Lady Lamb, having recently dropped “the Beekeeper” from her title and released her second album, stopped by the Rock and Roll Hotel two weeks ago for a stellar concert. RnR Hotel basically completes the good, smaller DC venues tour for LL. I've previously seen her at Black Cat, 9:30 Club, Velvet Lounge, IOTA, DC9, and 6th and I (albeit she was on the secondary stages at Black Cat and 6th and I, so she still has a few more stages to go after short of the gi-normous venues).
I arrived at the club shortly before 8pm and therefore missed the police activity that happened two blocks away just minutes after the show started. H Street was still blocked off when the show got out and news crews were everywhere. It wasn't until I got home that I figured out what had happened. I guess that says wonders about the soundproofing of the venue. We had no idea that there was a huge police chase and shooting happening right outside.
Luke Rathborne was billed as the opener but called his band “Rathborne.” It was the first gig for his new drummer. So perhaps he was a solo artist before and now they are an official band? It was unclear. Regardless, he was adorable (it was the most awkward stage banter I’ve ever witnessed) and the music was awesome. For just a guitar and drums the songs had an impressively full, complete sound.
Ali had a cold, but her voice held up decently. It was the most excited I’ve ever seen a crowd for her. People sang along loudly to most of the Ripley Pine tracks. “Bird Balloons” and “Crane Your Neck” in particular got raucous crowd sing-a-long treatment. She played most of the songs with her band and also busted out a few solo songs. She only played one song on banjo, which was a letdown, especially because the one song she picked, “Violet Clementine,” is the worst song on her new album, After. Otherwise the new songs sounded good live, even if the album is still in a “growing on me” phase.
Two weeks ago, one of my favorite live bands came to town: Diarrhea Planet. The name always gets interesting reactions when I tell people of my concert plans. This time drew a new and amusing response: one of my coworkers keeps messing up the name and asking me how the Diarrhea World show was. Close enough, I guess.
I got the Black Cat early enough to nab my clutch old lady position on the side of the stage with a good view and outside of the chaos of the mosh pit. Because at a DP show, there will be chaos in the mosh pit, probably with crowd surfing guys in hot dog suits. But, we’ll get to that.
Loud Boyz from DC opened. They were good. The name isn’t ironic – they were a loud, traditional punk band. I would see them again.
Left and Right from Philly was more underwhelming. Their guitar players traded off vocals and one guy was way better than the other one, which is always awkward. Just let that dude sing all the songs.
Diarrhea Planet played a short set for a headliner (under an hour, with encore). But, similar to Sleigh Bells, they bring so much intensity and energy to their set that it doesn’t seem short. Toward the end of the set, the DC Dog (key background for people new to DP: a guy in a hot dog suit shows up to all of their DC shows) was still nowhere to be found. One of the four guitar players (yes, four) said, “We’re coming to that time in the set…” and the crowd immediately started a DC Dog chant. “Actually, I was going to say that we only have time for one more song.” But low and behold, the DC Dog appeared in his trademark neon hat, sunglasses, tambourine, and hot dog costume. And much crowd surfing and general shenanigans ensued. The band busted out a killer “Baba O’Reilly” cover transitioned into one of their songs, went away, and returned for a two-song encore ending in “Lite Dream.” Highlights of the set included “Separations,” “Platinum Girls” and “Togano.”
This week I'm finally seeing Robert Plant live! He's performing at a Kennedy Center tribute to Lead Belly. Also performing at the event? Alison Kraus. Fingers crossed they perform together. In hopes of that, I'll go with the Plant/Kraus collaboration of "Gone Gone Gone":