100 Shows of 2010 - #2: Seas/Blood Feathers/Tough Shits @ Black Cat, 3/4/10

This show had been on my radar for quite some time, and I had pretty high expectations for the bands. I was initially concerned that my expectation of a fantastic show might lead to disappointment, but happily, this wasn’t the case. The Philly contingent and the local lads definitely made good, and had me contentedly beaming all evening.

MINI RECAP: Tough Shits = a very pleasant surprise! Blood Feathers = oh my heavens! Seas = extremely expectation-exceeding! Overall score: A!

The first of my DC shows of this series definitely had to be at the Black Cat. As I always say, it’s my bar away from home. I’ve seen countless bands play here, and I enjoy seeing bands in the smaller backstage area, because it feels like you’re seeing bands on the verge. And I think I saw a few of those Thursday night.

I saw the members of Tough Shits wandering around the bar before the show, and I wasn’t totally sure about them. But once the Philly guys got going, my mind was put to rest. They were pretty darn good, and charming…in their own special way (I have the image of a red bandanna burned into my brain). Despite declaring exhaustion after just one song, the Tough Shits unleashed their jaunty rock’n’pop on the ever-larger crowd backstage. They’d quite possibly hate my saying so, but the entire band is so adorable that I just wanted to pinch their cheeks. I have no idea why I hadn’t already heard of them, but I totally dug their streetwise, sarcastic, and dare I say almost sweet (at times, these guys aren't into soft rock) tunes. And bless their little hearts, they looked stunned when the crowd wanted an encore. Really good stuff.

After the Tough Shits, the crowd really started pouring into the small room that is the backstage. It was time for Philadelphians #2, Blood Feathers, or the “local hipster supergroup” according to my spies in Philly. Fitting six people on the stage is asking a lot, but the band seemed to have no troubles and got right into their performance. I sure don’t think of Philly when I hear them, but hot damn I was instantly impressed. They’ve got great stage presence (yay banter!), and the songs are pretty good, too. How can you not love a band that introduces a song by saying, “We love dance music. We do our best to provide dance music. Sometimes it requires maracas.” If I didn’t love them already, I did from that moment forward. Blood Feathers sound like a honky tonk, Philly style. The sound is rich, very danceable, and as is a hallmark of good bands, even better live than on record. I’m officially hoppin on the Blood Feathers bandwagon.

After the rambunctious rollicking of Blood Feathers, there was still more good music to be had. Seas, signed to a Richmond friend’s label (Decoration Day), is the brainchild of DC-ite Ben Green. I’m way into the album Now My Home is a Beech Tree, and had the highest of high expectations for the live show. Armed with an acoustic guitar and with a little help from some friends, Ben held court masterfully. Seas’ set was superb. This is beautiful, effortless music. It’s so warm, so rich, and so very lovely. The couple sitting at the table in front of me rested their heads together at one point, an action I think sums up the feel of the set rather well. There’s a fantastic quiet confidence in Seas songs, delicate and powerful at the same time. For his part, Ben is affable and totally likeable, unassuming and pleasant, a genuine troubadour. Seas is definitely a DC act to keep your eyes on, and I know I sure will be.

mp3: The Buried Ranges (Seas from Now My Home is a Beech Tree)

mp3: King Cotton & The Little Star (For Bo Diddley) (Blood Feathers from Goodness Gracious)


  1. Blood Feathers has guys in it who played in Mazarin, The A-Sides, and at least one just-OK punk band. Mazarin were great and I really liked the first A-Sides record, although I remember you saying that you were underwhelmed by their show at the Troc way back when. Thanks for the tip, though, and I hope to see Blood Feathers myself soon!


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