Cathy DiToro fronts DiToro at Pearl Street Warehouse on Dec. 20, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
If you’re a regular in DC concert halls, Cathy DiToro is an unmistakable presence. In the cover songs game, her bands dominate the area as she takes to the stage with Party Like It’s…, a ska group that favors the ’90s, and The Legwarmers, the Virginia-based perennial ’80s favorites. With her appealing voice and her movie-star smile, Cathy always is a key player in memorable performances by these local mainstays.
Cathy has ambitions beyond cover bands, however, and DiToro, her latest vehicle for original music, is very much worth your time. DiToro, a quartet that swiped its band name from Cathy’s own surname, recently opened for Never Ending Fall at Pearl Street Warehouse in what we hope is a an opening bid to conquer stages throughout 2023.
On Dec. 20 at Pearl Street Warehouse, DiToro reminded the crowded room that this latest band isn’t Cathy’s first turn at original music as thankfully she has held over a few songs from her last group, which was called Rose Riot. Although Rose Riot is no more, DiToro placed a few of their songs into their catalog. And so, early in their set, the band performed the fresh and fun “Magic Pills” with frenetic energy.
Soon, DiToro presented the more serious but no less fun “Can’t Help Myself,” a new song about lost love released by Big Curve Music. Like many of DiToro’s songs, “Can’t Help Myself” has a ’90s pop sheen and it’s an instant classic.
Stream “Can’t Help Myself” by DiToro on Spotify:
In addition to Cathy, producer, songwriter, guitarist, and occasional vocalist Eric Taft deserves credit for much of the very strong songcraft of DiToro’s songs. Anchored on stage right for the Pearl Street Warehouse concert, Eric seamed a very serious but also a very gregarious contributor, focused on backing Cathy but ready with a quick smile or comment to keep things light.
The groovy rhythm section of Mark Lepusic (bass) and Lee Hallett (drums) injected punchy power into the pleasing set. Eric, Mark, and Lee are veterans of cover band Party Like It’s…, and they clearly have forged an easygoing but kinetic bond with vocalist Cathy over the years.
Later in the set, DiToro performs the standout original “In My Dreams,” which carried a tune reminiscent of a poppy Mazzy Star. It’s a powerful song that stays with you, and it alone is worth the price of admission to a DiToro show. Cathy also filmed an ethereal video, shot by her crafty significant other Chris Kamsch (a talented man himself), to accompany the song. Song and video are winners all around.
Watch the official music video for “In My Dreams” by DiToro on YouTube:
Given that DiToro draws its membership from a cover band, it was no surprise that at least one cover song entered the mix at Pearl Street Warehouse. And that cleverly selected cover tune, performed near the end of the show, was “Sunday Morning” by No Doubt, which Cathy described as the band’s best song, lifted from their best album. It may well be a little too easy to draw some parallels between Cathy and a young Gwen Stefani, but it’s just the honest truth. Our DC rocker will very much remind you of a young musician Gwen, both with powerhouse vocal talent in a similar soprano range and with distinctive blonde haircuts.
All the same, DiToro undoubtedly are off to a strong start, and we’re sure to see more of them in the year ahead!
Here are some photos of DiToro performing at Pearl Street Warehouse on Dec. 20, 2022. All pictures by Mickey McCarter.