Justin Trawick Band - I have seen Justin Trawick as part of his 'the 9 Songwriter series' which features rotating nine singer songwriter combinations in one fast paced entertaining evening booked at several different area venues. While I do recommend those, I am interested in seeing his fine songs in a full band setting tonight. In addition to his acoustic guitar, he has got a stand-up bass, violin, and mandolin with some backing vocal assistance from those guys as well. It is an excellent band as everybody is a top-notch player who work well together. The songs are good with playful meters and thoughtful lyrics. They range from steady Americana based folk to 'fast bluegrass'. I keep writing 'good stuff' in my notes and the word quality seems to fit with songs and players. they also keep it relaxed and fun with solos called out jazz style on some of the stretched out pieces. Justin Trawick solo is certainly good enough to go out of your way for, but do try to catch the full band some time.
Deap Vally - This LA duo has had a rather hot start to their career with shows and festivals all over the globe in the two years they have been around. And all of that, from a chance meeting in crocheting class? Weaving, sewing, music... it all goes together and these two women have a great personal take on a guitar and drums formula that can too often be tiresome. Yes, this is this is the loud grungy blues rock that you might expect when you see a drum kit and and electric guitar set up to play through two amps. They keep it more feral than flashy and bring in some of the passion of Gun Club and Mudhoney, although they don't hit the musical heights of those bands. There were a couple times I could have used one extra slide guitar, but Jeffry Lee Pierce is no longer with us and Mark Arm is busy. Most of the time, this music is just fine as is with surprisingly good drum work. I can not quite put my finger on why it is so good, other than Julie Edwards' excellent choices for arranging beats that work around Lindsey Troy's guitar. The beat is there, but it does seem like another lead instrument. Troy's lead vocals are excellent and Edwards has a good harmony voice that adds smooth dimensions to the fierce growling lead voice. They are not the best in this field (see Graveyard), but they have a lot to offer and their hour long set tonight was a lot of fun.
Quote of the Night: from DV... "This is the part where I jump in the crowd and crowd surf and I am tempted to jump down there." This is in reference to the odd, but cozy space that is Living Social at 918 F Street NW. They have an upstairs floor space for bands with a small bar and standing and seating room that you could get a Velvet Lounge crowd into... barely. What is odd is the huge open space in front of the band looking down on a downstairs bar with people that can look up at the show. It's the first real 'pit' in front of a stage I have seen. It is odd, but they are booking some interesting music here, so I would keep them on your calendar.