I met Jon from Capillary Action way back when he sent his band's album to me to review. I dug it, ya know? It was pretty schizophrenic -- metal riffs, jazz breakdowns, dissonant chords and stuff. I saw them live as like a seven-piece band; it was sweet. So when Jon told me he was coming through my new town with Joe Lally, and that Cap Act would be Joe's backing band, I thought, "This could be sweet."
Cap Act played first, trimming their outfit down to four: just guitar, bass, keys, and drums. New drummer, new bass/trombone player. And man, was it tight. The band blew through most of the debut release Fragments as well as some other tracks too. It was rad, 'cause they'd rip some metal riffs and then run straight into some crazy prog transition and then they'd go all quiet, and then that shit would be totally everyone screaming their face off and thrashing on their instruments, and then it'd rip right into hardcore, straight up, jazz. And I mean jazz. The new drummer and bass player are both classically trained jazz musicians. Some songs had parts that sounded like Devo on crack. Others had some actual singing on them, moving the group away from being just instrumental. Their show is indescribable. You have to go see it for yourself.
Joe played next, since Cap Act already had their gear set up. I didn't know what to expect, since I hadn't heard a lot of Fugazi before in my life (yeah, yeah, just crucify me now 'cause I know there are going to be like eight "OMG FUGAZI" posts in this thread). Joe got his bass hooked up, and then broke into a song that was just a repetitive riff over a light drum part and singing. Very sparse, very powerful with an emphasis on the lyrics. As the songs progressed, so did the instrumentation. Most songs were just a dialogue between the heavy, solid bass lines and say, the drums. Or the keys. Or the guitar doing little background, reverb-heavy sounds (like in an old Western). And sometimes the trombone was played over it. Joe's lyrics were powerful, and each song made me think of protest songs that were written to be shouted through a megaphone by 20 to 200 people. Anthems, really -- about war, about guns, about strife and poverty. Joe's set was powerful and captivating. It was like polar opposites, seing Cap Act blow everyone's mind, and then have Joe play this minimalist set.
Last was Push Pull, a local Bloomington band that sounded a lot like a bad Weezer rip-off with half-assed prog-rock riffs every once in a while and an AC/DC attitude mixed with bad jokes and two metal riffs and some upbeat ska guitar. Whew, I mean, wow. It was pretty bad. But a lot of people liked it, so whatever. I wouldn't pay money to see them play, but a lot of other people did.
SO, that's the wrap up. Cap Act = awesome. Joe Lally = awesome. Push Pull = not awesome. But Push Pull isn't on tour right now, so you don't have to worry about it. Just go see Cap Act and Joe Lally when they come through your town.