Monday, April 23, 2007

The XYZ Affair @ Rock and Roll Hotel

We're gonna three-way this post Rockist style, so get ready...

G.L.: The braintrust of the Rockist Society did a little Sunday night rocking last night at DC's favorite new venue, the Rock and Roll Hotel. For G.H. and me, it was a feat of endurance worthy of mention in the Rockist Book of World Records (should one ever exist) as we made it to our third show in four nights. Not that it took much convincing though, considering the band happened to be one of our favorites - Brooklyn's very own The XYZ Affair. Tired though we may have been, we were promptly rocked back to life as they launched into an energetic set strongly favoring songs from their 2006 LP, A Few More Published Studies.

While the de facto opener was an amusing rendition of Boyz II Men's "Motown Philly", it was "The Young Philosopher" that set the stage for the evening. Showcasing their impressive vocal capabilities and a penchant for Prospect Park-sized choruses, "The Young Philosopher" also has, in my opinion, the catchiest guitar hook on the entire album. There were a few technical difficulties throughout, though overall I thought the set sounded fantastic. XYZ have certainly benefited from some time on the road, as they've seemed to find the big, beefy tone that works so well with their brand of indie arena-rock. We here at TRS can't wait to see more from these guys.

G.H. and Rob, I'm sure you were equally as impressed as I was, let's hear why.

G.H.: Yeah, agreed. These guys are slowly but surely morphing into pros. The sound was much beefier, roaring, and other applicable masculine adjectives. We chatted a little about this band later -- GL's seen them four or so times now, Rob three (I believe), myself twice -- and they seemed poised for a breakthrough. Granted, there were only fifteen people at this show, and probably only a couple of newcomers to the band, but the performances are edgy and impassioned, with the feel of "modern rock". I wrote a while back that their debut, A Few More Published Studies, sounded like a concept album about academia. It's not (says their lead singer), and, though it could be, it's really about being a recent college grad and trying to figure out women, which, of course, the Rockists all have pretty well covered. But for most, its accessible subject matter, immaculately performed, with extremely catchy results. The rousing chorus at the end of "Academics" seems like the stuff major labels kill for. Plus, the fact that this band parallels bands like Weezer, the Killers, even the Flaming Lips, while reserving a big soft spot for Queen's flair for anthemic, suite-like songs, would seem to translate into big time potential. I'm not saying you oughta hold your breath just yet, but when they start getting radio airplay one of these days, just remember that you heard it here first.

Rob: Impressed is an understatement. As my fellow Rockists pointed out, there were a few technical difficulties. A few of Alex's solos were lost to a bad connection and some of the harmonies were hard to hear, but the show still rocked, literally. We love these guys, and not just because they rock, it's because they are genuinely nice guys that rock. Even though they were wrapping up a long, tiring tour, they were extremely animated on stage and grateful for each and every fan at the show. Hell, they even played my favorite song of theirs: "Hello Hello Hello" off of the EP Good to Know (but Hard to Tell). It may have been because at their previous show I would scream for it between songs... they probably just wanted me to shut up.

Just because their self-proclaimed "Cushy Tour" is over, that doesn't mean these guys are talking a break. While talking to the band after the show, we learned that they are filming a video to "All My Friends" this week with super special guests. You can be assured that there will be a special This Week In Video as soon as it comes out.

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