|Someone didn't get the black T-shirt memo.|
The third set of the night was The Orbans, well-regarded Dallas five-piece centered around singer-songwriter Peter Black. (Well, usually they have five members, but tonight the keyboardist was sick or something.) It was at this point of the project that N and R differed more sharply in opinion than usual. Obviously, we are not a unified hive mind even in the best of times, but our tastes typically converge. Here, perhaps it's fair to give two distinct impressions rather than melding them into one narrative. Also, hey, novelty.
Impressions of N, cynic:
The Orbans come off as polished but lacking energy, like a watered down Old 97's. Peter looks like Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. "Like a Liar," one of their more sprightly songs, could be Chris Isaak on a particularly sleepy day. It was cute that they segued into a few lines of Tom Petty's "Yer So Bad" at the end. Despite having some very avid fans, they made no attempt at crowd connection: no banter, no eye contact. At the end of their set they filed off stage without a word. Were they bored with their material, or indifferent to their audience? It must be added that it was quite ridiculously hot in Club Dada at this point, and garbage was piling up everywhere due to the crowds and lack of wait staff, so N went outside to cool down (yes, that's right, outside to cool down) and missed several songs. (When he came back, the temp was more manageable and the garbage was being cleared, so Dada did manage to take control eventually.) So to be fair to the Orbans, it wasn't the best showcase for their music, especially right at the heels of the musical firebrand Ryan Becker.
Impressions of R, dreamer:
The Orbans were the most-polished act of the night so far. They seemed more ready for commercial success and it's not inconceivable to imagine them being big. Peter Black has good, clean vocals, with lyrics that are accessible but not trite. All of the songs were strong, not a clunker in the set. The band presents itself as earnest and writerly, like The Wallflowers and Lone Justice. There's a girl in high school right now who wants a convertible Mustang, a pearl snap shirt, and a good boyfriend, who doesn't know it yet but this is her favorite band.
In sum: The Orbans are definitely polished and capable, on that we agree. N was underwhelmed by what he felt was a lack of energy, while R focused on the strong songwriting and musical chops, as well as their stage poise.