It was the night before The Whiteaker Block Party and I was determined to stay home and remain sober. I failed on both counts after an event invite on FB dragged me out kicking and screaming to The Black Forest, for a mismatched bill and cheap Line Dry Rye.
Opening the night was North Carolina singer songwriter, Michael McFarland, well into a 20 something date jag, but seeming none the worse for wear, despite the small crowd, comprised of the other bands, and people very obviously there for more of a rock show. McFarland, ever professional, gave his all, delivering a set of personal and heartfelt acoustic tunes filled out by a trusty looping station. He ended his set with an effective attention grabber, looping multiple vocal parts to create gorgeous, lush harmonies, not with the microphone, but the pickup inside his acoustic guitar. The room filled with smiles in a fleeting magical moment, the musicians in the room exchanged nods of approval as McFarland sang into the body of his guitar. I was so stoked I forgot to take pictures (sorry, guys).
Next up was Mallory (Oakland). These guys have a pop-rock, a la Saves The Day, sorta thing going on. Pulling out all the stops for a high-energy set that got the heads bobbing and engaged the tiny crowd, giving the sticky hot atmosphere inside the Forest a reason to sweat out that alcohol. I picked up their record. Anticipate a proper review next physical issue.
Then, like a sweaty, pissed off, rock’n’roll demon with fleas in it’s fuckin’ britches, came Burnt Thrones Club. BTC is a noisy, spit, piss and vinegar 2 piece, fuck-you-rock’n’roll-machine that smashes whatever shit gets in it’s way. This particular night, the shit was a crowd of 10 and the Black Forest stage. Undaunted by the small crowd, or humid bar, the powerhouse tore through a half hour set, screaming, stomping, and shredding the occasional bluesy solo. These guys eat nails and shit bullets. Don’t fuck with ‘em.