Wednesday night marked the return of Nether land and their vocalist Rebecca Carlish. The original lineup, once known as Dialing Zero, made its triumphant re-emergence after 10 years. Carlish surprised the audience with a space age mullet type of hairdo, backing up her Mad Max appearance with vocal chops to boot. The intimate Room 5 venue was bustling with anticipation before the band laid into its opening grooves. Joe Willis quietly led the band most of the evening, barely visible behind his keyboard stacks except when popping up for air on his talkbox vocal effects. The band’s most tightly synchronized moment came in the subtle transition from their opening track ‘Good Time’ into their 2002 hit “Beautiful.” Samson’s inflections and skilled delivery during this song almost blew the roof off the venue. It was here that it was clear that a front woman had been birthed since her previous solo incarnation as more of a lounge artist. Whatever characteristics had once relegated her to a more controlled performance were nowhere to be seen. Her comfort level in her leather pants and playful dance moves was 100 out of 100. She was more buoyant and consistently joyful on stage than ever. Aron held down stage right and offered atmospheric guitar effects that drove the action well. He didn’t hesitate to ham it up more than once with rock god posturings in an endearing fashion. Drummer Jason Cosgrove deftly held down the grooves and bassist Aaron Schwoerer exuded the joy of playing live. The entire band exuded freedom and presence. It was the flickers of rock and pop that came through the band more well-known for jazz, soul, and electronic roots that really lit up the night. Modern fare ‘Bring you Down’ started with Van Halen-like bass that fired up the crowd more than any other moment. Ultimately, this seems like a band searching for its identity with flashes of potential. The band has compelling material, some of it older that has been keenly re-worked. Where will the band go from here? Word has it they will be gigging again in Los Angeles in the next month or two. For a band that originated in its 20’s, unfortunately portions of the crowd still behaved as if they were in their 20’s, carrying on their own rudely audible conversations during and between songs. The band was not fazed by this, and fortunately those folks that needed to be “shushed” will drop away as the band continues to perform and being part of the crowd will require singing along, for surely they will know the lyrics by then. We do hope to see the band come around again and personally I’d enjoy seeing some Joe Willis soloing. Kevin Wile, Music Journalist