Washington, DC rockers Priests stormed the Biltmore Cabaret last night, undaunted by the unassuming Tuesday crowd.
First up were Sons of an Illustrious Father. Although they feature actor Ezra Miller, whose best known for his roles in Justice League, Fantastic Beasts, We Need to Talk About Kevin, the band didn’t need a famous member to prop up their budding success. Songs like “Post-Future” showed what they’re doing best: modestly distorted rock that soars over warm keyboard. They were also apt to rocking with heavy drumming, cutting, searing guitar, and aggressive, pained vocals.
Priests’ live shows have been known to be raucous with plenty of noise and volume, but last night, they polished their rough edges and kept the volume modest.
But that doesn’t mean Priests went easy on the equally modest crowd. The band got underway with the turbulent “Pink White House” and the frantic “Jj.” “The Seduction of Kansas” was loaded with drum fills by Daniele Daniele; G.L. Jaguar’s slick guitar tones seemed to glisten.
Some of Priests’ best moments were when Daniele Daniele and Katie Alice Greer swapped duties. Greer settled behind the drum kit and kept a steady beat with a pair of shakers while
Daniele sang the dark and seductive “I’m Clean.” On “68 Screen,” the two sang call-and- response with Daniele leading. Daniele drummed fast and hard. Yet as furiously as she played on “No Big Bang,” she was still able to recite the song’s outpour of poetic lyrics with a breath as steady as Alexandra Taylor’s bass lines were all night.
Then came the explosive string of closing songs. Priests’ deep cut “Personal Planes” was a clattering, rumbling, scorcher where everyone in the band came unhinged; even Taylor, who was usually still and focused, keeled over in a ball on the floor and played her bass with wild strums instead of deliberate notes. “Control Freak” buzzed in pummelling chaos. And the final song, “Jesus’ Son,” cut like a buzzsaw.
Even though Priests didn’t use a set list, they never stumbled or fumbled. They barrelled into their blistering tracks one after another with hardly any discussion between the members. That spontaneity added to the lively energy Priests brought to the otherwise quiet night.
review by Leslie Chu