[Originally for DC Music Download on 5 December 2012]
Review: Gregory Ayers
Photos: John-Paul Zajackowski
Story and sound were on dual-display Friday night at 918 F Street, LivingSocial’s latest music venture. Shoegazers Drop Electric played a creatively cathartic show that was at once dark and sinister, epic and beautiful.
The same unfortunately could not be stated for D.C. based duo Whales. As the opening act, they delivered a underwhelming set. Their melodies failed to captivate, with repetitious songs that were delivered at a low level of dynamics. The chattering crowd was louder than the duo, and stayed that way throughout the entire performance.
After Whales, Drop Electric’s eclectic mix of ambient noise-pop and artful film clips were wonderfully stimulating. The band opened with “Scraping Herself Off the Bottom Rock,” from their first record, Finding Color in the Ashes, and segued straight into the beautiful “Empires Trashed.” Kristina Reznikov’s vocals were just as heavenly and ethereal as they are on the band’s summer sampler.
Film clips on the brick wall behind them gave the show a loose, narrative feel that supplemented the music well, for the most part. The heavier mood of the set’s middle section was augmented by one scene of a young man contemplating suicide, further adding to the intensity and complexity of each companion track.
The songs and the images were well-paced, and after the darkest moments, the band quickly stepped back into a joyous release, as they tore through shoegaze-influenced ravers like “Little Sister, “Yukiko’s Smile” and “Bakuhatsu,” all propelled by drummer Ramtin Arablouei’s tight grooves.
Molly Hollingsworth’s violin and Alexa Cantalupo’s viola added instrumental depth to the band’s musical arrangements, and their backing harmonies gave the few vocal lines added emotional heft.
As a whole, the concert experience was sensual, unique, and engaging. As an experimental rock group-performances like Friday night’s show the experiment is still clearly working.
Check out our photos from the show: