Live Review: Ex Hex @ 9:30 Club — 5/10/19

ExHex08 Mary Timony and Betsy Wright trade riffs at 9:30 Club on May 10, 2019. (Photos by Mickey McCarter; Words by Juliet Van Wagenen)

You know you’ve made it when you’ve got your own ice cream. But DC darling garage punk band Ex Hex’s signature ice cream “Another DiMINTsion” (of the mint-chocolate-chip variety, aptly named for their song “Another Dimension” and sampled for journalistic purposes, of course) wasn’t the only thing bringing chill, hometown flavor to the 9:30 Club this Friday.

In the midst of a tour that will take the band coast-to-coast and across the pond, one of DC’s most celebrated artists played a jam-packed show to an enthusiastic crowd of hometown fans on May 10.

The original trio is now a quartet thanks to the addition of David Christian on bass while original bassist Betsy Wright joins Mary Timony on guitar and vocals, and backed up as always by Laura Harris on drums. They have risen to national prominence over the last five years, since the 2014 release of their debut album, Rips.

After exploding onto the scene with their signature garage vibe in Rips, their sound has only deepened and intensified with their sophomore release, It’s Real. Dropped in March, the new album stacks vocals and guitar rifts and and injects even more swagger into an already boisterous body of work.

Appreciative fans of all ages, sexes, and races fueled a fiery, powerful performance on Friday set against an Instagrammable set: A neon pink Ex Hex logo and a sparkly, ’80s glam backdrop. The gig opened strong with “You Fell Apart” and moved swiftly through a mix of songs that alternated between old favorites and new releases. “Diamond Drive” was next on the roster, giving Mary and Betsy a chance to play off of each other’s energy; coming together to share rifts and stepping back to the mic to entwine their voices with formidable lo-fi melodies.

Ex Hex’s brash “How You Got That Girl” was up next, followed by “Tough Enough,” and the distinctly down-tempo “Another Dimension,” before the quartet launched into a powerful version of “Beast” that seemed to lift the crowd off its feet and blast them into a world of iridescent glam-rock power chords.

The quartet moved expertly through more joyous tunes from its new album, including “Radiate,” the distinctly hilarious “It’s Real,” in which the group chastises an unknown antagonist: “Left me alone with the good times while you brushed your rock ‘n’ roll hair.”

The undeniably bright “Rainbow Shiner” preceded the dreamlike “Want It to Be True” and wove into a finale of the upbeat, hand-clapping “Cosmic Cave.”

Stream It’s Real by Ex Hex on Spotify:

Ex Hex finished off the night in an encore that featured two classics off the band’s first album: The jumpy, husky “Radio Gone” and the distinctly raw “Hot and Cold,” which finished the night in a haze of big hooks and hypnotizing vocals — the signature sound that seems to scratch an itch for listeners around the globe.

The band soon go to Europe to play more music globally. But they have more US dates from July through September, including a show at Ottobar on Aug. 16 — buy your tix for that one now! It will sell out.

Here are some pictures of Ex Hex performing at 9:30 Club on May 10, 2019.

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ExHex13 Ex Hex performs at 9:30 Club on May 10, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

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