Friday, June 24, 2011

The Belle Game @ The Cobalt -- 06/23/11

The take-away show website Green Couch Sessions is, in their own words: "a series of experiments in which we attempt to marry the artist with the environment. The music fills the space and the various locations inevitably produce a sound unique to the session, never to be reproduced, only to be enjoyed by you, the viewers." They've got some great bands to shoot videos with, and more recently they have begun presenting shows, like last night's with a trifecta of young local acts.

The awesomely named Chimpanzebras (that's a portmanteau of chimps & zebras, not bras for chimps) started off the night. They had a sound very reminicent of the mid-2000's indie rock scene, bands like The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. They were very high energy and pretty fun, but they were very raw and, at times, a little sloppy. Not sure if it was by design, or just that they are a young band, but they definitely have the potential, and given time I can see them being really good. Aside from their own songs, they threw in a cover of Bowie's "Suffragette City", which was a pretty good, but straight forward cover of the song. They didn't do much to make it "their own".

Next up was Aardvark Robinson, with half of the members not even looking old enough to be in the place. They had more of a spacey, prog-ish sound with lots of harmonies and tempo shifts. Probably too many, in fact, as just about every song changed speeds part way through, sometimes more than once. The songs were also a little derivative, with one reminding both Leigh and me of, sequentially, The Zolas, We Are The City and Bend Sinister, in the span of about two minutes. That said, they were still very enjoyable, and very talented. Much like Chimpanzebras, given some time and growth, they could turn into something big. They also threw in a cover, ening their set with Devo's "Gut Feeling"
There was one other thing, though; they seemed to bring along a large chunk of equally young fans... and while I try my best not to judge a band by their fans, I gotta say they were kind of annoying. Drunk teenagers, "moshing", and a couple times they had the audacity to mess with the on stage equipment -- so much so that the lead singer/keyboardist looked frustrated at least once. 
(I swear I'm not an old man shaking my fist at "kids these days")

And finally was The Belle Game, hiting the stage seven members large -- including Trumpetite Andrew Lee, on loan from The Ruffled Feathers. Their sound can only be described as grand-indie-folk-pop, with a deep, layered sound. The keys and horns, as well as the guy/girl harmonies gave the incredibly catchy songs a great depth. The set was incredibly fun, and while there wasn't too much by way of banter, they whole band had a great stage presence -- each member looking sharp and like they were having a blast. 
They are a part of the current Peak Performance Project, and while I had only heard a couple songs from them before last night, their live show definitely blew me away and I would not be surprised one bit if they do quite well in this years contest.

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