A near-capacity crowd packed the King Club for what was, essentially, a miniature Wisconsin pop explosion. Not the kind that leaves a sticky residue like what you find on the floor of most bars, but instead the local music collective that both The Nervous System and Sleeping in the Aviary are members of. Based on their sound, The Grizzlies might as well be, too.
All three groups put on their Friday night's best to support The Nervous System's big event. There was a lot dancing, a few push-ups and one brand new CD released to the public.
Matt Joyce and Alex Fulton of The Grizzlies (formerly of the Shivers) got the evening started with a short but sweet set of rough-around-the-edges pop. Their sound is very reminiscent of the underground garage/surf music of the '60s, with an intentionally lo-fi quality to match. The lady behind the drums added a solid if simple backbeat to the whole arrangement and a lap-steel player rounded out the sound.
The audience nearly exploded into fits of dancing and bouncing when Sleeping in the Aviary took the stage. If I had to make a list of top 10 Madison bands worthy of making it "big," they'd definitely be on it. For 30 minutes, they barreled through a set of energetic, enthusiastic and highly entertaining rock.
I'd call it pop punk, but the term has long been co-opted by far worse bands. We'll settle on something like pop-rock punk (or post-crunk, as their MySpace page claims). Sadly for our city but good for the band, this may be the last show they play here before going back on tour.
Sleeping in the Aviary would be a hard act to follow for anyone, but The Nervous System, taking heart that it was, after all, their release show, took a good crack at it. Crashing through just over a half hour's worth of material, they filled the room with upbeat but somewhat rough indie-pop songs.
While the music itself was highly listenable, the vocals were sometimes lacking. They'd do well to stay away from harmonies until they nail things down a bit more. That didn't daunt the happy dancers in the audience, though, as the energy in the room stayed high for the remainder of the show.
I was heartened to see such a good turnout for the event. Shows for local bands can often disappoint with their turnout, but that wasn't the case on Friday night. Maybe it's the effects of cabin fever finally lifting with the better weather, but I suspect it had something to do with the always-festive atmosphere of a CD release party and the quality of the bands playing.