Friday, February 7, 2014

Drowners - Big Air -- DC9 - Feb 6 2014

Big Air - Straight away, I receive a blast of Detroit Rock City, not the Kiss variety, but that of the Sonic Rendezvous Band--hard rock, ferocious fuzz and pounding drums with a thick melodic vocal that you can grab on to. Too bad I am missing the thunderous bass as this is yet another guitar/drums duo. There are songs where it is fine as is as they are both strong players and have some memorable tunes that kick it up several notches. Yet this could be even more powerful an act with just one more ingredient, which hopefully will be the case some day. These guys are from Charlottesville, Virginia so I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of them if their energy to travel around a play live is matched by what they do on stage. The large crowd was digging the sounds, which was nice to see as this was a young enthusiastic crowd. In fact, this demographic has me baffled as I count forty people crowded around the front of the stage and there are only two guys. Of the people hanging around back and coming in, it's more balanced, but I haven't seen this kind of discrepancy since the early midwest hardcore days (which of course was reversed). No complaints mind you, as the band and audience connected making an outstanding vibe for the evening.
Drowners - This Welsh/NYC band (with a logo that riffs of the theme of my old charges, Toxic Reasons) is off to a roaring start on the first night of their tour as the crowd has just about filled the DC9 and is pretty much all smiles and enthusiasm as they begin their set. They only have about a half hour of material but it is a strong brand of pop-punk meets classic rock meets gutsy power pop. Clearly their album must be as strong and immediate as many in the crowd know the songs. The vocals are in a romantic pop punk format, while the guitarist has a variety of sounds with early moves reminiscent of Andy Summers of the Police. They said they pretty much did their whole album out of order, but I have to give them great credit as they shifted from catchy songs with playful guitar to their faster, heavier songs by set's end. This was excellent use of rising intensity akin to the rising tension you seek in drama. Yet they kept in fun and playful, working with the crowd a bit, but not taking too many breaks from dishing out these fine songs. This band is clearly destined for big things and I don't think they could have asked for a better start to their lengthy US/Europe tour than tonight.

Quote of the Night: From the openers... "Now we'll play a song that's older than you are, because it's older than we are." Thanks guys, I am glad someone recognizes this as that issue constantly pricks my mind as I hear some young band cover the Misfits. But tonight it was Richard Hell's "Love Comes in Spurts" which took me back to seeing Hell and the Voidoids in Dayton nearly 35 years back.

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