Bears sans Maggie made for an interesting set. For one, Gavin Wilkinson went ahead and supplied the missing vocals with, well, his own voice. So on songs like “Betty Homemaker,” Gavin was the male and female parts.
Teenage Rage, actually, reminded me of a harder version of ex-band The Format. I mostly liked them.
I think early on the sound miscues — Gavin supplied a much needed guitar cord — and other things made it difficult for me to dig into their music. But then the intensity of their songs kicked up a hair, and the mix of playful lyrics and straight up rock started clicking. Like Bears, they’ve got male and female vocalists, too.
Thieving Irons hit the stage next, and there’s something about them that works very well. They’ve got a classic rock sound about them that makes many of their tunes accessible without sounding too generic.
Almost a southern rock at times, though I don’t know if that fits quite right. Actually, Bruce Springsteen came to mind a few times while they were on, and that’s closer to what Thieving Irons may be.
What’s different about them is they’ve got dual drummers at their disposal, and a guitarist who doubles on banjo. Towards the end, they shifted to a folksy piece, and that banjo kept it in check.
The Bears closed the evening. I think I enjoyed ’em more a few weeks ago at Lincoln Hall. Of course, the acoustics there are way better. And, The Empty Bottle is more bar than it is concert venue. (Compared, at least, to a piece of building like Lincoln Hall). So, the gig felt rugged and less polished.
Maggie was missed, but her absence made improv’d versions of Bears songs — ones we probably won’t see again — possible.
Like at Lincoln, Gavin was playful on the mic. Among his comments, Gavin — were he watching the show — worked out whether he’d be by the bar or with the crowd. Pointing: “The bar’s right there, but you’re right there.”