Live DC: Perfect Pussy, Fell Types @ Black Cat
BYT at large | Dec 11, 2013 | 2:30PM |

Photos By Katherine Gaines, Words By Robert Winship

What is 15 minutes of your time worth? Ten dollars…twenty dollars…a drink? In light of both Rolling Stone’s published setlist from Pearl Jam’s tour-ending performance in Seattle and this Perfect Pussy set, I was prompted to ask, “Just what am I paying for?” Of course there is a distinct difference between the legacy of Pearl Jam and that of Perfect Pussy. All concerts are not and should not be create equal. If I had to sit through that Pearl Jam set, I’d prefer to never hear Ten again. Often, the best shows exhibit that the quality of a performance should generally equal, if not outweigh the quantity of music played. Without fixation to a physical products like the CD or (despite their resurgence) vinyl records, the term’s album, single, EP and record must be re-evaluated. The standard is gone and many are working to upend the system entirely. Of course, if 30 songs is what you want, then you’re getting a solid return on the $45 or so that you spent on tickets. For 10 bucks, the Black Cat crowd was awestruck, fresh and I daresay, motivated.

Unfortunately, I missed Jail Solidarity’s set. But I did catch opener Fell Types who faced their last “maybe penultimate show,” since bassist and vocalist Diane is moving out to San Francisco. So they produced a heavy dose of melody and aggression to end their three-year stint. Guitarist and vocalist Carni, remarked of the band, “We’re a DC band, we literally have never left town.”

Fell Types at the Black Cat

I know this feeling well and it resonates with those who feel DC is their home and close community. Both Diane and Carni took turns singing on the second and third songs, which were bookended by vocal-less melodies and occasionally devastating minor chord blows on the opening and closing songs. Fell Types operated with a powerful but steady hammering of bass notes and drum beats, but a clear composure. Chaotic, melodic, composed. The close of the final song reminded me of Modest Mouse, probably Lonesome Crowded West. Good shit!

Fell Types at the Black Cat

The name Perfect Pussy rolls off the tongue and I am guilty for taking so much pleasure in saying it. Perfect Pussy. Say it again. Perfect Pussy. A non-sexual union of mind, like a blast beat of modern philosophy. It is probably the ‘cellar door’ of our time, a name which speaks to the sublime poetry (and it is nothing less) of Meredith Graves. If Lily Allen was making a statement with “Hard Out Here,” Perfect Pussy is rallying at the National Mall. Women owning the stage is not only refreshing to see, it is prevalent in a number of genres. Bands like Marriages, Chelsea Wolfe, Wye Oak, Titus Andronicus (with Amy Klein), Perfect Pussy, Best Coast, Lissie, Melt Banana, Priests all showcase great women making their own way. It’s not a question of gender when Meredith Grave’s howls on stage, Perfect Pussy’s merit is purely of power and craft.

Perfect Pussy at the Black Cat

I mean to say that Meredith, like so many awesome women in rock and roll have provided, without a “movement,” pure examples of an even gender landscape. Some people think that it has already been this way; that both sexes are even under the banner of musc. But people are stupid and women still struggle for artistic merit over sexual identity [see Lauren Mayberry or Rashida Jones.] And for that, let Perfect Pussy give the scene a kick in its collective balls.

Perfect Pussy at the Black Cat

The set was straight through Perfect Pussy’s four-track EP I have lost all desire for feeling. Almost no breaks between songs. For 15 minutes, no one checked their phone, no one danced and no one left Black Cat Backstage.

Perfect Pussy at the Black Cat

“I’m a real piece of shit, I’m a real lost cause” Meredith screamed with a bright blanket of noise at her back. Meredith’s vocals were much clearer live, but were often purposely fuzzed out to near-obscurity. Coming right into their set with, “I am full of light, I am filled with joy. I am full of peace,” was the strongest clearest message to breach the room. On an album full of themes of betrayal, forgiveness and personal hurt and healing, Perfect Pussy made a strong case for sharing in pain and championing personal darkness.

Fell Types

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Perfect Pussy

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