It was my first time to see acts play the 2nd floor of the Legendary Dobbs. It’s a modest room, new brick, a series of soft chairs lining one half of the room. A nice wide stage to hold maybe 7 comfortably. Opening act was Derrick, who performed solo acoustic. He has an insistent fingerpicking style, looking very much an artist of confidence and ease. “I hadn’t picked up a guitar in a while, so I won’t be doing all the fancy stuff I normally do”. Derrick fronts a local ‘suburban hip-hop’ act, akin to the Beastie Boys. Tonight there was no hip-hop; more like choice covers of standards along with a few originals, a handful of vocals. He did a medley of songs with some easy guitar chords. “All you need is the right chord progression…there’s the G, the D, the C…then you can take over the world” before he launched into some Beatles songs. Derrick’s band I couldn’t find reference of on the Web…he wrote it on one of my business cards but I might have actually given that card out already. It happens.
I ordered a Stone IPA at the upstairs. 6.9% alcohol, quite woody, definitely not a lightweight. I looked at the monitor displaying the main-stage action. It looked like a hard rock band, a 5-piece, including an electric violin. I stole away to check the band out in person.
The band is Just A Memory, from Syracuse. They definitely have a symphonic-rock sort of sound, and truly alternative in sound and appearance. Lead singer is Joey DiMaggio, and the violinist is Leila Dean. She is the wife of the frontman, Kevin Dean in Brand New Sin; the band was borrowing Brand New Sin‘s large van for the drive down from Syracuse. This was their debut gig in the Illadelph. They’ll certainly be back, probably in 8-10 weeks, according to Leila. Also, timewise, they had about 20 minutes to load in, plug in and start their set. They play a two-night stand at one of the hotels in Atlantic City this weekend before heading back north.
Back up north I went to the 2nd floor, in time to see Song Dogs and The Nightjar .Tonight they were a 4-piece; Miriama O’Brien, their percussionist had given birth to 8-lb. Uma Theresa O’Brien on Wednesday. The band showed off great guitar chops and shared vocal duties in the 90-minute set. One song referenced lead singer Ryan McCloskey’s hometown school in “Buffalo Crossroads”. Another song told a rather dark story called “Holy Ghost And Run”. This was one of the first gigs with a new drummer, Dan Cooper. The band keeps their on-stage stance simple for the most part, leaving the majority of the flashy stuff to lead guitarist/harmonica Michael Southerton (he was on harmonica for one song as well). One of their staples is the Neil Young/Crazy Horse cover “Cortez The Killer”. They also covered “When The Levee Breaks” (Led Zep, of course). Their sound can be filed as being faithful to classic rock as well as a modern spin on roots rock. I’d love to see them on a bigger stage, with more room to rock and roll to. They had played such a place, North Star Bar, earlier in March. Upcoming shows for them include NYC’s Trash Bar, along with local shows at The Grape Room and Kung Fu Necktie.
Among those in the audience were Janet Bressler, lead vocalist for ‘psycho-Celtic’ rock band Sylvia Platypus. They will be at The Grape Room on 4/19.
Lots more photos at the latest Facebook gallery: