Live Review: Public Figures @ DC9 — 2/25/22

Public Figures perform at DC9 on Feb. 25, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Punk duo Public Figures rock out in the very best way, throwing drum and bass into a classic punk rock mix that inspires the audience to dance your way out the door while flipping the bird to the world.

At DC9 recently, Public Figures opened fellow punks Weird Babies, and the world, or at least the personal hubris of those who live in it, was squarely in their sights as they thumped away to the beat of songs from their debut album, Year of the Garada, released last year during the pandemic lockdown.

For example, Van Hillard (drums) and Chad McCall (bass) scoff at entitlement in “NOUN” from the new album, taking a very Devo-like position on materialism and our relationship to success and *things*. Indeed, Van and Chad once were two-thirds of DC band Park Snakes, which occasionally radiated a Blondie vibe. The simpler arrangement of Public Figures by contrast is at least partly informed by Devo and the Akron outfit’s very early nervy art punk.

Stream Year of the Garuda by Public Figures on Spotify:

Van sang from his drumkit, making him the rare vocalist to attack from behind, while Chad danced, swirled, or doubled down on bass or synthesizer. The two form a well-oiled machine, and there was surprising bar-room grace to their lean configuration.

Public Figures performed plenty of what seemed to be new songs, not yet recorded, in the course of a dozen numbers. All the while, Public Figures turned their noses up at “the establishment,” our expectations of others, good times, and bad times. But at least they had a lot of fun doing it. More importantly, the audience very much enjoyed the results too. The roiling drums and snappy bass combo often produced clever hooks and catchy rhythms that captured our ears and moved our feet.

Clearly planning to write and perform much more now that stages have opened up once again, Public Figures seem eager to show their welcome faces frequently. Given their short, punchy songs, the duo surely serve as a readymade addition to any punk-leaning bill. And you’ll be happy to catch them paired any which way they please.

Here are some photos of Public Figures performing at DC9 on Feb. 25, 2022. All photos by Parklife DC.


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