With my valentine in tow, I traipsed out to Lovin' Cup Friday night to see two bands. One I knew rather well -- Mochester -- and one I had never heard -- Air Traffic Controller. This is where my curiosity and writing shines, according to my editor. And I have to agree; when I have no benchmark or anticipated response, I end up enjoying myself immensely.
Deriving its name from frontman Dave Munro's previous gig with the military, Air Traffic Controller took the stage fortified with a plethora of acoustic and electric instruments, with which all members of the band exhibited proficiency. I initially thought the band would be more folky than it wound up sounding. It was drenched in hooks, and fortified by the simple honesty found in Munro's lyrics sung in his reedy tenor.
The band ventured into stark territory, where it built tunes seemingly from the ground up a la The Head and the Heart or The Lumineers. And speaking of voices, bassist Casey Sullivan was a study in two parts. The notes would first leave her throat freely, only to be pinched at the end with a haunting vibrato. It was a subtle and beautiful approach that I'm not sure she's fully aware of -- it was that natural. Multi-instrumentalist Steve Scott kept it glued together with as much texture as actual notes, which served Munro's simple salvos exquisitely.
I've seen Mochester play barefoot before, but this particular night was cold, so the band took the stage in socks. I'm not sure why. Maybe the members forgot their stage slippers? Anyhow, here's a band that knows how to implement a twin-guitar attack. The crowd, sufficiently warmed up by Air Traffic Controller's set, seemed primed and ready, hollering out requests and generally digging the band. Mochester kicked ass even if it was without shoes.