I walked into this show and saw John “Can’t Fight the” Seager, Pat Vogel, Brian “B-Lam” Lam, natty Bradley Nappy and I thought, “Whoa Hey! All right! This show boasts an impressive collection of all-stars! There must be some cool band playing tonight that brought this cast of characters out of the woodwork!”
That proved to be the case.
This diverse evening of entertainment was booked by Nolan Christ and it was held at an interesting space: Everlasting Life, a large, sleek restaurant on the edge of Howard University (one of America’s foremost historically black colleges) which boasts that everything it serves is “100% organic, vegan and raw” (much like the music performed that evening, hey!).
It was interesting to comfortably view footage of the decadent British royals (tourists are money) on flat screen televisions while at a sweet, true D.I.Y. show – it was the type of post-everything juxtaposition in which one could appropriately find both glee, despair and the seeds of an incisive cultural statement or two (if one offered more intellectual wherewithal than I seem to possess at this time, hey!).
This show drew about 50 people, and it seemed rather unlikely that the Everlasters would find it in their fiduciary interest to continue providing their space for the use of the likes to me (a broke mope at the end of my rope); indeed, I heard that the ‘Lasters planned to subsequently make the spot prohibitively expensive for the use of “the scene,” woah!
The first band I caught was Fell Types, a quartet that played an attractive, varied mix of ’90s-style alternative rock which was often heavily indebted to Dinosaur Jr. (though lacking guitar solos). The singer-guitarist is D.C. D.I.Y. scene mainstay Carni Klirs, one of the original organizers of Positive Youth Fest.
Fell Types were tight and interesting, with bassist Diana Vashti playing leads rather than root notes – an excellent tactic which I would strongly encourage more of my peers to emulate. A lot of the music was pretty and cool (temperature-wise), some of it was dark and swirling, with some interesting, unique musical moments – it was like a more musical, un-ego maniacal Hole or a less musical and catchy Dino Jr. (and I know these references only serve to suggest my lack to insight, perspective and imagination) – a lot of it, if ol’ Carnation was screaming or sneering rather than singing, would be punk rather than alt. The vocals were entirely buried throughout the whole set. Basically, it sounds like they smoke weed and jam out like members of Generation X in their halcyon days, but ol’ Carnivorous advised me that he neither smokes nor jams. However, he readily admitted that he listens “to a lot of weed music” and cited both Sonic Youth and Eric’s Trip as inspirations.
It was extremely surprising (and pleasant, for this Gen X remnant) to hear a young D.C. band parlaying this sound in the underground in 2011. It reminded me of seeing Turboslut and having my mind blown, brains splattered against the wall (RIP), though the experience was not as profound.
Blatantly sounding like Dino Jr. nowadays certainly seems like it would be uncool (or cool-neutral at best), so they must have their hearts in the right place. Good for them. I look forward to hearing more from Fell Types. At the end of the set it struck me that this band could be my life. They should be on Dischord. A.
Next up were Shoppers, a band from Syracuse, New York. Sample lyric: “Here’s the secret to happiness: Be Yourself all the time. Don’t tell lies. And next year, things will get better, I swear.”
Sounds highly plausible, to be sure, but I’ll have to take their word for it. For me, the secret to happiness is anti-depressants. It was really cool that you could understand the lyrics.
This trio was fronted and based by females with a male holding down the fort on the traps. They were the preppiest-dressed band I’d seen ever seen at a D.I.Y. gig, propelling me to afford them additional respect for keeping it real.
This band was fairly pummeling and quite simplistic – with really repetitive, non-melodic riffs – and the lyrics were half-spoken, half-yelled. It wasn’t normally the type of thing that I’d be into, but Shoppers’ vast enthusiasm, confidence and so forth carried the day. The bassist looked extremely angry onstage and her playing sounded that way. She had a great stage presence and kept making these cool grimaces. After the set it became clear that she had hurt her hand. A.
Fun fact: Shoppers’ bassist and drummer also perform in the band Hunger Pains.
Up last was the mighty Lotus Fucker. This is a band that gigs pretty often in the D.C. area, but I’d never seen ‘em before (ftl). It appears that Kamikaze Dan, a man with a plan from Severna Park, Maryland has recruited the aforementioned cast of local stars to propagate his vision: Ultra chaos noise. Dan wore a Hawaiian shirt and shed his clothes during the set, as is his custom. The band opened with a catchy riff (given Dan’s reputation, I was surprised), and then things got back to normal: pulverizing, cacophonic, shrill, insanely loud anti-music which could hardly be more abrasive. I liked it best when the fellows appeared to be playing the same song (this was not the norm). Dan is a good frontman, moving his body enthusiastically to the beat. The set lasted less than 10 minutes. I don’t understand the appeal of performing for such a short period of time (when it takes longer to set up and break down than you play for) but maybe they’re just subverting the dominant paradigm. Actually, for the style of music they play, they may be conforming (confirm/deny in the comments, ftw – and I know the preceding comments only serve to reinforce my own lack of perspective, ftl). B+.
Bonus potential lyric I thought of during this show: “Money equals intelligence. How could it not? It equals everything else.”
Thanks for reading, see you in hell!
PS: J/K RE: serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The secret to happiness is freeing oneself from desire, obviously.
PPS: My amigo told me at this show that he appreciates that I don’t have a persona online or in real life. In real life this is true, but being a broke mope at the end of my rope, I didn’t have it in me at the time to disabuse him of the notion that I don’t have a persona online, hey (ftl).
PPS: This show was a very mixed bill, ftw. Thank you, Nolan Christ.