Shirt/Pants at DC9
Shirt/Pants may be better known as "That's really their name?" Yes that is really their name, no you don't pronounce the slash, and yes it is an awfully memorable name. "Shirt/Pants" is the nosegay of rock-n-roll, a name which burrows into your memory and never leaves.
Musically Shirt/Pants is hard to pin down. A lot of their best stuff, songs like "Knockoff" and "Nadsat", are straightforward pop-punk. So four college kids made pop-punk band, nothing new there, right? But then "What Would You Rather" and to a lesser degree "Haze & Ginger" have a noir flavor of all things. Ttheir first single was two moody songs with almost no lyrics. Safe to say that they've changed their style a wee bit in the past couple of years. So if you're reading this in 2022 and they are now a world-renowned theremin quartet that is not my problem. Back in 2016 they were a fun garage/pop/punk/something band with catchy songs which had guitars and drums and so on in them.
The Mummies at Music Hall of Williamsburg
Back in 2009, a few months before I started this website, I caught The Mummies at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey. It was their first show in more than twenty years and was a huge deal in the garage rock community. Honestly this meant a lot more to other people than it did to me. Personally I just liked their music. However I had also started bringing my camera (a little point-and-shoot) to shows so I braved the mosh pit and took some photos.
That may have been the exact show which convinced me to get a DSLR. I wanted to be able to record this special once-in-a-lifetime event that was never going to happen again (heh) but just didn't have the ability. That is to say I lacked talent, but better gear helps too. It makes it easier to practice and thereby develop talent. Also, seriously, for concert photography you need as good camera. Maybe not top of the line but a good one. I bought a cheap DSLR and traded up twice within the next year.
So anyway, The Mummies continue to be goofy bastards who play very catchy, very rough rock-n-roll. And it turns out they can be photographed in color (who knew?) I had a blast once again just like I did last time, and the time before that, and the next time.
Wildhoney at DC9
I think of Wildhoney's music as "pretty psych". Some of the elements of psychedelia are there: reverb-drenched vocals and soaring guitar solos for example. Yet somehow most of their stuff is upbeat and light, just flirting with darker emotions. Consider this: they have a song called "Horror Movie" and it's actually incredibly perky! Must be written from the slasher's point of view. They always seem to be having a good time.
Getting back to the music, Wildhoney have been labeled "shoegaze", most notably by themselves on their Bandcamp page. Fair enough. They certainly do have a lot of pedals and do spend some time looking at them. It is possible to zone out to parts of some of their songs and they aren't super energetic on stage, though that blonde guitarist went kinda nuts at the end of their last song. The thing is, this just isn't downer music. If shoegaze was a 90s thing then their music is like the 80s alternative rock which preceded it. Still endowed with that upbeat New Wave influence. Aware of the existence of depression but not currently feelin' it.
Tenement at Black Cat
I've joked about bands with three fuckin' guitars before but I do not recall ever seeing a band with three tambourines. Yeah, that's right, three fuckin' tambourines, plus the bassist flailing all over the place, just constant motion on stage. Except maybe when they're tuning. Tenement don't sound like your average punk band but the energy is definitely there.
I should mention that all of those tambourinists played another instrument (keys, violin, sax) and sang backing vocals as well. It's the type of band which probably explains how I ended up without any musical talent. Must be there's only so much to go around.
Anyway, Tenement have a reputation as a pop-ish punk band. Their first album reminds me of Against Me! more than anything. Like many punk band they've developed a more "sophisticated" style now that they've "learned to play their instruments" and brought some country and classic rock influences into their music. They're kind of like Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires without being so blatantly Southern (admittedly a rare quality among bands from Wisconsin). Shoot, once in a while they even play a ballad! As long as they keep the energy up though it is good stuff.
Black Masala at Black Cat
Black Masala threw one hell of a party, and somehow I'm not shocked that I missed it until now.
See, one of the problems with being into rock-n-roll is that there is a lot of it out there. I can easily go to a rock show every night of the week. I don't because a lot of is too bland and I do have be awake at work and all but I could do it. This makes it easy to miss all the other good stuff. I hadn't caught Black Masala before, hadn't caught Orchester Praževica (whose guitarist joined them to sing a song), rarely get to Bossa or Marx Cafe. Ah well, now I have been enlightened.
I'm not deeply familiar with Balkan music or even jazz so let me tell you what this sounds like to my inexperienced ears. It sounds like Swing more than anything else. It's music for daaancin'. Of course some chords, some rhythms sound vaguely familiar, perhaps from catching "gypsy punk" bands like Amour Obscur and Gogol Bordello. In fact they covered the latter at this show, two songs I think? Not that Black Masala claimed to be "gypsy" (which is probably a good thing). Rather, I suspect that some of them are affiliated with DC's Jazz scene. They probably have their experimental bands. Black Masala is their fun band.