We Love Music: Priests and Potty Mouth @ DC9 — 1/08/14

Okay, Priests, I’m in love with you guys.

I went to DC9 Wednesday night initially to check out Potty Mouth, the four-woman band from central Massachusetts, in a sold-out show as they passed through promoting their first album, Hellbent. Local post-hardcore punks Priests opened for the Potty Mouth ladies, and I was completely blown away.

Let’s start with singer Katie Alice Greer, a young blonde bombshell wrapped in blue velvet. The frontwoman jumped, rolled and screamed her way through 20 minutes of furious condemnations of television, consumerism and relationships. She balanced some tough lyrics with being playful and chatty with the audience. Offstage, she’s composed and curious, making her onstage transformation to a screaming punk banshee all that more startling.

G. L. Jaguar, a master of stylish guitar riffs, looks like he stepped out of a rockabilly band in Texas, but he plays like he’s moonlighting out of a highly polished New York garage band. Drummer Daniele Daniele keeps the time by thrashing furiously behind them–a kinetic ball of fire, who speaks up to yelp and squeal backing vocals in thrashers like “New.” The androgynous Taylor M. fills out the rhythm section on bass with a cool hand and a steady focus.

I may be somewhat late to the game, but you know you’re seeing something special when you catch Priests in concert for the first time. Seriously, this is what people must have felt when they caught very early shows from bands that blew up out of CBGBs in the mid-’70s like Blondie and the Ramones. The experience is that revelatory! Priests have released a seven-song cassette, Tape Two, and a 7″ single for their song “Radiation,” but they are scheduled to put out their first LP in 2014.

Priests are touring now, but don’t miss them when they come back to DC on Friday, Feb. 7 to open for Pissed Jeans at the Black Cat.

Potty Mouth also were really great, but talking about them after Priests seems almost anti-climactic! But they were really terrific live. Bassist Ally Einbinder caught my attention immediately during the band’s quick warm-up when she played the opening riff from New Order’s “Age of Consent” for the soundcheck, setting the tone for 30 minutes of post-punky dance.

And U.K. Manchester bands, in my opinion, serve as the best reference point for Potty Mouth’s music, which also nods to ’90s jangle pop. The band is named after a Bratmobile album, and vocalist Abby Weems draws some justified comparisons to Liz Phair. But songs like “Damage” come with a rolling post-punk drive that make you want to dance. A song like “The Spins” offers a fun perspective to partying too hard.

On stage, Potty Mouth radiate laidback confidence—they are comfortable performing and they clearly enjoy what they do. Lead guitarist Phoebe Harris nicely complements Weems on rhythm guitar and Einbinder on bass, and Victoria Mandanas stoically augments them on drums.

Potty Mouth have a few dates in the northeast coming soon but they are largely done with their tour for now. Hopefully, they will come back and play a bigger venue, like the Black Cat, very soon.

Mickey

Mickey reviews music shows. He loves a good new wave song, new or old — call it new wave, next wave, now wave. Mickey also enjoys guitar-driven punk and synth-wave new romanticism. The new wave lies in the vast space between. Follow him on Twitter, as he hops around town and talks about music.

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