Wednesday, February 3, 2010

TVD's Alternative Ulcer

Our friend and regular contributor Kris returns with the first Alternative Ulcer of the new year—which arrives without any acid reflux for starters. —Ed.

Last Thursday night Iota hosted its second Haiti Relief Benefit. The line-up advertised was "The Torches with Adrian Hardkor, Wes Tucker, Alex the Red Parez, and more." Unfortunately the extensive trek across the Potomac caused me to miss the first two acts - Adrian Hardkor and Alex the Red Parez.

Those who managed to get to the show before me were able to hear both of the acoustic acts and said they enjoyed them. Both bands play tons of shows in the DC metro area so if you missed them on Thursday you can catch them again in the coming weeks.

Wes Tucker minus the Skillets, took the stage somewhere around 9, maybe a little later. While there were maybe 20 or so people in the room at this point, he and his acoustic guitar made a nice accompaniment to the friendly conversations dispersed throughout the room.

After Wes, the Torches's drummer, Thomas Orgren, played acoustic guitar for a bit on stage before they began their set around 10. The Torches have this gritty cowboy gypsy feel to them that I love so much but rarely hear in DC. The last time I saw the Torches was at the Red and the Black in December when they opened up for The Young Republic and A Sunny Day in Glasgow but they were without their drummer.

The show in December and the show on Thursday could really not have been more different. Ogren was once a guitarist in the Torches but has very recently taken up the challenge to step in as drummer though from the audience's point of view it was as if he'd been playing with them since the band's inception. December's show had been hot, like sweat-drop-down-my-balls hot, the sound quality hadn't been great, and although many of the same songs were played on Thursday as the December show, the pace of the band's former show was more mild.

Last Thursday's show was great—Iota has a really awesome sound guy and with a band that includes an oboe, a banjo and a harmonica it made all the difference. More people poured into Iota and many got off of their stools or stepped away from the wall to get closer to the stage. They played eight songs in all, including my favorites Mr. Vampire and Wish You Well. And I was definitely amped to hear them play Blood and Money because any song where a band can yell a lot with the audience happy to participate always leaves me wanting more.

The Torches lead singer Stephen tells me they have no shows currently booked so all you rad DC venues—get to bookin'!

Hats off to all the bands for playing quality music to help Haiti and making it worth the trip out of DC for the evening.

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