Friday, May 11, 2007
The Rock and Roll Hotel Rawks Hard
I dragged Jan Louis and Dana to the Rock and Roll Hotel the other night to go see three bands, DC's Cedars, Chicago's The Changes and Glasgow's The Cinematics.
Ironic that I had never heard Cedars' music, even though they're the local chaps. The Changes hit my radar a couple of years ago from Pop Candy, and The Cinematics were the iTunes single of the week last month.
I didn't know the bands were performing in town until I read it in DCist that night. And to think I consider myself culturally literate about DC. Amazing how priorities change...a few years ago, I knew every single band, comic and show coming to Des Moines, but can't even keep track of three or four sweet venues in DC. Bad, bad Ray...I'm getting too fud-centric, perchance? I've got a fever, and less food, more rawk is the cure.
Cedars are quite good. Jan thought their lyrics were lousy, but the CD is quite good. I'm blaming the sound of the R&RH for that one - there were few people in the place at that time, and the band was playing too loud to hear the singing. By the time The Changes started playing, there was enough people in the place to make the sound appear a bit sharper. Part of it's also due to experience - Cedars sound good, but do that retro-alternative sound like The Killers or The Bravery. The Changes are more basic alternative, and don't need to rock out every song.
The Cinematics, though - they Britpopped the joint out. Think The Alarm mating with Franz Ferdinand. Not quite as jaunty as Franz; not quite as anthemic as The Alarm, but simply damned good. Their polished show belies their relative youth.
Plus - the guys from all three bands were quite nice. Good to hang out with; quite chatty and friendly. Much like dogs to Jules in "Pulp Fiction" - personality goes a long way. Guys who chat with the fans, make a point of having fun, not pretending to be the second coming of Jesus on stage - they get bonus points from me.
Saturday night, my favorite Pittsburgh band, The Clarks, are playing at the Birchmere. Always a good show - these guys worship The Replacements with a bot of Texas-twang (lead singer's from Texas) and Pittsburgh-volume, and I have no problem with that combination.