Thursday, December 30, 2010

Walking Dead Finale & Taco Leg, Karoshi, Lotus Fucker at Wasted Dream

Sunday, December 5th...

Feeling assaulted by the wind and starving, I entered Chipotle with Pat Vogel and Rob Santucci. The fast food restaurant in DC overflowed with people and the line depressed me. I was so cold that I stuttered as I thought about the wind and made no sense as I talked. Rob gave me an odd look, hoping that I would begin finishing my sentences with words that made sense.

From the Chipotle, we went to our friend Dan's house. His basement, when he hosts shows, is also known as Wasted Dream. Anyway, he offered not only to have Taco Leg from Australia play in his basement, but also to drive them around on their East Coast tour for a week. Taking him up on his offer, they seemed friendly and comfortable as they set up their merchandise on top of Dan's washer and dryer.

I enjoyed seeing Lotus Fucker. Dan sang their songs with intensity. I comfortably watched from his basement stairs as I ate my Chipotle. Pat's uneaten burrito sat in a bag on top of one of the amps as he played his guitar. The line at Chipotle made us a little late. (OK - we waited too long to hit the Chipotle...)

I didn't get into Taco Leg. They are a three-piece, melodic punk band who tend to play three-chord songs. I got bored listening to them. I like pop punk. I don't need every band to hit notes at a million miles a minute. I love singing along with Screeching Weasel, Jawbreaker and The Descendents. So much fun. Taco Leg, though, unlike those other bands, played meandering pop songs.

Pat and I left the show promptly to catch the season finale of Walking Dead. I had made vegan zombie-finger cookies to share, which were finger-shaped, shortbread cookies with raspberry jam instead of blood and almonds wiped with maple syrup instead of fingernails. Several friends gathered in Pat's living room and we settled in for the show.

Walking Dead is a television show based on a comic book series. The premiere's opening sequence reminded me of the opening of 28 Days Later, which both start off with a person waking up in a hospital unaware that a virus has transformed a good chunk of the population into aggressive, flesh-eating zombies. The acting in the Walking Dead is decent and some character development occurs. The caste may be a little large, but maybe the zombies will whittle down the numbers in future episodes.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Citizens Arrest

Last weekend, I got to hear a band play that I never thought I'd get to see perform: Citizens Arrest. They are a late 1980s, early 1990s hardcore band from New York City. I saw both Citizens Arrest sets in Philadelphia. So incredible. Their first weekend tour in around twenty years with all of the original members. Each musician in the band has skill and, while their music unfurls with speed and intensity, they also deliver hooks. The vocalist may growl, but his vehemence has purpose. His anger presents political lyrics protesting powerlessness and the abuse of power.

During the first set, I almost got knocked down a narrow, steep flight of concrete stairs near the stage. I landed hard a few inches from the edge of the first step, which seemed to freak out a group of people who picked me up and kept asking me if I was alright. Anyway, I didn't get hurt and I'm glad that I could see the stage, because watching Citizens Arrest play up close was inspiring - do I lose credibility calling a hardcore band "transcendent?"

Citizens Arrest made some jokes about a song being written about how hard it is to be in high school. They took all of their music seriously. They still have got it. Daryl Kahan forcefully belted out the lyrics with intensity and personality. I finger pick my bass. I loved watching Joseph Martin, the bassist for Citizens Arrest, finger pick his bass. He was playing so fast and his three fingers flew across his strings. His nimble fingers seemed to perform a dance and his dexterity achieved a sound that was downright amazing.

During their first show, Citizens Arrest did an SSD (a Boston hardcore band from the 1980s) cover. During their second show, Citizens Arrest did a cover of a Youth of Today (xNYHCx) song. Unfortunately, the guy who accepted the invitation to take over the mic got confused and had trouble remembering the lyrics. Otherwise, people seemed to be really getting into the music - singing and lunging to join in singing choruses. The second show in Philly had fewer people, but was probably even more fun for me than the first show. I was right next to the stage again, but in a pain-free spot. Plus, I enjoyed seeing Asshole Parade, who opened and played a great set. They flew up North from Florida for the weekend tour with Citizens Arrest. The members of Asshole Parade tried to convince me that they weren't experiencing temperature shock because of some wintry weather in Florida. (As I write this blog entry, it's snowing outside in DC, which is why I'm probably going off on a slight tangent about temperatures.) They said that the Citizens Arrest show in New York City was even better than the shows in Philadelphia.

Citizens Arrest did play a new song. Yes. It sounded forceful like their classic hardcore songs. Maybe that means another album or at least another 7"? Hmmmm...

I heard a rumor that Citizens Arrest may play a show in DC in March. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Government Issue, The Goons, Set to Explode

I walked up the stairs and toward the main stage as Set to Explode was setting up. The dark room made it difficult to spot friends and was packed with people. This show was truly a reunion show. All of the bands were from DC and all of them broke up several years ago.

Set to Explode played a spirited set. The singer, Dave Bird, joked that he's not used to playing on such a big stage after he tripped over one of the monitors, hurting himself so that blood ran down his neck. He reported that they only had six original songs and, then, the band played them all with heart. They also played a few cover songs with panache. Seriously. They covered Black Market Baby's "Drunk and Disorderly" with Boyd Farrell, Black Market Baby's singer, on vocals. So, cool. They also covered a few Marginal Man songs similarly with guests.

The Goons played a super long set. Their vocalist has a great voice that reminds me of Jello Biafra's voice. When I saw him singing for Nervous Impulse last month, someone actually called out for a Dead Kennedy's cover. Anyway, he seems to enjoy singing and the band sounded together. Nevertheless, I began to look at the time as they played and played and played. Again, people seemed to be getting into them and I did too. They are a fun band. At this show, though, they seemed set to play for all eternity.

Government Issue, hardcore veterans from DC who not only have an early 80s sound, but were actually playing in the early 80s, took the stage and everyone went wild. They started off strong with one of their more popular songs, "Teenager in a Box." It's probably my favorite GI song. I love their old stuff in particular. Anyway, John Stabb, the singer, handled the mike with energy and experience. The band sounded like, rather than a reunion show, they still played together regularly. Still, they too played a super long set. Headlining... maybe some people there hoped to hear every GI song. As the hours (literally) passed, the set got a little long for me, but I'm thrilled they returned to the stage and obviously were into the music. I heard once that Kevin Seconds said that no hardcore band should play beyond a half an hour. I disagree, but, at the same time, a three band show shouldn't last for over four hours... Still, when Government Issue played their last song, a cover of "These Boots are Made for Walking," I sang along, relishing the music and the moment.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Libyans, State Violence, Hot Mess

Slow to post - been so busy lately. Anyway, a show that is a definite highlight of the last month - Libyans, State Violence, Cell Graft, Gash and Hot Mess at the Hole in the Sky. Zack tried to record the whole thing and succeeded with Hot Mess and The Libyans.

OK... I got to Hole in the Sky late and missed Cell Graft, who are from Tampa, and Gash, from Philadelphia. They are nice guys and I heard they were great. Cell Graft was described as Assuck-style grindcore.

I like KC's voice in Hot Mess, which is a DC band that started playing shows this summer. They offer simple, fun, punk songs. They seem to be enjoying themselves and I hope to see them play again soon.

The Libyans are a punk band from Boston. They were touring after the release of their new album, A Common Place. They sounded amazing live. I love how Liz's vocals come across as forceful and aggressive, but still melodic. The bassist played some impressive, complex rhythms. The guitarist raced his fingers across his fretboard, producing a whirlwind of notes. Somehow, the band is catchy without sacrificing speed and intensity. To top things off at the show, they played a Descendent's cover. Very cool, in my opinion.

The Libyans spent the night at the Chill Factory and we talked some there after the show. Such friendly people. So open to eating vegan jumbo slice pizza from Duccini's.
Offbeat side note - one of the members of the Libyans posted an ad on Craigslist in which he pretended to be a ridiculously wealthy, shallow, self-involved misogynist looking for a girlfriend to wait on him as a maid and cook. He listed his interests as diamonds, stocks (I believe? - I should look at the book to verify that "interest.") and himself. He got a ton of responses. Some of the messages were written as applications with pictures and measurements. I read one message in which the girl promised him that her hair never gets messed up and that she knows how to dress for society functions. Other messages amounted to a pile of venom catapulted across computer screens in a Times New Roman format. One woman offered to yank the silver spoon from his ass. Also, I read several messages in which women cajoled him for placing too much emphasis on money, suggesting that he should try to get a woman to love him for who he is and not for his net worth. The guy put his original solicitation with all of the responses into a book and published it. The last I saw, the book adorned a coffee table at the Chill Factory. (Chris Moore goes on cleaning rampages, so I doubt the book will remain on the table long enough to collect dust. They have some big bookcases...)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Youth Brigade

On November 12, I went with Pat Vogel to hear Youth Brigade play at the Sidebar in Baltimore. Whoa ho ho ho ho ho. I haven't listened to Youth Brigade recently, but their sing-a-long lyrics came back to me when they started playing. Youth Brigade formed in 1980, which means that "youth" isn't the first word that jumps to mind when you see the band members take the stage. They are and have been emphasizing, however, that "youth" can be a state of mind - challenging the world, striving to educate yourself, and remaining energetic. They appear to be true believers in DIY and in working toward positive political and social change.

The Sidebar sold out. When Youth Brigade played "Sink with Kalifornija," I sang with a big chunk of the swaying and jumping crowd. I left feeling energized and lucky that I'd gotten to see an amazing, California, punk band that started playing 30 years ago. Wow.