Photos By Chris Chen, Words By Zeke Leeds
The raw power of up-and-coming DC punk band Priests was an hour-long explosion of brutal, seductive force, which left a sold out crowd clamoring for more. Coming out from the tiny corner stage of the Black Cat’s backroom stage, Priests energy never faltered. They make music that’s a mixture of primal force and lascivious swelling, all which builds to a point of combustion. Short, vicious, catchy songs fueled the bands set. While drawing easy comparisons to the likes of Bikini Kill and Sleater Kinney, the incredible charisma and charm of the lead singer is reminiscence of other punk-rock goddesses, Cherie Currie and Deborah Harry—in a “Rip You to Shreds” sort of way. Embodying the music itself, yelling into the microphone, she appears simultaneously to be in ecstasy and pain. Jumping around stage, at times, dancing and bouncing off her band mates, Katie Alice Greer would collapse to the floor, screaming out lyrics like a demonic chant sinisterly beckoning you to join in.
With the crowd caught between dancing and moshing—because Priests music demands you do something with your body—not a soul had their hands in their pockets. The fat bass lines and innovative drumming has a rhythmic sensibility that makes you want to dance and smash yourself against the person next to you. While peering through bleached-blond wavy bangs, yelling with the intensity of a crying child, the Greer had us in rhapsody. It only takes a second for the lines like “You put your fingers down other people’s mouths all day/Don’t you, doctor?” to slither there way into your psyche and take hold.
Once and a while a band will come along who can demonstrate how dynamic a traditional bass-drums-guitar-singer set-up can be—if only all their parts serve their proper function well. The band had already thoroughly established they had this awesome skill had already been thoroughly established by the band, when mid-way through their epic set Greer spoke out to the crowd: “I don’t understand it when people say that music nowadays is bad. While I’m young, I’m only 26, and didn’t grow-up going to shows—I grew up grounded. I think there are so many excellent bands right now.”