Live Review: Rose Riot @ Union Stage — 11/19/19

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Rose Riot performs at Union Stage on Nov. 19, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Should ever you found yourself in DC listening to a local cover band that isn’t White Ford Bronco, odds are that you’ve been struck by the blonde lightning bolt that is Cathy DiToro. The vocalist and guitarist appears regularly in ’80s coverband The Legwarmers, ’00s coverband So Fetch, and ska partyband Party Like It’s.

In addition to raising money to support women in music as chief of Project HERA, Cathy has been honing some original tunes as a solo artist for a while. So, it’s only natural that she would assemble a band to play more originals. Rose Riot, that very band, started playing around DC in November, and the quartet opened Letters to Cleo at Union Stage recently.

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Snapshots: 5 Seconds of Summer @ Capital One Arena — 10/15/19

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5 Seconds of Summer frontman Luke Hemmings on stage at Capital One Arena, Oct. 15, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS), the power-pop band from Australia that Rolling Stone calls “the biggest new rock act in the world,” played to a packed Capital One Arena crowd recently as they opened for The Chainsmokers on their World War Joy Tour.

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Music Park: Quiet Slang @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 7/12/18

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James Alex of Quiet Slang pours out his heart at the Rock and Roll Hotel on July 12, 2018. (Photo by David LaMason)

Beach Slang — the loud, driving, heart-on-your sleeve band led by James Alex — has been making their brand of Replacements-tinged powerpunk for a few years now. Beyond the rough and noisy exterior, Beach Slang songs are about connecting with the feeling of being different or an outsider or being yourself despite what others think.

But there’s a soft center to that hard exterior. So when James Alex announced the new quiet focus on Beach Slang songs with a project called Quiet Slang, it seemed like a natural extension. The resulting album, Everything Matters But No One Is Listening, is a beautiful retelling that sounds natural instead of forced, particularly when presented at Rock and Roll Hotel on Thursday.

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Music Park: Superchunk @ Ottobar — 2/15/17

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Superchunk rocks a sold-out Ottobar on Feb. 15, 2018 (Photo by David LaMason)

Hailing from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Superchunk has been blazing punk riffs for just shy of 30 years. Although the band needs no introduction perhaps what is needed is a reintroduction. Superchunk — consisting of Mac McCaughan (vocals/guitar), Laura Balance (bass), Jim Wilbur (guitar), and Jon Wurster (drums) — just released their 11th studio album, What a Time to Be Alive, this past Friday. On the night before, they played to a sold-out crowd at Ottobar in Baltimore.

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Music Park: Beach Slang @ Black Cat — 11/28/17

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Beach Slang pour their hearts out at Black Cat on Nov. 28, 2017. (Photo by David LaMason)

It goes without saying that Beach Slang have been having a difficult year. There was the well-publicized changes in band members in 2016, immediately followed by the first of two thefts where all of their gear was stolen. The second coming this past month in Seattle where their tour van was stolen. But it’s a testament to the spirit of Beach Slang that they not merely continue on or go through the motions, but they consistently play some of the best heart-on-your-sleeve-seat-of-your-pants rock ‘n’ roll every night. And at Black Cat, James Alex and Company poured out those hearts on Tuesday.

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