Daniel’s Concert Recap

Life is pretty hectic between shows and journalistic obligations, so unfortunately my concert reviewing has gotten pushed to the wayside over the past few weeks. This post is a summary of everything I’ve seen post-LCD Soundsystem and what I thought of it. They’ve all been pretty good shows and I got to see some of my favorite bands again.

April 1: Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Twin Shadow (Black Cat)

Both of these bands have special places in my heart as summer bands, with the Pains’ “Come Saturday” on one of my Summer ’09 mixes and one of the first versions of Twin Shadow’s “Castles in the Snow” had a home during Summer ’10. Plus, I absolutely love Belong by the Pains. Listening to Kip Berman’s vocals and the distortion on the instruments, it doesn’t seem like it would be able to work, but somehow it does, and I love it.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my listening to Twin Shadow, and I decided that I just don’t like it. It doesn’t flow for me and the aesthetic doesn’t really mesh with me. I know that Forget is a fantastically produced album (via Chris Taylor) and some of the songs are pretty decent (“Slow,” “Castles in the Snow”), but it doesn’t fit for me and that same feeling translated over into the live setting. It was a good performance, I just didn’t like it.

As for Pains, they brought so much energy and it was so much fun. Carrying over my dancing from the night before at LCD, I just had so much energy despite the long hours and threw down to the set. Hearing “Come Saturday” live along with “Belong” and “Heart In Your Heartbreak” was so cool, as the band was really tight and just had it all together. The rest of the D.C. crowd didn’t seem to be into the dancing as much, but it’s D.C., you get what you get. I’d heard mixed reviews about Pains’ live performances, so seeing them spot on on the heels of releasing a new rec0rd was awesome.

April 8: Black Lips/Vivian Girls/Moon Women (Black Cat)

Another strong Black Cat bill saw one of the bands that opened my eyes to lo-fi and the whole Brooklyn scene back in 2009 in Vivian Girls. I’d heard great things about Black Lips shows from Anna and knew a few good tunes going in. Moon Women were another late addition as an opener and the Philadelphia band was pretty decent with its Gaslight Anthem-esque sound. It wasn’t the greatest, but I could dig some of it.

There was lots of excitement among my friends and I to see Vivian Girls, especially with the release of Share The Joy (aka not a 5.9) on the horizon. I was excited to hear the mix of old and new songs Cassie, Katy and Fiona would put together for us. The new songs sounded really cool and the longer songs, “The Other Girls” and “Light In Your Eyes,” really threw me for a loop as it was almost like the Girls were jamming! Throw in some classics like “The End” and “When I’m Gone,” and you have an awesome set. The high point for me was “Take It As It Comes,” where Cassie and Katy did the spoken part of the track. Plus it’s just a kicking song.

Black Lips threw down one of the craziest sets I’d ever seen as well, as the crowd formed one of the biggest mosh pits I’d ever seen in the District. I’m not a Black Lips, so I can’t just rattle off songs I saw, but they were all tight and highly energetic. Plus the bass player monkey bar-ing around Black Cat was just ridiculous. The high point of that set for me was moshing into the second row right in front of Jared Swilley for “Bad Kids.” Now that was awesome.

April 11: Cloud Nothings/Eternal Summers/Invisible Hands (DC9)

My first time at DC9 marked my third time seeing Cloud Nothings along with my first seeing Eternal Summers, another band from my summer mixes. Invisible Hands from Charlottesville, Va., opened with their own brand of indie rock. I couldn’t quite get into it, but some of the ideas in it were pretty awesome and it had a pretty good vibe for the evening.

Eternal Summers used their short and punchy songs to power through a set that seemed much longer than it actually was. The songs were crisp and clear, and had the same sound from the EP and Silver, except with a much more prominent bass sound. Songs like “Pogo” and “Able To” were nostalgia trips and really got me pumped for Cloud Nothings.

Again, everyone reading knows that I love Cloud Nothings and everything Dylan Baldi produces. This time, Cloud Nothings performed as a three-piece, as Joe and T.J. couldn’t come on this tour because they had to work and then Dylan was sick, so he was shotgunning honey in between each song. Still, they threw down. They put in a great mix of old (“Turning On,” “Hey Cool Kid,” “Even If It Worked Out”) and new (“Should Have,” “Not Important,” “All The Time”) and it sounded really cool. It wasn’t as full as a full-band would sound, but the melody lines and backing lines were still all there. With Dylan having the voice issues, I thought “Not Important” had the least chance of being played, but he threw it down. Not really much more I can say/write about this band.

April 14: Beach Fossils/Craft Spells (DC9)

Returning to DC9 for the second time in four days, I was stoked to have a great time. I arrived just in time to see Craft Spells play “You Should Close That Door” to close their set. It sounded awesome and I really wish I could have seen their whole set, but it happens. Support them and check them out. It’s quality — like the lovechild of Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils.

This was my second time seeing Beach Fossils and I was pretty interested in seeing how the full drum set translated into the live setting. From what I’d already heard, I didn’t think it would be too promising, but it actually ended up being much better than I expected. At times, the cymbals did muddle up the whole sound, as I expected, but it gave the lackadaisical music a boost and made it seem almost intense. The Dustin Payseur-led quartet played all of the classics like “Daydream,” “Golden Age” and “Sometimes,” while the newer tracks like What A Pleasure translated well over to a live environment. There was also hilarious things happening that I don’t feel like re-hashing. All in all, it was a pretty rad show.

So there’s a hopefully brief recap of the last few weeks. Hopefully this won’t happen again. yay work!

–Daniel

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