Singular vision: Short set, long songs

Fountainhead
At Jabberwocky
Friday, April 11

 Clothes appeared to be on the outs at Jabberwocky last Friday night: Awash in a sea of tight pants, midriff-bearing tops, and arched backs, I found my attention constantly diverted from the act I had come to see by "Whuzzup?" greetings and the mating rituals of the predominantly Greek crowd.

Although I had some faint hopes that Fountainhead, the band in question, would surpass my preconceived generic expectations (solely because the group apparently took their name from Ayn Rand's influential novel of individualism), by the end of the evening my socks remained firmly on.

Fountainhead is a four-man instrumental outfit with the expected lineup– two guitars, a bass, and drums. Aside from the fact that the group has not one but two instruments (bass and a guitar) manufactured by the esteemed Rickenbacker company, I did not see anything really impressive in their stage show– "four attractive young men, in no way visually offensive" was the way my friend summed them up.

A cry of "One, two, buckle my shoe," led the group into their first song, but pretty soon I had figured out that the group's MO is jam-based tunes, not ancient nursery rhymes.

The band seemed to be finding the groove on their first tune, led more by some pretty damn good lead guitar work than by bass or drums. Their second song was a lot better, a strong three chord guitar/bass deluge with lead work over it– although it did seem to be about 15 minutes long, time enough for my friend and me to run the entire course of a long conversation with space at either end.

Once again, the lead guitarist proved himself an admirable instrumentalist– though his lines were by no means smoking, he had a nice sense of timing and an easy way with his fingers. Fountainhead segued into an instrumental version of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" for their big triumphant ending before bringing their (second song) odyssey to an end.

A short foray into Heart's "Barracuda" verse was quickly stopped, and the group began their third real song, a slower more melodic outing than earlier numbers. Led primarily by a heavy bass line, the lead guitar was decidedly airy and relaxed for the first two minutes of the tune, before the band shifted into double-time and things got more crunchy. After about 10 minutes of playing, the group was done-­ the longest set coming from the shortest set list I have ever seen.

Though Fountainhead's name created expectations on my part that remained unfulfilled (they were by no means individualistic), they performed admirably, within the limitations of their chosen genre. If you are a Greek, like Greeks, want to be a Greek, or would like to date a Greek, or (and sometimes this is mutually exclusive) just have a penchant for jam bands, check out Fountainhead at Jabberwocky or Coupe De Ville's, where they play with the frequency that Coran Capshaw buys restaurants.