Last big blowout? Powerhouses go head to head

Cannonball Coming, X Porn Stars, Man Mountain Jr.
at Starr Hill/ Orbit
Saturday, May 3

It was the battle of local powerhouses on Saturday, May 3. The X Porn Stars graciously shared the Starr Hill stage with Cannonball Coming while Man Mountain Jr. turned up the volume at Orbit.

Who could really blame the bands for wanting to get a few final good shows in before the students depart? I couldn't decide where to start out. By default I ended up at Starr Hill just in time for Cannonball Coming.

I had heard a great deal about the band from various sources but somehow never got around to checking them out. About 10 minutes into the show I was sorry I hadn't tuned in earlier. Despite lackluster crowd support, the quartet of keys, guitar, bass, and drums rolled out a welcome mat of precisely textured psychedelic grooves teetering between primal and intellectual. I watched in awe as the lead singer/guitarist effortlessly lead the onslaught.

But there was something missing. I just couldn't put my finger on it. Then it hit me. Aside from the bassist's constant rocking and intense facial expressions, the band almost looked bored playing their own songs. I don't know why the group remained so blasé on stage, but if they could bring out a bit of personality to match their tunes I can see them going a long way.

Speaking of personality... the X Porn Stars have enough of that to fill a large cargo hangar and more funk and soul than Shaquille O'Neal's sneaker closet. When previously I reported on the X Porn Stars, they were still a young group experimenting with how to capitalize on all the incredible talent that they had rounded up for the stage.

This time around the group locked into a near flawless formula-­ doing a great job of highlighting each musician's individual talent without sacrificing the integrity of the group on a whole. Basically, they kicked ass.

I left Starr Hill to end my night with Man Mountain Jr. at Orbit. They have successfully held down a regular spot on the corner for over a year now. I believe that the band has one of the most unusual styles of songwriting I have ever encountered. Their sound is totally unpredictable. Sometimes grating, other times extremely pleasant, there exists a special balance in the music that only a truly eclectic collection of individuals such as themselves could create.