September 18th, 2011 | WEEKEND

PopFest saved the best for last

DSC_0012
Photo by Chantel Simpson.

Yale’s own Jamestown, The First Town in America opened the final night of Elm City PopFest at Café Nine.

The seven members were crammed on stage, forming a cluster of melodic energy that projected beautifully crafted songs and perfectly synchronized melodies. When the lead singer twisted his face to belt out each word, he seemed to be reaching deep inside himself to deliver the poetic lyrics that soulfully rolled off his tongue. Every solo was moving; every harmony, heartfelt. Jamestown was definitely the best band I’ve seen at the PopFest in all four nights.

Next up was the Novels, who presented a vintage mix of playful sixties pop and the hard rock of the early seventies, but with an original spin. The performance was powerful instrumentally; the quartet had a great liveliness and a visible chemistry that made them stand out from the other bands I had seen. They were theatrical and engaging, and the drummer was a raging madman — I loved it. Their only misstep was in the quality of the lead singer’s voice. It was too soft, lacking assertiveness, at times, out of tune. It simply did not mesh with the dynamic nature of the music.

The Caveman Go, a fun pop rock group, played an upbeat set that had the crowd dancing. And Boy Genius? They were great too.

The last night was a good night.

  • ekendu_uno

    Interesting review. I was at this show and had never seen any of the bands before. I have seen many of the bands who performed on the other nights and take issue with the “definitely the best band” tag accorded to Jamestown etc. All three of the other bands on the bill Saturday night outrocked them, and The Reducers (perhaps the best rock n roll band still playing) were there on Friday night. Best, not by a long shot. While Jamestown was technically proficient, I’d suggest they redirect their marketing to follow the career path of Up With People. I detect a little home team bias from the Yale reviewer. In a nutshell, “…it ain’t what we call rock n roll.”

  • will_o_wisp

    @ekendu_uno

    “…it ain’t what we call rock n roll.”

    Uh…it’s the Elm City POP Fest. not ShredFest, GrungeFest, DeathmetalFest. Maybe you’ll organize that for next year.

    J-town has a lead singer who can actually sing. I’m sure that rubs you the wrong way too.

  • ohjason