Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bite Back

I began my day walking with one friend and finished walking with another.

The first took me to Scott's Addition for a much-needed massage (while he turned around and walked back to work) and the latter involved to and froing from Gallery 5 for music (never turn down an offer to be somebody's "plus one" for a show), with a drive to Petersburg in between to see Alpha Chino's Booty Sweat.

I can't make this stuff up.

Walking into G5, the show had already started and the singer was talking between songs. I couldn't see her, so I asked my much taller friend if they looked as young as they sounded. His answer was a firm yes.

Once we found places inside, he did recon, only to learn that the all-girl band was in fact comprised of high school students from Chesterfield County, half black, half white. The seasoned patter between songs belied their youth and the bands they chose to cover - Blink 182, My Chemical Romance - seemed to be ones they'd heard while still or shortly after being in Pampers.

The lead singer gave full credit for her determined path as a musician: Guitar Hero. 'Nuff said.

The break allowed Friend to regale me with stories of his misspent youth, including a data entry job at Marlo Furniture that taught him the phrase "total void," which he intends to use in an upcoming music project.

Nashville band Daddy Issues was a female trio, albeit old enough to drink, but theirs was a more lo-fi sound with nods to grunge. Songs revolved around life's major issues: someone wanting you to be their friend when you don't. Being creepy because you're so in love with someone. Breaking up with someone. And perhaps most tragic of all, losing your keys.

Universal themes aside, their sincerity in the material, the banter and playing for a spirited (and mostly underage, judging by the number of Xs on hands) audience rang true.

During the break, we were joined by one of Gallery 5's founders and board members, atypically dressed in a button-down shirt and vest, just back from a fundraising event for G5 that had netted $2,000. My friend and I acted suitably impressed because we were, while he saved his praise for the show we'd come to see.

"Things are poppin' here!" he grinned, then ducked out, saying he was beat, no doubt a factor of being out of his normal t-shirt and having to gladhand folks with open wallets.

Duo Diet Cig took their time getting to the stage to play, but also broke tonight's string of all female bands with a male drummer who, we were told, gave up his chance to be an Olympic skier so he could be in the band. If it's not true, it sure makes a good story to tell from stage.

Their pop-tinged punk set was sung with energy and enthusiasm, boasting pogo-ing and leg kicks from singer/guitarist Alex, adorable with her Pixie haircut, impish smile and black and white checked bike shorts. I got a little of a Matt and Kim vibe from their music.

Between songs, Alex made sure to announce that their shows are safe spaces and the young audience nodded in approval. My generation would've had no clue what that meant. She also mentioned that recently in Boston they'd come onstage to Cher's "Believe" and it had continued to blare into their headphones as they launched into what she called "our pop punk show."

Troopers, they overcame the challenge because, as Alex told us, "We believe in life after love."

Shazam. They might be young, but already aware you gotta have something to cling to when the booty sweat's all gone. Or gone to Petersburg.

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