The internal politics of a band can be complicated. The best metaphor is that it's like dating, but with three or more people in as many combinations as the number of band members allow. Then on top of that, sometimes members of the band actually start dating, and further complicate the process. Whose songs are played, who does the arranging, who does the booking, who does none of those things but drinks all the beer ... these can become bitter divisions that destroy partnerships and friendships alike. Which is regrettable, as good musical partnerships are just as elusive as good romantic connections.
But why does a band only have to be one band?
Jazz musicians have long been hip to something only recently catching on in rock: the idea that leadership can rotate and multiple groups can come from one. The guitar-focused John Smith Trio, can easily become the bass-centric Ralph Johnson Band or an experimental drumtacular. The bonuses are myriad. Everyone gets a chance to see their vision come to life rather than having it suppressed or lost in the shuffle. Bands can save money by touring together and sharing equipment. Sounds and audiences can be exponentially expanded. It's something of a mystery why it isn't more of the standard.
Quitzow and Setting Sun both played at The Bouquet on Monday night. Two bands of the same three members with sounds world apart from each other. Quitzow, lead by Erica Quitzow on analog synth and vocals is a dance party waiting to happen with a style reminiscent of The Sounds paired with touches of Berlin and Glass Candy. Setting Sun on the other hand, drops the keys in favor of an acoustic power-trio captained by Quitzow bassist Gary Levitt with a sound that falls somewhere between a less sugary version of The Rentals and a mellower Ted Leo.
Both headings of the same group are guilt-free pop of the best variety in the song-writing department, and practiced performers on stage. And the effectiveness of both groups despite their differences being such that they probably wouldn't even share a stage were they made up of different people only serves to underline the potential waiting to be explored within already existing bands.
Both bands should be coming back through Boise later in the year when you can see for yourself. Until then, you'll have to be content to check 'em out online.