Happenin' September D.C. shows in review

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Hysterics D.C.

Saturday, September 8- Francy Graham at the Rocketship (Petworth, Washington DC):

If you didn't go to the Hysterics show last Saturday, you missed out and you’re super lame. With Shitstains (female version of the Black Keys), Over and Out (local teenage hardcore), Last Words (HC from Raleigh, NC), Police and Thieves (local DCHC) and Hysterics (all the way from Olympia, WA)– it was a good punk line up. The show was at the Rocketship, a clean and good smelling punk house in Petworth. A couple hours before the show, DC experienced torrential rain/hurricane/tornado (apparently there was an actual tornado in Brooklyn, but this is about DC and we had no tornadoes here, only horizontal rain). Shitstains played first; we turned the amps loud enough so it would hurt your ears, just a little. Then we taped up the shit banner with bright pink duct tape on the wall behind the drum kit (author's note: This is a new edition to the Shitstains show stage since our last post featuring the band — a large black banner that spells out “SHIT” behind them while they play).

After our set, the room really felt hot and sticky. The next band that played was Over and Out, a newish local hardcore band. I missed their set because I ran out to get watermelon popsicles. Next, Last Words from Raleigh, NC played. The singer kept asking the audience why they weren't dancing, then she backed up in the tiny space and ran full force into the crowd which quickly turned into a pit. In between songs, she'd explain what they were about, “this one is about my father and how we don't get along very well” then she'd give a strange giggle and start screaming with the music. Right after Last Words played, a Rocketship resident took the mic and said, “Dance, mosh, have fun, but please keep in mind that the right wall is literally not connected to the floor.” The kind crowd laughed and agreed to respect the space. Next, Hysterics. All four of the hysterics came out looking like they knew exactly what they're doing. The drummer wore a silver helmet she had found laying around. They played a short packed set. Their 80s-sounding hardcore is so good and even better and louder live with each breakdown. Their 7″ was recently re-pressed on M'Lady's, and I recommend getting it as soon as possible before it's gone. Their set felt too short and left me wishing they'd play it all over again, but also left me needing some cool air.

Police and Thieves played last to a sardine-packed room. Their set was very clear and sounded great and the crowd was really into it singing along. The whole show was really fun, and with four bands in a small basement, it got super sweaty. With the recent death of Wasted Dream (RIP), the Rocketship is one of the few punk houses left, and if you go there, please RESPECT THE SPACE and hug the residents.

Also, buy Hysterics 7” because you really need it.

It is a Secret to Everybody (Metal Show Review): Sunday, September 9- Ed Pike at Quarry House (Silver Spring, Maryland) :

(Author's Note: This was Ed's birthday and he attended the show with Ross Kerr) Vattnet Viskar (NH) and The Deads (DC) summoned a crowd of contemplative rockers who took the time to seriously appreciate some killer sounds. The Quarry House Tavern is a softly lit, underground venue that creates a cozy atmosphere. Imagine watching a metal show inside the bowels of a comfortable, candle-lit cave, stacked high with boxes of beer bottles, and you’re getting close to the sensation. Vattnet Viskar swamped the audience with black metal-influenced lonely American hardcore. Their line-up applied a simple chemistry of drums, bass, and guitars into a sound that would build from the lows of down-tempo hardcore to the heights of sweeping black metal crescendos. I look forward to hearing more of the turbid blackness of this New England offering.

After Vattnet Viskar finished a delightful degradation of my hearing with brutal drum blasts, The Deads came on next to pull my soul out of the hole. Washington locals, The Deads give D.C. what we ventured beneath to savor: metal and rock. Each tune lasted no longer than four minutes and pushed the set forward at a pace that upped my heart rate. The Deads married thrash metal with grunge vocal stylings, and I do not object to this unholy coupling in any way. The vocalist challenged the audience, dancing with the microphone stand and swinging around as the thrash brought something wretched to life. Think of a long-dead garage rocker summoned to life with the electric guitar. The singer sometimes turned from the audience, recalling Jim Morrison’s shamanistic warbling. However, instead of creating mystical tirades, this guy crooned an audience of sad people into sad people ready to party. D.C. is blessed to have The Deads. This show was an eclectic lineup of head-banging, navel gazing, and rocking. If more treasures like this lie entombed under D.C., I’ll definitely spend more time underground.

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