so i went to see Q and Not U at Fort Reno the other day. It was my first Fort Reno show, but I have to say, it's a pretty good place to see a show, it's small and has good sound and the stage is on a little hill, so it's easy to see. The show was announced by a grouchy lady who works at the Black Cat or 930 Club or something, I recognized her but couldn't place her. But she obviously does a good job, since she gets pretty cool bands to play free shows. But I went with my pal Jenny, who has a photo from the show here, and we were pretty much the oldest people there, it was basically sophomore college hipsters or younger, with dumb hats and t-shirts showing what up to the second bands they knew. I saw a Regina Spektor one, a Death from Above 1979 one, and I think a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah one, which is ridiculous, considering they are brand new and have no record deal. (They are good though). It almost makes me want to wear only blank shirts so no one thinks I'm trying to be cool. But that being said, I probably would have been in love with the high school hipster girls at the show were I a senior in high school, or whatever. And I guess it's cool they have this concert series, since most young people can't see too many shows.
But never having heard Q and Not U's music, I was pretty pleased. They're kind of herky-jerky dissonant funky dance rock, I guess, with lots of handclaps and what not, and the crowd was pretty into them, which makes sense, because they are pretty famous among the hip folks in DC. People "in the know" say their first album was great and they've been so-so since then, but I wouldn't know. I enjoyed the first few songs a lot, and they're pretty entertaining in concert, with some falsetto vocals and lots of various knobtwiddling on guitars and keyboards. The lead singer is pretty obnoxious, but in a good way, and he also seemed kind of reverent or something, I guess because the band is breaking up after a couple shows in September. They make a lot of racket for just three guys, which is cool. The bass sounds cool as well, they were getting crazy and it was really clear. So it was fun. The opening band, Son of Nun, was like a multicultural rap group (or maybe just the rapper was Son of Nun, and he had a band.) There were white guys playing african drums, an Indian guy in traditional garb on the keyboards and other things, and so on, and they were pretty decent. Pretty political, and when the guy said "this song is about the war in Iraq from an Iraqi militant's point of view" I was pretty worried it was going to be terrible, but it was not half bad. So in short, it was fun. I hope Ted Leo plays there, since last time I checked there was an open date. I'm not counting on it though.
Here's a couple other sites about the bands:
another Q and Not U page
them on Myspace. I like Wonderful People especially, which I heard on college radio in Knoxville awhile ago and had no idea what it was. I wrote down "running running song."
Son of Nun