Home Live Review Snapshots: Desdemonas @ Black Cat — 5/25/16

Snapshots: Desdemonas @ Black Cat — 5/25/16


Desdemonas03 Jacky Majic and Mark Cisneros of the Desdemonas at the Black Cat on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Paul Vivari knows a thing or two about music, and he is well known around town as DJ Soul Call Paul. Paul’s intense interest in soul and jazz led him to curate one of the most celebrated jukeboxes in the city — at his own Showtime, a young DC bar that received recognition only last week as one of the “best bars in America” by Esquire in part due to the strength of that jukebox.

But the punk spirit of DC is strong, and so Paul has been a player in a new punk band called the Desdemonas, who played their most recent gig at the Black Cat on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, as openers for The Effects. A lot of people turned up to see the Desdemonas, and the backstage at the Cat got pretty full!

To date, the Desdemonas have eschewed any social media or websites — they don’t even have a Facebook page. But they are playing around town quite a lot, and they have a chemistry and character all their own. It’s easy to see their appeal, and we thought we would chat a little bit about them here in Snapshots.

The Desdemonas are:

  • Jacky Majic, vocals
  • Mark Cisneros, guitar
  • Joe Halladay, bass
  • Paul Vivari, organ
  • Swan Hicks, drums

The Desdemonas haven’t made any official releases yet, but they have a strong repertoire of at least 10 songs they have been calling upon for local concert performances. Jacky occasionally sings in a manner of “shouting out” like some classic ’70s punk bands, and the rest of the band will bring in some rock or funk to back him up from song to song. The Desdemonas are fond of good, rolling melodies that receive some extra depth thanks to Paul on the organ — an unusual instrument for your average band.

They’ve been playing around town often in venues as diverse as Comet Ping Pong, the Dew Drop Inn, and the Black Cat. You’ll appreciate the qualities they bring to songs as different as “Hot Sake” and “Tuff Turf.”

Here are some pictures of the Desdemonas playing at the Black Cat last Wednesday.


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