Big night in Central Square last evening. Let's go straight to the video.
MOUNTAIN MAN, a trio of three young women who met at Bennington and were recently named our pick for best new band from Vermont, were up first. Mountain Man have two different modes: when they're accompanied by guitar, they're tapped into a vein of spooky Americana that can be haunting, beautiful, and transfixing. When they go a capella, though, the effect is a bit different; they can sing and their onstage chemistry is a neat sidelight, but overall it's more of a cool achievement at this point. This could change in the future, of course.
TWIN SISTER, up second, have a pretty good handle on themselves, as shown by "Lady Daydream," a song that captures their appeal quite nicely. They have good enough pop instincts to suggest they're headed for bigger things. One suggestion, though: vocalist Andrea Estella (and her big hair) needs something more to do during those long instrumental buildups instead of "stand there awkwardly and kind of dance and maybe grab a tambourine."
Then, finally, it was time for the mustachioed BEAR IN HEAVEN. And they certainly got some heads nodding on the floor. But at the same time . . . I dunno. It was good, certainly, but it just didn't totally grab me like the first two performances. Maybe that was the problem: Twin Sister and Mountain Man just set the bar too high.