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Dark Meat, The Ettes, Tiger! Tiger!, The Selmanaires
The Star Bar
March 2008

Text and photos by Frederick Noble

Dark Meat hail from Athens, where EM and I saw them a while back at some big pop fest. At the 40 Watt they must've had nearly 20 people on stage, including belly dancers, backup singers, a horn section, 2 drummers and more. This time they pared it down to a mere dozen or so. Even still they couldn't fit on the stage and the horn section had to stand on the floor with the audience.
It added a level of intimacy to the show, the floor a mix of fans and performers close together.

I say Dark Meat is the white Parliament, complete with long jams and spacey sounds but without as heavy a funk influence. Good stuff, though I have to wonder if the second drummer is necessary - ever. 

On the other hand, I do love a good horn section. This one does double duty as backup singers, or screamers depending on the tune.

By the time of their grande finale they had a few more fans, judging from the nods and applause from the crowd.

Next up, The Ettes. They're from L.A. and judging only by The Ettes L.A.'s garage rock scene is alive and well.
They played somewhat typical 60's influenced garage but every straight male in the room was entranced by the smiling, sweaty drummer, Poni. There was something about the hair and the energy that reminded me of a female Tommy Lee and there's a reason Tommy Lee got more ass than Jesus. I probably wouldn't enjoy an Ettes CD nearly as much as the live show and, as evidence, I must point out that EM felt they were just going through the motions of being a competent rock band. But surf the web for a few seconds and you'll find heaps of glowing reviews, so they're doing something right.

The Ettes could've probably impressed me more later in the night when I wanted something simple and loud to fit with the blood alcohol level, but Tiger! Tiger! came on just in time for my mood - just buzzed enough to relax but early enough that I wasn't in need of a boost. Their mix of almost sensual melancholy, illustrated by the photo above, to edgy rock, illustrated to the right, makes their CD very enjoyable beginning to end.

It doesn't hurt that the live show is always pretty good, with Buffy shaking and swerving across the stage, alternating between smiles and sneers.

Next up, The Selmanaires.

I'd feel guilty about seeing and reviewing The Selmanaires so much lately if they weren't so much fun live. Their CD is good but it lacks the gusto of the live show. The vocals on the recording are too smooth whereas live they're punchy and percussive. And that's before they bring out the tambourines and cowbells...

The CD is a bit sleepy, but on stage they got the crowd dancing, the guys on stage swaying along until they, and much of the crowd, were sweaty.

So if someone has a copy of the Star Bar show on CD let me know. I'll toss it in the case with their studio recording and have two flavors, one for calmer moments and one for getting shit done.

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