all (great) photos: Mark Silva
all words: Megan Burns
DC, where were you Tuesday night? Not at the Black Cat, apparently. This was one of the deadest shows I’ve ever been to, including my sixteenth birthday party which my friend’s band “Tired of Trying” agreed to play; attendees included my parents, a handful of Ralph Wiggum-ites, and this boy only known as ‘The Mooney Suzuki t-shirt kid’. Come to think of it, even now no one really comes to my birthday parties. But that’s besides the point.
Total attendees of Tuesday’s show was 30 maximum (emphasis on the maximum), and 13 of those were band members who kind of had to be there. For the most part, though, everyone deserves a high-five for playing like there were more people in the room. The first band, Vacation Face, played a solid set of accessible indie rock, and frontman Jason Dove provided some comic relief both during and in-between songs. Obviously the audience was miniscule, but I figured it was just because it was the first opener.
Well, things didn’t pick up much for the second opener, Person Parcel. I really don’t know how I felt about them. They all wore animal masks while they played, which I really wanted to work, but it ended up just feeling kind of gimmicky. Towards the end I couldn’t tell if I liked the music or not, and if I did like it, was it just because the singer’s face started to really look like a mutant butterfly or because there was a panda bear playing the drums? I don’t know if there was too much going on or if there was something missing, but the pieces of this band just didn’t fit. The last song was a bummer as there was a lot of awkward re-tuning of instruments for long periods of time. If I had to describe it in one word, I’d probably say a combination of weird and awkward…so I guess it was weirkward.
And next up came the Royal Bangs. At this point it was around eleven, and I had pretty much lost all hope that a stampede of concert-goers would bust through the doors. Rightfully so. At one point during the set there were twelve people in there, including myself and our photographer. But that didn’t get the band down (or, maybe it did…I couldn’t tell if their semi-defeated-looking faces were a result of the turn out or a couple of beers or both). They played a really great and energetic set, prompting the guy next to me to bust out dance moves reminiscent of Mike Danko circa Camp Crystal Lake while he was dressed as Skeletor or whatever. Also, technology and I have a mutual understanding that we just don’t get along, so if there were any technical difficulties (I feel like there may have been a few minor ones) I had no idea. All I knew was that the beats were solid and the Lite Brite they brought with them was a good thing. The Royal Bangs managed to bring a deader-than-dead Black Cat back to life, and I suspect that the next time they are in DC there will be a little (hopefully a lot) less room to move at their show.