The all-American-looking Roman Candle had a crowd huddle near the stage before they even launched into the fast-paced “Baby’s Got It in the Genes.” Singer Tim Matheny, a visual cross between John Denver and John-Boy Walton, engaged the audience so thoroughly that no one minded when he thanked them for coming out “on a Wednesday night” (um, it's Thursday).
Matheny won the crowd over with his North Carolina smile, then wrecked the stage during the final chords of Roman Candle's set, tossing the mic stand around and jumping up and down like a bona fide rock star. Their tight set was made of up of mostly new songs from the upcoming Oh Tall Tree in the Ear (coming out on May 12) and a few tunes from their debut, The Wee Hours Revue.
The Deep Vibration, still deep in puberty, showcased two good musicians: Jeremy Fetzer on lead guitar and Luke Herbert on drums. Fetzer patiently strummed circles around singer and mock-guitarist Matt Campbell, who was embarrassing to watch at times.
He convulsed over his guitar, barely strumming, and he rarely sang on-key. His screeching vocals and monotonous jams made their set about as interesting as a ticking clock.
The only redeemable song, "Worried Mind," worked because Campbell didn't sing it. He sorta talked the lyrics, and the song sounded great within the context. But buried in the sea of unchanging chords and interminable jams, its effect was pretty much lost. —Crystal Culler