All Words by Salvatore Colleluori
Photos from The Black Fortys’, The XYZ Affair’s, and Wheat’s Myspaces.
Thursday night at the DC9 was a power-packed trio of bands, two of which BYT recently (Last Thursday) featured in a little thing we call the Listening Party. I had already seen XYZ Affair once at the Black Cat so I went in knowing what to expect however as the night progressed I found a new band to love, and met some great people.
First up were The Black Fortys. It was terribly unfortunate that more people were not there to see this band. They played with such energy and even though there could not have been more than 7 people in the crowd, they did not let that stop them from making great music. Hailing from Carbondale, Illinois they felt like a great mix of genres, at points quieting down to a whisper but climaxing with great ferocity. Their drummer was also one of the best I have ever seen. He drove the band with huge fills but still kept time, and reminded me of John Bonham and Keith Moon combined. After their show I went outside to enjoy the night air and they happened to be out there taking in the street scene (which was vibrant, as a large sweaty man attempted to make out with my girlfriend while smoking a joint).
I met Josh Murphy (Lead Vocals and Guitar), Carly Lappin (Bass and vocals) and David Brown (Keys, Guitar, Vocals) who were three of the most down to earth people I have ever come across. We talked about music, the bands beginnings, and Washington DC (touristy things) before heading back up to catch the next act. I wish I had found these before Thursday’s listening party because I would have added these guys as well. But given how great I thought they were and how cool they were to talk to, here are two tracks for your listening pleasure. Please next time these guys are in town go support them it is more than worth it.
As I returned upstairs, XYZ Affair was just about getting themselves together. They began their set with two older songs, Ideals and Sarah, before heading into their new and relatively unreleased material. Two of their next three songs were featured yesterday in the listening party and translated very well from record to stage. My personal favorite was the rousing “Sock You in the Face With My Love” which is not only comical but also a great rock/pop song. Their newer music tends more towards the pop realm which I find more appealing and catchy.
However, the best part of XYZ has to be the dancing. Alex Feder (Lead Guitar and Vocals) does a quasi-moon walk/robot dance throughout all the songs which add a great stage show to the band. Its great to actually watch musicians have fun on stage and not shy away from being crazy. Their other new song we previewed, “No One You Ever Loved Will Ever Die” was dedicated to the one and only Michael Jackson, in a fitting tribute. They finished off their set with a great sing along in Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home” and my personal favorite summer themed song “Evening Life”. Unfortunately due to time constraints they had to cut “All My Friends” but all in all it was a great set from a great up and coming band. After the show we met up outside and asked me to join them at a Michael Jackson tribute concert on U St. which, for work’s sake I unfortunately had to decline. Maybe next time.
The headliner of the evening was the quirky and fun Wheat. Did I mention we did a listening party yesterday? Well, we did and it also featured Wheat. Starting off with a new track called “My Warning Song,” it was a great way to get the crowd ready for what was to come. The band was very polished and strong with all their tunes and were obviously happy to be playing music again after what they said was a long time. The entire show they looked at the crowd and smiled and laughed and had great vibe.
Two more new tunes, H.O.T.T. and Changes Is, off their yet to be released album, White Ink, Black Ink (Out July 21, 2009, check it out) came next and were well received. However, my personal highlight was a song called “Closer to Mercury”, which was a poppy- catchy song, yet when you listen to the lyrics its actually pretty sad. ” There was a time I felt the morning sun rose up for you, I would have whispered in your ear, I would make coffee for you, I would have crossed that line, I could have drawn it for you, tell me that everything is fine, couldn’t you do that for me?….I’m getting along, now that I found salvation, now that I found salvation, open your eyes, salvations now.” I loved the great dichotomy between the song and the lyrics and I felt that they really conveyed the story and the message well.
They closed out the set with another new song “Living 2 Die vs. Dying 2 Live” which was a really good introspection into the psyche of humans and why we are afraid of death. Wheat is definitely still a strong band and worth a listen. While their older stuff is still a good staple, their new album looks to be fantastic. So keep an eye out for their new stuff and check them out next time they’re in town.