Army of Me, Monopoli and The Sketches at the 9:30 Club

Live Music Review >>

The Sketches
The Sketches

Upon Sketches singer Charlie Bernardo���s first mention of local rock station DC101, something strange occurred to me. DC music has rarely been regarded on a national level as at all mainstream. The league of Georgetown punks of the early 80���s, the emo progenitors of the late 80���s, and rhythmic bitch-slaps like The Dismemberment Plan and Q and Not U have all well represented the DC area���s musical spirit and image through the end of the century. But we have to accept the fact that The Plan and Q are through (despite successful shows by Travis Morrison and Chris Richards��� respective new outfits in the past few weeks), and Fugazi has been on hiatus since 2001���s excellent The Argument.

But as I fell headfirst into the straightforward music of quartets The Sketches, Monopoli, and Army of Me, I realized how this show was a veritable showcase of the three bands vying to be DC���s next breakout. Considering how most of the area���s best-known bands are off the national hipster radar at the moment (Thievery Corp, and Medications notwithstanding), it would be strange but refreshing having Army of Me as the face of the District.

Monopoli
Monopoli

Despite not being the ruthless musical innovators that Fugazi and the D-Plan were, The Sketches, Monopoli, and Army of Me still have plenty to offer. All three bands have had some exposure on the ClearChannel pawn DC101, which speaks volumes of both their hard work and their radio-accessible sounds. In fact, Army of Me���s dark, hooky single ���Come Down to DC��� has been added to 101���s core play list, a major accomplishment for a band not backed by a major label.

The Sketches kicked off the show with magnificent harmonies and generally solid songwriting from brothers Tony and Charlie Bernardo. Most of their set, including highlights like ���Fly Baby, Right Now,��� maintained a mid-tempo flow until they sped up within their last few songs, concluding with a faithful, beautifully done medley of ���Bohemian Rhapsody��� with other 70���s staples. Continue reading →

Soups Uncle at Jammin’ Java

Saturday January 14 $10 9:30PM! pop/rock
Soups Uncle
Soups Uncle is an up and coming, five piece, hard driving rock and roll band. Their unique changes, brilliant lyrics and powerful sound are a hybrid of the many musical styles that merge into modern, progressive rock. They have drawn the attention of national record producers and local Washington D.C. radio personalities. With a few classic and modern rock covers thrown in, when the show is over, you will leave wanting more.

Welbilt, Fools and Horses at Jammin’ Java

Friday January 13 $10 7:30PM rock
Welbilt + Fools and Horses
Shortly after Welbilt formed in early 2002, Washington, DC radio station DC 101 singled out the band as the most promising independent in the region on the strength of blistering live performances and a self-produced EP with a contagious brand of upbeat modern rock. Next: a string of high-profile shows and national awards, a year of touring before an expanding fan base, and recording sessions in Los Angeles with platinum-selling producer Mudrock (Godsmack, Chimaira).

The resulting full-length debut, A Beautiful Mess, was released in December 2003 to a big thumbs-up from fans and critics. “Impressive songwriting…convincing vocals…sonically vibrant” raved the Washington Post saying “Welbilt delivers on its promise.” Fans loved the new tunes, instantly accessible yet built to stand up over time.

Nate, Buddy, Nick and Bill will spend 2005 touring behind A Beautiful Mess with the support of Budweiser True Music and the fans who make it all possible.

Fools & Horses has forged the edge of classic rock with the finesse of new British rock, redefining rock & roll in a way Baltimore has never seen. The bandÔø?s success can, in part, be attributed to the many rock influences this quartet claims. From as early as The Beatles and The Who to as current as Coldplay, Travis and everything in between, this seasoned unit rocks you with the same star qualities. YouÔø?re going to get sophisticated and ballsy guitars, a solid foundation of bass and drums, soaring piano and keyboards, and the honest and contagious lyrics, vocals and harmonies that have made Fools & Horses the hot commodity of Baltimore. These college-aged rockers are as visually striking as they are musically. Fools & Horses delivers each song and impassioned performance with enticing energy, leaving its audience smitten with this polished and professional group.