Cold Fronts - I am getting old as I forgot I had a show scheduled tonight until after 9:30, so apologies to Skyline Hotel for missing their set--they were covered by John Miller for this site in January. And speaking of recent coverage, I caught this Philadelphia band only last March. I was not sure I recognized them and one of the reasons was that they were down to a more respectable two guitar count in front of their rhythm section for this show. And the lead singer even sheds his guitar once so he can sing among the crowd including a brief sit at my booth. They are rocking well again tonight and I detect that same in between rock style that is just a bit too tough for power pop and a bit too refined for garage rock. So this music is thoroughly modern rock with nods to all the great offshoot genres from the past. Songs are decent and a couple really snapped me to attention. The crowd dug them and they were having fun, so it all worked out quite well tonight.
The Kickback - I am happy to finally catch this Chicago quartet who said they have played DC about four times this past year. With a local soundman originally from Chicago and even myself living there a year, it is time for some serious midwest rock. They take the rocking start to this evening and ramp it up even further with some really ferocious moves. Yet, they pull back frequently to reveal some clever songcraft as well. Of course, when they announced that the second song was going to be about overuse of steroids in Professional Wrestling, I knew I was hooked (even though it sounded like it had nothing to do with that whatsoever). The stage patter was well above average as they showed a quirky sense of humor that even at its oddest, worked very well to keep you on edge to some of their more jagged moments in their songs. It all came together smartly and powerfully and the crowd was clearly in to it on this steamy Monday evening. If you can imagine a more refined Guided by Voices, I think you can conceive of what the Kickback come up with. But try them out yourself the next time they come to town. It may not be long.
Quote of the Night: From the Kickback's lead vocalist... "This song is about my parents getting divorced. It's also our most upbeat number, so if you dance to it, it's funny for everybody."