Tough Shits - "We are the Tough Shits from Philly and we are here to see Redd Kross. We get to see them for free on the condition you have to listen to us play for a minute." Fortunately the 26 minutes went down painlessly with several positive moments as well. These guys have the garage rock elements working over time with some glam punk and power pop moves in here as well. The vocal work reminds me a bit of the cute sneer of the Dickies. I had not seen these guys in years and there were some ragged moments and a few flat spots, but they mentioned that this was their first show in about six months (so there is truth in their early pronouncement). And with a nice cover of the Byrds' "It Won't Be Wrong", the both stage and audience were warmed on this hot Friday night.
Redd Kross - It is great to see these guys back, releasing records, and most importantly on the road bringing their bright and broad personalities to the stage. They established an important position in the punk scene when they began as a teenage band playing instruments as they learned them. They eventually morphed into an excellent glam punk psyche rock powerhouse that met with some deserved success in the 1980s. They were the first band I went to see when I moved here in 1987 at a show at the old 9:30 Club. Their line-up was solid and they were amazingly good that night. After a long hiatus that line-up reconvened and has now returned to DC. Well, guitarist Robert Hecker is not touring, so Jason Shapiro is the new gunslinger who capably filled in with skill and some heavy tremolo touches. The drums were powerful and the McDonald brothers sounded great and did manage to bring the warmth and style in the vocal work above the loud raucous sound underneath. These guitars ring as well as roar. I recognized some of the hits like "Annie's Gone" as well as some covers like "TV Eye" which somehow they managed to make sound fun. The McDonald brothers are monster stylists and can bring out the crazy innocent fun in just about anything--even more amazing that it is 33 years later. After a quick finish, they jumped back on stage to do the really old stuff, beginning with "Cover Band" which they said was the first song they ever recorded in a studio while waiting for the Plimsouls (!!) to finish with their time. The backstage room was packed and the enthusiasm was there from start to finish by plenty of people that were there at the beginning and the usual sprinkling of younger ages that are smart enough to pick up on the great cult bands of former eras. And they finished by asking for requests and decided to do Kiss's "Deuce" which is what they opened with when I saw them in 1987. It still rocks.
Quote of the Night: From Jeff McDonald looking about the stage after the opener... "Uh, the person who stole the set list is going to have to shout out the songs to us."