The city was very happy on Inauguration Day, if not the whole weekend. People in the streets were courteous and smiling despite the frigid temperatures. It didn't hurt that major streets were closed to automobiles which added to the fun of just walking around DC for the day. I decided to end the day by heading off to a Rock the Vote celebration at the 9:30. I had only heard of one band, but what the hey, here goes.
Bug?/Bud?/Burke? - Damn British accents. I didn't catch the name and my web research has left me with lots of other bands, none of which I saw. But that's no problem, because this act is easily forgotten. This is a positive day so I won't complain and they were a good competent pretty rock band, but something was just a little safe and clean about them. I sensed they were going after the younger fans, the more mature of the young, not the teeny boppers. Then it was all clear when after their set, the video screen came down and they showed a Calvin Klein ad featuring the singer and the last song helping to sell their aroma, CK. Thank you Calvin Klein, indeed.
The Honey Brothers - A fun little group of guys rotating instruments and churning out quirky rock songs. I thought they may have been americana seeing the banjo and ukelele on the first song, but they never really went that route. JUSt a nice bang bang set of fun songs that the crowd warmed to pretty quickly. Nice job.
The Dresden Dolls - They say they sound like punk cabaret. I can't top that. A duo of a female pianist/vocalist with a drummer who strums a bit of guitar, too. The drummer is one of the best I've seen with great skills and an attacking showmanship that is hard not to watch, which really helps in a two person band. The singer/keyboardist was also quite fun as they had great energy with their music. I think I read positive reviews in Jack Rabid's Big Takeover magazine but wasn't sure until their closer and second cover. They first covered a Fugazi cut which was quite good an appropriate for the evening. They went on to finish with Sabbath's "War Pigs" (dedicated to the outgoing administration) with no guitar or bass. It was one of the most brilliant cover songs I have ever seen. The drums were overwhelming with the keys and strong vocals handling all the melodical parts brilliantly. It roared into a frenetic ending. Utterly brilliant. Worth the hefty admission price all by itself.
Talib Kweli - A decent enough hip hop act which I am not sure I am qualified to critique with such limited knowledge in the genre. The crowd was into it and he did a good job as far as I could tell.
I called it a night prior to Grace Potter and Michael Franti although I think I would have enjoyed the latter. But two more nights of music led me to the long cold walk home. Man was traffic bad even late and considering bridges to Virginia were closed all day.
Quote of the Night: When leaving my condo, the Building Manager (think M. Emmet Walsh) asked "Where's your tux?". Not for this party, thankfully, although I saw one tux and at least ten suits which was highly unusual for this club. More importantly, I had a great winter coat.