By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The final evening of the three-night Rock 'N' Roll Ramjob, critic Mike Keller's annual musical birthday party, felt a little like the last hours of, well, a birthday party. Only the most dedicated partygoers stuck around, with crowds peaking at about 50 or so throughout the night. And, like other parties, the stragglers were rewarded for their diligence.
Instrumental band Shibboleth returned from hiatus with bass player James Driscoll on drums, and--not necessarily related--the quartet seemed to rock more, without sacrificing the retro jazzy sounds that seem like party music for Holly Golightly. Snowdonnas likewise rocked harder, abandoning their usual keyboards for a guitar-based sound that highlighted singer-guitarist Tim White's vocals and spacey guitar work. The Falkon followed with what singer-guitarist Mwanza Dover called a "stripped-down set" (singer-keyboard player Daron Beck was absent). Several times Dover hopped into the crowd, but he still couldn't rouse the sleepy Sunday-night audience.
American Werewolf Academy--born from the ashes of Robot Monster Weekend--finished the night with high energy. Singer-guitarist Aaron Thedford (RMW's less polished voice) high-kicked and bounced through the trio's happy-go-punky rock, featuring drummer Tony Harper (also in Slobberbone) and new bass player Noah Prikryl. The Tah-Dahs' Roy Ivy gleefully provided backup vocals and dance steps to the songs from the band's debut, Devil, Spit It Out. Despite the bands' similar names and AWA playing RMW's "Robot at the Square Dance," don't confuse the two. RMW's daisy stage props and songs about tree houses and UFOs are replaced with odes to rock shows and drinkin'. But the seemingly carefree subjects don't mask seriously fun songs. Like Thedford sings, "Would you rather rock song or do you wanna cry all day long?" American Werewolf Academy has chosen to rock.
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