I thought the show was ruined. I was convinced that it would rain all night and nobody would come out to the show that I had worked on putting together and promoting for at least a month, and so I sat in a car full of equipment, waiting for the driving rain to stop. Whenever it rains really heavily in D.C. it tends to last for about 20 minutes, so I decided to wait it out before unloading. It took about that long; luckily it stopped.
This show was at Asefu’s, an Ethiopian bar / restaurant on 9th Street near U Street that is hard to find, because it blends in with all the other similar bars on the block. It’s a small venue – especially the entrance, so audience members coming or going usually have to squeeze by one of more of the performers, but as I’ve said in reference to Wasted Dream, smaller venues make moderate turnouts look big. That was the case tonight.
I collaborated on this show with Tara of Quarry House / Comet Ping Pong / City Slang Booking fame. It was my first real collaboration on a show, and it turned out well. She worked the door all night, and I was able to focus on the schedule and working out equipment issues.
I realized that having another person to help with the show makes things exponentially easier and less stressful. It may not seem like it to the uninitiated, but having to collect money from everyone, answer everyone’s questions, try and coordinate everyone’s logistics, and keep everyone on schedule can be a stressful thing to do by yourself over the course of four or five hours.
The show’s first band was my very own, The Sniffs. We aim to sound
like Teengenerate or the Ramones. I thought we played fairly well. I
couldn’t hear my voice because of the positioning of the speakers and
this room was deeper than anyplace we’ve played, so there was no
reflection and I could barely hear my vocals, which made
me instinctively want to yell louder, which would have killed my voice if I had continued. I realized what I was doing in the second song and tried keep a normal volume.
This was the last show of our drummer, Kabir, who is bidding our fine
city farewell for the likes of Princeton, New Jersey where he will be
pursuing the un-punk degree of PhD.
Chach, our bassist, played without glasses for the first time and told
me he couldn’t see the fretboard, though I didn’t really notice a
The defining moment of our set came when an alleged crackhead was
being thrown out of the bar and a confrontation ensued. In the
struggle multiple people attempted to make him leave and he apparently punched at least one person. He knocked into our bass player, who almost fell into the drumset, taking a microphone stand down as well in the ensuing chaos.
They got him out and we played one more song.
The owner of the bar called the police to report the incident. This was the first time I recall the police being called to a punk show on purpose.
Big Surr was the next band. They are from Nashville and have at least
four or five members who also play in Diarrhea Planet. I can’t really
think of many comparisons for Big Surr, they sound like a
pop-rock’n’roll band that leans toward the pop side.
I really liked their first song, “Alright,” which was really catchy. I
noticed that most of their songs followed the I-IV-V pattern but that
was OK. They had a few slower numbers, but I really preferred the
upbeat ones, as is so often the case.
They closed with a very long, very slow song that lost my attention after a while. Chach told me he really liked the last one because it “takes a lot of balls to play that live.”
Good point, because when you play something like that you are risking playing something that a lot of people may not be up for in a live setting.
The next band was the aforementioned Diarrhea Planet, also from Nashville.
DP is the reason I set up this show. They are an excellent pop-punk
band with a crazy lineup. They had four guitar players, in addition to
a bassist at this show, and told me that they have played with five or
six guitar players on occasion. It’s over-the-top (replete with an
ecstatic stage presence) and it sounds great. The chord progressions
are all fairly simple, because all the songs really focus on the
melody, and with all those people there are tons of back-up vocal
melodies that really add to the songs. The songs are all really
catchy, and with a name like Diarrhea Planet you may suspect that the
lyrics aren’t the most serious in the world. Topics such as dogs,
ladies, and ghosts with boners were all broached during their set. My
only complaint was that their set lasted about 40 minutes, which is
too long for almost any band to play. The only time I would want to
see a band for more than 20-30 minutes is if they are a well-known
band headlining at a large club show. I just get bored fairly quickly,
unfortunately. All in all: a superb performance.
Local garage punks Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb played last. At
least two members were tipsy, but they pulled off their set without
any major problems. Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb play up-tempo punk rock’n’roll, with maybe a little pop-punk influence here and there.
Day After Day DC’s own Seth “FTW” Feinbergcohenstein said they sounded very original. I thought they played very well.
The show went a little later than I wanted, but thankfully most of the
audience stayed until the end. Thanks to everybody who came out,
special thanks to Tara.