LIVE MUSIC: Dirty Ghosts @ Comet Ping Pong - 4/21/12

In this age of information overload, it is rare to see something new, to feel like you’re among the first to appreciate “the next big thing.”  Indeed, even if you’re a serious music snob, by the time you’ve heard of something its probably been leaked, listened to, blogged about, analyzed, dismissed, defended, and remixed by every corner of the Internet.[1]  Dirty Ghosts are no different.  Over the past few months, their excellent debut album, Metal Moon, has been a hot topic of discussion and frequent praise among the Internet cognoscenti, their latest video debuted at Consequence of Sound, and they were coming to DC (nearly) fresh off of a six(!) show run at SXSW .  So yeah, they weren’t exactly “under the radar”…or so I thought.

Pure.Unadulterated. RAWK.Dirty Ghosts played their Saturday night set not at the Black Cat, Red Room, or DC9, but on the stage at the rear of Comet Ping Pong, in a space normally reserved for, you guessed it, ping pong tables.  Going in had visions of crowds of people snaking through a bustling restaurant cum ping pong parlor, queuing up for a chance to cram into the back room for what was sure to be an epic set.  However, as the band finished its soundcheck, and we stepped behind the (literal) curtain towards the stage, it became quickly apparent that most of the venues patrons were there solely for the pizza and were wholly unaware of the awesomeness that was about to be unleashed.[2]

However, all contemplation of the venue and the crowd were blasted away with the first chords from Allyson’s guitar.  The band, which also includes Allyson’s close friends Erin McDermott on bass and Ben Tuttle on drums, cut loose with an energy that could have filled a theater, much less a restaurant.[3]  Indeed, Dirty Ghosts wasted no time in getting to the red meat of Metal Moon, waiting only one song before launching into the stellar “Ropes That Way,” (one of my favorite tracks of 2012 thus far) and didn’t let up from there.  From the searing vocals of “19 in ’71” to the funky beats of “Battle Slang” and “Shout it In,” the band commanded the stage with an energy and confidence that is rare to see in a veteran group, to say nothing of a band supporting its first album.  In short, Dirty Ghosts exceeded even the loftiest of expectations and left those of us in attendance shaking our heads and wishing for more.

So, maybe it wasn’t actually “new.”  We happy few in the audience on Saturday were certainly not the first crowd to marvel at a Dirty Ghosts live performance.  And yet, watching the Dirty Ghosts on Saturday, I think everyone in attendance felt as though they were witnessing something new, exciting, and unbelievably cool…and that works just as well for me.

[1] Unless of course you are one of those hipster trolls who scours the seedier corners of the Interwebs and lurks in the back of house parties and dive bars just for the one in a thousand chance that you’ll be able to say that  you saw the new “It Band” when they were busking for beer money outside the farmer’s market.  Pro-tip: don’t be that guy.

[2] For the record, I thought Comet Ping Pong did an excellent job both hosting the show and making the band feel welcome. It is an intimate space with great sight lines and solid acoustics…and who says no to a venue where you can grab a pitcher and a pie before the concert starts?

[3] I was particularly impressed by the additional organic energy that Ben’s drumming brought to the show.  There are no live drums on the album.   While this worked well for the studio sessions, bringing a live drummer on tour was definitely the right call.

Check out the rest of our rawktastic shots from the show by clicking on the image below!