Young Rapids - This is the first of three fine veteran local bands that have all attracted a good fan base in the area, thus earning the big room at the Black Cat. I have not seen this quartet in some time, but as much as I liked them before, I have even more respect for what they are doing now. They have pushed their pop moves into an even stronger and more assured sound--Grace with power. They start with crisp drumming and the bass player adding some percussion before strapping on. The guitarist is awash with interesting sounds and strength, while the keyboardist lays out dreamy yet strong runs that gives this the sound of an old Socket Circuits band (like a lighter Imperial China, say). The instrumental parts are interesting and the vocals are strong and moving. There is a lot to like here.
Cigarette - This quartet puts the slow into slo-core. And it is a bit of a challenge for me tonight as I am really tired and their low key but lengthy sound check made it unclear of when the set actually started (I think it was 36 minutes following the previous set). These guys do capture a dream pop sound that is so steady and pulled back, it can't help but lull you into its world. I am not sure it was a good fit for this Saturday night show, but the quality earned the respect of some of the crowd. There were some sound issues even as the set went on, but the overall sonic approach is an effective one, in the right time and place.
Drop Electric - It has been a couple of years since I have caught up with one of the finer DC bands working these days. This band has such an inner power that pushes their sonic qualities to rarely heard heights, that it is always a pleasure to hear what they come up with next, song by song, show by show. I have previously written of Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Goblin, and Bardo Pond. I heard a bit of the former and plenty of the latter tonight as well, although I heard a melody construction that reminded me of Mono as well. The female vocals from the keyboardist are quite wonderful and they are a match for the powerful music underneath. Each seems to push the other to get closer to heaven. There are some hooks in here along with the intricacy and intensity. There was a fairly large crowd here for this show and no doubt, they left it with lots of smiles after hearing this wonderful band. Don't wait as long as I did to see them again.
Benefit Info... This was a show to benefit Girls Rock DC, a fine organization that has been around since 2007. They put on rock camps for young girls, age 8 to 18 and give them a valuable and fun experience at learning the ropes of being a musician and songwriter. Check them out.