Live DC: United Nations, Frameworks, Black Clouds @ Rock and Roll Hotel
farrah skeiky | franzmahr | Aug 19, 2014 | 11:30AM |
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Words by Farrah Skeiky, photos by Franz Mahr

Rock and Roll hotel has played host to many memorable nights (some blurrier than others, of course) for anyone that enjoys music in the district. Whether you’ve been coming to the venue to shoot shows for the past three years like myself, or have been trekking over to H street since the venue’s conception like some of our more seasoned veterans, you’ve got to have at least one memory of a perfect night there. In my case, this particular night has got them all beat.

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Perhaps it’s because the crowd struck the right balance between avid fans of the bands playing that couldn’t care less where, and those who simply wanted to be at RNR that night with nearly all their friends in the city. Perhaps it’s because the lineup quite expertly represented the kind of music that rolls through that stage– a solo set by Will Butler of Arcade Fire opened the night and gave way to much more chaos on stage, as we’ll get into later. Perhaps it’s because the bar’s got Stiegl Radler’s now, and dropping a shot of gin into that can yields a perfect remedy to the heat of a packed roofdeck on an August night. It could be one of these things, or all of these things.

Maybe it’s because the originally scheduled bands had just returned from a short tour, and this could have been called a “homecoming” show of sorts. After a week on the road, they’d mastered their sets, worked out the kinks, and got to focus on how to turn chaos into an art to be studied. Maybe it’s because United Nation’s latest record, The Next Four Years, so expertly melds spastic energy with politically-fueled motivations and expert instrumentation. The resulting sound is like a contained fire: still destructive and wild by nature, but controlled and nearly curated. Maybe their rotating lineup of musicians they can never formally name in press releases (like some additions from Pianos Become the Teeth on this particular tour) breathes new life into songs we already know and changes the way we felt about them.

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BYT Presents: Freaks and Greeks! A Nat Geo After Hours @ National Geographic
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Brightest Young Things presents FREAKS & GREEKS A Nat Geo After Hours! A Special Cult-Classic All-Access Party-Time National Geographic HQ Take Over! Croosh Deets: September 9th, 8pm - 12:30am The National Geographic Society 1600 M St. NW This is a 21+ event GET MORE DETAILS/TIX HERE With exclusive access to the new Nat Geo Museum exhibition: The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander The Great Hot jamz and vibes from: Dan Deacon (DJ set) DJ Ecotone French Horn Rebellion (DJ set) DJ Smudge Jezzibelle Jaxknife Pu$$y Noir Summer Camp MotherKnuckle DIY Greek Goddess Crowns by Panda Head Giant Flip Cup & Beer Pong by United Social Sports & more TBA! + Bars / Food Trucks / Photobooths / Lasers/ Nerd out with lightning talks from Nat Geo Explorers 3D movies to blow your fragile little mind! A big outdoor courtyard to frolick in! ~~~ Last 4 years we sold out! This is a 21+ event Get there with Lyft! Use code BYT for $10 off your first 5 chariot rides. As always, there is no dress code, but we recommend staying on theme: NERD TOGA PARTY! Guys, c'mon, this is a Nat Geo party, we have to be historically accurate, they're called Chitons. NERD CHITON PARTY! My Big Fat Greek Wedding / My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Man those movies are terrible Grease / Grease 2 / Grease 3 in New York Trojan Man / Hummus / Yogurt / Bankruptcy / Urn Stop Motion Skeletons Delta Tau Chi / Tri-Lambs / Alpha Betas    
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Maybe it’s because Black Clouds still haven’t let us down. I’m starting to think that the only way they’d fail us is if they simply decided not to show up. After performing heavily on their first album Everything Is Not Going To Be Okay, new songs from their upcoming release Dreamcation stand out instantly from rhythms and passages we feel we’ve memorized and still manage to enchant us every single time. Maybe it’s because we’re still thrown off guard every time Pantheons drops, as if we don’t know it by heart.

Nothing was particularly different about this particular Saturday night at Rock and Roll Hotel. When local bands who do their job well fill the lineup, every floor is packed with friends, fans, others in the industry– and there’s great overlap in that crowd, too. You couldn’t pick this night out from other similar nights we’ve all shared in that building. What stuns me and makes this one remarkable is the ability of all involved parties to make it just a little better, every single time. If this has been established as the standard of a perfect night at Rock and Roll Hotel, the next eight years promise something greater. At the very least, we’ll have some more time to dissect why these nights stand out as perfect.

Chaos, down to an art and science. Down to a controlled flame.

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Black Clouds

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