My Arcadia - Am I ready for a six-band hardcore tour sweeping through DC? Why not--it's only $15 and at the 9:30 Club. Unless, otherwise noted, the formula for each band tonight will be drums, bass, two guitars and a vocalist. This band featured the only female anywhere on stage who handled the vocal duties well enough. "So DC, are you having fucking fun?" Uh, we'll let you know as it is only 45 seconds into the show. But your sound is pretty good so far with smooth melodic ringing guitars and Pat Benatar power on the vocals. In the first three songs, I heard more requests for clapping, jumping, swaying, hands in air, etc. than I have in about three months. A decent enough 25 minutes here, but the whole thing reeks of effort, to steal a phrase.
Action Blast - "Make some noise!" greets us. No, how about you make some noise. They do with the basic formula tonight plus keyboards/backup vocals aiding nicely. More melodic heaviness with a bit more crunch than the first band. "How are we doing tonight DC?" Well you've played one verse and it sounds ok. Also it's just after 7pm. We'll know more later, ok? "Are you awake out there? Make some noise." Yeah, ok. We were instructed to yell 'Get Blasted' on the count of three and then we were to jump on the count of four or something to that effect. Unfortunately an intricate song in 5/4 was not next in the mathematical progression. Oh, this rocked ok, but is it EMO or an outgrowth of positive punk? I don't particularly care to call anything EMO, but he did mention being positive and it is on their facebook page. That's cool, but why then are you into the Deftones, NiN, Smashing Pumpkins and what no doubt is the poster child for positivity, Hatebreed? Ah well, time to stop thinking so much.
Sparks the Rescue - Well, no mention of DC within the first notes, just attempts to get hands in the air. A fair compromise I suppose. More earnest vocals atop crunching melodic hardcore/hard rock moves. "How are you DC, having fun?" Eh. "Look to the person on your left. I want to you fuck that person in the bathroom." Excuse me, what? Not only does that not work mechanically (short of a bathroom that could hold a five-hundred person obscene conga line), but this is 2012 kiddos. The music goes on in excruciatingly earnest fashion and I am feeling itchy for some Flipper or King Crimson or something. 23 minutes of heavy moments as the crowd is building a bit by now.
Like Moths to Flames - From one of my former home towns Columbus, Ohio, comes this nice little variant to the sounds so far. These guys have a more thunderous Helmet-like sound. A bit more harsh perhaps, but strong, with enough melody and a bit on the dark side. And thankfully, just a normal amount of crowd pandering (a little can go a long way if you want to even do any at all). A mosh pit was going strong in the last song which had a nice taped spooky organ intro. This band rocks and I would see them again some time when they could play for more than 21 minutes.
Hit the Lights - A sixth member was aboard to pound a floor tom and add backing vocals. 30 seconds into the first song--"DC! How the fuck you guys doing tonight?" Thank you for asking, I'm getting a bit weary of it all, but the last band lit a fire under me, so keep playing please. The crowd sang along with only the mic being held out, so this band has a lot of fans here and some memorable tunes. They rocked nicely and did show that little bit of extra It rocked. "Make some fucking noise!" Yes, better than making some fucking boogers. "Let's see some fucking hands!" Right, no boogers on them either. "Sing it!" We're still in the second song. The band surveyed the crowd and it looked like about 1/3 of them have seen them or knew them well. They have played the Jammin' Java recently. "Thank you for the whoo's" Ric Flair says you are welcome. "This song is about whores" Horse? Hoarse? Hoars? 38 minutes worth this set. It rocked.
D.R.U.G.S. - Destroy, Rebuild until God Shows. Got it. Strong melodies, extremely powerful thrust from this band. They sound like a headliner for this receptive crowd. This is all in the Rise Against, Against Me model from what I recall of those shows. "Make some motherfucking noise" after a quick two songs. Here we go again. "If you see someone not moving, push 'em down." Excuse me? Perhaps this is my cue to leave. Well, the balcony is not buying what they are selling, so I'll stick a bit. One more song. "All you in the balcony, get the fuck down here, let's have a good time. You have a good view and all, but I'm serious. Get down here!" OK, down the steps I go and right out the door. Fascist singers that were not even born when I experienced my first mosh pit (and one of my last) I can do without. I do not suffer fools, gladly or otherwise.
Quote of the Night: None of the above.