TVD Live Shots: Hot Snakes, Duchess Says, Suicide Pact at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 11/15

Wednesday night is a hard sell for any venue. In DC, it takes a band of great strength to lure mid-week concert-goers to any hall. Although when the right act shows up, rooms fill elbow to elbow just as they did last week as a sold out Rock and Roll Hotel hosted San Diego’s Hot Snakes, and with them some very impressive opening acts.

Hot Snakes are touring to support their upcoming 2018 release which, along with their entire back catalog, will be released on Sub Pop records next year. The new release has been highly anticipated and will be the band’s first since 2005’s Thunder Down Under. Their current nine stop November tour has included dates in San Francisco, Seattle, LA, Boston, Philly, and Washington, DC before the band jets off to Europe in January. It’s been five years since Hot Snakes played a show in Washington, and Wednesday’s crowd was primed with excitement before the band took the stage despite a painfully long set change between bands.

While the star of the show for many is Reis’ crisp guitar tone, it serves as the perfect punctuation for his longtime band mate Rick Froberg’s (Obits) more steady, open guitar lines and distinct throaty vocals. Hot Snakes’ rhythm section consists of Gar Wood on bass and not one, but two separate drummers—Jason Kourkounis (Delta 72) and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From The Crypt, Sultans)—both behind the kit for the specific songs they recorded with the band.

Just prior to Hot Snakes’ performance, John Reis leaned down toward the front of the stage where I was standing. He was plugging in guitar cords when he looked over at me like a werewolf before a full moon. “I’ll be sweating and falling all over you—you may need to pick me back up.” “It’ll be okay,” I offered. “I’ve got you—but I move around a lot too.” “But seriously,” he insisted, “you might wanna tell the people behind you—I’ll be all over here.”

After that warning, Reis sprang to his feet and the band jumped right into it. The very instant the first chord from his guitar rang, the wolfman had taken shape with a total submersion in the guitar riffs, as he had predicted.

Montreal’s Duchess Says featuring front-woman Annie-Claude Deschênes played the middle slot on Wednesday. Classifying themselves as “Moog rock” I really didn’t know what to expect, but after a few songs of building momentum I fell in love the band. Their quirky, but dark synth punk is fueled by the super fast guitar of Philippe Clément and Ismael Tremblay’s exhilarating keyboards. Over everything, their unique vocals and the dance moves of Deschênes literally pull you into the performance with Deschênes stalking the crowd, choosing her victims, and dragging them by the hand to join her on stage.

Suicide Pact from Brooklyn features members of Pilot To Gunner and I Hate Our Freedom. The band played tight and heavy and was a perfect fit for the night’s bill. Despite their name, I really hope these guys stick around.




Death Camp
Who Died
Hate The Kids
Gar Forgot His Insulin
Six Wave Hold
I Need a Doctor
10th Planet
Past Lives
Plenty for All
Think About Carbs
Having Another
The Mystic Decade
Suicide Invoice
If Credits What Matter I’ll Take Credit
Automatic Midnight
No Hands

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