Veterans of the Southern California scene, but major-label newcomers, Ten Inch Men displayed at the Troubador the reckless passion that makes them an important new band. Playing to a room jammed with fans but garnished with semi-stoic industry types with chronically folded arms, Ten Inch Men set the whole house rocking, plain and simple.
Driven by Mark Templin’s freakishly creative and semi-psycho guitar stylings and propelled by drummer Ruel Kulper’s magnificent blend of bigfoot rock and sensual swing, Ten Inch vocalist Dave Couts had no place to go but up, up, up — and that he did.
Couts offered passionate, spontaneous interpretations of the songs off the band’s Victory/Polygram debut, “Pretty Vultures,” shining most brightly on “Black Tree.” Bassist John McCloy commanded the music with a sense of conviction and was like the calm eye at the center of a fierce storm.
In these strange times, the Ten Inchers face the same problems all “new” bands do. However, their near-decade of live and indie recording experience, their absolute abandon and their quiver of vital compositions (most particularly “Never Say Hello”) all add up to give the Ten Inch Men a formidable edge.