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Night Beats, Discos, Church Key, Club Congress, Aug. 17

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There were many lessons learned the other night at Club Congress. One was to steer clear of trendy bandwagon-jumping. The second: If a band must insist on following trends, at least attempt to do it well.

Non-bandwagon-jumpers Church Key are quickly becoming a must-see band. Their songs are great; the band is tight; and they consistently deliver passionate performances. Church Key's brief and explosive music is not unlike that of their members' parent groups (Garboski and Gentlemen of Monster Island), though it's more melodic and muscular.

Second on the bill were locals Discos, whose name is mostly inaccurate. In fact, there was exactly one song they performed that had a disco drum beat and/or sensibility. Discos play an original take on early British post-punk from the late 1970s and early 1980s, such as Magazine or Adam and the Ants. However, they really don't resemble any particular group from that time period; Discos simply sound as though they were from that musical movement. They played a very powerful set, but they do lose points for using Britney Spears-esque headset microphones.

Which brings us to the evening's headliners: Seattle's Night Beats. This group, to put it mildly, is to neo-garage rock what Candlebox was to Nirvana in the early 1990s. They seemed drunk enough for more than a few extreme DUIs and dressed up in better costumes than most trick-or-treaters. Their jean jackets had more pins on them than Jennifer Aniston's character in Office Space. The bass player (the one with the obligatory white afro) even played a Paul McCartney-style violin-shaped bass guitar.

The music featured generic and hookless rave-ups that never really ended up raving anywhere; Night Beat's songs were instantly forgettable. The aforementioned bass player apparently shared this self-realization, as he appeared so bored that he pretended to throw his guitar at the audience.

Countless other acts play this ever-tiring revival of played-out faux '60s rock, but Night Beats' music is based not in the authentic and first-generation garage rockers like Chocolate Watchband or the Sonics, but other boring neo-garage bands currently monopolizing the underground rock 'n' roll landscape.

Back to the drawing board, boys.

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