The Bally Who?

The Dragon's Den

July 22, 2005

The Bally Who? need to practice more often. They have the amount of musical talent required to make them a memorable band, but it's being squandered through laziness.

Local Rock band The Bally Who? weren't at their tightest Friday night at The Dragon's Den, but that's understandable. They were breaking in new bassist Nobu Osaki, who's better known around town for his Modern Jazz work. Osaki, who switched between electric and double bass, was barely present in the mix. On purpose? Because Osaki was still learning the material? It looked he was having an easy and a fun time with it. The effects-drenched guitars played by vocalists Rene and Jacques Dufourc drowned him out. In such a small space, the guitars cut off the music's balls.

Luckily for the band, even when they're not at their tighest and the bass isn't coming through, at least their energy and positivism make up for what's lost. It's disconcerting to watch the band members throw each other looks for musical changes. On the other hand, it's nice to see that they're comfortable enough with one another that they can change up the speed of an ending on the spot. There's an insatiable, exploratory, child-like gleam in Jacques' eyes, so if they're not completely locked in with one another, that's OK in a weird way. The band's CONTROLLED sloppiness(a la Sonic Youth) is an indicator of their adventurousness.

The Bally Who? rocked out and had their noisier moments with "Get Up Fall Down" and "Untitled Bout" from their first release, "You is President." Most of the concert, though, the band played new material that was softer and less hard rocking than their older stuff. It's less intent on being straightforward. It drifts in the back of your mind. Somewhere between a ballad and a rock song, a Jazz influence is definetely in play.

M.C. Bryan Spitzfaden spread the band's message of "Yes" as usual. His rambunctious monologues were enjoyable song buffers. He creates a nice sense of community within a concert by encouraging chanting and crowd participation. Spitzfaden handed put pieces of trophies and numbers representing the number of audience wishes that would come true.

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