Flaming Lips at 9:30 Club – The opener Clipping. (yes, with a period despite that not being a sentence) was horrible, though one person near the front was ALL. INTO. IT. So you do you, I guess, lady with bad taste. Wanting a good view of all the mayhem, I took my prized stage left balcony spot. Flaming Lips really went all out with the balloons and confetti on the first song. I guess a band that over the top doesn’t need to build up to that. But it was enough stuff to put most over-the-top finales to shame. Wayne Coyne zorbed to the back of the club during a cover of “Space Oddity.” He also rode a unicorn statue around the club for one of their new songs. Clearly it was all joyous. They are such a ridiculous and fun live band. BYT pictures here.
Priests at Black Cat – Priests are awesome. Priests’ new album is awesome. So, duh, Priests’ record release concert at the Black Cat was awesome. The opening band was a totally different genre, very soulful. It seemed a throwback to the DC DIY heyday when the likes of Minor Threat would play with Trouble Funk. I enjoyed it greatly. I’ll also remember this concert for a while for the following random encounter: I was standing next to some older guys, who were friendly but seemed out of place. I’m pretty sure they were family of the band. And one of the old guys randomly turns to me and says “Do you want to hear a joke?” The answer in this scenario is clearly yes. Then he deadpans: “Yo momma’s so fat, she went to the doctor. And they said that she has serious health problems and only has 10 years to live.” So that is a thing that happened. Pictures from BYT here.
Regina Spektor at DAR – The night before I left for SXSW, I had a warm up show in the form of the fabulous Regina Spektor. I would have flown out to Austin earlier if not for this concert, but I’d never seen her live before and had really good seats. I’m not normally a fan of DAR Constitution Hall for concerts (it’s too stuffy to have everyone seated and people never stand at the venue), but this style of music was acceptable in the circumstances. There wasn’t an opener. Just Regina, who thankfully made it to DC despite the previous night’s snow storm (I was less concerned with her getting into DC as getting out of Philly, as it snowed more up there and it was a joke here). Her set was a nice mix from across her career, with a decent number of tracks off of her new album. She opened with “On the Radio” and closed, obviously, with “Us” before returning for a four song encore. I loved hearing the OITNB theme song (“You’ve Got Time”) in person and another highlight was a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel #2.” Regina’s stage banter was just as endearingly awkward as I hoped it would be. The audience also shouted insane things during the awkward silence throughout the show. Seriously some of the most random stuff I’ve ever heard shouted at a singer, including my favorite: “You are my mother!” This is why we can’t have nice things. I might see her again when she returns to DC this summer with Ben Folds.