11/3/11 at Asefu’s: Guilty, DOC, Laughing Man, Boom Boom Kid

This was my first time seeing a show at Asefu’s and my first time seeing Boom Boom Kid. I’d been meaning to check out this spot for a while, and I’d been hearing glowing praise about Boom Boom for years so I was eager to see what the Kid was all about. On the way to the show, I had Chinese food with my aunt (copious Chinese food consumption is the only aspect of my Jewish upbringing that’s lasted since getting expelled from Hebrew school when I was 12) and told her I had been right around the corner from one of the Halloween shootings on Georgia Ave. She got all Jewish mother on me, like, “What the hell were you doing on Georgia Avenue?!”

I wanted to say, “Gettin’ ignorant with Sepultura!” That would have gone over her head, though.

This show was legit. Asefu’s is a cool little joint. They were playing an old-school R and B radio station throughout the night, even while bands were playing, so between songs you’d hear traces of The Temptations or Stevie Wonder or whatever in the background.

Guilty started things off and they ripped. They’re still in high school, but in true Minor Threat fashion are nonetheless some of the illest musicians in town. I been playing guitar for as long as this dude’s been alive and he shreds circles around me. Their drummer, moreover, pummels the living shit out of those drums. Normally I’m not interested in musicianship in and of itself, I’m much more concerned about the energy and emotion of the music, but Guilty pulls musicianship off with taste. I dug their style: punk/core with Sabbath-meets-Metallica riffing, technical / math-y parts, and harsh, yet tuneful, vocals. If this kid starts smoking and drinking, the sky’s the limit (j/k). They played as a 2-piece at this show, but apparently they usually have a bass player and keyboardist too. I’m curious to hear what they sound like with the complete lineup.

They’re nice guys, I chatted with ’em after their set and made sure to give them words of encouragement. I remember when I was that age starting to play in bands. A bit of support can go a long way.

Next up was D.O.C. – the District of Columbia’s Disciples of Christ – the local scum-grind pushers supreme. Tim, Nolan and Chris are three of the hardest, meanest motherfuckers I’ve ever met, and they channel their malevolence into ear-splitting sets.

The last couple of times I saw them, the sound was an indistinguishable blur of fuzz and feedback and I was frustrated that I couldn’t hear what they were doing, but this time the acoustics served them well and they wrecked my already-damaged eardrums with clarity.

All three members of the band share vocals and they each bring a distinct style to the table, which keeps things sounding fresher than the average grindcore band. I found Chris’ vocals particularly guttural and intense. The guitar and bass are tuned down to Satanic lows and are massively loud, distorted and feedback-infested, the drumming is hard as fuck, and they make really gnarly faces as they’re playing.

All of this, combined with frenzied yet tight jams, creates a brutally visceral vibe. It’s a suitable soundtrack to losing one’s mind or dabbling in occult practices (not that I would know).

Hey, let’s talk about Laughing Man!

This was the first time I heard/saw them, but I hear they’ve been playing around DC for a while and their sound has changed a lot in that time. I saw some vids of an earlier show where they had this bluesy thing going on, but at this particular show they played spacey indie rock with cool guitar and bass interplay, minimalist drumming with odd-time tendencies, smooth vocals and catchy tunes.

I had mixed feelings about their set. Sometimes I got into it, but sometimes they were too monotonous and repetitious for me, and at other times they seemed to me like they were trying a little too hard to sound weird and quirky. There was at least one song that was a blatant Fugazi ripoff, a totally clichéd cop-out move in D.C. indie rock that’s especially disappointing coming from a band like this – one that’s talented enough to create an interesting sound of their own. However, they played well and had a good energy about them, ftw.

Boom Boom Kid. Holy. Shit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody bring it as hard as this guy.

The Kid is a very short, very flamboyant and, from what I’ve heard, very sketchy Argentine man with a beautiful voice who is a star in his home country, yet is so obscure in the States that he has to play his super-tight, super-catchy, hardcore-influenced pop-punk in basements and Ethiopian restaurants in front of a few dozen sketchy punkers.

The Kid and his band put on one of the most inspiring shows I’ve ever seen. BBKid is an incredibly energetic and enthusiastic performer, jumping, whirling, twirling, contorting, kicking and thrashing all over the goddamn place, whipping his long bleached dreads in the audiences’ faces while singing his ass off flawlessly.

I don’t mean any of that to sound negative or angry or destructive. On the contrary, he radiates charisma and is so passionate – every note out of his mouth and every movement of his body seemingly comes from the bottom of his heart – that everyone in the audience gets swept up in his energy.

At one point he reached over and pinched my nose. It was a moving moment for me. Afterwards, I went up to BBKid, slapped him 5 and told him how much I loved the show. He thanked me profusely, with this awed expression on his face like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing, then gave me a sweaty, stubbly kiss on the cheek.

It was a sick show even though there were no drunk and/or tweaked-out degenerates, no vandalism, no senseless destruction, no fights, no awkward public sex, and no gun play as far as I know. It was still worth the price of admission, I guess.

– By James Dot Com

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