The first band of the night was not a band at all; it was a dude playing an acoustic guitar. He called himself Johnny Honest and the Fucking Liars. It's a decent name. I really wish that Mr. Honest had a full band, because these songs were really calling for a backbeat. He didn't really play acoustic, folk songs, not for the most part anyway, these were full on rockers without the rock. The one song that worked well in this format was a downer about the heroin addiction and death of one of his friends. I think that Johnny Honest and the Fucking Liars would be really cool once there are some Fucking Liars to fuck around with. Right now, it's a little too bare, a bedroom practice with no curtains or blinds.
I had been hyped up about the next band, Aloe, and they did not disappoint. My friend Racheal, formerly of the legendary Skinless Boneless, started this band, and I was excited to see what their new songs were like. I couldn't hear the vocals super well, but Aloe is an awesome band! They sound like a better Skinless Boneless! The songs push forward, while still taking time to float around the lunar crater left by Sonic Youth or veer off into angular weirdness. Aloe does cool noise rock without going into metal territory. They reminded me a little bit of the band Multicult. The songs have space, and there is interesting interplay between the two guitars. I really enjoyed the drums, heavy and a little off-center, very post-punkish. The bass is also really solid. Sorry, I'm Dead will be playing with them on June 18th at The Mr. Roboto Project.
Last up was Smoke Wizzard, named after a Squirrel Hill establishment of burnable substances. My friend Ricky is in this band, but unlike with Aloe, I didn't know that going in. Smoke Wizzard is kind of what I expected from looking at the gear and the members of the band, loud and spacey doom/stoner metal. It's the kind of music that resembles the graphics from the side of an Atari arcade cabinet, something like Centipede or Joust, that stoner fantasy world of the 1970s that birthed Ralph Bakshi's Wizards and Gygax's Dungeons & Dragons. I didn't inhale though. It was a little too loud for me, given the small venue that is Gooski's, and Smoke Wizzard played a little too long. They could have cut it down 5 or 10 minutes. The guitar could have used more treble. The drums were a little off-kilter here again, which is somewhat appealing, though the drum parts were a little simple, even for all the sludging around. I really liked Ricky's solid basslines and echo-y vocals, despite some technical issues early on. Just like with Aloe, this was a great first show, and I will await Smoke Wizzard's next show.