March 16, 2005
Ten years into their career and playing their countless SXSW showcase, it was no surprise the three members of Frank Jordan had to be moseyed onto the stage at the Soho Lounge Wednesday night. The indie band wasn't all smiles, but once they started playing, they got into the music and rocked the crowd without whining. Frank Jordan was a Sacramento band that included drummer Devin Hurley, bassist Matt Ontjes, and vocalist/guitarist Mike Visser.
The band's sound was varied. They first played a pondering, sentimental, and sparse dance song driven by a shuffling rhythm. A heavy bass sound on top of an acoustic guitar often led to danceable numbers. During the same song, they switched to a plutonic noise guitar solo with machine gun snare strikes. They added tension with their meter and direction changes.
Another song was a tom-driven, catchy pop number that carried the bare romantic sound of Queens of the Stone Age's wah-wah guitar--just without so much of the darkness. There were still enough stalking, haunting minor chords throughout the set to satisfy the average Fugazi fan.
Visser's powerful, Jeff-Buckley-like voice often carried the music's emotional weight, but Ontjes and Hurley were essential. They were very tight together. They kept things low and let Visser's voice reign, but when the songs had instrumental breaks, the two let notes fly.
The crowd applauded heartily in between songs, but only about ten people really reacted with passion to the music.