Wet Brain at Metro Gallery
Wet Brain have a sound which reminds me of some good stuff from the 90s. It's kind of punk, kind of heavy, but also a bit playful. There's more sarcasm in those lyrics than straight up criticism. They also have a bit of a surf influence which plays out as more noir-ish than groovy. That plus mucho, mucho attitude in every single song gives them an urgency, but in an enjoyable way (this distinguishes them from most hardcore, though Wet Brain hold their own in the intensity department). Why aren't there more bands like this in DC?
I've only seen them twice and I totally want to see them again. Unfortunately I can imagine that after being robbed on their last tour they might not be quite as enthusiastic about heading out again. Maybe they're saving up for a a touring van with OnStar this time. :)
Protomartyr at Metro Gallery
I haven't commented on too many of these postings lately but I have to say a few things here. First of all yes, Metro Gallery is in Baltimore. Since the MARC train started running on weekends I've been to Baltimore a few times and I'm going to start covering shows there occasionally.
Now as for Protomartyr, they're from Detroit but their lead singer is a Jay Cutler impersonator. How odd!
It took me a while to get into Protomartyr. The important thing to understand is that you have to catch them live and watch the whole set. They start out demure, even sleepy. You may notice a lot of closed eyes in the first few shorts -- those eyes are accurate. But the intensity builds as the set goes on. First they get the crown into a rhythm and then once they've got 'em on their wavelength they ratchet up the amplitude. It's a rare style for a "punk" band, maybe not to everyone's taste, but I'm telling you it works.