Return to Bobo: The High Strung and more

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

I went back to Cafe Bourbon Street last night to see Detroit's awesome garage pop trio The High Strung. Sweetening the deal were locals Necropolis (who sweeten pretty much any deal) and You're So Bossy (the ideal complement for the headliners).

You're So Bossy started out the night with a nearly perfect set of alternapop. I swear, whenever I start thinking one of these local buzz bands is only OK, they all come back and smack me across the face with a brilliant performance like this one. It's too bad they won't be playing for a while since Sam Brown is heading out on tour playing drums for RJD2. Brown (Columbus's answer to Dave Grohl) writes these hooks that just couldn't get any juicier, and his band (Phillip Park, Jovan Karcic and Annie Light-Brown) was hitting on all cylinders. Sitting the drum set in the eye of the storm was a nice touch, by the way.

The High Strung continues to amaze. The band, which literally lived on the road for a few years, then went on a tour of the nation's libraries, played a regular set in a regular bar last night. And while the music is "regular" as in familiar and "regular" as in consistent, it is irregularly good. On record, the band makes fun, if kind of pedestrian, garage pop, but live the songs get a technicolor sheen. Each of the three dudes on stage -- guitarist Josh Malerman, drummer Derek Burk and bassist Chad Stocker -- played with excited energy and personalized their stage presence with a set of endearing quirks. Malerman sways as he plays and bends down with his guitar for extended rock-outs. Stocker builds up his dancing until he shakes and makes the O-face, and Burk sits in as John Cusack, playing the understated comic relief. All the while, their songs jangle their way into audience hearts.

After all that pop goodness, Necropolis was a refreshing way to end the night. The band played seven quick songs (it was 1 a.m. on a Tuesday, after all), plopping "The Knife Song" into an otherwise all-new set. These new Necropolis songs are noisier, punkier and more intense than the band's previous work, and it's getting to the point that I don't really miss the old songs, which are appearing less and less frequently. "Working Man," "SF Dick," "CSBMF" -- these trump the best moments on The Hackled Ruff and Shoulder Mane, already a high standard in its own right. It seems like the addition of free-flowing, gritty Mat Bisaro on drums has given new life to the band that calls itself "the city of the dead." I can't wait to get these songs when they get released on some new 7-inch singles.

All in all, more rock than you could expect from a Tuesday night. Enough to last a whole week, really, but this overloaded week in rock is just getting started. More on that Friday.