First of all, let me just say: WHEW. Four opening bands is not my cup of tea, I'd just like to add that disclaimer now. That, coupled with my annoyance at an episode of The Real World: DC being filmed sometimes just feet from our heads as we watched the show, cast a negative light over the whole concert for me. You can take my complaints with a grain of salt.
First off, Eye Alaska took the stage. Should we forget the name or misunderstand it, the singer helpfully pointed to his eye each and every sing time he said the name of his band during their all-too-long set. Normally, I like to pretend that the outside world doesn't exist while I'm watching a concert. For better or for worse, I want to experience the glory or the suck. This time, I couldn't do it. About five minutes in, I whipped out my phone and wrote (nearly all of) the following: "Greenwheel + Beastie Boy wannabe band that doesn't have enough practice being on the stage. The singer is back and forth enough on the stage to make you think you came to watch ping pong instead of to rock out. He came onstage eating an apple and wearing a backpack. Fitting. He should, perhaps, go back to school. This may be highly offensive to Greenwheel, who I loved and are/were much more talented than this bunch, but there was something about the phrasing of Eye Alaska's songs that reminded me of them. It's not my style and maybe they do have some potential but they didn't make me interested enough to follow them and find out.
The Summer Set had a girl drummer. We found this totally and completely endearing (and not in a condescending way, please don't think that). On a night full of dudes everywhere, it was just a nice change. They had a fun, upbeat sound. I'll keep an ear out for more of their stuff. Because I was imagining a bunch of Rock Band drumming fantasies coming true as the drummer head banged her way through their set, I'm not sure I paid attention to too much else. Two weeks later and this is the only thing that stands out in my memory.
What can I say about Rocket to the Moon except that they seemed to take themselves very seriously? Oh, nothing. I did note that their sound reminded me of the pseudo-rap phrasing of Third Eye Blind but I would not remember this band at all if you asked me about them.
My Favorite Highway is a local band I'd never heard before and if this concert was anything to judge by, I may have been the only one. Out of Fairfax, Virginia, they stepped out on stage, greeted the Virginians, then remembered that they were in DC and threw shout-outs to DC and Maryland as well. They were decent. That's not meant as an insult. They were solid, not too much rock or too much pop...great blend of both. They seemed like a less boring Lifehouse but maybe Lifehouse is less coma-inducing live. I wouldn't know. Their debut album came out this past May and I'm interested to see where they go from here. I'll definitely be checking them out. Half the crowd from the floor left when they finished their set, though most seemed to come back by the next time the lights dimmed.
Finally, we got to The Cab. If you enjoy them, you'd enjoy the show. They had great energy and I do enjoy the vocal acrobatics of Alex DeLeon. This performance would have been perfect pop music joyfulness if not for the interruption of one of the Real World roommates halfway through their set. Introduced as Alex's friend (he came out to meet the cast members before anyone took the stage that evening, in the balcony by the lead-act dressing/green room, a small bit of chaos and autographs ensued), she took the stage, sang an annoying, really repetitive song about a guy. We waited through four acts to have the short headlining set interrupted by some Real World chick? That killed the mood for me. I also have to mention the sound troubles, which I have to say are not that uncommon at 9:30 Club. Whenever there is jewelry, a lot of acts or a lot of microphones involved, there tends to be a lot of high-pitched interference, more and more as the night goes on. This night was typical for that. Maybe The Cab are too young or too nice to say anything (I have witnessed a Butch Walker stop-the-show diva move to fix the sound before) but I wish they had. Nothing is a mood killer like mic feedback during your zestiest pop hit. Yes, I think I just made up a word.
To sum up: The Real World ruins everything
I just want to start this by saying that my experience with the Cab prior to this show is seeing them play a Queen cover set at Hoodwink and a teeny set from way-far-back at The Bamboozle this past May. Prior to that, I had a hard time even listening to them because of the Justin Timberlake/JC Chasez mashup sound of Singer's (Alex Deleon) voice.
Secondly, I'd like to state that I took a face full of spotlight thanks to the Real World's cameras. Fuck you very much, Real World D.C.
Okay, so, I hoofed it over from the metro after work, and got in the line, which we never thought we were going to get in. We proceeded up to the balcony and I proceeded to get a drink. I don't know if it's a testament to how much I didn't enjoy Eye Alaska (where DID that apple go, anyway?) that I was actually willing to go and get a second drink mid-set, but I sure did. They were easily the worst band of the night. And the kid's backpack drove me fucking crazy. Seriously. Get some stage presence and ditch your backpack, doofus. The best part was the drummer for The Cab coming out and playing with them, and me getting to watch two drummers move in unison. Now that was fun. Woo.
The Summer Set and their cute girl drummer were the second best opener of the night, after My Favorite Highway (who I'll talk about shortly). They were the kind of nondescript pop that I enjoy in the background of my metro ride when I can manage to listen to something besides Taking Back Sunday oh, ever. (FML.) I didn't hate them and my friend Crystal (via Twitter) suggested that we go meet them after the show, being as they were stand up folks when she met them. Lanie and I did not do this, because we're old ladies and it was time to go home and go to bed after the show.
I knew exactly one Rocket To The Moon song when I went into this show. I have their little "Greetings from..." postcard because it sneaked into one of my packages from Fueled by Ramen at some point in my life. (I think it was when I got Forgive Durden's Razia's Shadow, but search me, if anyone cares.) Anyway, I know one song because "Dakota" was on the CFOB Mixtape and... they played it, like, two songs into their set. So after that I kind of got bored because I seriously only have room for one shitty pop-punk band in my life, and that is We The Kings, so step, motherfuckers!
I enjoyed My Favorite Highway in the way where they look/sound like Hanson from really far away without actually having the embarrassment of being Hanson. Also I've been listening to them since that show and I quite like them. Their singer was the first kid to go on that stage that had any kind of stage presence at all, except for Alex Deleon coming out to sing with I think A Rocket To The Moon. I can't remember, I'm old and I've had a lot of drinks since then. (It was my birthday weekend!)
So, I need to get this off my chest. I think Alex Deleon is adorable and I want to fold him up and keep him in my pocket. I follow him on Twitter, we squee at him on pretty much a daily basis in a motherly type of manner. (Old, did I mention I'm old?) Anyway, I tried to mooch cake from him while we were there and got ignored, presumably because he has approximately 5 million people on his Twitter, but whatever I made the mistake of not offering to buy him a drink in exchange. (Not that I am pro-contributing-to-the-delinquency-of-minors, or anything.)
Anyway, they were enjoyable. I enjoyed them. There were feedback problems but it was so much better than the show we saw at Sonar that now I just think "well, at least it was better than Sonar" and leave it at that. Uh. Oh, he said he'd play two more songs if we broke it down during "Disturbia" but apparently we weren't into it enough for him so we only got one more song, 'cause Singer's a liar.
And dude. Dude. Fuck the Real World. Why the hell is that girl getting in on this shit? I can almost guarantee that she didn't know Singer before that night but she was trying to make nice.
RW hasn't been good since the Hawaii season anyway, MTV, just give it up.