all words: Mindy Barrett
all photos: Julia Benton
The opening-opening act tonight was a man called Insect Factory, and he was quite good. However, this good-ness is very specific to a “Kevin Shields-ambient-shoegazing-looped fuzzy guitar” kind of music. Fantastic to listen to for hours while smoking cigarettes and drinking microbrews. He sounded great, and I’d gladly listen to him again, but it’s tough to see this sort of thing live.
The headliners of tonight’s show were DC-based Diamonds Ahead. And while unfortunately named, they were actually pretty good. Lying somewhere between Oasis and Jay Reatard, their music might provide decent alternative-rock background music to some sort of barbecque, or what have you. Sort of like The Stooges if the Stooges hadn’t been a crazy bad full of drugs and testosterone. Not distinct, but not bad. Talented, though not particularly remarkable.
But Pat Jordache was. Holy Shit.
Jordache played with four boys from Montreal, all frequently switching instruments with one another. Among those instruments were two, count them, TWO drumsets! And not just any drumsets – bongos, cowbells, and electronic drum pads contributed to an amazing, intricate, layered sound – somewhere in the neighborhood of Genesis or Men at Work (stay with me, here…). I felt like I was on safari, but a 1980s English electronic safari. And you haven’t been mystified by a band until you’ve seen two drummers play flawlessly together. It was fucking ridiculous, and kind of heart warming. (I enjoy musical teamwork. Teamwork in general, too).
But it kept getting better.
Jordache and another band member sang lyrics in sync creating a Devo-esque vocal stereo experience. When actual lyrics weren’t sung, a series of “wooo-ooo’s” went a long way. These boys had very pretty voices.
Along with two drumsets, the band featured a keyboard, two guitars, and a bass. Again, I’ll use the word layering. The guitars crafted little electric lullabies, which in contrast to the drums, was beautiful. Every instrument very carefully complimented the others, creating this wonderful Psychedelic Furs type of atmosphere.
There were some other familiar influences in there, too: Human League, some New Order, and The Clash. And here’s the thing: many bands try to emulate their musical idols and end up sounding like they’re emulating their idols. Pat Jordache was convincing. Every bit of the sound was right. Had I heard their record (which is also great) and not seen them, I would have thought I was listening to some obscure band from Manchester circa 1982. They had a fantastic stage presence and energy and I loved them, and if you like any of the bands I just made reference to (I suspect you do), you’ll love Pat Jordache, too. I usually feel cheated that I never got to see anything as good as these bands (and I’ve seen New Order, but it’s just not the same thing in 2002). But it really gives me hope that someone like Pat Jordache and his fellas can continue with this sound, and expand upon it, and do it so fucking well.
Bottom line: They were amazing and deserved a much bigger, more enthusiastic crowd. Also, they were very polite when I complemented them. So buy their cd, and when they come back to town, GO SEE THEM! You shan’t be disappointed!