TVD Live Shots: Hot Snakes, Vundabar, and Meat Wave at Union Stage, 6/10

There’s nothing better than a punk rock show on a Sunday night …well, almost. But thanks to the San Diego based post-hardcore outfit Hot Snakes, last Sunday evening turned out to be a little more interesting than drinking Irish Slammers and watching Iron Chef America re-runs on the boob-tube (boob-tube; an electronic box containing a video screen and a speaker, watched by millions of cretins too lazy to go out and get a life. [Def. 3] in Urban Dictionary Online, June 10, 2018).

Seriously speaking though, the cold fact is when Swami John Reis and friends are in town—in any manifestation, whether Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu, or even RFTC—the right thing to do is drag your ass downtown and make it to the show! As I may have said before, this unique combination of musicians playing together is a gift from beyond, and quite frankly, it’s a magic that can’t be taken for granted. On this particular night, John Reis along with his perfect counterpart in rock, Rick Froberg, led the rest of their intrepid Hot Snakes (Gar Wood, Jason Kourkounis) into a night of steady, hard, and overdriven music at one of DC’s newest venues, Union Stage.

Live is where the Hot Snakes rule. Froberg’s distinct vocals, Gar and Jason’s pounding rhythm section, and Reis’ furious guitar work seem to take new form on stage. Their scratchy rhythms are elevated to insane heights and when things get too wild, they still hit those sweet grooves when called for. Plainly said, Hot Snakes are simply the best at what they do—and with a new album in stores, Hot Snakes have hit a perfect stride.

Sunday’s Union Stage show actually wrapped up the current leg of their tour with only a few new dates added so far for September. The band has been on the road to promote the newest studio album, Jericho Sirens (Sub Pop) which is the band’s first full length release that fans could bite down upon in nearly fourteen years. Jericho Sirens features 10 songs and the 12” record can be purchased in either a “loser edition black vinyl” or “clear vinyl edition.”

The Hot Snakes’ setlist included “Death Camp Fantasy,” “LAX,” “10th Planet,” “Suicide Invoice,” “Six Wave Hold Down,” “Gar Forgot His Insulin,” “Death Doula,” “Jericho Sirens,” “I Need a Doctor,” “Automatic Midnight,” “XOX,” “Who Died,” “No Hands,” “Braintrust,” and “Retrofit.”

The Boston-based band Vundabar had a pretty good draw all their own. The band really seemed to get the crowd going throughout their set with plenty of flailing limbs, dancing, and moving about the room. Combining elements of hardcore, both melodic and math-rockish, I can see the appeal as the fun vibe cuts right through to the top. Meat Wave, the Chicago-based trio, got the evening started with their punchy and drum heavy rhythms. Their short set left me wanting more.

Setting the scene for the festivities was one of DC’s newest venues, Union Stage. I was impressed by the simple layout of the room and the stage. Sight lines are good all around and the sound was top-notch. The venue even sports a pretty chill bar upstairs with lots of beer and some fantastic looking pizza.



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