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.