3 p.m. / Caspar Babypants See preview. 4:30 p.m. / The Not-Its Sorry, Barney: Parents of small children will no longer tolerate ridiculous purple dinosaurs singing absurd songs about world peace and love. Instead, they're gravitating toward the Not-Its, another one of those kid-friendly bands that plays super-upbeat rock designed to appeal to ages 2 to 52. "First Kid in Outer Space" is a clap-along, sing-along number that combines doo-wop harmonies with garage rock. It's sparkling, charming, and sweet—no dinosaur costume necessary. 6 p.m. / Amateur Radio Operator There is something haunted about the rhythmic alt-country crafted by Amateur Radio Operator. "Strobe Light" has all the makings of a Tom Waits classic—steady like a pouring rain, rough as sandpaper, with distinct vocals. But where Waits has a growling baritone, Mike Bayer has a high, mournful wail. He's like a broken-hearted banshee, exorcising demons through song. 7 p.m. / Low Land High Unadulterated, bluesy rock like the Steve Miller Band. The guitars are front and center, given to wailing solos between verses on "Unavoidable Mistakes"; the drums are pulsing, never overpowering the rest of the instruments or distracting from the vocals. These are basic songs, the kind your dad loved when he was still a long-haired teenager. There are no gimmicks, no fancy effects, and no shtick with Low Land High—just a love of '70s American rock, plain and simple. 8 p.m. / What What Now While the rest of Seattle is busy crafting folk music and writing palatable indie pop, What What Now decided to take their music in rarely explored (here, anyway) directions: post-hardcore and emo. Channeling Cap'n Jazz, What What Now combines a steady undercurrent of melodic instrumentals with lead singer Brittian Piper's near-screaming vocals. Songs like "My Friend Frank" are surprisingly catchy; only the emotion-laden lyrics—"Every living creature dies alone"—betray the song's almost danceable beat with seriousness. 9 p.m. / Exohxo Giving new meaning to the term "orchestral pop," Exohxo makes liberal use of its string section: The violins aren't just an occasional complement to a guitar-driven song, they're a constant presence on "Smile and Walk Away." There's something sweet and nerdy about Exohxo's lovely pop, as though the musicians met and started writing music in their high-school orchestra and never stopped. 10 p.m. / Post Harbor Atmospheric, soaring post-rock in the vein of The Appleseed Cast. There's a blend of accessibility and alienation in the band's style—songs like "Caves, Hollow Trees and Other Dwellings" could be the perfect soundtrack to a star-crossed-lovers montage in a mumblecore film, but the heavy drums and ambient guitars on "Cities of the Interior" demand undivided attention. To call Post Harbor complicated would be an understatement—and a compliment.
Here's your complete guide to Reverb Festival 2010.