Roller skates, pinball, and rock ‘n roll. These are things that my mind is immediately drawn to when I hear the music of Ex Hex.
For me, it’s comforting to hear that twin guitar rock again that had become part of my DNA as a kid. Like hearing the music of Joan Jett or Thin Lizzy, it’s something that the musical receptors in my brain have been craving and it’s a relief to hear it from Ex Hex, the band formed by Mary Timony (Helium, Autoclave), Betsy Wright (Bat Fangs, The Fire Tapes), and Laura Harris (Aquarium, Death Valley Girls). This past year, the trio released their sophomore album, It’s Real, continuing the tear-it-up rock ‘n roll from their debut, Rips (which also celebrated its five year anniversary this year).
Playing their last show of the year, Ex Hex brought the noise to a packed Ottobar on Dec. 14. And as a cool surprise, in addition to Mary, Betsy, and Laura, on bass was the amazing Michelle Mae of DC greats The Make Up. After amazing sets by Baltimore band Quattracenta and super group of sorts, DC’s own Gauche (with members of Priests and Downtown Boys), Ex Hex took the stage to huge applause.
With little introduction, the band flew into “Good Times” from the new record. And it was immediately apparent, this was gonna be a fun evening as Mary and Betsy played to the crowd, trading vocals and guitar licks. And while most of the tunes were from It’s Real, there were fan favorites from their debut like, “Beast” and “How You Got That Girl,” with its harmonies and Cars vibe.
And as Betsy and Mary shredded on guitar, Laura hammered on under a big neon Ex Hex sign — she’s one of the best drummers I’ve seen — while at one point, Mary and Betsy watched on side by side while Michelle played tore it up on bass.
Watch a video for “Rainbow Shiner” by Ex Hex on YouTube:
After playing what seemed like a far too short set, the band came back to play one of my fave’s — “Radio On” — followed by “Hot and Cold.” Although this is the last show of Ex Hex’s 2019 tour supporting It’s Real, I’m selfishly hoping the band returns soon. This was one fun show! Check out more on Ex Hex here.
The setlist included:
You Fell Apart
How You Got That Girl
Hot and Cold
Here are some more photos of Ex Hex performing at the Ottobar on Dec. 14, 2019. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.