If pop-rock is the accusation, L.A.-based Lemon Sun is guilty of rock, a.k.a. serious dance-hall chops. Promptly sifting through the crowd to clamber onstage after a fierce swamp-rock outpouring from Leopold and His Fiction, the nattily clad five-piece dives into on-a-dime rhythms and the jubilant guitar jangle of '60s 45s. Sounding rather like the Human Beinz (of "Nobody But Me" fame), the Suns resonate with every upbeat hit you ever loved but not exactly like any, probably because the sound is informed by nearly every lyric-leaning rock and punk strand that's followed -- not to mention deal-with-the-Devil songwriting.
Constantly animated lead vox Rob Kolar, whose steady tenor has just enough sandpaper to coax easy identification, could be a slightly less emotive/fluid Julian Casablancas. Guitarist/backing vox Patrick O'Connor adds his share of heat, as does keyboardist/backing vox John Rogers. There's no disparaging sole non-vocalist Scott Bassman, whose sinuous, melodic bass draws pinpoint percussive responses from Felipe Ceballos.
Here's another illustration of the dying tendency of San Diegans to stand stock-still and vacant-eyed before monster ensembles. By the time the Suns slam into "Touch the Lightning," from the new album, at least half the audience is frugging into each other's elbows or vigorously tapping feet. If Sky Saxon was alive and he and the Seeds were throwing one down, I think he'd be glad to have the Suns open.
- Concert: Lemon Sun
- Date: April 30
- Venue: Bar Pink
- Seats: up front; left of center