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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Federal Reserve Collective @ Iota

Last night Sommer and I went to check out the CD release show for These United States at Iota. The show was part of the Federal Reserve collective's monthly show at the club, which was an added bonus as it turns out. FR is a group of local musicians -- from the bands These United States, Vandaveer, Kitty Hawk, Revival, Rose and a few others -- who play together and share bandmates and write together and it's a whole mess of alt country, folky goodness. The First Monday shows let a bunch of different people take the stage and play 3 or 4 songs, while the roving cast of FR musicians join them on stage for different songs. They play new material, stuff they don't usually play live, covers -- it's more like sitting in on a rehearsal or a family get together than a traditional, polished show. But the results are just great. The ring leaders seem to be TUS' Jesse Elliot, Vandaveer's Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose, a woman who I haven't heard before but am now quite enamored with.

Last night we got great performances from (among others), Laura Burhenn, Brandon Butler, Josh Read, Roofwalkers, Rose, TUS and my new obsession, John Bustine. Oh my gosh guys, John Bustine! He sang the most honest, original love songs I've heard in quite some time. They were completely free of any cliche or artifice. It's not surprising that he could write songs like that, since he and his gorgeous red-headed girlfriend gave off that air of being just completely, totally and unflappably into each other. Or at least, that's what I gathered from seeing them across the room a couple times.

As you might imagine with a free-form kind of show like this, it went a little late. By the time TUS took the stage, it was past 11:30. Around midnight I turned into a pumpkin and went home, so I didn't see their full set. Which is a shame, because I love those guys. The crazy talented Tom Hnatow (who doesn't love a pedal steel?), Jesse Elliot and the violin/mandolin player whose name I can't find anywhere online, were joined by a roving cast of members of other bands. At one point there were 9 people on stage. I'm sure the rest of the show was really great too.

Oh! And this one guy -- Rob I believe? -- played drums and various other instruments with almost all of the lineups, and he was awesome. I don't know what band he properly belongs to, though.

In summation: You should all go to see the Federal Reserve, first Mondays of the month. And you should all go see any of the bands mentioned up there wherever else they play, especially Rose and John Bustine.

Update: I forgot to mention my favorite part of the show! Thanks DC Rock Club for reminding me. Josh Read performed a version of Leonard Cohen's "Halleluja", and requested the everyone there in the club sing along with the chorus. If you know that song, you know that it's emotive enough to make the Grinch's heart grow three sizes, so hearing a full chorus of concert goers sing "Halleluja" over and over was pretty magical.

Update 2: Also, I forgot to talk about what bothered me at the show. No, none of the music. Just your standardly rude D.C.-area crowd yammering through sets. Presumably, everyone there knew that they were attending an evening of quiet folk rock. Presumably, everyone there of their own volition wanted to actually hear that music and be respectful of the people playing it. Presumably, I'm an idiot for thinking that. The people playing asked several times for people to quiet down, which they would for a moment or two. But why do people have to be so damn rude? There was a perpetual back track of conversation to every act that played last night. Inexcusable.


Blogger Jumbo Slice said...

Ugh, I knew I should have gone to the show.

Are you aware of the rumored Spoon/Walkmen show at Constitution Hall on 4/11?

12:20 PM  
Blogger sacklunch said...

It looks like we had a very similar experience at the show last night. I think I was standing right next to you during TUS (I think I overheard your name...). Anyway, the rest of the set was very good. The played "The Business" and a couple of other songs that I can't remember.

I agree on Bustine. I had never heard the guy before but I am now a fan.

All in all a very entertaining night of local music.

3:17 PM  

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