Wednesday night, three young, up-and-coming bands gathered at the Milk Bar, an intimate venue on the western edge of Haight Street, to lay down fun, unseasonably warm beats – a welcome contrast to the decidedly autumnal weather.
Street Joy, a LA-based rock trio comprised of Jason DeMayo (vocals, guitar), Scott Zimmerman (drums), and Mike Coleman (bass), kicked off the show with upbeat pop and punkish tunes. These musicians, who organized into a formal band in 2012, describe their songwriting as “that of the cassettes a dad would show his son on car rides to baseball practice.” Sigh, nostalgia.
The highlight was their spirited cover of “Hold Me Tight” -- a Beatles release circa 1963 -- and the dynamic on-stage rapport between Zimmerman and DeMayo kept me enthralled throughout their set.
The She’s -- a teenage girl group whose crooning, feminine, summery sound is inspired by ‘60s girl groups and pop acts like the Beach Boys -- followed. While many of their songs sound very similar (at times their set felt like a contagious throw-back daze), their multipart harmonies, which are the crux of their songwriting, felt expert. In addition to playing catchy tracks off of their 2011 release (Then It Starts To Feel Like Summer) such as “Jimmy” and “Fabian,” they played some newer songs, including “Anywhere But Here,” which is somewhat dark and subdued – at least in the She’s universe.
Bassist Sami Perez, guitarists Hannah Valente, and Eva Treadway, and drummer Sinclair Riley (they all sing) have been best friends since kindergarten, and it shows. On stage, they are incredibly in-sync; they even managed to all crouch down and grab their plastic water cups at once point in a synchronized sweep. Yes, their water cups -- no booze yet.
By the time the Tambo Rays took the stage at 11:15pm, I was starting to feel pretty exhausted, but Sara DaMert’s spirit and spunk picked me right back up. The group's alternative percussionist extraordinare, Sara, who at any given moment was either playing keys, drums, cymbals, tambo, or a combination of the four, was the heart of the “chill pop” foursome’s performance. Sara’s brother, Brian DaMert, perhaps the slightly subtler member of the family, laid down entrancing guitar riffs, engulfing the waning audience in a beautiful wall of sound.
The Tambo Rays showcased a surfy rock'n'roll (occasionally hippie-laced) sound onstage; their set was fluid and kept my attention. The highlight of their performance was “Take That,” whose enthused delivery, distinctly summery feel, and sardonic lyrics about Georgia the chicken instantly made me smile.