Fresh off of their announced record deal with LA's EasyRider Records, Cincinnati's Electric Citizen took the stage last night at Northside Tavern, opening for stoner/psych underground legends, Dead Meadow. Based on crowd reactions, there was no question who the near capacity crowd turned out to see.
Taking the stage just before 11:00, Electric Citizen played a solid 40+ minute set, blasting out doomy, witchy tracks from their upcoming debut album one after another, with very little banter in between. I've seen Electric Citizen live a handful of times and I have to admit that I was never really impressed before last night. Maybe they were always the victims of poor sound or maybe they just hadn't solidified their set yet, but they always came off to me as Joe Schmoe Rock Band. Not last night.
The guitar and bass tones were as heavy as I have ever heard from these guys. They've finally got that 70's doom sound down pat. I was very impressed with the bevy of Sabbathian riffs bursting out of the Orange amps. In addition, frontwoman Laura Dolan seems to be gaining more confidence and stage presence with every show. I've never listened to any recordings from these guys, but I recognized nearly everything they played last night, just from seeing them live a few times. Their stuff is just that catchy. I'm looking forward to watching this band grow.
After a bogus 30-40 minute break, the night's headliners, Dead Meadow, finally took the stage. The LA psych-rockers sounded great, other than a few unbearable volume swells. Unfortunately, good sound only goes far. I'm not familiar enough with Dead Meadow's catalog to know whether they were playing new stuff, old stuff, deep cuts, or whatever. What I do know is that they were more interested in jamming for their own entertainment than in entertaining the crowd. The crowd that was once as thick as the dope smoke filling the Tavern's back room began to filter out 15 minutes into Dead Meadow's set. If you're going to try to pull off some extended jams, you'd better be melting my face or crushing my skull, not just aimlessly widdling. Even when the jams stopped and Dead Meadow tried to pull off something resembling a song, the vocals were just too effete and indie-like for my taste. I seriously almost fell asleep standing up. I had to bail after 45 minutes to ensure that I didn't fall asleep at the wheel on my way home. I had to resort to listening to crappy black metal on the commute just to get my heart rate above 15 beats per minute.
One other minor qualm: I don't want to complain too much about a free show, but would it kill Northside Tavern to book another band or two for these shows so they can get started around 9:00 and keep things moving? 30-40 minute breaks between bands is absolutely ridiculous on a local level.
It was awesome to see Electric Citizen take the next step and put on a dominating performance. Congratulations again to those guys on their new deal. Hopefully the next time they play with another psych band here in town, they can headline and we can get the boring shit out of the way first.