Wye Oak - It is always challenging to review someone for the fourth time, and even the guitarist joked about just playing here two weeks ago (opening for Deer Tick on July 22nd). But for people who don't peruse my back pages, Wye Oak is an excellent duo from Baltimore. They feature female vocals and guitar with a guy who plays one-handed (and 2-footed) drums while playing a keyboard. They did feature some new songs that they were working on in the studio which is a bonus for those of us that see this Baltimore duo regularly. But they had some older classics as well which always go over well with their audiences. This band just gets better and better and have a great style of indie rock that breaks out of that sound with great style and determination. They rock hard and have plenty of thickness to their sound with only two people making it. They keep playing and playing, so you should have other times to check them out. I still see an opening gig for a really big band or some headlining tours in the future for them.
Lou Barlow & the Missingmen - I saw this latest Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh) band open for his other band, Dinosaur Jr., at the 9:30 Club. They had some good songs, but it was a bit sloppy. Tonight was improved, but there were still plenty of casual endings and oddball moves. Still, it is a live set far closer to Crazy Horse than the Replacements, so there is plenty of quality to be had. I would see them again in a second, because their spirit is good and sense of humor is appealing. But the songs are really excellent. That is not a surprise. Barlow had plenty to contribute to Dinosaur, but if you were not sure of him without Mascis, he quickly dispelled any doubt of his abilities with his work in Sebadoh. It is more great work here with an excellent guitarist and drummer assisting. Barlow did six songs on acoustic guitar before bringing them out. He strapped on an electric guitar for several songs while playing some bass pedals--struggling a bit actually, as this has its challenges apparently. He plays bass for the last few songs which really rocked hard. Lots of varied tempos, but just great rocks songs that range from thrash to folk. The crowd was reasonable in size and enthusiastic, which was an improvement over his "rather dire" western states swing. I am just glad he likes to keep writing and playing out. I will always make room on my calendar for any incarnation he brings to DC.
Quote of the Night: paraphrasing Barlow - "Our last show here was opening for my other band and it was our 3rd show. We recorded it for NPR which was a disaster. During the show I said I never wanted this broadcast again. My Mom was listening and told me 'Lou, people don't need to know that. You shouldn't dwell on your mistakes.' She was right."