Live Picks! with Tony Porreco: The 27s @ Rock n’ Roll Hotel

Live Picks!

with Tony Porreco

Who: The 27s

Where: Rock n’ Roll Hotel

When: Friday Feb. 8th

Song You Must Hear Today: “Temporary Love”


For fans of classic 1980s power pop, listeners will do themselves a favor giving a listen to local quartet The 27s.  A reference to the age when a surprising number of rock legends (e.g. Cobain, Hendrix, Joplin) met untimely deaths, the band’s name speaks to the group’s awareness of rock n’ roll’s history and culture.  There’s a bit of irony here given that The 27s don’t feature the genre molding posturing of trendsetting rock icons.  You might even say that there’s nothing especially original about their sound, but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  Rather, their tracks possess an inviting sense of nostalgia.  Interestingly enough, this successful manufacturing of nostalgia is actually one of D.C. punk poobah Ian Svenonious’ (supernatural) strategies for making a rock n’ roll group, so they must be doing something right.

What sounds are we actually talking about here?  The 27s sound more than a little like The Replacements, and it’s awesome.  (I don’t think they’ll take too great offense at this, as the band’s ReverbNation page reads, “Sounds like: The Replacements”.)  With their bright, clean riffs and snake-y guitar leads, the group demonstrates themselves as keen students of ‘80s college rock.  The band has a five song release they recorded at Arlington’s Inner Ear Studios in the summer of 2011 with noted producer/owner Don Zientara that’s available to stream/download (for free!) on their ReverbNation.

By and large, the EP is filled with quick, sticky guitar pop and the gruff, sometimes muttered vocals of singer Adam Raley.  “Complicated” sports an instrumental break with a squirming guitar lead and especially deft playing from drummer Ahmad Asi, and the refrain of “On Again, Off Again” just blooms into sheer goodness.  The most compelling track of the bunch, however, is “Temporary Love”, which features a rousing, arena rock outro centered around the chorus’ repeated guitar hook.

Anyway, they’re headlining this Friday Feb. 8th at the Rock n’ Roll Hotel on H Street.  Openers include The Courtesans (1 cup proto-punk, 1 cup straight-ahead rock, stirred) and Davey Brown (bluesy country punk), who are also both from D.C., making for a night of solid local music.  You should go.

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