On Thursday I headed over to DC9 for the first time in over a year to catch Those Darlins -- a band that LarryK has raved about for a long time. I'd forgotten how much I love the venue. Unlike other smaller venues in DC, the stage isn't narrow. At places like Velvet Lounge, if you aren't right in front, you can't see anything. But with a not-quite-semi-circle set up at DC9, the crowd can wrap around the stage, letting a lot more people get close to the action. The acoustics are great for what is basically a bar. The only thing I would change is having the stage be a foot taller. And actually opening the doors on time. Which has never happened at a DC9 show I've been to. Luckily they have a delightful rooftop bar to kill time on whilst waiting.
Heavy Cream, an all-girl punk band from Nashville opened the show. I instantly loved them. The lead singer was the optimal amount of crazy to put on a great show. Her vocals and attitude reminded me of Deborah Harry. The rest of the band provided a solid garage punk backing sound. Ascetically the guitar player looked more like she was ready to join a Metallica cover band than bust out a punk song, but it sounded great regardless. It was The Runaways meets The Ramones and I loved every second of it. Check them out if they come anywhere near your town.
Those Darlins, also from Nashville, knocked out a set heavy on tracks from Screws Get Loose, although they did play a handful of tracks off of their self-titled debut, including my favorite "Red Light Love." "Screws Get Loose" was an early highlight. Jessi and Nikki Darlin traded vocals throughout the night and where both very impressive. Jessi was center stage in a bright red dress. She would occasionally unleash crazy eyes, which was equal parts entertaining and jarring. For such a small girl, she packs a heck of a lot of energy and attitude.
I've seen a lot of concerts over the past few weeks, most of which were excellent. But this one stands out as the best of the bunch. It is a contender for concert of the year.
BYT has a lot of pictures here.