Downtown Coeur d'Alene has got a good thing going. Tons of shops, lots of eateries and plenty of watering holes. It's all conveniently accessible by foot and maintains a pleasant small-town feel. The downtown drag has a Park City or Aspen feel to it without the whole "rich-and-famous-only" thing going on.
This sleepy downtown is home to many great nightspots, including Brix Restaurant. Found on Sherman near Fourth Street, this happenin' joint offers a little something for everyone. Saturday night offered the Nate Schierman Band on its final night of a two-night stint. I'd heard these guys on a local station and thought they were worth checking out. I arrived at Brix and found a posh restaurant upstairs and a swanky bar in the basement. The place wasn't packed, but there was a decent crowd of twentysomethings digging on the sounds. The music featured danceable beats and leaned heavily on hook-laden acoustic anthems of love and feeling good, among other topics. I grabbed a seat and took aim on a beverage to accompany the songs. I started with a $2 Coke and decided to discontinue my patronage of a bar that jacks up the price on non-alcoholic beverages for those who have to drive later. Fortunately no servers asked me if I needed anything else for the rest of the time I was there. As far as the rest of the club goes, it was rather nice. Large booths lined the east wall, with plenty of tables in the middle of the club flanked by the bar and additional bar stools on the west wall. The dance floor was very large and even though no one used it, the thing was ripe for the grooving.
As for the performers, the Nate Schierman Band exhibited a high level of ability and professionalism. The thing is, they describe themselves as alternative acoustic rock in the vein of Dave Matthews. This is where I take exception. In this era of the Matthews clones, I can't understand such self-labeling. That market has got to be saturated by now. I mean, you can't even tell the difference between that John Mayer guy and Dave what's-his-name. I would think bands would be promoting themselves as not sounding like Dave Matthews. That'd be much more distinctive.
However, aside from the obvious, this band was much more compelling than what I initially expected. I had figured the songs would be watered-down versions of Dave's stuff, but there was more to it. The tunes were decidedly more edgy and incorporated many more dynamics. At one point, the band went off on this driving techno theme pounded out by Schierman on a Korg Triton synth that came to a pounding crescendo in a blur of heavy bass and subtle guitar leads.
In conclusion, the Nate Schierman Band needn't sell themselves short. The group is delving in some interesting sounds. If you're interested, you can check them out at www.thensband.net. Even though they are fronted by an acoustic guitar-playing vocalist, Nate Schierman's group isn't really much like the Dave Matthews Band. That's because Schierman isn't bald, didn't have Glen Ballard write his last album, didn't name his band after himself, and didn't release a "solo" album and name that after himself. And finally, Nate Schierman's vocal delivery doesn't come out of his cheek.