Sunday, December 28, 2014

In Which History Repeated (John Stabb of Government Issue) and El Quatro Rock IOTA In Arlington

It was during a song called -- I think -- "Musical Genius Show" that I realized while John Stabb (Government Issue, Emma Peel, The Factory Incident, etc.) was ostensibly singing about Phil Spector and Roky Erickson he could very well be singing about himself. That's not to imply that Stabb is certifiable like those cats but that he's at least a genius. Channeling Iggy Pop, Frank Tovey, and even his own younger self, Stabb commanded the room at IOTA tonight. More on that later.

Openers El Quatro rocked too. Equal parts Social Distortion and The Blasters, the band tore through a bunch of catchy cuts that pounded themselves into my head. If they had had CDs for sale, I would have bought a few copies. A really impressive set gents!

But then it was time for History Repeated to take the stage. John Stabb, guitarist Derrick Baranowsky, bassist C.F. Best, and drummer Mike Diana raged through a full set of tunes including one encore. If the players are all uniformly masters of their postpunk craft, Stabb is the mad wizard of the band. An incomparable front-man, Stabb gave his all in this performance. One frequently sensed that something great was transpiring. The scores of people whipping out their phones to snap pics and take video means that others felt the same way.

I recognized about 4 songs, not counting the encore, from the tracks that the band have posted online and of these I'd say that "Emo Whiteout" was the highlight of the set. Calling out the word "emo" and telling us to "white it out", Stabb brandished a bottle of the stuff during the cut, even when he pulled his shirt over his head all Cornholio style. Similarly, early single "The Sound" got the whole crank it up to 11 treatment -- see video below!

But what can I possibly say about what I will term "the barstool episode"? Stabb, sporting a Kingface tee, added a bit of drama to the proceedings in a (probably) staged battle with an errant barstool. It was funny and dramatic at the same time. Not the sort of thing you forget easily about a band's performance.

History Repeated may be a showcase for the talents of this D.C. legend but the other 3 cats really brought the power tonight.

Now if only these guys would record some more tracks!

Find out more about History Repeated on their official Facebook page.

The band's playing with The Delarcos, a new project from Nathan Strejcek from Youth Brigade and the Teen Idles, very soon. Details on that gig are here.