Smile Politely

Fall Showdown: Night #3, The Canopy Club 12/14/07

Curb Service / Common Loon / (The Living Blue) / (elsinore)

The third night of the local music showcase started off with Larry Gates, the former lead singer of local legends Lorenzo Goetz. Now Gates, playing under the name Curb Service, performs with a setup that includes an acoustic guitar, turn tables, drum machine and mixer, instead of a full rock band behind him. The hip-hop aspect of the music makes the music really easy to get behind and nod your head to, as the modest crowd that gathered during the set certainly did.

It would be easy for me to compare the music to Sublime, as Gates does sing as sincerely and tenderly as Nowell once did, and there are reggae-hop rhythms in a handful of the songs, but Curb Service’s songs are more upbeat and fun; they are the kind of songs that are refreshing live, and are in short supply in music today. Gates played some songs from the recently released debut album Little Red Recovery Room, along with brooding Lorenzo Goetz song “Flagrante Delicto (3some)” that came with an anecdote about how the band sold the song to be in a porno called Sinful Asians 4. I hope that this is true. [Ed. Note: It is.]

The pop duo Common Loon were next and had undergone a name change since I last saw them at Pygmalion, but the songs were even better. I remembered a few of the bright neo-psychedelia sounds from before, making me realize just how catchy the songs are. At times I was reminded of a darker Apples in Stereo singing the hook, “contract killer are you hanging it up?” and at other times I thought of early R.E.M with U2 guitar, especially during a very Michael Stipe spoken word section in one song. There was pre-recorded organ and fuzz to accompany them, and the additional instruments really helped add an ominous hum around the lead singer’s sometimes-eerie classic pop voice. They didn’t have anything recorded yet to sell, but I hope that changes very soon in the future. They’re easily one of my favorite local artists.

It’s always a nice surprise when the two bands that made you want to come out to a show are the first two on the bill. I couldn’t have asked for two better bands to help me call it an early night with Curb Service and Common Loon, and by all means, if anyone is reading this and saw The Living Blue or elsinore, by all means leave a comment of what you thought.

The Fall Showdown, featuring sixteen area or local bands, continues tonight at The Canopy Club with Tunnels, New Ruins, Shipwreck and Headlights. Cover is $5 before 10pm and $7 thereafter.

Photo courtesy of David Cubberly

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