Sometimes, being in a rock band requires a leap of faith. Consider Waiting Room, a trio that hails from County Cork, Ireland. The band, which records for the small, Limerick/Cork-based independent label Out On a Limb Records, is on its first U.S. tour and will play at the Galaxy Hut, which has no cover charge. Unless the group sells an unbelievable amount of merchandise -- and this is a club that holds dozens, not hundreds, of people -- the band won't be making much money. But, to make music, you go where the people will listen.
Call it the pluck of the Irish, but Waiting Room is not easily discouraged. The group lost more than $10,000 worth of gear in a fire during the recording of its sophomore CD, "Catering for Headphones," released this year. Lesser bands might break under such stress, but the Cork region's musical community rallied to help Waiting Room get back on its feet.
Perhaps that's why "Catering" is such a serious, focused CD as opposed to the mellow indie rock of Waiting Room's debut, "Losing Patience," which Irish national music magazine Hot Press described as "packed full of three-minute pop gems." As its title would indicate, the new CD has an atmospheric sound that is more adventurous and experimental, with odd time changes and lovely accents of cello and subdued female background vocals. The CD contains both instrumentals ("I Took Some Painkillers," "Carousel" and a hidden, untitled bonus track) and languid songs with sober lyrics ("Return My Rabbits," unlikely as it sounds, is an achingly pretty lover's lament).
The angular guitar lines and subtly evolving melodies have drawn comparisons to Mogwai, Low, Mercury Rev and Sebadoh.
The trio has toured Ireland and the United Kingdom, including some plum gigs opening for the Frames, one of Ireland's most popular bands. And yet, after one of those gigs in late September, the band's gear was lost again -- this time it was stolen. Perhaps discouraged but still defiant, the group borrowed some equipment and flew to the United States, where the tour began days later in Boston.
Galaxy Hut will also host a variety of bands from around the United States this weekend. Octopus Project, from Austin, will also be appearing Sunday. Saturday marks the third visit to the club by Troubled Hubble, a delightful pop-rock quartet from Chicago. The Pennsylvania-based singer-songwriter known as Gunshy will open. And on Monday, the club hosts Detroit-based instrumental combo PAIK, plus LeRock, a local trio comprising Mike Ivey (formerly of Basehead) and ex-Sun Monkeys Pete Van Allen Jr. and Aaron Platt.
-- MARIANNE MEYER
Galaxy Hut is at 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. For more information, call 703-525-8646 or visit www.galaxyhut.com. Admission is free.
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