I was beyond pumped the see Texas is the Reason at the Black Cat on Friday. It might not be my go to musical genre anymore, but in high school I was a hardcore punk fanatic. In college I rode that wave as it transitioned to incorporating more melody, eventually becoming emo, and (unfortunately) eventually becoming insufferable pop-emo. Looking back on that transition, a few bands stand out as more important and lasting than others. A few years ago I saw Sunny Day Real Estate for the first time. Last year I finally saw The Promise Ring. And I finally filled out the live hardcore to emo transition trifecta by catching Texas is the Reason.
After navigating the new street zoning in the U Street area to park (which, side note is ridiculous -- there are only like two streets left that you can park on for more than two hours before midnight now), I got to the Black Cat just after the doors opened. I made my way to the stage to nab a good spot and was immediately confused at my surroundings -- namely teenagers who didn't look like they were alive when the band's only full-length album came out in 1996. Are the kids nowadays secret retro emo lovers? Nope. Turns out they were all there for the opening band Title Fight. And between their youthful exuberance and the band's aggressive sound, quite the mosh pit broke out. Cue my time to set back about 20 feet away from the carnage. Title Fight's set was a decent start to the show, their energy was high, and they seemed genuinely humble and honored to get to play with Texas is the Reason.
As soon as their set was over, all the sweaty moshing kids booked it away from the stage, I moved closer, and was pleased when people in their late 20s to mid 30s started to pile in around me. These were my people.
I wanted to go up to Brooklyn for their reunion show last year, but had a work conflict. So I was relied and excited when Texas is the Reason announced their first tour in 15 years this fall (and, according to the band, it will be their last tour ever). Do You Know Who You Are? was a very important album for me. I didn't discover it until my freshman year at Bucknell, but after I got a copy I couldn't stop listening to it. Considering it is the band's only album and it only has nine songs, it was an awesome prospect to know that I'd get to hear all of those songs at the Black Cat. The band also threw in a few songs that they contributed to other albums as well as a new song that was just as good as any of the old ones. The crowd knew all the words, the songs sounded even better live than recorded, and the energy in the room was the highest I've seen it at the Cat since Wild Flag's DC debut a few years back.
It was thrilling to hear the rollicking "Back and to the Left" and "Johnny on the Spot" live. But the best moment came when the band ended the show with the song we all expected them to, "A Jack with one Eye." It's the last track on Do You Know Who You Are? and it has a fittingly finality in its vibe. It was the perfect last song to leave DC with.