Cigarbox Planetarium - If you have not seen this local duo, it is difficult to describe them. Yet they inspired me to write what is still my personal favorite review of the thousand plus reviews I have done. Read it here, as their sound and approach is not going to change any time soon and did not tonight. It is still guitar channeling Link Wray and Duane Eddy coupled with two banks of keyboards creating farfisa and carnival organ sounds among other subtle sonic shifts here and there. I could easily enjoy both players as solo acts, but thankfully they come together in something that is astonishing in its wildly creative retro approach. If you consider yourself a music fan, you owe it to yourself to stretch your boundaries in some sort of past/future nexus and seek this band out. Perhaps you aren't old enough to recall hearing the Stones and Beatles on the radio and hunting through your parents lame record collection to try and find something anywhere near as cool on the Ray Coniff records (no) or Percy Faith records (not much) before hitting that instrumental gem on Andre Kostelanetz. So do the next best thing and check out one of the area's best kept secrets, Cigarbox Planetarium.
Time is Fire - This is a fairly new entry on to the local scene and they are more than welcome to it based on what I hear tonight. Start with the energy as the band is loaded with it. The drummer creates a firm beat for the guitarist to riff heavy on, while the bass player bounces around, both on the fretboard and in the club from end to end. The singer reminds me quite a bit of Arthur Brown (as the photo above so obviously shows), although he like everyone else on the planet does not quite get all the way to Brown's heights. But he stays on top of the racket and adds some percussion as well to the strong rhythmic qualities of the songs. I particularly liked the early songs with the wild snakey guitar runs that reminded me of Baris Manco crossed with Omar Souleyman. As the set went on, a few more reggae beats worked their way in and they got a tad too jamming toward the end. But it was still fun and great live, so the set had never a dull moment. A really fun night in the clubs tonight.
Oh and a quick note about the club. The downstairs area of this Adams Morgan club has had music for some time. This was in the upstairs area, where if you miss the intimacy of the Red & the Black, you can find it here. It's tiny, but the sound is good and it is a fine place to see some interesting bands. They may not always be this good, but with a cover of $5, you really can't go wrong.
Follow up on my prior post - A couple of hints about the drumkit photo I posted last time... The owner of it played for a prolific musician who died young and whose son carries on the music today. The drummer then formed a band with his wife who had some success, before he went solo and she went to Hustler Magazine. The answer... next time.