D.C.'s own Des Demonas took to the stage at Black Cat last night to showcase songs from their fiery self-titled debut LP, out now on In The Red Records (and reviewed by me here), as well as premiere at least one new song.
Crammed together on the back-stage, the 5 members of Des Demonas revealed (yet again) that they collectively make up one of the most powerful acts in this city at the moment. The combined strength of these players, most notably leader Jacky Abok and guitarist Mark Cisneros, is formidable. And when the rhythmic attack of organist Paul Vivari, bassist Joe Halladay, and drummer Ryan Hicks gathers steam, it drives this five-piece into the void, the stark-and-sharp lyrical insights of "There Are No Vampires In Africa" made ever clearer, and the riotous "The South Will Never Rise Again" shown to be an anthem for these desperate times.
Still, for all that, and for all the love that singer Jacky Abok has for The Fall, and for the band's obvious nods to the Nuggets era, it was new song, working title "Immigration", that revealed some growth in the band's approach. The cut, all early Gary Numan mixed with some faint Movement-era New Order moments, was a real stunner last night, and an indication that album number 2 from Des Demonas will be something special.
Algiers -- vocalist Franklin James Fisher, bassist Ryan Mahan, guitarist Lee Tesche, and drummer Matt Tong -- brought the kind of energy that that stage at Black Cat could barely contain. Part revival show, part punk hoedown, the set from the Atlanta band was borderline revolutionary, at least in spots. Singer Fisher delivered the songs from the band's 2 records on Matador with the kind of fervor very few performers bring to their art these days. The other 3 players behind him followed him to the brink of chaos as he exhorted the crowd. These were numbers that promised as much as, say, the early numbers of Nation of Ulysses or Priests did. That the selections delivered so much, and that the band performed them with the kind of fire those other acts exhibited routinely, says a lot about why Algiers is one of the best bands in America today.
The Underside of Power is out now via Matador Records.