Monday, November 06, 2006


some good, some not so good

I seem to have fallen back into "lots-of-shows" mode.

Saturday night found me at The Black Cat. Based solely on this guy's review of an earlier gig, I decided I needed to checkout These Arms Are Snakes. I made sure I got there early enough to catch my local faves French Toast, who put on a typically great set. They never disappoint. Go buy their new cd.

I had never heard a note from These Arms Are Snakes. I read up on them a little before the show. The term "post-hardcore" came up a lot. hmmm...That strikes me as one of those terms that means absolutely nothing. Still, it sounded promising. After the glowing review from The Punk Vault, I was surprised to find so few people there. 1/4-full maybe? Anywho...they came out and blasted through a bunch of hard-rocking, loud, intense tunes. Not bad I guess, but not really what I expected. I think I was looking for less "post" and more "hardcore". They've got a bit of a Dischord sound, I guess. The handful of people who were there were digging it though, so I guess they sounded pretty good.

From a pure performance standpoint though, they were fantastic. Talk about giving 110%. Yowza. They were pretty incredible to watch. The singer's Iggy-esque antics had him flying all over the place...rolling on the floor...into the crowd...flailing all over the stage. So much so that he managed to mangle the bass setup, prompting about 10 minutes of banter while they tried to fix it. The band was tight and intense. Despite the fact that I wasn't that into the music, they put on a great show and left me wanting more. That's not an easy thing to do.

So I guess I'd say they're a great band, they put on a great show, but they just make music I didn't really get. They're definitely worth checking out though. Especially live. Check out the dcist review.

At the opposite end of the spectrum was last night's Slits show. They left me completely cold. I was really looking forward to this one, but it was a total snooze-fest. After waiting nearly an hour for them to setup, they came out and instantly started boring me to tears. I realize that The Slits were an important, if not revolutionary band. Maybe my sights were set too high last night. I gave them an hour and then left. I don't often leave headliners early, but I eventually decided I'd rather be in bed. Others seemed to agree. Even most of the band looked like they'd rather be napping somewhere. At most, The Cat was probably a little less then half-full. There was always plenty of room in front of the soundboard. The crowd just got thinner as the night went on.

I did manage to catch The Apes open for them though. Holy crap. They're just crazy-good. How can I describe them...."Space-Age Psychedelia over-powered by Black Sabbath" comes close. Or not. I don't know. At times VERY heavy. At other times lighter and fun. Kind of arty too. Always very powerful. Repeat after me..."I will go see The Apes every chance I get." You won't be sorry.

What else...Oxford Collapse and Chin Up Chin Up last week. Oxford Collapse is like a slightly more serious version of We Are Scientists. That's a good thing - especially since they've been added to the We Are Scientists bill next month. That addition changed that show from "maybe" to "definitely" for me.

This week...DC geezers Rustbuckit tear up The Red and the Black on Thursday. You've got Friday off. Go check 'em out. Wreckless Eric (yes - the Stiff one) at The Velvet Lounge on Friday.

November is getting quite busy.

The Apes - Lightning

(The These Arms Are Snakes pic is by Robin Lanaanen and comes from the Jade Tree website.)

I traveled to Alabama yesterday to see and hear the Slits live in Birmingham and the show was FABULOUS. The band looks and sounds excellent; the older reggae stuff was spot-on, the older punk stuff roared like the Pistols on a good night and the new stuff made me buy the new record. I'm very, very glad I made it to the show...I couldn't afford the money or time spent, but I'd do it a second time right now. I also enjoyed opener The Apes; I thought them a bit of a Talking Heads in a Def Leppard period thing.
Chico Harris
Oxford, Mississippi
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