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It’s tough to have an awesome party on a Monday night. The haze of the weekend hangover hasn’t quite lifted, and as everyone says, “I have work tomorrow”. So it is a testament to Lode Runner and Wild Fictions (let’s face it, they were the bands that 99% of the audience was there to see) managed to pull it off with panache.

When I got to the Cat, Lode runner was getting ready to play.
Their preparations evidently involve plenty of whiskey shots, which is usually a good sign. Scott and Brock traded vocal duties from song to song, and Ken oscillated between real drums and some kind of sweet synth drum octopad. Lode Runner delivered the syncopated dance rhythms (think Confusion-era New Order), spiky guitar work and massive synth riffs that we have come to know and love, and Scott and Brock’s vocals were the clearest I’ve heard them yet, thanks to some good work by the sound guy at the Cat. If you haven’t heard these guys yet, make sure to check them out.

After Lode Runner: dispersion.
Drew Danburry, on tour from California, valiantly tried to capture the attention of the crowd, but the vast majority drifted out into the Red Room. Danburry, solo and wielding an acoustic guitar, brought some pretty good tunes in the earnest singer-songwriter mode. To wit: his last song was about “summertime” and referenced ice cream and “being happy”. Much like the rest of his set, it could be taken as totally adorable or kind of pedestrian, depending on one’s point of view. He mentioned toward the end of the set that he has a full band, but they stayed home due to budgetary constraints. I have every confidence that hearing these songs in their full arrangements would have helped immensely and would have cast these tunes as minor pop gems. Next time, Drew!

[Note: at Monday’s show, Danburry was considerably less scruffy than in the above photo, yet equally lanky.]

After Danburry’s set, there was only a brief pause before the entrance of Wild Fictions.
At this point, the crowd had downed a few pitchers and shots during the previous set, and were ready to go. The Backstage filled up with Chris and Kelly’s friends and fans, with a sizable AU contingent in tow. (Hey, the semester just ended. Who cares if it’s a Monday?) It was a bittersweet occasion, as this was to be WF’s last show, due to Kelly’s imminent decampment to the wilds of Texas. But the band exited on a high note, delivering the best, most raucous set I have yet heard from them. Their stage setup recalled both Mates of State and Quasi: punchy boy/girl indie rock pounded out on drums and organ. Chris and Kelly shared vocal duties to good effect, notably on late-set highlight “Queen of the Water Dolphins”. The song was a crowd favorite, which is remarkable considering the duo had premiered it less than two weeks before at the Mt. Pleasant benefit concert. The set served to remind everyone what a great band Wild Fictions is, and how much they will be missed in DC. Here’s to wishing Kelly good luck in Texas, and looking forward to Chris’s next project.

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