So I was lucky enough to catch Youth Lagoon on Saturday, March 24, at Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C., along with my friend Travis (you might remember him as the pioneer of the Gaga Challenge) and our music-loving wifeys. The following Friday, our better halves proved that the “better” is short for “better judgement,” as both of our spouses decided to rest up in Richmond in preparation for the Monument 10K, while Travis and I espoused certain sleep deprivation and inflated race times by driving west to Charlottesville with my buddy Josh to catch Reptar at the Southern. Both shows were great, and there was something especially cool about seeing one up in Travis’ neck of the woods and one closer to Richmond inside of a week (OK, so Charlottesville isn’t exactly my neck of the woods, but ever since the Jefferson started stealing a sizable percentage of the good central VA shows, it’s starting to feel that way… but I digress). I thought a fun way to report back on this mini concert series would be for Travis and me to do some yearbook-style superlatives, so let’s dive right in…
Best Pre Concert Food Item
Prosecco. On. Tap. You heard that right. The delectable Graffiato in DC has the only tap in town pouring this deliciously sweet nectar and it is SOOOO worth it. Hell, pre concert or not, this place is worth checking out.
I am a maniac for cheeseburgers. It’s kind of ridiculous. I even have red hair like the goddamn Hamburglar. And we did have 5 Guys before the Reptar show (ironic under these circumstances, because 5 Guys started in northern Virginia), so the fact that I’m picking Graffiato’s “White House” pizza (mozzarella, taleggio, ricotta, prosciutto, black pepper honey) instead of my tried-and-true 5 Guys bacon cheeseburger should send a pretty strong message. Honey on pizza is serious business, I’m telling you.
Best Opening Act (of the two)
I’m normally a staunch supporter of YHT’s philosophy of showing up to a show early and catching the opening act(s). It’s like an awesome free live trial run (you already paid for the ticket!) of new music. I think discovering Dana Buoy as the opener to Youth Lagoon only helped validate this mentality for both of us.
In fairness, I didn’t catch as much of Reptar’s opener, Quiet Hooves, but I feel genuinely lucky for having seen Dana Buoy. I already wrote about how excited I was to grab his album at the show, but I also want to offer him a sincere thank you for helping me through the first half of the Monument 10K. His is a great example of how not all workout music is created equal. Sure, “Get Ready For This” is the gold standard for Jock-Jams-y pump-you-up-ery, but just as valuable is music that can ease your mind, relaxing the stressful tedium of an endurance event. Quick side note — try listening to “Get Ready For This” while you’re neither exercising nor at a sporting event, as I just did. It’s pretty brutal.
“17” by Youth Lagoon
“Rainbounce” by Reptar
Most Pleasantly Unexpected Moment
The entire Reptar show. This blog has actually been somewhat of a continual spark for my love affair with Reptar. Before reading this post last September, I had only really gotten to 1st base – enjoying just one song by the band. That post encouraged me to check out their amazing EP “Oblangle Fizz, Y’All” advancing me well past 2nd base territory. I was excited to finally see them live when YHT invited me to their Charlottesville show and I fully expected I’d be reaching 3rd on this trip. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Reptar straight put the moves on me HARD (all puns intended), right from the first LICK (I said all puns intended!) with their infectiously danceable set. Suffice to say, I rounded 3rd early in the night and Reptar sweet talked me into going all the way by the end of the night. Home Run!
Realizing how powerful Trevor Powers’ voice is. One of the best things about his music is the vulnerability it conveys, and his voice is a big contributor to that. But seeing him live made clear just how strong his vocal chords really are. Certain notes seemed to absolutely soar around the room, as if you could have reached up and felt them flying by with an outstretched hand. Really amazing.
Most Uncomfortable Moment
Being forced to grab hands with some dude I just met, in the middle of Reptar’s set, and chant in unison, “I. Want. To. Get. Nasty!” Uncomfortable would be an understatement.
Not being able to see a damn thing for most of the Youth Lagoon show. Sure it’s my own fault for hanging around the merch table upstairs between sets, and the fact that Trevor Powers plays keys (sitting down) doesn’t help, but being able to see is really important to me, and there is little visibility at the back of that room. I’ll have to remember this for the next time I head to R&RH.
Most Annoying Neighboring Concertgoer
Ever had a guy come up to you and start punching you in the arm repeatedly at a show? His logic is this: by punching you over and over he is hoping that you’ll become enraged just enough to hit him back. Then he hits you back in return. Next thing you know you have yourself a good ol’ fashioned mosh pit started. Well, “friend,” I’m a seasoned concert vet and I know your kind and your sado-masochistic ways. NO THANKS.
Easy. Metronome guy. Some dude swept in near the end of the Reptar show, stood directly in front of me and started swaying lethargically from leeeeeeeft to riiiiiiiight, not really with the beat or anything, like a slow, off-beat metronome. His movement set off a domino effect whereby I was craning my neck side-to-side with each of the dude’s trips across my field of vision, so I can only imagine the person behind me was going through the same thing. I guess that makes me his metronome guy. Whoa. This is getting deep.
Dana Buoy CD 2 months before it’s released anywhere else – still pretty effing stoked about this several weeks later.
Since I already shared a few thoughts about the Dana Buoy album, I’m going to go with the vinyl copy of Oblangle Fizz Y’all that I picked up at the Reptar show. A quick spin around the turntable reminded me of how amazing this EP is, and it got me super excited for their debut full-length, Body Faucet, which you can pre-order here.
Best/Most Jealousy-Inspiring Article of Clothing/Fashion Accessory Worn by a Performer
Hot Damn do I love me a good hoodie. I’m a firm believer that one needs all types of colors, patterns and styles of hoodie available to them in their fashion repertoire. Thus, anytime someone has a hoodie on that I don’t have, I turn green with envy. Dana Buoy’s bassist had just that, a simple white and black striped one that I don’t (yet) own. AND, he played the whole show with his hood up – also my preferred method of wearing my hoodies. Jealousy x2.
So Reptar’s lead singer Graham Ulicny was wearing a shirt that read, “SCIENCE GIVES ME A LARGE HADRON.” Given that I’m a card-carrying member of the “maybe the Large Hadron Collider is capable of opening up a black hole and destroying the earth and maybe it’s not but either way it seems like the very definition of hubris to be toying around with that kind of shit” contingent, it’s fair to say that I want. that. shirt.
Best Venue (of the two)
Rock and Roll Hotel in DC – small, intimate venue downstairs and a killer dance party going on upstairs. It’s like the reverse mullet of concert halls.
The deck is stacked pretty unfairly against Rock and Roll Hotel for me. I love the Southern and have had so many great concert experiences there. For one thing, it’s so small and open that meeting the bands is practically routine. Plus, I love that the Southern is constantly surprising me. The crowd this time included a bunch of young-ish looking gals who were extremely gussied up for this type of concert. Not at all what I expected. Guess I’m not the only one who likes meeting the bands — HOLLA!
BONUS GAME OF ADJECTIVE BATTLESHIP
Reptar: jam band intermission for outer space
Youth Lagoon: nerdy kid brother exposes sensitive side
Reptar: What’s with the skank clothes?
Youth Lagoon: Notes known on tip toes.
That’s it for Concert Superlatives! Thank you a zillion to Travis and our kind and understanding wives for making this post possible. Check out some sample tunes below and be sure to keep an eye out for any or all of these groups coming to your town in the near or distant future. They all rock.
Youth Lagoon — “Posters” [Spotify/iTunes]
Reptar — “Orifice Origami” [iTunes]
2 thoughts on “Concert Superlatives”
Reptar is so fun! “Phonetics” is def my favorite of theirs. Might wanna check out Walk the Moon, too, their album is coming out 6/19, and they have some great tracks posted on their website!
Pingback: Record Store Day Superlatives | You hear that?!?