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Acorn Bcorn, Orca Team, The Eeries, Bradford Trojan at The District Tavern, Sunday, Nov. 4

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Musical gimmicks are a sign of a lack of imagination and/or talent, right? They signify little bastions of fleeting trendiness, right?

As a whole, Acorn Bcorn, Orca Team, The Eeries and Bradford Trojan mostly played vintage miniature instruments that looked like toys; two of them had members playing multiple instruments at once. So ... were they talentless charlatans? Not at all.

Bradford Trojan, a local singer/songwriter, managed to perform his quiet, catchy garage-pop songs on electric guitar, drums, harmonica and a psychedelic guitar-echo device, while singing simultaneously. His demeanor and singing voice were warm and ingratiating; his songs were strong and brief; and he perfectly opened what was to be a great show. Gimmick: disregarded.

The Eeries, a pop/rock trio from Philadelphia, opened their set with a cover of the Beatles' "Please Please Me." Not a very promising decision. Immediately afterward, as they played one explosive original number after another, it became apparent that these young fellows had absolutely nothing to do with the Beatles: This was punk rock, in the vein of the Clash and the Jam, played as if the Eeries' lives depended on it. The singer even looked like Joe Strummer, and the drummer most likely would not be accepted into Julliard, but in the best way possible. They concluded their performance, appropriately, when their equipment quit working. Gimmick: n/a.

Dressed like prep-school kids, Orca Team's gimmick was to be the quietest surf-rock band that ever climbed up on a stage. With tiny guitars and a T-shirt dampening the volume of the snare drum, the Seattle band sounded more like a dream you had about a surf-rock band than an actual surf-rock band. They didn't particularly rock; echoes of their music just leisurely floated away and dissipated. Orca Team were the highlight of the evening for many. Gimmick: Who cares?

Tucson's Acorn Bcorn, two sisters who in tandem play guitar, bass and drums, performed unclassifiable, incendiary songs in dresses unearthed from the Civil War. No-wave folk? Avant-garde blues? Acorn Bcorn had great songs and great showmanship. They succeeded in making noisy roots music into audience-friendly dance jams. Gimmick: What gimmick?

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