Live Picks! with Tony Porreco
Who: Brandon Ables, Brenda, North of Canada
Where: Velvet Lounge
When: Thursday, March 14
Song You Must Hear Today (but should have heard two years ago): Presto Bando – “Whole Body Blues”
When I learned in late December that Presto Bando was going to be breaking up following a final performance at Velvet Lounge on January 4th, 2013, I was so sad. Really, you have no idea. Over the course of almost a year, I saw them play 12 times, which must be the largest number of shows I’ve ever attended for any individual band. (This isn’t so remarkable. I actually went to grad school with a girl who’s seen Pearl Jam 50+ times.)
What kept me coming back? Sheer entertainment value. Corey Shinko’s goofy, yet oddly virtuosic bass lines were the musical equivalent of an enormous, off-leash cartoon dog, and my goodness, could vocalist Brandon Ables squeal and hoot with the intensity of an unhinged Southern preacher. One person I took to a Presto Bando show likened the experience to “some kind of future Dylan”, and that’s really not a bad summation, as Able’s songwriting is Southern rock served via manic punk energy and, above all, hefty quantities of raw id.
So, I was absolutely ecstatic when I learned a few of weeks ago that Presto Bando main man Brandon “Don” Ables would be returning to the stage for a show this Thursday at Velvet Lounge, opening up for two other DC acts. The first of these bands is Brenda, who play humorous goofball pop about topics such as manatees and deciding to become bisexual. Headlining the night is North of Canada, whose more straight laced (though still excellent) guitar rock promises to bring some traces of sanity to what’s otherwise destined to be an evening of wacky musical hijinks and madcap shenanigans.
I have it on good authority from Brandon himself that he’s got a considerable amount of new material he’s eager to try out, but that he’ll be playing “maybe two or three” old Presto Bando numbers, you know, for the kids.
I’ll be there, grinning from ear to ear, thrilled that I get to see one of my favorite personalities from the DC scene throw down again.