Greg Cartwright has been recording his own brand of retro guitar punk as Reigning Sound since 2001, but Shattered, the band’s Merge Records debut released last year, brought the group to a whole new level of acclaim. An 11-track, 33-minute slice of pure energy, the album sounds like a modern take on the Stax Records sound. On Thursday, the band brought that vintage vibe to a packed room at DC9.
“I’ll arrive at five, to take you to the rock and roll show” croons Cartwright over Dave Amels’ classic organ sound in “My My,” and he could be speaking to the entire audience as easily as to the object of his affection. Several tracks from Shattered such as “North Cackalacky Girl” and “Never Coming Home” represent where the band is at now. But they don’t hesitate to reach back into the classic Reigning Sound catalog as well, including tracks such as “Drowning” from 2004’s Too Much Guitar and “Reptile Style” from 2002’s Time Bomb High School, and even into the catalog of Cartwright’s former band Compulsive Gamblers with “Stop & Think It Over.” That his fans call out for some of the most obscure tracks from his back catalog shows that he has been successful in building a long-term following.
Richmond retro-punks The Ar-Kaics opened the show, their own 60s Nuggets-influenced psychedelic garage rock providing the perfect foil to Reigning Sound’s R&B.