Starcrawler at DC9
In case you were wondering, yes Starcrawler's lead banshee and guitar tornado really are as wild as they appear in the photos. While Starcrawler is surely inspired by punk rock both musically and stylistically I cannot shake the feeling that this is as close to a hair metal band as I've seen recently, and not just because of the codpiece. A lot of early hair metal was aggressive and edgy (for the time) while also paying homage 70s glam. The cheesy ballads came later. Anyway, Starcrawler are like the DIY version of that. Definitely hard rock, definitely glam-inspired, but without the corporate slickness.
Sløtface at DC9
I was expecting something a little different from Sløtface. Having never seen them before I read a couple of reviews before deciding to go to the show and more than once those reviews decribed them as a punk band. Now, Sløtface are certainly high energy like a lot of good punk bands and the songs are nice and catchy. The show was a blast, no question about that. However I have to disagree with anyone who calls them "Punk" (or God forbid "Garage-Punk"). Honestly, these days lots of Pop music sounds like this. I can imagine Miley Cyrus covering a song like "Pitted" (though she wouldn't and shouldn't). So catch Sløtface while they're small before a big label grabs 'em up 'cause that is exactly where this is going.
Weakened Friends at DC9
Lead singer Sonia Sturino's voice reminds me of Gwen Stefani's. Even I think that's a weird comparison. There is not a hint of ska or pseudo-hip hop in Weakened Friends' music but somehow the comparison feels so obvious. That's who she sounds like, if Gwen Stefani sang rock songs.
Weakened Friends' music is defined by its sense of urgency. Not that the band sounds particularly aggressive. Noone would mistake this for punk. It's just that they sounds vital, like they really care about what they have to say. I can imagine a singer-songwriter type performing some of their songs acoustic, emphasizing the lyrics and the emotion, but I prefer them as they are: catchy rock songs with feeling.
Their band name, on the other hand, is a pain. It is impossible to spell without backspacing at least once. Believe me, the wrong form of
WeekendWeakened is just too easy to type by accident. Ack!
Dude York at DC9
Dude York are about 180° away from that last band I saw. Real whiplash weekend I had there.
Dude York's music is super-high energy... Pop? Hmmm, can it really be Pop music when there's this much volume? Not to mention all the guitar solos. They're really more like Pop-Punk except without the, uh, Punk, if that makes sense. No? Fine. I mean it's not that they lack attitude but they're not really "Punk" exactly. Power Pop? Well, their sound is really too crunchy for that. So I guess their music is just "Rock". Not very descriptive though, is it? "Rock" could mean anything. They could be playing Skynyrd or BTO covers or whatever and still be playing "Rock".
How about this. Dude York's music is a cheery, sometimes cheesy, fun, high-energy, mix of Rock and Pop and a dash of Power Punk. Yeah, that should cover it.
Clearance at DC9
Welcome to the world of Zero Glam Rock. Clearly rock and roll but rather chill, Clearance are so down-to-earth they kind of reminded me of 70s Southern rock. Perhaps "Ramblin' Man" is some part their musical history but the jangly guitars and nonplussed vocal style put them solidly in the realm of modern rock, which is to say 90s modern rock. Goes well with Yo La Tengo or maybe Parquet Courts?
Lala Lala at DC9
Lala Lala specialize in songs which sound like they should be the last song on the album. You know how some albums end with a particularly portentious song? That song which adds emotional kick to the work by leaving you with the impression that there is some unfinished business? Think All Apologies or Glory Box. Well, a whole lot of Lala Lala's songs sound like that last song on the album.
Lala Lala are also big on lyrics perfomed like chants: a little bit psychedelic, a little bit shoegazey, and totally hypnotic. This is not to suggest however that Lala Lala never rock out. Some of their songs are basically garage-rock with more vocal effects. So yes they do have the occasional high-energy, headbanging moments. Disclaimer: those moments make for the best photos and may be over-represented in the gallery above.
Skating Polly at DC9
I blame the Internet for this. Zero members of Skating Polly were even alive in '94 but they nailed that era's sound. Angsty but not mopey, they come across less like a "grunge" band and more like one of those loud but profound rock bands which finally got their turn in the spotlight as formerly "alternative" music got pulled into the mainstream. They would have been one of the better ones too, even back then. Also, they've released more music videos than every band in 1994 combined which is definitely the Internet's fault.
Apparently the band's singers have been performing together for eight years which is insane. This band is really young. They recently let their brother join the band so that they could study for their SATs together or something. I guess every now and then some sort of magic happens and a group of really young people form a really good band. Being related seems to help.