About three dozen people braved the balls-cold winter weather Tuesday night to attend a showcase of awkwardly-named local bands at the Velvet Lounge. DC’s Grammar played first, providing a cheeky set of pop-punk-meets-indie rock in the vein of Cymbals Eat Guitars and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. They spent as much time joking around (lying about their name, saying they were playing alongside “Right & Left” and “On Purpose”) as they did performing, but on strength of songs like “DSP” and “Kelsey”, the young group shows some promise.
Left & Right, named not because of their political ideology or the guitarists’ respective handedness, but because they were simply bored on a trip to New York City, entertained the smallish crowd next. The group – consisting of four former and current bus drivers from Charlottesville – compressed the best sounds of 90’s indie (Superchunk, Built To Spill, perhaps a little Dinosaur Jr. when they’re feeling sassy) into a brief, but punchy set. The highlight of the set was bassist Andrew Abbott’s bass introduction to “Agrabah” (yes, like Aladdin), one of the most Pumpkins-esque tunes I’ve heard in a while. Nevertheless, perhaps it might behoove you to decide upon a band name that isn’t a half-bastard to Google?
Northern Virginia’s Accidents closed the evening with a frantic, grungy, punk-inspired set that deviated from the safer conventions of the night’s earlier acts. Singer John Felter thanked the audience for coming out on a chilly Tuesday evening, and proceeded to jump around like a manic spider-monkey for the next hour, pogoing around the Lounge’s diminutive stage as the band raged behind him. When the stage proved to be too small to contain him, he decided to hang upside-down from the ceiling, not missing a beat, not giving a fuck. I can safely say this was the first and likely the only time I’ll ever see a punk cover of 4 Non Blonde’s “What’s Up.” If you enjoy drunken (song titles: “Whiskey Dick,” “Drunk”), energetic, no-bullshit punk rock, be sure to keep your eye on Accidents.