Tuesday, March 28, 2006

An evening at Junta

Junta is one of the new all ages clubs in town and last night was the first time I've been there. It's in a long basement kind of place below a tattoo parlor on K Street Mall, the walls covered in colorful graffitti, and two tiny stage lights on the ceiling for a stage that sits about four inches above floor level. It has personality. And last night Junta had five bands showing their personality in all their vibrant psychedelic colors.
Meet The Killing Moon. I think this photo really captures the spirit of the night and the energy all these guys brought to the club. This particular guy is totally hyper kinetic while alternating between playing saxophone and singing. Ever the social observer my mind started to go off on who these people are... I'm betting this guy was in high school band class playing saxophone, but instead of ditching the instrument for a guitar or drums like so many do he takes the sax to his pop punk buds adding another interesting dimension to their raucous music. (And there's a trombonist too!) Next thing you know he's kissing family goodbye as he takes off on a cross-country tour with the other guys in a van, praying for a hot shower. And each night they play they're hawking goods-- Tshirts and CD's so they can make enough money to eat and gas up to get to the next city. What a life, what an adventure.. the kind everyone should be lucky enough to embark on at some point in their lives.
Another band on the bill, These Green Eyes, come very close to rivaling Fall Out Boy in their ability to leap while playing. In fact, their particular set illuminated to me the idea that one of the prerequisites for being in a rock and roll band these days is a profound willingness to go absolutely crazy in front of people with wild physicality. Of course being the visual person that I am it gives me a Cheshire Cat grin and fuels my own excitement as I try to capture it with my camera. Do I hear the music? Honestly I fade in and out much of the time. But as I so like to say that the cream always rises to the top so if the music is good I'm immediately captured.
Which brings me to the third band in the set, Lydia. A much more thoughtful and quiet energy even if the music stayed loud like the others. But the first thing I noticed before they even begin playing is that all five members are barefoot. So of the roughly twelve photos I shot of them four were of feet surrounded by cords, or touching the foot pedals. Apparently that was what interested me most about them. Sorry guys, and girl. No offense meant. The bassist kept his head hanging down nearly the entire set and although the green light looked pretty on his light brown mass of hair it didn't inspire me to capture the Kodak moment. So I wandered. Probably a good thing because I listened more for a change and got a feel for the club overall.
The Higher was the headliner. I've been hearing chatter about them and they did not disappoint. As the guys were setting up someone leans over and whispers in my ear "Can you say scrawny?" and it was indeed the perfect word as you looked at this one young guy getting ready to start the headlining set. HOWEVER, Scrawny turned into Steamy because Woah! the guy had such charisma and confidence that he became utterly transformed once he took command, mike in hand. Woof! And they are a great band. Good songs, good melodies, darling frontman, well performed. The Higher can definitely go higher!


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