Paula Frazier of "Tarnation", 4AD's newest signing of San Francisco opened the show. The rest of her band was indisposed for some reason so she came only with acoustic guitar and a collection of Tarnation songs, most of which she had written personally. Alone she sounds great--relaxing, thought provoking, beautiful. With Tarnation she sounds like Reba McEntire (for those of you who know who she is).

Versus is Teenbeat's most promising new band. They do the noisy/quiet thing that Smashing Pumpkins perfected and a billion others adopted. About half their songs were very impressive--the ones the girl sings (I really don't know much about Versus).

Liquorice were fantastic, but I'm biased--I think Listening Cap is the album of the year. Jenny's mom was in attendance tonight and boy, were they tickled. Liquorice's sound is hard to pin down, which is one reason I like them so much. They don't really compare to anybody else. Their set was going great until halfway through a poignant version of "Keeping the Weekend Free" when the amps popped loudly about 5 times in a row. It was as if they'd conjured the spirit of Warren Defever (of His Name Is Alive, their producer) and he was floating around putting the goofy noises back in the mix. They played a brilliant set including their single on Simple Machines 7", Stalls.

Air Miami was not in good shape tonight. Mark broke a guitar string about 10 seconds into the first song and couldn't get another guitar. They played stuff from Me Me Me including the great "I Hate Milk" but forgot the ones the crowd wanted to hear--"Airplane Rider" and "Pucker." Not impressive.

The big surprise of the evening for me was Scheer, 4AD's new Irish band whose first ep will be out in October. With their small, unimposing female lead singer and two guitars, they honestly seem like the result of a Cranberries/Nirvana gene splice. This band rocks hard.

I didn't stay for Tuscadero. Sorry!

David Robbins
© 1995, Rational Alternative Digital