Saturday, April 13, 2013

DC: Damaged City Fest

Tonight was the inaugural day of the first, annual DC hardcore festival at St. Stephen's.   For $15, you got to see 6 bands:  
Dropdead (RI)
Mindset (MD) 

Sick Fix (DC) 
Tenement (WI)
Give (DC)
Satan's Satyrs (VA)

Arriving at 7:30, I missed the first band, Satan's Satyrs, and the first few songs of Give. As I was standing near the door, Gene's, Give's drummer's, parents rushed in.  Apparently, no one expected the show to be running so on time.  Shows at St. Stephen's, especially shows booked by Chris or Nick, follow a tight schedule.  No kidding.  The first band was supposed to start at 7.  Apparently, they took the stage promptly.
This festival had food options.  Shelby and Sheena, enthusiastic and now local vegan bakers, presented a beautifully decorated spread of desserts.  I purchased a giant brownie wedge with vanilla frosting and a chocolate-dipped pretzel for $4, which Shelby made.  The brownie was moist, rich, and chocolaty.  Wish that brownie was regularly available.  Shelby should start a catering business.  And, yes, I'm a huge fan of brownies.
Beyond the treat-laden table, a guy was selling vegan, chili-covered, Field Roast hot dogs.  The hot dog review of my friends: amazing.  I watched my friend Carlos eating without a plate a hot dog that was stacked with a giant, leaning-Tower-of-Pisa replica of chili.  Impressively, Carlos' white t-shirt remained white.  If I'd tried to attack that chili sculpture, trails of hot sauce and Rorschach-like blots of gunk down would have splotched my chest.
Give seemed full of energy and positivity.  I love Tenement, who play great music that inspires people to sing along.  Moreover, they seem like nice guys.  Unfortunately, the PA was acting up during their set, resulting in unintentional undulations in their sound - the volume going up and gradually cutting out like the sound of a car revving up nearby and petering out as that car fades into the distance.  Sick Fix played loud and fast songs, but with hooks.  Michelle, their singer, stayed off of the stage and within the crowd for the entire set, which I guess worked for the people near the stage.  I stood near the middle of the room and her voice remained steady even if she disappeared from my sight entirely.  The rest of the band moved around passionately.  Pat, the guitarist, hit himself over the head with his guitar twice.  Looked painful.  I'd probably knock myself out if I tried that stunt.  (I play the bass and my bass is darn heavy.  Anyway, I guess that I'm just confessing to a lack of coordination.)  Mindset put a lot of heart into their set and I enjoyed watching them.  Dropdead played insistently in short, explosive bursts of songs, which piled up on top of each other.  They directed briefly that people have a duty to animals and encouraged the crowd to be active in the community.  They topped off the night serious about animal rights and serious about their music.