Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Dolly Rockers -- The Commune - April 8 2016

by John Miller

One of the most painful experiences driving in the city has to be the rush to park, finding said parking blocks away from your destination, and finally seeing all the open spots that you missed as you curse yourself run/walking to the evening's ending. 

Tonight's sparsely attended show comes from The Commune, a house that hosts random gigs for artists ala the now defunct Paperhaus. The venue is located in a small basement off of 15th Street about 2 blocks of southwest The Black Cat. I talked with the showrunner briefly and even though it was somewhat hard to get straight answers (alcohol may or may have been involved) it sounds as if The Commune is open for business. So, while the space may not be the biggest and the PA isn’t the best, there is a space out there for local artists to showcase their work.
Eric from The Dolly Rockers contacted us and I decided to make the trek out. That said if any of you are in a band but lack proper PR, please contact us and we will be happy to come out if our schedules permit. So this is definitely a new thing. Uncertainty dominates the laundry room. Sound check takes a good twenty minutes and the levels are really right but it's a laundry room in the basement of a row home, so I imagine everyone is doing the best they can. More sound checks in between songs. It's trying but with time this stuff will all fade away. The Dolly Rockers, a five piece from Virginia, begin tonight. I can't tell if they are just starting out or not. It's a moderate rock, a little dirty, not a ton of energy is coming from the support. It's a new thing though so perhaps with time the support will match that of the lead singer. Despite the lack of enthusiasm from this small crowd, Eric tries his best to own the room, however its difficult as tonight skews a lot older than I had thought it would (I saw someone nursing their sore knee after a set). Flailing and just moving. When he isn't taking the lead the energy definitely takes a hit. Far be it from me to make suggestions, but when as a band, you have found someone that clearly doesn't give a shit, you lean on that. It's about making a connection with the audience, not giving everyone ample time to do their thing. Forget that noise. People want to see the guy that strains his vocal chords, moves, shakes his fists at nothing, and sweats. Case in point, Going Crazy was exceptional. While sonically, no new ground was necessarily broken, the performance was particularly good.

The night continues much as it started; newer bands playing short, cramped sets. I know all of this sounds somewhat negative, but this is what you sign up for when trying to make it; smaller, cramped gigs. Later on I spoke with Eric about the set and the scene in general. I tried my best to rely some of the little experience I have. We both came to the same, tired conclusion; it’s tough in DC.  

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