Calm & Crisis | Black Cat | November 28, 2016


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I was fortunate enough to catch D.C. post-punk act Calm & Crisis at the Black Cat on a cold rainy night. Though still a young band, they exude a brave confidence and a dark power not often found in growing acts. Calm & Crisis’ sound exists in the sonic realm of the tenth drink: confused anger, flashing lights, and self-loathing (oh the wonderful self-loathing). There’s an inexhaustible youth found in their songs, and it shined through in their performance.

Calm & Crisis work best at their most raucous and energetic. Opener “Moving Parts” an excellent example, in which sound blossomed into every corner of the bar, spilling over like stale beer. Drummer Jake Diamond hit every note with perfect speed, and vocalist Pete Bonaventure thrived while buried under the rolling sound waves, its rough edges carving through massive guitar riffs and thumping bass. As the final choruses culminated, the band recklessly and joyfully charged to its end.

“Life of the Party” began as a slow-burn, the band trudging behind Pete’s off-kilter melodies. Though a welcome experimental shift, the song’s first few verses marked passivity atypical of Calm & Crisis’ usual hurricane thrill. “Cabernet Sauvignon” directly followed with its candlelit heartbreak and all, the perfect companion to “Life of the Party’s” dizziness—proving the band’s abilities to ream gentle melancholy from the darkest depths of whiskey's murky sorrows.

Something that’s remarkable about Calm & Crisis is their ability to be menacingly fun, proved by their deployment of a fantastically-timed “All Star” cover after a jammy new composition. The band fell back into a steady groove for the remainder of the show, reserving a cover of crowd favorite “Blister in the Sun” as their encore. There's something inexplicable about the healing power of still-ringing ears-- Calm & Crisis hit that nerve perfectly.

Listen to Calm & Crisis’ debut album on Bandcamp!

Written by Jonathan Koven