The umbrella name given a current caravan tour of four freshman rock bands, "Four Play," turned out to be all too appropriate in its pun-manship as the tour wrapped up Wednesday at the Palace.
The (good) idea was to take several young bands that would normally hit the road only as opening acts and send them out together in a group package for maximum exposure. But as Hurrah!, the Royal Court of China, the Northern Pikes and Will & the Kill proved Wednesday, a quantity of four warm-up acts does not necessarily add up to the satisfaction of one quality headliner. It was all foreplay, indeed.
And here in Hollywood, the goal of exposing these bands to the public seemed overridden by the need to expose them to their own record company personnel. Thus the packed lobbies and bar areas of the Palace looked like a West Coast version of the New Music Seminar's annual industry jabfest, the Schmoozatorium--while inside the hall, a progressively dwindling number of actual music fans gathered to listen to and consider the mediocrity of today's comers in an atmosphere more akin to a Snooz atorium.
Canada's Northern Pikes opened with a so-so set that sounded like it could have come from an unsigned power-pop band at Madame Wong's in 1980. A slight flair for the offbeat was encouraging but underdeveloped, and this very unassuming, average-looking bunch of guys has yet to figure out how to turn normalcy to its advantage.