Live: Des Demonas @ Black Cat, 8/9/19

Intrepid Fuzzy Logic Intern Andrew is constantly in search of good live sounds, and the following is what transpired when he took in local powerhouse Des Demonas at the Black Cat.

Monochromatic and etched in immaculate style, the filth and fury behind the infectious grooves of DC favorites Des Demonas marks them as being a diamond within the District’s recent sonic explosion. Since the release of their poignant and exhilarating self-titled debut album in 2017, Des Demonas continued to bring the heat with two tantalizing Eps; Bay of Pigs (2018), and The Hyena/Flowers from Hell released this past February.

In support of the long-awaited performance and record release from local darlings The Whips at the Black Cat, Des Demonas' signature blend of thumping and rifftastic garage rock blew the audience away as they maintained their place as one of DC’s premier rock & roll outfits.

With little to no fanfare and the crimson glow from a single dim spotlight, it was clear that the intent of this quintet of charismatic enigmas was to focus strictly on the music. Approaching the stage with intense focus and tension, frontman Jacky Cougar Abok led his men onward with an intriguing blend of ferocity and composure, like a heavyweight challenger in command of a title fight. Like a Kenyan John Cooper Clarke spewing out his brand of monotone and punk poetry, his towering frame demanded the crowd’s respect with his cunning and sly prose about relevant themes of politics and race.

Alongside was his righthand man, guitarist Mark Cisneros, who wielded his Gibson Firebird to deliver his trademark guitar tone of chunky chords coated in fuzzy dissonance that blistered like shrapnel in the sonic scenery of Des Demonas. Cisneros provided the sharp textures needed to accent the striking tightness of the band’s rhythm section.

Acting as pillars to the band’s hypnotic and energizing rhythm, drummer Ryan Hicks and bassist Joe Halladay were the undisputed source behind the band's bold attack with plentiful fills and intriguing basslines. The two worked in conjunction with the panache and flavor of organist Paul Vivari, who provided the perfect pinch of psychedelia and mystique to round out some intoxicating sounds. Like a boot to the chest, Hicks, Halladay, and Vivari were undeniable and had you feeling the groove for days.

It must be said that Des Demonas is the crème de la crème. Their grit, experience, and attitude make them a pivotal, essential force in DC's musical landscape (and beyond).

Des Demonas is set to embark on a brief tour supporting post-hardcore heroes, Hot Snakes, culminating at their Riot Fest’s Late Night Show on September 14th before returning to the Black Cat with the Ar-Kaics on September 18th.

[words and photo of Des Demonas by Andrew JW Koh]

[posted 8.25.19]


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