New York/London-based psychedelic pop label Rainbow Quartz obviously likes to send its bands out on the road en masse; last year they dispatched the Outrageous Cherry, Grip Weeds and Asteroid No. 4 out on the road; Sept. 24 it was the turn of Detroit’s the Singles and  Three-4-Tens to  open up for Montreal’s the High Dials and to bring songs from their new albums to the stage.

The Singles were up first. Hewing closely to the pattern set down by the Beatles, the snappily dressed and boyish quartet ran through its debut album’s paeans to girls — as far as I can tell, every song with remarkable fidelity is either about coming back to a girl, a girl coming back, what a swell/bad time one is having with a girl, or how painful it is to be leaving a girl . Yearning vocals, Rickenbackers and ties were the order of the evening. The group’s tuneful efforts went over well with the crowd, but they might think to expand on their subject matter a little.

Philadelphia’s Three-4-Tens are a more versatile crew, as you might guess of a band with songs named 'Whore House and Suicide' and 'Philly Blues.'  They lacked the Singles’ sartorial dash, but more than made up for it in energy. Lanky guitarist Brian McNamara rung distortion from his amp as stocky bassist Jamie Mahon punctuated his tightly coiled performance with jumps and stiff-legged twirls. The group’s live show adds some post-punk angularity to tunes that seem to wander back and forth between the influences of the Who, Ween and the Flaming

At their set’s conclusion, Mahon finally exploded off the stage, discarded his bass for a pair of maracas  (Singles lead guitarist Will Yates jumped in to take over on bass) and began rolling around on the floor while bellowing the chorus from 'My Stoned Ass'  — “If I had a pistol, I would use it, abuse it!” — into one of the two microphones that had earlier ended up in the audience area, along with their stands, and finally ended the hijinx by hurling his maracas back onto the stage: A wild end to a excellent performance.

Once upon a time, The High Dials were known as The Datsons;  they briefly switched to the Datson 4 (in order to avoid confusion from the similarly named Australian outfit, one presumes), then made a complete change for their debut on Rainbow Quartz (and third album overall). The High Dials’ mod-psychedelic songs hearkened back to 'Revolver'-era Beatles and made full use of the band’s harmonizing abilities and nimble bass playing. Early Byrds and modern power-poppers like Matthew Sweet are  another touchstone. Their music is obviously well-crafted, but by the end of the night it was plain that even their quality performance wouldn’t overtake the impression made by the
Three-4-Tens’ rampage.

The photgraphs that accompany this article were taken by Andrew Carver

Related Links:

Commenting On: Bumpers Roadhouse, Ottawa, 24/9/2003 - High Dials, the Three 4-Tens and the Sin

ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment

First Previous Next Last