Snapshots: Religious Figures @ Black Cat — 4/4/18

Priests Black Cat 09 Katie Alice Greer fronts Priests at Black Cat on April 4, 2018. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

What’s a band to do when their friends Ought are in town from Montreal? Why perform with them of course. But if you are DC’s own Priests, you may not want to steal any thunder, so you might perform under a pseudonym.

So Priests performed incognito as “Religious Figures,” opening Ought at Black Cat on Wednesday. (See our Parklife DC review of Ought!)

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Don’t Miss: Tim Darcy @ Black Cat, 3/8/17

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Tim Darcy (Photo by Shawn Brackbill)

Here at Parklife DC, we are big admirers of Montreal post-punk quartet Ought, who visited the Black Cat recently in support of their new album, Sun Coming Down, and its mesmerizing lead single “Beautiful Blue Sky.”

So complete seems Ought’s nervy rock music that it comes as something of a surprise to hear that lead singer Tim Darcy, an American originally hailing from Arizona, has launched a solo career. His debut album, Saturday Night, is due Feb. 17 via Jagjaguwar.

Judging from the lead single “Tall Glass of Water,” Tim is going for more straightforward jangle pop than the arty post-punk of Ought. Still, the fast-talking “tall glass of water” himself seems to have plenty of social commentary to pack into his songs! He will tour his solo album backstage at the Black Cat on Wednesday, March 8.

Watch the official music video for “Tall Glass of Water” by Tim Darcy on YouTube:

I’ve been among those to draw a line between Tim and David Byrne with his music in Ought, as the innovative sometimes disjoined melodies of the two bands seem similar. Tim undoubtedly will continue to put some distance between such comparisons, as flattering as they are meant to be, with his solo material.

When I saw Ought at the Black Cat last on May 10, I observed, “With his tall, lanky frame, vocalist and guitarist Tim strikes the figure of a melancholy academic on stage, looming large over the proceedings in a manner metaphorically similar to the way his words hang over our heads.”

All in all, Tim is a brilliant musician, and his solo effort is surely worth checking out!

Tickets are available online.

Tim Darcy
Black Cat
Wednesday, March 8
Doors @730pm
$12
All ages

Music Park: Ought @ Black Cat — 5/10/16

Ought 15 Ought perform at the Black Cat on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

The first notes are a foreboding bassline. Drums drop in line. A guitar hums. Synths flare softly.

Sings Tim Darcy in his distinctive drawl: With the light coming down over your shoulders, saying, “What is that sensation?”

As “Beautiful Blue Sky” unfurls, it becomes more frenetic and the band scatter pieces of a life across the audience like a hyper-montage from a forgotten movie — war plane! condo! How’s the church? How’s the job?

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Don’t Miss: Ought and Priests @ Black Cat, 5/10/16

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Ought (Photo by Colin Medley)

For my money, no professional music critic “gets” post-punk more than Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone (the man wrote a heart-breaking autobiographic account of his first marriage and love of music in “Love Is a Mix Tape,” after all).

And as such, it came as absolutely no surprise to me that he would love Ought, a Montreal-based quartet that draw comparisons to the Talking Heads and other bands that Rob has saluted in his various essays. Rob picked Ought’s song “Beautiful Blue Sky” as his #2 song of 2015, praising the song for its lyrical bravery.

Said Rob, “The Montreal postpunk kids lock into a staccato guitar groove and stretch it into a beautiful long marquee moon of a thing. Tim Darcey starts out sneering easy-target buzzwords (‘Warplane! Condo!’) and then the kind of phony clichés people say in cartoons (‘Fancy seeing you here! Beautiful weather today!’) then his own awkward confessions: ‘I am no longer afraid to dance tonight, because that’s all that I have left.'”

The song appears on Ought’s sophomore album, Sun Coming Down, released on Constellation Records in September 2015. Have a listen to it via Soundcloud:

Ought are touring in support of their new album, and the band stops locally at the Black Cat on Tuesday, May 10.

I first discovered Ought when I saw them perform at DC9 on Oct. 16, 2014, touring in support of their debut LP, More Than Any Other Day. At the time, I said, “Ought opened with ‘Today More Than Any Other Day,’ an amazing tribute really to living one’s life. It’s a bit like lyrics by [David] Byrne superimposed over melodies that could have come from Television. Musically, Ought could have sprung straight from 1977 via New York City.”

This show already is amazing enough, but it becomes even more amazing because DC punks Priests join Ought on the bill! In fact, Priests jump onto the Ought tour starting next week in Boston on May 4 and stick with them throughout the month.

Priests have a number of dynamic and great songs — and like Ought, they are a “must see” live band. When I last saw Priests at the Black Cat in February, the band performed a number of new songs they have been honing over the past year or so — songs that sit well with the Priests’ published catalog even if they aren’t always as frenetic.

This is one of my most anticipated shows of 2016. This concert will brim with vitality, intellectualism, and damn good music from both bands in a way that strikes me as if a young Talking Heads and Blondie were to have dropped by about 40 years ago (and that is the highest compliment I can think of!). Tickets are available online.

Ought and Priests
Black Cat
Tuesday, May 10
Doors @730pm
$15
All ages