Nights spent tossing and turning in my bed. Days where I worried so much about Q And Not U and what would happen now that their bassist, Matt Borlique, had left that I had to be escorted several times to the nurses office. All of this led me to the front door of the Black Cat in Washington DC last friday evening for a date with musical destiny. What I had known, the hyper spazzy sound of the classic that was "No Kill No Beep Beep" could have been replaced with anything. The "On Play Patterns" single had alleviated some of the tension, but I wanted to hear more, to know that everything would be alright. And before I go on, let me just say that everything turned out good, and even better.
The first band, Ohio's Aloha, started soon after my arrival. Musically, they were almost like a more atmosphric Dismemberment Plan, although not nearly as spastic or energetic. However, they were very interesting. The band plays with the standard guitar/bass/drums trio, yet adds a vibraphone to the mix that makes for an almost Jazz like feel. Many of their songs grooved on for well past five minutes, and it was obvious that the band and the crowd was really into it.
The next band, Scene Creamers, looked like they rolled out of a 1965 Volkswagon bus that had not been cleaned out in several months. Most people were interested in seeing them because they were Ian Svenonius' and Michelle Mae's new band. Ian Svenonius, as you may or may not know, made a name for himself in the incediary early 90's band, The Nation of Ulysses. He then went on to form the garage/soul outfit, the Make Up, putting into motion the garage rock movement that we are now going through. It's quite obvious that he hasn't lost his preference for the music of the 60's, and the Scene Creamers came of like Steppenwolf fronted by Prince. Many people say things about Ian. He's pretentious, he's spacy, etc, etc. Well I never had the pleasure of seeing the NOU or The Make Up, but I can tell you this guy has serious fucking stage prescence. As the band's dirty snarl emited from the PA, he stalked the stage like an ungodly mix of Jim Morrison and Prince, yelping, kicking, and grooving manically to the music. If you haven't heard of the Scene Creamers yet, I promise that you will be soon.
So after the Scene Creamers dirty garage snarl left the stage, Chris Richards and Harris Khlars came out and started setting up. It took them about 20 minutes to get all their new equipment together, but it was well worth the wait. Right of the bat, they tore into one of their best songs "Hooray For Humans". John's propulsive beat, augmented by Chris and Harris' biting guitars pushed the song at a hurried pace. At the peak moment of the song, when everyone in the hometown crowd took in a deep breath to yell out "D-O-W-N and that's the way we get down!", Chris grabbed the mic, and like an epileptic kid throwing a temper tantrum, screamed out "NONONONONONONO!" as if to say, 'Fuck you, we aren't going to be ruled by past histories and perceptions'. The band previewed alot of new material, including the incendiary "Black Plastic Bags". They also played "This Are Flashes", a new song that is rounded out by some great funk bass work on Chris' part. They also broke out some older songs, such as a reworked "And the Washington Monument Blinks Goodnight" and "Fever Sleeves". If you have never seen Q And Not U live, then there is no way for these words to really explain the expereince. Everything is moving and falling, and being built back up again only to fall down again. At one point, guitarist Harris Khlar fell to the ground, foregoing anything rehersed, and proceded to cull whatever life affirming death shrieks his peddles could produce. After a awesome 45 minute set, the band left the stage, only to reappear for an encore. And much to everyone's collective chagrin, the band broke out their signature song "A Line In the Sand". Hands still clapping out the beat, the band tore into one last song, "10000 Animal Calls", which capped off an incredible night of music.
So, I can safely say that the tension is gone. I'm sleeping fairly regularly now, seeing how all doubts about Q And Not U's future have been alleviated