From Danny Shapiro
Welcome back. Yesterday I stopped mid-way through my Oct. 5 double-header review with my take on Glasser at the Black Cat. From there it was on to the 9:30 Club…
Based on reader feedback, I’ve got an accompanying post about shows I think you should get tickets for now: On The Lookout: Danny’s Upcoming Must-See Shows.
Tuesday, Oct. 5
Indie World Double Header! Glasser/Gayngs @ Black Cat, + The XX @ 930 Club
After leaving Glasser at the Black Cat, I raced down U Street to the 930 Club. The XX were about to hit the stage in front of a sold-out (and sardine-like) crowd. I managed to squeeze in among the masses just in time for my spot at the “must-see'”show of the evening.
Over the past 12 months, The XX were the indie band that caught everyone’s attention. If you don’t have their eponymous debut, ask any of your close friends and I guarantee that at least 6 of them can lend it to you. Simplistic in structure, the band is a trio of male/female lead vocals, and accompanying electronic rhythm section, helmed by Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith.
Many of their songs are a back-and-forth vocal dialogue with underlying walking basslines to accentuate their musicality, but that simplistic formula proves irresistible, and serves as a reminder that these indie pop darlings deserve their place among the mainstream elite.
- Standout Tracks: “VCR,” “Heart Skipped A Beat,” “Show Me Love” (Robyn S. 1994 cover) and “Teardrops” (Womack & Womack cover)
- Album to get: XX (Young Turks)
- Check out their MySpace page.
The night wasn’t about to end until the supergroup “Gayngs” closed out the night’s bill, and so I jumped back on the bike and raced back to the Black Cat (my hand was developing a nice shade of reddish/black from the entrance stamps I was accruing). Comprised of members from Bon Iver, The Rosebuds and Megafon, among others, the group’s sense of humor was demonstrable from the second I opened the door: band members in furry rabbit hats, one backup singer in a green dinosaur-like hoodie, and a general sense of laid back camaraderie among everyone.
I made it in time for the fourth song of the evening, an unexpected cover of Sade’s “By Your Side.” This band is truly unique, and perhaps their debut album, Relayted. doesn’t do the band justice compared to their live presence. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver was the bona fide star of the group, receiving the most cheers from the crowd, while Ivan Rosebud, unassuming in his everyday all-American looks, wowed the crowd with his strong lead vocals.
Vernon’s microphone had a built-in auto-tune feature, adding a surprising layer of R&B/reggae-like depth to the performance. Trading lead vocals, backing vocals, supporting instruments, and even jokes around the stage, the band pulled off the feat of mixing numerous styles and sounds into a tight-knit, cohesive unit. Regardless of whether this supergroup stays around, Gayngs has made an impact on the possibilities of collaboration among indie bands.
- Standout Tracks: “The Gaudy Side of Town,” “Cry,” and “By Your Side” (Sade cover)
- Album to get: Relayted (JAGJAGUWAR)
- Check out their MySpace page.
Wednesday, Oct. 6
A Little Bit Lovelorn, A Little Bit Rock & Roll (with no Scarlett Johansson in sight): Pete Yorn @ Black Cat
Determined to finish the four-night stint on a high note (pun intended), Pete Yorn was the capstone performance in front of a sell-out crowd at the Black Cat. His 2001 album, musicforthemorningafter, is still a favorite of mine, and lucky for me (plus most of the crowd), the setlist included an abundance of those gems, including “Just Another Girl,” “Strange Conditions,” “Murray,” “For Nancy” and “Life On A Chain.”
Yorn and his band are now touring in support of their most recent LP, Pete Yorn, and that album’s closing track, “Wheels,” was one of the night’s truly memorable moments. Yorn is at his best when he’s yearning after a loved one in song, the sweet timbre of his nasal-toned voice and smiling face is a perfect compliment to the strumming rhythm backed by his litany of guitar supply.
Of course, Yorn and his band rocked out on many of the night’s numbers, but he reminded everyone in the room that night why we fell in love with him back in 2001: crooning ballads over love lost and love in bloom. Plain and simple.
- Standout Track: “Wheels,” “For Nancy” (watch on YouTube)
- Album to get: musicforthemorningafter
- Check out his MySpace page.
See you all out at the gigs next week!
Danny Shapiro is an avid music lover who has the good fortune to live very close the music scene on the 14th and U corridor.
Previous Posts from Danny
- 4 Nights, 5 Concerts: 1 Week in Danny’s Life (Part 1)
- On The Lookout: Danny’s Upcoming Must-See Shows
- Danny’s Journey Through Three Unforgettable Concerts
- Music: Danny’s Back with 3 Weekend Picks
- Danny’s 3 Quick Picks for Weekend Live Music
- Weekend Recs: A Live Music Road Map
- Live Music: Recap of a Great 3-Show Weekend