At Chicky’s Fine Diner, October 13
Fans of fine food, deep drinks, and roots music were out in full swing at Chicky’s Fine Diner this past Friday. Seacoast New Hampshire's favorite sons, Pondering Judd, had returned to Portland for a show with local openers the Lomax. The bar, tables, drinks, and even the stage at Chicky’s were filled to capacity. The room had reached critical mass when the Lomax took the stage.
The Lomax, a five-piece from the Portland area, play a style of pop rock that balances twang with quirk. Their set began with two similar, strummy mid-tempo tunes followed by a swampy country shuffle. From there, a contour began to develop. Lead vocal duties were traded between the acoustic and rhythm guitarists, with one providing proof of his attendance at the Elvis Costello School of Pop Songwriting, the other bringing equal parts country and echoes of They Might Be Giants. All of this was striking a familiar chord with me when, introducing the band, it became clear. The Lomax are a project of Dave Ragsdale, known from his terrific work with the Frotus Caper. While the show was enjoyable, the tunes began to have similar resonances with each other and the flawless pop promise made by the Frotus Caper in recent years seems to have been broken. The Lomax also broke a law as old as time and perhaps was the 11th Commandment: Opening acts should never play longer than 45 minutes. The brevity of their songs was virtually negated by their hour-and-10 minute set.
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