Shortie dives, EHTFRSVN dances

Certain bands are able to grasp an audience’s attention immediately. These bands seem to understand the psyche of their audience intuitively, and they are able to whip that audience into a frenzy almost instantaneously. On some level, this ability has little to do with the music itself. Instead, it relies on that ever-elusive quality known as stage presence. It can be as simple as eye contact or as relatively complicated as lighting your guitar on fire.In the case of Shortie, stage presence is dealt with as an issue of direct action. Within the first minute of the band’s recent set at The Boardwalk, frontman Pogus leaped fully into the audience of waiting, screaming fans. It was a moment that one doesn’t much see on stage these days, particularly in the context of a small club show, but its effect was electric. The audience, already excited by the prospect of seeing one of the area’s most popular local alternative-rock acts, was driven crazy with enthusiasm by Pogus’ stage dive. After that, it was all mosh pits, screaming, electric guitars and, yes, more stage dives.

Shortie isn’t a particularly interesting band, musically. At least for this listener, its music seemed somewhat tedious, particularly in regards to dynamic range (there wasn’t any). Furthermore, Pogus’ screamed vocals only seemed particularly relevant for about one song; they soon lost their edge. After all, the first time someone screams at you, you might take notice, but after the fourth or fifth time, you start to lose interest. Having said that, the stage show itself was outstanding and well worth the admission charge. For more information, visit

More musical was eightfourseven (or, if you’d prefer, EHTFRSVN), an alternative-rock band that provided more melodic vocals from frontman Lance Jackman and, with added keyboards, a spacier, more interesting sound, with a great dynamic range. This was particularly true in comparison with Shortie’s set, and though Jackman can’t really compete with the stage-diving antics of Shortie’s Pogus, his James Brown-meets-Roger Daltrey mic technique—both dancing with the stand and swinging the mic around by its cable—matched his band’s lighter, more melodic (but still heavy alternative-rock) sound. The band is online at

Circle of 5ths can’t decide what songs to include on its new CD, so it’s asking for your help. On March 10 and 11, the band will hold “listening parties” for friends and fans. The band will run through its current repertoire, and participants will score each song. The highest-rated songs will be recorded for the CD; the rest will disappear into the alternative-rock ether. Music fans interested in attending should send e-mail to for more information.

Jazz fans will be pleased to note that Mat Marucci and Markus Burger will bring their Sacramento Musical Arts Ensemble to the Stockmarket Lounge and Grill (8887 Folsom Boulevard) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. February 29. The band represents a who’s who of area jazz greats that includes, in addition to Marucci and Burger, Steve Roach, Tony Passarell, Steve Gundhi, Fred Randolph and John Allen, and will feature both straight-ahead jazz pieces and free improvisation. Check out for more information on this and other local jazz events.