so I saw Ambulance Ltd., VHS or Beta, and Robbers on High Street tonight at the Black Cat, and it was excellent. Probably the best show I've ever seen top to bottom, in that all three bands were great and could have been the headliner. Robbers on High Street opened and played their start-and-stop dancey rock to a pretty timid (and motionless) audience. They sounded great though, a lot like their CDs (the "Fine Lines" EP and the just-released "Tree City," both very good) and were good performers. VHS or Beta were probably the highlight: after a long sound check, they were damn near amazing. The lead singer sounds a lot like Robert Smith of the Cure and the band itself obviously takes some influence from them, but the music is a lot more electronic, almost like Daft Punk at times, which I think is a really good thing because I love Daft Punk. They also reminded me of the Faint, but with more of an 80s vibe. They were really good though, and I will definitely be buying the CD as soon as I get to a CD store. I wish more people were dancing (as did the lead singer, who commented on it a couple times during the set), because it was great booty-shaking jammy rock with cool drum machine beats. Plus one of the guys in the band had the most ridiculous mustache and hipster mullet, it looked like a wig and a stick-on 'stache. And they are from Louisville, which is pretty rare, I think, for an electronic rocking indie band. Ambulance LTD were good and solid as usual, as usual because this was their third time at the Black Cat in a year and they put on great shows opening for the Thrills and Elefant before. The band apparently were played on "The OC" recently, which would account for the large crowd of younger folks, 21 or less I'd say. The Black Cat's beer sales must have been hurting. They put on a good show as well with their gradually building, swirling, vaguely bluesy songs. I always think they remind me of some other bands, but I can never figure out which- they really sound unique and are reliably excellent in concert. They were much mellower than the other two acts and played "Anecdote," one of my favorites that they didn't play last time. I get the feeling this song was on "The OC," as people really seemed to know it, which is odd, because the last two times they were in town nobody seemed to know anything about them and this time they were singing along. They played a couple new songs as well (or at least songs that weren't on their very good album, "LP"), which were bluesier and countrier than their others, but both good. In short, it was an excellent show, and if any of the bands are playing soon in your area, then you ought to check them out. The three are playing in Philly tomorrow (the 6th), NYC the 7th, and at Duke University the 9th. And the Sierra Nevada beer at the Black Cat was very fresh. I've posted some pictures and links to their Myspace profiles (including a few samples) below.
Robbers on High Street (my favorite song on their Myspace profile is "Spanish Teeth")
VHS or Beta - also their Myspace profile, the songs don't do them justice.