Highway Cross - My travels are over and I am itching to get back to the live shows, so it is high time to take in some music at one of my favorite locales. After a false start with a faulty ride cymbal, this two-guitar quartet lets it rip. The hardcore punk sound quickly establishes that is far more than cliche with the intriguing undertones established with the guitar work. The rhythm section and guitar tones define fast and furious well enough, but the really cool sounds underneath keep my brain working full-time. I am reminded of a band called NOTA (none of the above) and there are even some Die Kreuzen touches in there. Hopefully they will progress in the manner of Die Kreuzen, as their creativity could be limited if they don't take more audacious steps in future songwriting. They only played 16 minutes, so there I will withhold full judgment. However, they passed all the initial tests I set for bands dabbling in hardcore punk and I enjoyed the sound tonight.
The Electrocutions - Second time around for me seeing this band and I do recall their gutsy approach to power pop punk. Power pop is not terribly accurate as they blast through the songs is an assertive manner. Yet the songs themselves are good enough to work in a slower mode if they wanted to play that way. I am just as happy they don't as fast and aggressive music needs good hooks and these guys supply them. They are kind of like a tough version of the Zeroes and I detect some Kraut or other melodic hardcore bands in the mix as well. Toughness is good if you are looking for football, not so good if you're looking for a meal, so individual tastes may vary. I do appreciate the invariably snappy and addictive sound in this short but complete 22 minute set. There is a lot going on underneath, as there was in the opening set, but there is more flexibility on top generated here.
(Stop Worrying and) Love the Bomb - And to the stage comes yet a third DC based two-guitar quartet that works the hardcore park style. Thankfully, we are three for three tonight in bands that successfully bring some quality to the sound with nice personal touch. The success with this band is the alternating male and female lead vocals from the two guitarists. The tunes are nice and the band gallops along at a brisk pace like power pop run amok. I was less pleased with the casual lazy song endings that kept the crowd kind of flat and unmoved. But that is nothing rehearsals and more gigs cannot cure. Hopefully this band will continue to hone their craft as they have enough to work with here.
Quote of the week: My holiday travels took me to Ohio and my visit to my Mom at her retirement home. When we went to the Catholic Christmas service on site, we encountered the following between a man in a wheelchair bumping into his wife on a walker while entering the church...
"Shit, why did you stop"
"I needed to see where to go"
"Well keep moving, damn it."