Slothrust at Rock N Roll Hotel
I've seen Slothrust many times over the years and they have always sounded too spot on to be playing such dingy venues (the Trash Bar, really?) It's like "Hey, these guys are actually good, what are they doing here?" As I recall they're all music school grads and thus far more competent than the competition at that level. Fortunately for my sense of propriety Slothrust have kind of broken out in the last year or so and are now playing to hundreds of fans at lovely venues like the Rock and Roll Hotel.
Even better, or maybe worse, they seem to have developed a cult following in DC. People have been singing along to their songs for a few years now and there seem to be more of these amateur vocalists at every show. One guy was wearing a Britney Spears T-shirt with multiple Britneys on it which reminded me of this (though it actually has more to do with this). Slothrust seem to have tapped into something and it's weird, man. Personally I just like their music because it's catchy while also having with some serious oomph and clever lyrics on top of that. It's like a delicious musical layer cake of some sort.
Tancred at Rock N Roll Hotel
Jess Abbott of Tancred has undergone prehaps the most complete metamorphosis from bedroom folkie to grunge goddess that I have ever seen. This simply is not what she sounded like a few years ago. Plus there's, well, a band with her on stage now. But her musical themes still tend towards the personal, sometimes confessional, sometimes slice-of-life storytelling. Lots of "I" and lots of "You" in Tancred's music. It's just that now You and I are backed by catchy guitar hooks and the occasional straight up rocking out.
Potty Mouth at Rock N Roll Hotel
The problem with writing a review of a band like Potty Mouth is that I can't remember the exact band from my college days (the mid-90s if you must know) that they remind me of. I guess they remind me of a 90s band I wish I remembered. Their sound is definitely of that era: guitar-led music with pop-like catchniness but too many tempo and volume changes to really be pop. That and meaningful lyrics. Pop, at least the most common sort, is about bland consistency. Potty Mouth's music is neither of those things.
I definitely know who Potty Mouth's lead singer reminds me of: the lead singer of Ume. Their set did not feature quite that same level of hair (or guitar) flailing, but enough that something like half of these photos feature hair catching air. Unfortunately this might also be due to the Rock N Roll Hotel's lighting. As usual it seems to be focused entirely on the front center of the stage. You know, most bands do have more than one member...
Wanted Man at Rock N Roll Hotel
I don't know whether Wanted Man were named after the Johnny Cash song (or even the Frankie Laine song) but it seems like there might be an outside chance. Wanted Man have a real old-school rock sound which draws heavily on blues and country music. More than anything else, though, they play take-no-shit outlaw music. Real mean, real aggressive... hell even their ballads are pretty aggressive. They remind me of the Chrome Cranks, though Wanted Man stay quite a bit closer to their musical roots.
They have some old recordings floating around but I definitely recommend checking out their recent live recording from DC9. That recording captures their impressive live energy. It's fairly obvious why someone decided to pair them with Reignwolf.