The show began with Melissa Scott’s acoustic set, which provided a nice casual feel to an otherwise bustling Beer Exchange. Normally when I see a show at TBX, the bands are loud; the crowd is rowdy, typical of your Windsor hardcore scene. I usually don’t see acoustic sets live at all, let alone at the Beer Exchange, so Melissa Scott’s covers of Dido’s “Thank You,” and other contemporary pop songs were certainly refreshing. Scott performed mostly covers, with a couple original pieces in-between. While she seemed pretty nervous when performing, her emotional voice broke through the nerves and was quite pleasant to listen to. An unfortunate aspect of the show was the crowd noise, as an acoustic set is usually more subtle and quiet. Most of the venue was talking loudly over her performance, which I can understand in the sense that it had a more casual feel than the punk bands that would follow; however, it was hard not to empathize with Scott during the performance.
One critique I have about Melissa Scott’s set was some of the songs she decided to cover were a bit odd. Transitioning from a softer tune to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” was a bit disorienting for me. While there was a lot of hollering from the crowd, I’m unsure if the song really fit what she was trying to do. It was hard not to find some humor in an acoustic performance of “Sexy and I Know It,” along with “Genie in a Bottle,” and that took away from her overall routine. Covering unconventional pop songs can be very interesting, but I am not sure if this was quite the venue that would really take Scott’s efforts seriously. Other than those strange choices, I thought Scott’s performance was humble and promising, and I hope she is not discouraged by the crowd’s lack of attention.
The Neverhood performance was quite similar to Melissa Scott in that their nerves seemed to get the best of them. The lead singer pointed out that his family was in the crowd, which was a nice touch, and I could tell that this was one of their first performances as a band. With a traditional punk sound, the Neverhood was able to keep the energy high despite following a low-energy set. Their sound reminded me of The Offspring in a way, and one could certainly hear the influence of bands like Alice in Chains (they covered their song “Nutshell”). What took away from the band’s performance was the seemingly unpreparedness and the constant technical difficulties throughout the set. Each song was followed by confusion between the singer/lead guitarist and the drummer regarding tempo and the volume of each member. Although their energy was very good and they had a bunch of original songs to play, the stiffness and inconsistency of the percussion ultimately minimized the effectiveness of their playing.
The Neverhood ended their set blatantly disappointed, with the singer saying, “we’re going to need some drinks,” and walking off stage a bit awkwardly. There was a warm applause from a crowd that was probably full of people who come to TBX every week and see shows from the most to the least experienced bands. It was an uplifting sign of encouragement from the same crowd who didn’t seem to care for the acoustic set much, but it was understandable to give a cheer to a discouraged band of friends who gave it their all. Overall both acts had very promising performances and I look forward to seeing these same names on show posters in the near future.