Young Sinclairs - Garage rock and power pop is the theme for tonight with the venerable Groovies and the openers have the formula down pat. A 12-string guitar provides the jangle while the 6-stringer has the crunch. The rhythm section is steady, but the best part is the two-part harmonies they employ. The songs are solid, although they are the typically short pop ditties that start to blend together a bit too much. I would have enjoyed a reverb drenched extended jam to break things up a bit. They had a really sharp song that was their second-to-last cut that livened things up nicely. Oh wait, that was there last song as they were unceremoniously told after saying they had one more song to do. And thus concluded their 24-minute set. Now if you are going to cram two separate paying shows into one night, U Street Music Hall, perhaps you will let a band start a little earlier to get a full set in, rather than delay the start time to one hour after the doors open. The crowd was there.
Flamin Groovies - It is hard to believe this is the first ever show in Washington DC for this band that formed in the 1960s. Granted, their career has not exactly been on a straight trajectory and there were many years of down time, but this rare event did bring out a good crowd tonight. But based on tonight's show, this likely will also be their last show in DC as I doubt too many people would bother coming back. It is a credible line-up with 2-3 long-time members manning the guitars and bass along with a newer drummer. And there was some of their signature energized power pop flair evident in the set. But with the awful, awful sound full of feedback, there were plenty of grumbles on stage and in the crowd. They played a lot of cover songs which was ok, although when they played "Jumpin Jack Flash", it reminded me that I only saw the Stones play this a few months ago. They had a guitar string break (with no back-up), leaving one guitarist to go solo by playing the second Byrds (Dylan penned) song of the night, "Chimes of Freedom". I am not sure there was any magic even early on, but any positive vibes were slipping away, even as some of the crowd was trying to keep it lively. I had to laugh and agree with the shout of "Nooo!" when they said they were going to another Jagger-Richards cut. "Paint It Black" came out and again reminded me of the real deal just this past summer. I decided I had enough and followed a few people out the door, not waiting for the mighty "Shake Some Action". Serves me right for not following my own advice I wrote only yesterday about shelling out $25 bucks for a name band as opposed to checking out 3-4 bands at the smaller clubs for $8. Oh well.
Quote of the Night: From a Groovie (Chris Wilson) to the sound booth after some feedback "This better stop, right now!"
This was one of two complaints about feedback after complaining that he couldn't hear himself in the monitor. Bravo, U Street. It will take a very special show to pull me back into your club with your supposedly great sound system. Whether the band deserves some blame, or whether it was double booking tonight, this was yet another dud.