I have rambled on about Medications before, and I’m doing a ridiculously belated review, so let me just quickly go over what I remember about this show.
The first band on the line-up was Hume but there is some kind of karmic law that almost always prevents me from seeing Hume perform live. I forget what happened, but I missed them at this show, too, it probably had something to do with it being a really early performance.
Anyways, I got there post-Hume but with enough time before the next band, Deleted Scenes, to stroll about the U Street Music Hall for a bit and assess the place. It was my first time there and I was impressed! Even startled! I remembered the ok-but-not-anything-special bar that was in the same spot on U Street a few years ago, but the U-Hall is a whole ‘nother thing. (Not crazy about the name, though).
It wasn’t clear just how impressive the venue was, though, until Deleted Scenes started playing. This is a band that has been kicking around DC for a long time, but I’d never paid much attention. Apparently I have seen them before at Fort Reno, but I don’t really remember. They turned out to be ok, sort of inoffensive ’00s indie rock. I liked it well enough, but got a little bored by the end, but this is nothing really against the band. I feel the same way about, say, The National and almost every other popular indie band from the past 5 or 10 years. I would watch them play again but not seek out their music.
But oh my god, was the sound system great! The U-Hall sounded jaw-droppingly good. One of the guys in Deleted Scenes himself made a comment about Hume, something like “I don’t know if they are the best band in DC or if this is just the most amazing sound system in DC.” I was a little awestruck by the sound quality, it is way better than any rock venue in the city. Maybe the Kennedy Center’s is better? I am not sure. I was sort of jealous, wondering how my own rinky-dink music might sound on such a world-class system.
Once Medications went on, I realized that the excellent sound depended a bit on where you stood in the club. Since it’s primarily a dance/dj venue, it was optimized for being out in the middle of the floor; when we went up to the stage to watch the band closely, the sound got muddled. So it wasn’t perfect in every way, but moving 15 feet back from the stage isn’t really a supreme sacrifice.
Medications were great, similar to the previous time I’d seen them. In the meantime I had gotten their new album Completely Removed and so I knew all the new songs, which was mostly what they played. The crowd liked it, and the friend I took along who never knew them before was really into it. I even bought a t-shirt, feeling sort of obligated to support them but already owning all their recorded music (including Faraquet).
I am not sure what lies ahead for Medications. I heard that Chad moved out of town and I believe Devin got married? (I somehow know way more about this kind of info than I do about, like, the Duchess of York or whomever). They are sort of a relic of DC past, and I have grown to really like their new album, but they aren’t a good fit for the modern NPR-indie world. They’re like one of the last stegosaurs in a landscape of boring little (modest?) mice.