Color us happy: Jumpin' acts keep audience moving

Palomar, 63 Crayons, and VHS and the Babies
at Tokyo Rose
March 6

Spring Break! Yes, fellow residents of Charlottesville, last week signaled the yearly migration of many of this town's young and nimble to the warm sunny beaches of the far south, where haze-filled nights, wet T-shirt contests, and STDs awaited them with open arms.

And though the students' annual exodus usually drastically decreases the number of events a hard working music reviewer can check out, this week seemed more packed with great shows than everĀ­ especially at Tokyo Rose.

Thursday night heralded the return of New York City's Palomar to that particular venue, and in spite of the audience being a little sparser than that usual for a big show there, almost everyone present could be considered a fan.

VHS and the Babies were up first, a recently formed indie-rock group composed of four Charlottesville residents. Bassist Wendy Korwin (Woo old school Declaration!) and guitarist Sam Turner shared vocal duties, sometimes singing together, but more often with one of them taking lead vocals.

Andy Miller on keyboards shouted/sang backup vocals with a youthful glee, while drummer Mike Powell kept a steady and playful beat– both have performed previously in frequent upstairs Tokyo Rose champions Gulf Coast Army. The end result was a fast-paced set consisting of well-performed and fairly catchy rock songs, although it would have been nice to be able to hear Korwin's vocals a little better.

Palomar went on next, and quickly the place was awash in movement, ranging from ecstatic dancing to full body head nodding. I previewed Palomar last week, so I don't want to repeat myself, but I will say the crowd loved their vocal-centric guitar-pop, and they performed quite well– a band I, for one, will be checking out again next time they're in town.

63 Crayons went on third, and though the crowd had thinned out a bit, the remaining audience members definitely ended up happy they'd decided to stay. This Roanoke band plays '60s style psychedelic pop, and keeping with the era, I would accuse at least the lead singer/guitarist of having popped a few bennies (Can you even still get them?)

He was probably the most energetic person I've ever seen. Besides his frantic contribution, the group was composed of keyboards, bass, and a theremin, an instrument that uses the theory of beat frequencies to allow for high pitched hands-free performances.

Without a drummer, the group relied on a number of different staple keyboard rhythm programs to provide the beat: For "Appletree," the drum machine was set to a fox-trot beat, provoking laughter from many members of the audience.

63 Crayons is a great band, mixing catchy tunes and off the wall lyrics with a spectacle like show, and I hope they decide to bring color to our lives in Charlottesville again soon.