Force Major - A power trio whose guitarist/singer had trouble with his pedals and switches losing the sound a couple of times. The band was Russian (but from Rockville, Maryland) and all stage patter was in Russian (oddly lyrics were in English). The large crowd in attendance (at least 400 people, probably more) seemed like they were mostly Russian, too. as the headliner is well known there. This band seemed younger and pretty good. Oddly, they reminded me of the brief period in DC between the early harDCore days of Minor Threat and Fugazi. There were some pre-Fugazi sounding bands like Rites of Spring who were very similar to what I heard here. Nice cello solo, too.
Mumiy Troll - Apparently a well known band in Russia, formed in the latter days of the Soviet Union and receiving lots of grief and banned performances in that era. The lyrics were all Russian, and most of the stage patter was, but a couple time the singer proved he had a good grasp of English. It was interesting to see so many people in the crowd roar their approval with the opening notes of a song that is pretty much never been played here on radio, on a movie soundtrack, or whereever. The band was energized, had a few reggae and even klezmer rhythms mixed in to their accessible rock sounds. I enjoyed what the singer described as a brand new Russian Song, "California Dreaming" with Russina lyrics. They even had an anthemy break at the end with an Obama chant that the Russian fans embraced almost as enthusiastically as the Rock the Vote Fans did the other night.
I didn't sense a real wildly unique vision here, but the cultural influences did create something a bit unique and quite fun. The fact that the singer looked like a manic Ron House (my buddy from Columbus' Great Plains) was fun, too.
Quote of the Night: I don't speak Russian, so it was slim pickings. I'll go with Mumiy Troll's lead guitarist's T-shirt... "Who the fuck is Mick Jagger?"