Rock ‘N’ Roll is Tired, Wet, Angry, Definitely Not Dead

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by Cassady J. Bogatin

Sitting down to write this review it’s impossible to separate hearing local bands Cende, Blankus Larry, & Lilac Daze at Comet Ping Pong from the visceral experience of it. Let me take you back to the experience.

Midnight
Wednesday
Connecticut Avenue

I can feel a cold coming on, an itch in the back of my throat. I think I lost a glove. Far away, the metallic trill of Arabic Siri echoes from my taxi driver’s iPhone. Lou Reed once wrote that ‘life is like Sanskrit read to a pony.’ My lips sting as I smile.

“This way is no good. Too dangerous. Tonight is bad for driving. Why do you go out tonight?”

I turn to watch the snow falling outside my window. There’s a dull sheet of white on the ground, like so much spilled milk. The cab shrieks in protest as we pull a left turn and almost careen into a fire hydrant. Ours is the only car on the road.

“Rock ‘N’ Roll,” I reply.

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Some two hours earlier, I was one of about a dozen bold souls who bundled up his sign of the devil in a North Face and set out to brave the weather on the ugliest Wednesday evening since the dawn of the Gregorian calendar.

I did it for the music.

Rock ‘N’ Roll is and has always been the acoustic equivalent to reckless decisions. As a genre, it aims a grimy and trans-generational middle-finger toward any authority that hopes to quell its bohemian ruckus. That’s a mantra earned and personified by bands like Cende, Blankus Larry, & Lilac Daze, who keep the torch burning fervently even when thermometers hit absolute zero. Nobody was supposed to have fun last night. You were supposed to eat tomato soup, curl up next to a space-heater, and tolerate a mediocre Seth Rogen movie.

But I went to Comet Ping Pong. Through the deserted patio, past the empty bar, and into the dingy back room where a handful of fellow revelers shook off the snow and paid tribute to our heathen tradition by dancing and shouting and generally Being Up To No Good. All three bands played with a fierce energy that simply radiated heat; so much so that I have trouble distinguishing their individual sets within my memory. All of the music was raw and loud and distinctly primal, dishing a resounding and bloody-knuckled rebuke to the silent snow-globe outside.Sedated cover art

It was not a concert that I want to go to again. I didn’t buy a t-shirt, I won’t be listening to the CD, and my heart goes out to anyone else who has ever had to push a cab out of a snowbank. Still, as far as Wednesday nights go, you could do a whole lot worse.

– Cassady J. Bogatin

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