The Underground Railroad to Candyland - One of the more intriguing named bands that I have seen this year lines up with a couple of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards/percussion, and a trombonist. I did not quite predict the blast of fun power pop punk blasting rock that followed. It was akin to the Dickies and 999 but louder and looser. There is nothing apparently smart in this simple thumping rock, but that often belies the thought and skill in putting something like this together. I was smiling in spite of myself and the large crowd at the backstage of the Black Cat were having a good time as well. They did prove that their multi-vocalists work better with the volume as heard on Black Sabbath's "Changes". That was a good change of pace, though, making the next rocker all the sweeter. The band was full of energy with their steady jumping and the 34 minute set was a lot of fun.
Screaming Females - This was another one of my 'how did I not hear of this great band earlier' moments when I saw them open for Against Me! at the upstairs stage within the last year. This trio smoked that night and I am curious how many of this large crowd are here to see them for just the second time due to that great set. Or they were all quicker to discover that not only is Marissa Paternoster one of the best guitarists around, but the rhythm section of King Mike and Jarrett Dougherty bring the power to this power trio. The fat bass sounds and precise drumming keep these clever little songs moving and somehow Ms. Paternoster can shift between rhythm guitar and extraordinary lead runs while handling all vocal duties. They even have some snake charming psyche moves within these rock songs that have elements of classic, punk, and metal within. I would encourage you to get their records which are certainly good, but you really have to see these three play live to see the magic they make. And if you could only see how well this crowd responded and more importantly compare this response to other bands playing in front of 100 people or even some of them playing to several hundreds. I have rarely seen unanimous shouting and non-stop clapping throughout the set and for encore requests as I have tonight. Too often, it is cooler than thou people standing around waiting for the band to do an encore (encores may be cliche, but either bring 'em back or hit the door as I sometimes do). It will be a stone cold lock that I will be at their next DC show contemplating how I can write up another rave review for the third time. There's no slowing this band down, they will bring it again and again.
Quote of the Night: From Ms. Paternoster and an excited fan...
"This is the first day of our tour."
"Rock out!!! Fuckin' rock star!"
"No, we're really down to earth."