I would not normally list the two opener bands when reviewing a concert, but Saturday’s show at the Rock and Roll Hotel was no normal concert. The woman at the box office was keeping track of how many people were there to see each band, and at the end of the night all three were neck and neck. For good reason.
First up was Brooklyn band Tiger City. To be honest, my friend and I were more than a little skeptical about these guys. They came on stage dressed like some ragtag team of time travelers, with frontman Bill Gillim rocking a very bohemian shirt and a massive (though tidy) beard. But once they started playing, it became an entirely different story.
Their sound, marked by Bee Gees-inspired vocals and disco beats with an indie-rock edge, completely won the crowd (not to mention this writer) over. Their lyrics were also great–any band that rhymes “your eyes” and “synthesize” is more than OK by me.
Next up was Bear Hands, the band I was most excited to see. I think the energy was high after Tiger City, so they probably should have started with songs that people knew off their EP, but overall it was a pretty good set. The bassist (pictured above) had by far the highest energy of the group, not only moving around the most but picking up the sticks and pounding away on a single drum at the front of the stage. Rock.
Finally, about an hour later than predicted in the numerous schedules posted around the venue, came DC’s own Statehood. I was embarassingly unfamiliar with these guys before last weekend, but the drummer and the bassist are former members of Dismemberment Plan, which is pretty awesome. I was really turned off by the sound at Rock and Roll–I counted six microphones on the drums, which were the only ones sound-tested, and the lead singer was apparently on some kind of Fisher-Price mic.
That said, my friend described them as “very DC indie rockish” and cited their sound as being similar to definitive DC rock bands Q and Not U and Fugazi. I’m going to have to trust him on that one, since those guys aren’t generally my style, but if you have love in your heart for that kind of beat-driven rock/post-punk music, then definitely check them out.
Tiger City rocked my socks off the most, especially with their song “Fake Gold,” but overall an enjoyable show from all three bands.