High Strung: And loving that energy!

The High Strung
at Miller's
August 17


It's 12:56 in the morning, I'm hopped up on coke (a cola) and nicotine, hopped down on beer, and need sleep more than any time in recent memory. But before I head off to sleeping-pill heaven, I must regale you with the story of The High Strung, a little band that could.

Hailing from NYC, The High Strung undertook a 10-hour trip down from our capital city of culture to play a one-night gig in our fair burg, and thanks to the fact that it's Sunday night (and apparently the Gods are angry at the group), I made up 50 percent of their viewing audience. But my fortitude in the face of social oblivion (i.e. sitting alone at the bar) paid off for once, and I was gifted with a good 45 minutes of some of the best, most energetic pop/rock I've seen in years.

Part the Kinks, part Supergrass, part apparent speed-freaks, The High Strung embody (at least my version of) the British Empire more than any true British band I've seen. From the first distortion-filled chord, the group continuously dropped pop nuggets like they were mere afterthoughts.

Two guitars, a bass, and drums made up the group's live setup, and in the small confines of Miller's, our (as in mine and the other dude at the bar) eardrums were pushed to the limit. The group's first tune, a pop nugget to say the least, instantly showed some of the strengths of the group: two-guitar fisticuffs, the strong voice of the left hand guitarist (high and smoky, just the way I like it), and the tightness of the group as a whole.

With barely a break between songs, the group's second number was nearly as good as the first; the right hand guitarist took over vocal duties for this tune, which featured one of the best middle eights (a term used by the Beatles instead of bridge) I've ever heard.

From there, the ghost of Ray Davies, lead singer of the Kinks, seemed to make his presence known­ the next tune, which featured a two-chord verse and a '60s style singalong chorus made at least half the audience present (me) smile with joy. The song also featured the first guitar solo of the evening, a short little freak-out before the song resumed its frantic retro pace.

Hit after hit flew from the stage of Miller's, and into my head, with three-part harmonies, crunchy guitar licks, and goofing off only adding to the effects that an evening of great music can have.

Look, I can only tell you this a certain number of times before it loses its effect, but The High Strung will be returning to Miller's soon (let's hope on a more populated night), and I honestly urge you to check them out. It'll be worth it, I guarantee it!