Photos By Clarissa Villondo, Words By Brandon Wetherbee
The best shows are the first and last.
Typefighter wrapped up their six year run on Saturday at the Rock and Roll Hotel. It ended like most of their recent shows have ended, with lead singer/guitarist Ryan McLaughlin getting off mic and into the crowd for an unmic-ed, band sing-a-long version of “I Wrote This Song For You.” If you’re friends with the band or have friends that like the band you most likely saw some photo of this performance on your Instagram/Facebook/Twitter feeds. It was cute and it was bittersweet. The last song from a band that never sucked. It was even more special with McLaughlin’s wife and mother in attendance and a few feet from the singer.
I know the words to more Typefighter songs than any other D.C. band. More than any current flavor of the month, more than Fugazi, more than Wale. This happened on accident. I didn’t plan on knowing the catalog, it happened organically. Songs from The End of Everything, their 2014 LP, are on running mixes. The Wall Song single is on best of 2014 mix. I’ve seen Ryan play songs from the 2011 Fall Winter Fall EP at least a dozen times. Typefighter became my most played D.C. act organically. It’s odd to know the lyrics a friend wrote. It’s bittersweet to see a last show.
Regardless of your familiarity with a band, you want to see the first and the last show. The audience is able to live through the band when they don’t know who they are. Bands playing their first show, regardless of band members age, play like children. Bands playing their last show are able to air all grievances without having to raise their voice. There’s more passion and smiles in a last show than any other. This last show was no different. Everyone wanted to be there, from band to fan to sound guy. The bartenders wanted to be there. Everyone without a giant X on their hand was drinking a tall boy of PBR or Tecate. Even the bros that were just there because H St in 2015 is a different place wanted to be there.
The Typefighter run is bittersweet because they didn’t peak years ago and just wanted to have some fun on stage. Their last single and their first single are their best singles. The aforementioned “I Wrote This Song For You” from 2009 is a simple, cute, two-years too soon (this could have been in a car commercial if released in 2011-12) banjo driven love letter suite. “Wall Song” from November 2014 is a complicated, dark subject matter, mid tempo emotional release. It’s not about a romantic relationship and it’s not very dance-y so it didn’t garner the response it deserved on Saturday. The love songs, the poppy songs, the majority of the set did get the reaction the band desired.
If a band has a healthy perspective, they’ll give away, or highly discount, merch at their last show. Typefighter did this. You want to go to the last show.
It sucks Typefighter is done but it could be much worse. McLaughlin is still playing in Polyon and still playing in Joy Buttons and most likely has formed a new band in the time it took you to read this review.