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Review: Room 304 Showcase at the Murphy Art Center

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Anything but Square - SUBMITTED PHOTO
Room 304 Showcase
Murphy Art Center
Sunday, June 10

It was a nice Sunday evening for an intimate showcase of underground bands and artists in Room 304 of the Murphy Art Center in Fountain Square. This art space, which is mostly occupied by Jesse Lee of Pravada, opened its doors to rescue the show as the prior location had fallen through just days before.

Opening act Closet Confidential started things off with what lead singer/guitarist Zach described as "Twang Pop." It was the band's debut performance and their set was comprised of several musical elements from country and surf music created by a black Fender Stratocaster and a Fender Jazz bass.

The drummer played on a Gretsch kit that featured a kick drum, snare, hi-hat and ride cymbal. Zach's vocals were drenched in reverb and added a tinge of psychedelia to the band's garage rock by-way-of Buddy Holly style of songwriting.

The second act, Organ Grinder, consisted of brother and sister team Anthony and Annie Stultz. They were seated next to each other with Anthony playing and fingerpicking a hollow body guitar while Annie sang with reverb-soaked effects that came across as a spacey, psychedelic English version of Fran├žoise Hardy. At this point, several individuals in attendance decided to enjoy the music sitting down.

During one part of the performance, the audience remained respectfully silent during an especially quiet guitar passage, a moment that commanded everyone's attention. Organ Grinder's encore song showcased both brother and sister singing together.

The third act was set shared by two touring acoustic performers. Jason Klandrud played some songs on a classical guitar whose body was covered in indecipherable drawings. Klandrud's echoey vocal gave his music a folky and dreamy vibe.

One of his songs had the same exact chord structure as "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" by Simon & Garfunkel.

After a five minute break, Erik from Milwaukee based band, Head On Electric, would take over the classical guitar to showcase a sound very similar to Kurt Cobain's unplugged performances ran through a wash of reverbed vocals.

Final act of the night, Divine Time, was a two-piece guitar and drums, boyfriend/girlfriend combo. Singer/guitarist, Jordan Allen created psychedelic desert music on his white electric Hondo II guitar, while Elizabeth Foster played on a minimal drum kit consisting of a floor tom, snare, and hi-hat.

Foster would tape down a tambourine on the floor tom and snare during different songs. In the middle of their set, it was revealed that Foster didn't know any of the song titles and instead referred to them by nicknames.

One of those songs would stand out as "the poppy song." They played a stripped-down cover version of "Rain" by The Beatles before Allen strapped on a harmonica for their encore that ended a long, yet intimate evening of original music.

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