Saturday, February 21, 2004

Still listening to Probot. I'm not quite sure what to say about it, and, judging from the reviews I've read so far, neither do most other reviewers. If this album had been made by your average no-name metal band, no one would give it the time of day. It's not bad, but neither is it very distinctive. Dave Grohl is a fine musician, but he really doesn't quite have the metal chops to pull this off. I found myself wanting to listen to the musicians' own bands rather than their Probot contributions. Still, it's obvious from his choice of collaborators that Dave truly loves metal, and I think he's done quite a public service by introducing these folks to a wider audience who might not have taken a chance on them on their own.

Last night I saw The Dynamite Brothers, Roxotica and part of Valiant Thorr at Kings. Dragstrip Syndicate was supposed to play, but unfortunately they broke up just recently. That's a shame because they're just the kind of band I like: fast, pounding, Southern-bluesy guitar rock with plenty of virtuoso leads thrown in. After I saw them, I felt like I'd been kicked repeatedly in the chest, which is always a good thing.

As far technique goes, The Dynamite Brothers are one of the best bands in this area. They're a trio, and both the drummer and guitar player sing. Singing drummers are fairly rare, so I always like to see someone do it, and do it well -- as long as they're not wearing one of those cheesy headset microphones. For some reason those things bug the hell out of me. No one looks cool wearing those things, unless they're Peter Gabriel, in which case their artiness outweighs their pretension.

Anyway, all three of the Brothers are amazing musicians, and I was spellbound watching them. But afterward, I had trouble remembering the particulars of the music. Like Dragstrip, The Dynamite Brothers are fast, heavy and bluesy, but with a little more garage rawness. But they don't offer anything significantly different than Dragstrip, or many of the other bands out there doing the same thing.

They didn't stick in my mind as much as Roxotica, even though they're musically light years ahead. Roxotica is the local tribute to Rock Goddess, an obscure all-girl English rock band from the '70s. Since I've never heard Rock Goddess, I can't say how faithful Roxotica is. What I heard last night was kind of sludgy, kind of poppy, kind of like Girlschool, but with hints of Deep Purple.

We only stayed for one Valiant Thorr song, but that one song reminded me of Gluecifer (call-and-response lyrics, double guitar leads, dynamic, testosterone-happy frontman). Speaking of Gluecifer, I've ordered their latest "Automatic Thrill," from, so I'll let you know what I think of it. A friend who really loves Gluecifer gave it nothing but high marks, saying it was a return to form after the tepid "Basement Apes."

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