Last week saw the return of local/FTA faves, Dog Date, after a 3-month hiatus along with Bottled Up and Tunnel for a pre-Halloween bash at Baby’s All Right. It was great to catch up with these guys as well as be introduced to the sounds of DC based Tunnel, which features legendary drummer Brendan Canty (Rites of Spring, Fugazi, The Messthetics), and who released their single and EP Vanilla (House Of Joy) earlier this year, and Bottled Up who recently released their album Grand Bizarre (Misa Records).
Dog Date kicked off the night with a solid set that found the band taking advantage of the season, decked out in their Halloween best. I’ve seen a number of their gigs and the thing I always love is how they rock out like its their last show and always have a great time doing it. Like I mentioned though, this was the first show after taking the summer off after their July tour that took them from Philly to DC, Ohio to Virginia and back. And that was after opening for Surfbort on their tour earlier in this busy year for the NYC based band. And the time off apparently did them good because Dylan, Malcolm, Andy, Leo and Kristian absolutely killed it. And honestly what’s better than watching The Royal Tenenbaum’s Baumer shredding with a belt around his head (Malcolm couldn’t find a tennis headband)?!
Bottled Up took the stage next for a complete 180 in sound—an infectious blend of synth based, art rock stompers that got the place grooving. And while there was certainly a mix of synths and drum machines, it was very organic too with the band laying down some solid guitar and bass work. Like Dog Date, the members of Bottled Up were clearly having a good time as they made their way through tracks from Grand Bizarre which incorporated elements of 80’s New Romantic, funk, R&B, post punk, pop and beyond.
Headlining the night was Tunnel, who like Bottled Up, are DC based by way of LA. But unlike Bottled’s dance infused rock or Dog’s raw punk energy, Tunnel brought a more thoughtful, moody, atmospheric sound that lent a nice balance to the night overall. And that’s not to say they didn’t rock because they did, but singer Natasha Janfaza clearly has been influenced by the likes of Juliana Hatfield or maybe more recently Palehound. I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying she would have fit in nicely with the 90’s Lilith Fair line-up, though more Hatfield, Heather Nova and Holly McNarland than Sarah McLachlan or the Indigo Girls. And helping bring that edge to Tunnel’s sound on Vanilla, especially singles “Lemonhead” and “Vanilla,” was Canty on drums, and D. Saperstein (ex Flasher) and Owen Wuerker on guitar/bass/keys/percussion. The other thing I appreciated about the songwriting was how Janfaza can sound vulnerable one minute and then soaring the next, like on tracks “Heartfaced Scarshape” and “Monday.” I really look forward to what lies ahead for this band.
Read an interview with Natatsha Janfaza talking about the band and the EP here.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kevin McGann)