Brooklynites often get a bad rap. I know this because I lived in Brooklyn for 3 years and consistently got bad raps from old friends. I lived in Greenpoint and witnessed New York Magazine’s so-called Sonic Boom in the fall of 2009. It really wasn’t so much of an explosion, as it was friends casually hanging out with each other and making music. When one friend’s band would get signed to a label, they would do everything they could to help get their college buddy, roommate or significant other signed along with them. TV On The Radio took Grizzly Bear out on tour, Chairlift lent guest vocals to Das Racist songs and a founding member of Amazing Baby left to become the full-time drummer in MGMT. Out of this incestuous madness, Suckers was born.
The group honed their skills around NYC staples such as Mercury Lounge, Brooklyn Bowl and Glasslands Gallery until Frenchkiss Records ultimately scooped them up. On Wednesday night Suckers returned to DC to play the 9:30 Club, supporting Menomena. At one point, Suckers lead singer Quinn Walker mentioned that he ‘really felt like they’d worked their way up’ in DC. It’s true. Their first time playing DC, about a year ago, they played at 200 capacity DC9 and the last time they came through they were supporting Local Natives at the 400 capacity Rock N Roll Hotel this past May. This time around, playing in the much larger 9:30 Club, the band played most of the tracks off of their only full-length album Wild Smile to a close-to-capacity room.
They started out on a strong note, with heavy percussion and layered samples through a drum pad. The group hit a snag three songs into their set during “Black Sheep” when it seemed that the bottom fell out of their sound. That was the result of a broken pedal on the bass drum and a guitar that had gone out of tune. After fixing the bass pedal and tuning another guitar it took a few more songs for the band to get back into the groove. Once in that groove, they stayed there for the remainder of the set. During the 45 minute performance they breezed through “A Mind I Knew”, “You Can Keep Me Runnin’ Around” and some serious whistling during crowd favorite “Roman Candles”.
The band has the daunting task of recreating an album with a very big sound on record during their live show each night. They were able to get close by using a ton of percussion, electronic waves, trumpet and at one point calling out a member of opening band Tu Fawning with a trombone as well. Overall it was an engaging set. Suckers pair the musical noise factor well with Quinn Walkers somewhat silly, yet sincere vocal tone. The band has come a long way since the days of rocking face paint and mega-chains in Williamsburg galleries, but there is still room to push the envelope on the live show.
All Photos by the very awesome Eric Uhlir. More after the jump.