The Circle Bar

November 30, 2004

I played The Smithereens' power-pop for a friend years ago. Her only comment was a mean-spirited, "They're cheesy." Too bad she couldn't enjoy their dramatic and romantic delivery like I did. Flatware wasn't as dramatic, but they were just as romantic and earnest Tuesday night at The Circle Bar. The local quartet(two vocalist/guitarists, one lead guitarist, and one drummer) made up of members from The Plowboys and Dr. A Go-Go played straightforward pop/rock with country twang. Their well-layered vocal harmonies and catchy melodies had roots in bands of the British Invasion. They wore their influences on their sleeves, but their original songs thankfully emulated the good aspects of their predecessors.

I applaud the confidence with which they approached the romantic material. It's hard for guys to show their softer side. Flatware was all or nothing. They played like they were in an arena, neck muscles strained and faces red.

Half of their songs were of the slow burning, simmering type, but the other half just rocked. When they rocked with a rockabilly beat, they knew how to keep the high going. After they gradually raised their vocal emotion while their chord progressions pointed at some sort of crescendo, they hit the afterburners by throwing in a guitar solo at the right moment. Very cool. Surprisingly, they didn't lose any of their attack when their drummer used fag sticks instead of wooden ones. The room was so small that I could still hear every note the drummer played on his cymbals. The band was pretty loud, though. Earplugs for me.

Every seat in the performance room wasn't full, but the crowd at the bar loved them. It was the most amount of applause I've heard at The Circle Bar in a while. Two ladies even took to the floor to dance for one number.

It was quality. Catch these guys if you can.

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