100 Shows of 2010 - #59: Unnatural Helpers/Heavy Cream @ Black Cat, 8/31/10

Sometimes DC really, really pisses me off. Such times include when the parking gestepo gets a smidge overzealous, or when some event or other blocks off a bazillion blocks when you're late getting somewhere. But DC also vexes me when good bands come to town and few people venture out to see them. Sure, it's happened quite a bit this year, but this here show was SO FUCKING GOOD that it really bugged me more people weren't there to experience it. So, fellow denizens of the District and environs, I chide you if you were not there for the amazing Heavy Cream and the brilliant Unnatural Helpers. After all, this was without question one of my top shows of the year. And now you'll have to listen to my gloat gratuituously about having been there for it.

MINI RECAP: Heavy Cream = Howlingly Colossal! Unnatural Helpers = Unnervingly Neat! Overall Score: A.

It took me all of about three nanoseconds to decide that I loved Heavy Cream. Their songs were short and spiky, full of lady cajones and overflowing with sass. I loved their chunky, heavy riffage and driving drum beat. It was pure, simple rock and roll, in your face and unadulterated, which is pretty much all you could ever want or need as far as I'm concerned. Frontgrrl Jessica has stage presence in spades, hopping off the stage into the crowd, twisting and shouting her way through song after song in blissful, howling abandon. At times she seemed to sneer her way through the songs, which only added to their edgy appeal. This, my loves, is a goddam awesome band. They are magically, scuzzily delicious. I couldn't help but toy with the thought that Heavy Cream is what might have happened had the bratty gents of The Black Lips been mostly girls and living in Nashville instead of the Peach State. Their spitfire sound was a thing to behold, all that noisy goodness providing the perfect antidote to the mundanity of Tuesday night. Their set came and went far, far too quickly, and I'm already holding my breath for their next trip back.

After that performance, it was going to take a hell of a lot to impress yours truly. Heavy Cream set one heck of a high bar, but Seattle's Unnatural Helpers was not to be outdone by those upstart Nashvilleans. I mean, a red gentleman's romper? You sir, are my hero. It takes a real man to wear a romper, my friends. Put that with the fact that Dean Helper sings whilst playing drums (Holy Levon Helm, y'all!), and I was bound to like Unnatural Helpers a whole lot. And then they started to play, and within a few moments of that unholy wail I knew I was in love. Their set was insanity, loud and brash and totally irresistible. At times, the noise was overwhelming, so much rock and so many layers! Perhaps veering towards what the kids call artpunk, Unnatural Helpers took no prisoners. Ferocity was oozing out of ever pore up on that stage, and it was a beautiful, beautiful thing. My mind, well, I have to say it was pretty much blown.

While Unnatural Helpers were definitely a little more "out there" than Heavy Cream, this bill made total, perfect sense to me (the winning formula of noisy rock + noisy rock = bliss). All bills should be this great! I urge you, nay, implore you, nay, demand you to go immediately forth and procure all music by both bands that you can find, and to go and see them live whenever you can. I promise, you'll be so very glad you listened to me. DC folks, that goes double for you. You owe yourself one.

mp3: Watusi (Heavy Cream from Danny)

mp3: Girl In The Window (Unnatural Helpers from Cracked Love & Other Drugs)


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