Dum Dum Girls, Minks, Dirty Beaches at Black Cat

I finished off this weekend’s epicness last night with a band that had been on my list to see for a while, Dum Dum Girls, along with some rising talent in Minks and Dirty Beaches. It was a rainy night in D.C. so I questioned my ability to bring myself to get into town, but I already had my ticket and had to see Dum Dum Girls after skipping their Merriweather Post Pavilion show with Vampire Weekend for the sole purpose of seeing them at a small venue.

Dirty Beaches, the one man project of Alex Hungtai, is incredibly lo-fi and incredibly awesome live. Hungtai, standing by himself with his guitar and holding a small microphone, created a dark atmosphere that allowed his songs to penetrate with the help of backing tracks and occasional noise bursts form his guitar. Songs like “Speedway King” and “True Blue” were entrancing to watch, but the real highlights were the covers. Hungtai played his Johnny Cash/Nick Drake cover of “The Singer,” which he dedicated to the late Trish Keenan of Broadcast before covering The Stooges’ “No Fun,” which was just a really cool arrangement. I hadn’t been quite sold on him yet, but after listening to the Dirty Beaches album Badlands and seeing a live performance, I’m a fan. It would definitely be cool to see this full band though.

Minks, another buzzworthy band, were up next. I’d listened to their album By The Hedge a few times and it was just starting to click. The band’s live performance was very solid, but they did look a little tired, as this was their last night of touring with Dum Dum Girls. I’m not smart enough to recognize all of the songs they played, but it was a solid and tight set, and By The Hedge remains an album for me to look into more as time goes on.

Finally, Dum Dum Girls. The set was wicked quick, but tight, as the band moved through a selection of songs from I Will Be, Blissed Out, and He Gets Me High (see set list below). Like Dirty Beaches, Dum Dum Girls utilized covers, opening with The Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire” and then encoring with The Smiths’ “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” two versions of songs that it’s safe to say I like better than the originals. The guitar playing was great, and the drumming was intense. Dee Dee’s vocals sounded exactly how I thought they would, and the harmonies from all other members were very good as well. My favorite “Jail La La” was danceable and everyone there was just having a good time, with no weird vibes like the other nights.

I’m pretty proud of myself for seeing Beach House and Dum Dum Girls in smaller venues after passing on the Merriweather show. It makes me proud of having some skill in life. A little break from shows right now, but I’m sure it’ll pick up again soon.

–Daniel

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