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.
Honduras at DC9
The band Honduras seem to be influenced by 70's rock music. They definitely have a punk quality and some hints of New Wave influence. They also have a tendency to make songs which are kind of epic with long intros and big buildups going into the chorus, kind of like mainstream rock from the late 70s.
This of course makes sense for a band which formed in Brooklyn this decade. They remind me of Beach Fossils but a bit more punk. Those bands clearly have some of the same influences, let's put it that way.
Death By Unga Bunga at DC9
I still just barely believe that there is really a band called Death By Unga Bunga. Knowing that there is, though, I am totally willing to believe that they're a garage rock band. Also that they're not from around here (they're Norwegian).
Listening to them online before the show they reminded me of The Manikins or Together PANGEA, just without the occasional folksy bits. That's not way off. Like TP they keep the subject matter light as any good party music should. What I hadn't picked up on online are the hints of glam rock influence. Certain songs reminded me of MC5 and Stalkers. So DBUB turned out to be a little edgier than I was expecting but not that much.