A showcase of new bands from the Maryland suburbs yielded two appealing revelations at the Psyche Delly Saturday night. The Cranes combined an energetic punch and a melodic flair to create poppish new wave similar to that of the Cretones and the Cars. Dr. Goodfoot & the Toxicsox with the Fabulous Shoe Horns combined the hardcore funk of Parliament with the absurdist humor of Root Boy Slim and the Original Fetish. While both bands betrayed weak points, both showed potential for better things to come.
Dr. Goodfoot et al. featured six former members of the Ernie Steele Band, including singer Joe Hamilton in the leading role. Curiously, Hamilton was the weakest link in the band; somehow his voice never produced the big payoff notes that the songs called for. The Toxicsox, though, played big-band funk far better than any suburban band would be expected to. Pushed by a throbbing rhythm section and led by Scott Gingras' stinging guitar solos, the band turned comedy songs like "Funky Krishna" and "Dig Me, I'm a Pygmy" into hot dance tunes.
The Cranes were led by Richard Sales and Greg Pugiliese, who also led the memorable Sky Cobb in the early '70s. Saturday, their energy tended to overpower their younger rhythm section, and their music overshadowed their rather predictable lyrics. But Sales' gruff voice and driving guitar were nicely complemented by Pugiliese's melodic singing and bleating organ.