Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Face to Face - Strung Out - Cerebral Ballzy - The Darlings -- Black Cat - May 23 2011

Cerebral Ballzy - First up early tonight is a five piece with a couple guitars and a singer. The music is thrashed out hardcore, unvarying, non-stop. 25 minutes worth of speed and volume. Vocals a bit like Crucifix, music typical of any hardcore you can get elsewhere. I guess bands look this should take the time to explain that the next song is about not having enough money to take the train in NYC, because vocals like these are impossible to understand with the volume behind them. Of course, I would like a singer to say a song was about Foucalt's critical essays on psychiatry, but my expectations are too high sometimes.

The Darlings - The first of three California bands is next. All bands have a two guitar attack, although only the first and third bands had a sole vocalist for a fifth member. The sound was quite a bit different here with stronger songs in a Street Dogs-Stiff Little Fingers manner. Probably the better comparison is that with the many west coast 2nd generation punk bands, such as Operation Ivy who they covered. Good energy, good songs, fun set. Note to singer... Washington is a state north of Oregon, perhaps you've played Seattle. This is DC, the District, or Washington DC if you like saying Washington. Plus a lot of people live all over here, so the geography patter is something to be used like you would use red pepper sauce. A little goes a long way. And I am so sorry if we "wasted your time" (your words) because we didn't fill up every space up front. We invest the time and money if we choose to see you. You can stay home if you like.

Strung Out - There is a similar style to the last band but it everything is played one notch higher on the intensity scale. The galloping drum beats set the pace and the players are up to it. The singer has the best rapport with the crowd thus far and the crowd is responding--not too crazily, this is DC. Although one patron gets tossed for crowd surfing. I particularly like the tension between the bite of the guitars and the soaring melodic vocals. This kind of set keeps me coming back for a good punk band decade after decade. Well done, headliner quality here.

Face to Face - aka :-)2:-)... My brother recommended this band as he likes heavier music than I do, at least more frequently than I do. These guys are certainly heavy, and as soccer commentator Warren Barton says about so many wide midfielders... they have "genuine pace". They clustered their songs into 5 4-song clusters which really kept the show moving and the crowd hopping. The set was more than an hour in all and they were successful, although the quantity of music and late hour on a Monday night did tire some of the crowd. Still, a really good set by a band celebrating their 20th year (not counting a 5-year layoff "That was stupid" they proclaimed). Interesting that they went into a story how their booking agent was talking them doing Baltimore and skipping DC and taking a night off. They convinced him to set up the Black Cat and said it was so much better. So much for playing Baltimore next time. But their loss is DC's gain as this is a great band to see live if you like straight ahead modern punk rock music.

Quote of the Night: From Face to Face singer/guitarist... "So how many people came south from Baltimore tonight?" Just a couple shouts/clappers responded. "So they all lied last night when they said they'd drive down."

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