redneck fury. Straight outta Providence, Rhode Island, the band was reminiscent of Hank III in attitude, but much more raw and to the bone. With its utility man swapping back and forth between resonator and banjo, it was pure Appalachian punk-grass stomp 'n' holler.
Following that hootenanny was Denver's Reno Divorce, a band that collectively blasts out four-barreled rock music a la the Cadillac Tramps or Social Distortion. It was slick, tight, and loud, with a cocky lyrical swagger and come-on riding shotgun with its Les Paul attack.