Posted by: Dan – Apr 25, 2012
Last Wednesday at The Republic, not only did we see The Dream Machine and Big Enough, we were also pleasantly surprised by New York foursome J. Aims and the Fever as they finished up a mini-tour up and down the East Coast. Three good bands and three impressive sets made for another memorable hump night.
A cheery, lighthearted set from J. Aims and the Fever was a nice way to start the evening. Frontman J. Aims provided childhood anecdotes with a quirky Irish charm between songs sprinkled with poppy guitar triads and heavy melodic bass lines. I was momentarily soured by a taste of Dave Matthews, but then relieved by a thumping, tribal drumbeat and waves of resounding vocal chants. As is the case with many bands, their live performance has a raw grittiness that you won't find on their studio tracks. Given the chance, check these lads out.
Later on, weeknight rock veterans The Dream Machine livened up the crowd, as prescribed. Several new sounds emitted from Justin Shear's guitar as he pummeled solo after solo. Frontman Jason Hunnicutt altered his routine raiding of the dance floor by inviting (or maybe ordering) the crowd on to the stage, where they surely were sluiced with the quarts of sweat that he produces every show. They were obliviously immersed in rock though; their arms raised to the sky, screaming and laughing.
Last but not least was pure rock and roll threesome Big Enough (formerly No Dice). A lovely transition occurs in their songs from studio to stage; Big Enough capitalizes on the aforementioned live-show grittiness and definitely maintains the feel-good vibe that the rolling organ provides in their studio tracks. They were consistent with their vocal harmonies and gave the crowd the wall of sound that it seeks. As they went into the chorus of "The Weight (Take a Load off Fanny)," the seemingly lifeless drunks in the audience stood and tottered up to the front to harmonize - always an adorable sight. Keep an eye peeled for Big Enough around the city and check them out online.
I've been waiting in anticipation to see this Wednesday's guest, Splendid Suns. The first two influences they list are Tom Waits and Rancid, and as I read this, the words "fuck yeah" instinctively fell out of my mouth. The four piece features a trumpet player, and brass always seems to animate a live show. So be not shy, come to The Republic this Wednesday the 25th for a night of magical discovery and adventure. As The Dream Machine so often warns, "you don't know what the evening's bringing down."
Words by Dan Mulrooney, Photos by Tyler M. Conta