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Fort Lean & We Are Augustines

Eric Sanderson and Billy McCarthy, then of the band Pela, at DC9 in February of 2007.0

It seems like it’s been a while since I saw a band that really impressed me (granted, I don’t stick around for more than a few songs these days) but I saw two bands this weekend that I think everyone should check out.

Keenan Mitchel of Fort Lean

On Friday I headed down to U Street Music Hall to check out the early Fort Lean & The Postelles show. U Street has been doing rock shows the last month or so in conjunction with the bookers at the Black Cat and 9:30 Club. I caught Zola Jesus a few weeks ago (I still need to get those photos up). Anyways, I had heard good things about Fort Lean, mostly from fellow concert photog Kyle Dean Reinford‘s weekly music email newsletter, so I thought I would go check them out and I’m really glad I did. I really enjoyed their brand of catchy, rhythmic indie rock and immediately came home and bought their EP and two singles on iTunes. They are also on Spotify if that’s your thing. Rcrd Lbl also has a few downloads. The NYT describes Fort Lean well:

But there’s nothing indie about Fort Lean, nothing small, nothing defeatist like that descriptor can often code. This is a big band playing small rooms that, especially compared with many of the acts performing this week, feels comically out of place.

That’s a very apt description. I think big things are in store for this band. They’re back in DC soon, opening for We Were Promised Jetpacks at the Black Cat on May 2nd. I am definitely going to be there. You should come too. Oh, I should also mention that their lead singer, Keenan Mitchel, has hair like Carlos Valderamma.

Eric Sanderson and Billy McCarthy, then of the band Pela, at DC9 in February of 2007.

On Saturday I grabbed a few friends and headed down to the 9:30 Club to see We Are Augustines open for Band of Skulls. I have been a Pela fan for many years, even booking one of their first ever shows in DC. Pela broke up a year or so ago and We Are Augustines were formed out of that band. Their sound hasn’t changed that much and that’s a good thing. I have seen Pela/We Are Augustines seven or eight times and they always put on an amazing show. At the gig on Saturday, the energy in the club went from 0 to 100 in less than 30 seconds once the band started their set. WAA have so much fun on stage and their enthusiasm is infectious to the crowd. They sounded MEGA, so big and loud. They’re more than ready to headline their own show at the 9:30 Club right now, they’re just waiting for all of us to help them make it happen. If you like earnest rock n roll a la Springsteen or The Gaslight Anthem, you feel right at home with WAA. Check them out on iTunes or Spotify. You’ll be glad you did.

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