The first thing that became apparent to me when I stepped foot inside The Observatory was the incredible diversity of the crowd. It was a room full of cheery dread-bearing chain smokers, well-kempt yet utterly tranquil business men, elated young people ready to pick up speed, and even an older bunch relishing in the powerful atmosphere that the night had provided. I was in awe. There was no common age, face, or fashion amongst this following and it was simply refreshing. It just goes to show that great music transcends time and place to entertain anyone willing to listen.
Once the floor was brimming and the lights faded out The Cosmonauts stepped into our view. Without a single word they burst into their first track, waking the audience with heavy guitar distortion and a thumping bass drum kick. At this point I was sure that everyone was not only willing to listen, but was eager to. The audience was soon swaying in time with the upbeat tempo, followed by a wave of smooth bass intertwined with the guitar-duo, played by the alternating vocalists. I can only describe their style as an unadulterated mix of angst and grit with a side of catchy guitar riffs and cheeky smiles. The sound was explosive and powerful at instants but also calm and collected, constantly keeping us on our toes. The audience adored the apathetic front and striking performance, feeling fulfilled and ready for another go. The stage was cleared and set for The Three O’Clock.
Now when The Three O’clock stepped on stage I understood the reasoning for the wonderful variety of people I’d noticed earlier. There was indeed a generation gap between the two bands (as Michael Quercio recalled, mentioning his band’s glory days when they would open for Social Distortion). But when they leapt into action it became clear that a ‘generation gap’ is nothing more than a menial excuse. The crowd was as animated as ever, feeding off of the energy exuded by the four artists. There was a sea of heads nodding in unison, and even a small crowd in the back that enthused with a short-winded mosh pit. With only their vibrant personalities, a clean but dense sound, and some genuine passion they had captivated the audience in just minutes. Their songs featured clever breaks and perfectly organized vocal harmonies, as well as some grandiose guitar solos and sharp keyboard integration. They cemented their presence with witty remarks, flair, and comradely attitudes. And who could forget the frequent drumstick twirls, unintentional comic relief, and the springy nature of the keyboardist? Every little aspect of their performance united to create a rather unforgettable night. The Three O’clock were finely polished and charismatic, making for a magnificent show and a satisfied audience.
The concert couldn’t have ended on a better note. Just to prove that three is not a crowd, The Three O’Clock brought up two special guests from both Dream Syndicate and The Bangles. There was a grand total of four guitarists, one drummer, one bassist, and one keyboardist cramped onto a single stage generally suitable for four. It was a sight to see, I’m telling you. Nonetheless they orchestrated beautifully, covering Lou Reed among others, leaving an impassioned resonance in all of our heads as we swept out the front doors, euphoric and already pining.
I was thinking about how distinctive the show truly was afterwards. The pairing was odd, sure, but the ironically dissimilar bands complimented each other in every way. Their contradicting styles and specific audiences allowed two sides of a spectrum (and many predisposed opinions) to join together and absorb some good old-fashioned melodic diversity. Music has a certain intimacy in the way it constantly connects us all.