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Alex Kapranos spread his legs apart during the punches of the "Walk Away" chorus, pounding his pelvis to the beat set forth by drummer Paul Thomson. His pants gave new meaning to the term "tightie whities," as his constrained bottom struggled against the stiff fabric. Every band member's backside pounced the beats in the hour-long set, their hip movements deep and influenced by the impassioned playing of their instruments.
Hard-Fi hail from Staines, England, which they try to pass off as West London (Americans won't know the difference!). Tom Smith's Editors call Birmingham, a former northern factory town, their home, and make no mention of their English citizenship in their songs. Both of these Brit bands tossed away the cozy feeling of home to become familiar with the District last week when they blasted the U Street corridor with tracks off their debut albums, hitting audiences with a post-punk wave of rock paraphrases.
Stuart Murdoch dances like he's recently come off a stint of watching hours of "The Breakfast Club" on loop. He twirls and kicks as if the ghosts of Molly Ringwald's past characters have him possessed. The presuppositions about Belle and Sebastian's set possibilities abounded with thoughts of peaceful yawning and wishing for a seat, but two nights of the band's fast-paced new sound at the 9:30 club debunked these theories.
Before the days of "Transatlanticism," the heart-baring boys of Death Cab for Cutie managed their own affairs. Now that things have expanded - the band is off Barsuk, the indie label and dirt that anchored their roots, and on Atlantic, a major label that helps them tour extensively - they need some help. Mark Duston, military brat, punk aficionado and do-it-yourself live show pro, is proving to suit the band's growing need for an organized hand.
The church of Rufus Wainwright is a smoky club in northwest D.C. He rests helpless and made-up on a white crucifix, his hands tied, his chest heaving under an electric blue tunic. "Gay Messiah," a swirling, wispy acoustic song about the coming of a homosexual savior (who will, in fact, be wearing tube socks) plays behind him, and the words resonate from his tilted throat, a call to his followers.
Rob Goodspeed knows what's going on. And why shouldn't he? He's got a whole network of specialized editors to tell him every day. As editor of DCist, a fast-growing weblog documenting the District's events, Goodspeed has to be on the alert for what's happening so faithful readers can plan their social lives.
The Bravery has been toting its only record on tour for about a year now, and it's starting to show. Gone are the days of blue eyeliner and ceiling-high hairdos, and here are the days of under-eye circles and looser pants. Maybe their penile circulation has begun to suffer, or maybe they've been on the road for more days than there are New Order fans. Either way, the love once pulsing from their crotches and shining from the eyeliner-framed windows to their synth-pop souls is now gone.
Those in the market for shirts that proclaim self-breast love, well-stitched voodoo dolls or vintage-looking one-of-a-kind skirts were in luck at Saturday's Crafty Bastards arts and crafts fair, sponsored by the Washington City Paper. Over 70 vendors set up shop near the Marie Reed Learning Center on the main strip of Adams Morgan for a day of food, music and general money spending.
Brendan Benson is no newbie when it comes to playing live music. In fact, these days he's kind of lost his sparkle. His emaciated bottom swam under his belt-sucked waist, and his mussed hair and stubbly face hid under the rim of a cap. His scraggly ways didn't affect his performance, however, which was full of heart and perfectly hit high notes.
If the Austin City Limits music festival had a custom-made perfume, it would consist of two parts body odor for every one part marijuana smoke. Spraying the scent would spread a cloud of dust throughout any space, and the bottle would come embedded in a nest of dry grass and burrs (or "stickers," as they call them down south).
Cincinnati's the Greenhornes have quite the impressive resume for not having released an album since 2002. With their fingers firmly holding onto Jack White's belt loops, they're along for the ride of their previously unexposed lives. Patrick Keeler, drummer for the band, said he likes playing both the large venues that come with opening for the White Stripes and the small clubs, like the Black Cat, that preceding a Brendan Benson set brings.
"You guys, this is not a Van Halen concert."
The name Hanson evokes many feelings, and whether they're of nostalgia for the first quivers rippling through a set of preteen loins or of hatred for an entity that wouldn't escape Top 40 radio for months at a time is left up to many factors. Either way, the brothers three are back with a new album, a documentary, their own independent record label and a sampler they've put together to distribute with their concert tickets.
Don't show up at Tuesday's Death From Above 1979 gig at the Black Cat in socks and sandals, the band's T-shirt and badly cut jeans. If you do, singer and drummer Sebastien Grainger may just punch you in the face, but that's merely speculation. He considers the above ensemble to be a "don't," a label commonly doled out by Vice Magazine, an edgy publication housed by the band's record label.
Spring weather floats in and out of these April days like rubbish on the banks of the Potomac, tempting some to blow their hard-earned snow-shoveling money on name brand and designer duds. However, that wad of cash can be spent more productively with help from the amazing, underpriced new spring lines from the likes of Payless Shoe Source, Target and H&M.
The office is on the second floor of a Glover Park office building. In the foyer is a huge plastic short-stack of pancakes. There is a cupboard along the wall filled with everything from Alice Cooper vinyl to videos of Saturday morning cartoons. A hipster's apartment? No, this awesome pad is where local D.C. children's variety show "Pancake Mountain" is produced.
The 22-20's may have only been opening for former Blur-member Graham Coxon Wednesday night at the Black Cat, but to a coterie of cigarette smokers in the front row, they were the only band worth seeing. Glen Bartup, bassist for the 22-20's, resembles a young Jarvis Cocker. He rocked his long, scraggly locks, full black suit and near-absent tush during the band's 40-minute corker.
"Mr. Holland's Opus" this is not. Yet there is something incredible about having a professor or teacher who is musically inclined. They manage to become human while still maintaining that air of inspiration. It seems like a rare treat to discover something personal about a professor, such as finding out he or she is an accomplished musician, or shares a common obsession with an obscure group or that he or she spends any given weekend shredding in some garage band.
With a sold-out crowd practically worshipping them on Friday night at the 9:30 club, Hot Hot Heat had enough motivation to pull off an intense, high-energy set marked by the constant bobbing of their mop-like coifs.
Soon after setting their canvas kicks on American soil Monday, the Futureheads succeeded in conquering the 9:30 club. This band's live show is perfect for those who grew up watching "Sesame Street" and consequently developed short attention spans. The songs are fast-paced and jerky, and out of the whole lot only one clocks in at more than three minutes in length.