Police & Thieves - This band sounded VERY 2nd generation harDCore. I could almost close my eyes and hear Faith playing. Earnest vocals, buzzsaw music striving for melody and succeeding mostly. A bit of crunch in the guitars and overall a pretty decent effort, especially with a fill-in drummer.
The Max Levine Ensemble - Revved up power pop punk that was pretty loud and assertive. The guitarist's vocals were lost early but the sound improved. The mosh pit got going and the songs were catchy. Great energy with band and crowd lead to a nice set.
The Speech discussing this benefit - I was getting this eerie feeling that I had been here before in 1987 when I lived in DC for a year. So this guy starts speaking and the feeling continues. Is this the same guy that did a benefit for Amnesty International with Scream back in 1987? As he talked about his group, We are Family, a senior outreach network organization, he did the usual nice type of speech. As he went on, the emotional intensity went up and yes, I recognize this speaker from that show 22 years ago! He then mentioned starting shows here in 1987, but I need not this evidence to realize that this is a truly odd deja vu moment. So this guy talks about being older to this good sized crowd of young people and I realize that he, myself and the sound guy are maybe the only older people here. The crowd is the exact young crowd I saw 22 years ago (with maybe a few more tattoos). The speaker went from an inclusive speech to an us/them them railing against the obvious targets and the crowd politely applauded. Where are their parents that were the last time? I am sure many have done good deeds as will many of these folks. But there is room for a lot of cynicism here as well. But I want to keep a positive vibe here (after all this is sponsored by Positive Force).
Forgetters - Right from the first note, I sensed we had a smart talented power trio here. They have some old pros from bands such as Jawbreaker and Against Me, so I was not too surprised. I really liked the strong mid tempo rock sound with clear dramatic vocals (almost TSOL like, but different). The vocal/guitarist had the challenge of segueing from the emotional positive speech to his explaining the nihilism and darker nature of their songs which was quite amusing and well done. The songs kept coming and I enjoyed them more and more. This is a very early show for this band and I suspect good things await them as they develop their audience. They have the goods to do very well.
Quote of the Night: "I got like vegan Doc Martens, they're like cool, it's like expensive, but whatever like... like... like..."