Contradiction? Dark Little Rooms go outside in the light

Little Dark Rooms
at Plan 9
Saturday, March 22

Most of my Saturdays and Sundays look about the same: get up, work on Hook, slowly, until it gets dark, and then– like a music-addicted vampire (Noteferatu?)– hit the town looking for tunes.

I'm vastly oversimplifying, of course, but my current schedule does not do anything to increase my supply of vitamin D or improve my health– or in some cases my sanity– and when I have the opportunity to do Hook recon work during the day, I usually jump at the chance.

Saturday, March 22, an extremely beautiful and warm day, saw the group Dark Little Rooms do an in-store at the Plan 9 on the Corner, and I crawled out of my hole and down to see the show.

The in-store turned out to be an "out-in-front-of-the-store," and I joined the few spectators waiting for the band to go on. The group consists of the other standard rock group set-up (the primary one being singer/guitarist/bassist/drummer): a keyboard/vocalist, a bassist, a guitarist sporting a nice Telecaster, and a beyond-exuberant drummer.

They hail from the far-away realm of Richmond. I really appreciate the Plan 9 guys throwing free shows every once in a while– though I know capitalism mostly gets the credit for in-store performances in general, they are still always nice.

Dark Little Rooms started their set with a half dissonant noise/half pop song, which at times (notably the chorus) drifted into the latest British Invasion of Travis/Coldplay territory. The keyboardist/singer's voice, in particular, did that high flying falsetto thing British rock is known for of late– think Coldplay's chorus to "Yellow."

The group's second song, a jazzy '70s style tune in quick-time, was better than their first, but still you could see the heavy influence of the aforementioned overseas groups. Not bad, but not spectacular was how the group sounded through most of their set.

People came and went during the group's six songs; made up mostly of passersby, the crowd would stick around for a song or two, then after getting their fill, continue on down the thoroughfare.

I saw the whole performance, and it wasn't until the last song that the group really showed off what they could do. For this last tune the group finally left the British Isles behind, infusing the set with some soulĀ­ especially the singer.

More or less a standard pop song, but with an ending that built to a crescendo of noise and melody, this song was the group's piece de resistance, but it left me wondering why Dark Little Rooms doesn't play up the plainly superior soul aspect of their sound.