8:30 pm. The Black Cat was about half filled, and the opener for the night, Brooklyn-based MOTHXR, had quite a few fans already, with cheers and hoots filling the venue as soon as the band took the stage. Having never heard the band before, I was pleasantly surprised and refreshed with their sound. A five piece band, MOTHXR had no trouble cranking out at full volume with their tunes. They seemed to be a band that bridged all sorts of time periods, giving off a very 80s reminiscent vibe while often rocking out in the manner of a modern rock band. Their music is a refreshing mix of electronic and instrumental, almost chillstep with a rock twist to it. If I had to pick a genre that they fit into, I would have to go for the easy way out and call them Indie–which of course is not a genre in and of itself.
These guys seriously pleasantly perplexed my genre sorting sense. If you know DC native band, The Walking Sticks, you could say MOTHXR is their older, heavier cousin. Towards the end of their set, with the crowd more pumped up than one would expect for an opener, the band let their loud side out to close out with a bang, funneling their sound, instrumental and vocal, into a whirlwind of sound, complex, loud, and satisfying, and then closing on a quirky 5 note tune. If you haven’t heard of the band, I definitely recommend giving them a listen on their Soundcloud here!
After MOTHXR left the stage, the crowd became denser and denser in anticipation of San Cisco, and just after 9:30, the band came out to screams of joy from many in the audience. The four-piece indie-pop group hailing from Fremantle, Australia seemed right at home on the stage, going straight into their set without hesitation. The band, much to the audience’s pleasure, played 3 or 4 songs from their 2012 self-titled album, San Cisco, before moving to songs from their 2015 album, Gracetown.
The band’s live performance harnessed their jovial spirit, making dancing more irresistible than when listening to their music normally. The band had no frills, no fancy lights, just plain San Cisco, and that was all they needed. Whether it is their iconic clean guitar riffs, lead singer Jordi Davidson’s energy filled and soothing lyrics and vocals, or drummer Scarlett Stevens’ groovy drumming and catchy vocals, San Cisco is an incredibly satisfying band to see live. When the band moved to newer songs, the band grooved to an even better level, with incredibly dance-friendly music. Soon after, the audience turned into a sea of bobbing heads and bouncing feet. The music and dancing go one hundred percent together, in addition to shameless singing along to the always-catchy lyrics.
Altogether, San Cisco’s music is not complicated or flashy, nor boring. It is music you can bob your head like an idiot to, dance in your kitchen to, and shamelessly sing along to in the shower. The band radiates youthfulness, energy, and carefree spirits. Many of its sounds remind me of catchy 50’s rock ‘n’ roll tunes which are literally engineered for dancing. With its newest album, San Cisco sets some incredibly catchy, sexy, groovy beats and lyrics. If you like San Cisco’s danceability and jovial nature, but perhaps had wanted a bit more groove and pop, their newest album is definitely perfect for you.
Their live performance at the Black Cat did not disappoint with a seamless mix of old and new, engaging with the audience and having a good time themselves. Lead singer Davidson came back on for the first song of the encore, just him and his guitar. Have no fear, he pulled the solo performance incredibly well, filling the venue with his iconic vocals and solid guitar riffs. The rest of the band came back on and closed out with…you know it, Fred Astaire; their most popular song (with good reason). Davidson, without naming the song, simply said, “if you don’t know the words, just dance.” Dance the crowd did, and sealed the night away. Wonderful performance by both bands, incredibly happy crowd, great venue, great show all in all.
Here are some more of the shots from the night!
Photo Credits: Anour Esa