Print Story So I checked out this place called The Snare
By lm (Sun Jul 28, 2019 at 08:38:51 AM EST) (all tags)
It wasn't quite what I expected.

An article about Punk Black DC Fest popped up into my news feed earlier this week. Of course, it was after the event took place. I don’t know why but the name of one band, Throwdown Syndicate, caught my eye. So I looked up when they were playing next. Turns out it was at The Snare, which is basically the basement of a suburban home in Silver Spring where a group of friends that are in a couple of bands are trying to start an arts collective of sorts.

It was a mellow vibe, maybe twenty or thirty people were there, 8 of which were in one of the three bands that played, 4 of which were girlfriends of people in the band, at least 4 of which were folks that lived in the house, and the balance being friends from their close circle. Between sets we were sitting on the couch in the living room upstairs drinking cheap beer and watching Akira.

It was a bit like living through a scene or two in Reality Bites. Almost everyone was young enough to be my son or daughter. One guy was talking about how hard interviewing was, “And they asked me about the last time I failed, which was three hours before the interview, and then they asked me how I fixed it and I had no answer because I had literally just fucked it up”

First up was Throwdown Syndicate. They were a tight and fast two duo that played some pretty brutal metal. Allegedly they have a heavy hiphop influence. I didn’t feel that much in their performance. That may have been the sound mix that muddied the vocals. It reminded me more of old school speed metal. There may be more members than just the two that showed up. I’ve also seen them described as a three piece and as a quartet.

Up next was Chumpus Khan who I really liked. They were billed as “soul influenced punk” which I guess is apt enough but didn’t have the elements of punk and soul that I would have expected. The soul part comes from vocalist Justin Smith’s large and haunting range. He could sing the ingredients off of a box of breakfast cereal and it sound profound and soulful. The punk part is more what I would categorize as post punk.

Last up was Tavo Carbone a folk singer who wears a bird mask - I think it’s a bald eagle  - while he plays. I’m not sure what to say about him. A lot of whistling and wordless vocalizing in a western style, forgetting lyrics of songs he’s played hundreds of times, virtuosity on his classical guitar. It was fun. And strange. Three or four people sat on the basement floor in a lotus position and were either meditating or had fallen asleep.

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