Tue Nov 29

The Messthetics w/ James Brandon Lewis

Tue, November 29
7PM / $25
Off Sale
Blues Alley

1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007

The Messthetics

A meeting of the minds between respected members of Washington, D.C.'s experimental music and punk rock communities, The Messthetics are an instrumental trio who combine soaring, visionary guitar work with one of the tightest and most powerful rhythm sections in rock.

The last time drummer Brendan Canty and bassist Joe Lally were in a band together, they were the rhythmic architects for Fugazi, an organization whose decade and a half of disciplined progressivism provided a necessary bridge between the zenith of late-punk expression and everything alternative in rock that followed. In 2016, the two were enlisted by guitarist Anthony Pirog in a conspiracy to subvert and reimagine the power trio, bringing fully into the 21st Century a form that may have reached near perfection with Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys on the very first day of the 1970s.

With a self-titled recording scheduled for release in the Spring of 2018 on Dischord, the Messthetics will widen the reach of a decisive instrumental music that so far, they have only shared with a privileged handful of east coast and southern audiences. Across its eight original compositions and one cover, Anthony guides the sound through complex changes and harmonic densities that might compound, but never confound or muddy its connection with the listener’s body. Recorded by Brendan in their practice space, the group’s debut gives Anthony ample opportunities to swap guitar textures and styles as freely as an octopus changes patterns.

Brendan’s kit has a big heavy bell that he brought back from the Fugazi days. He maneuvers through this rhythmically shifty music with a fluid briskness that is periodically disrupted by the clang of his bell. Joe spent 8 years in Italy, among other things, woodshedding on eastern rhythms counted in 7 and 13, perfect preparation for the oddly-metered work of the Messthetics. He brings a rock-solid foundation to the groove at the same time playing a harmonic complement as ambitious and interesting as Anthony’s lines.

Bands can be dangerous when their members have accrued enough mileage to see their chops season into something like musical wisdom. When that understanding has the rare opportunity to percolate through a collaborative environment founded in love and anchored in gratitude, well, then shit can get rather intense. Anthony Pirog writes difficult music because original music usually is. Yet the ideas that he feeds through the Messthetics, are embraced by the Canty-Lally time machine, not just with precision and nuance, but with soul, joy, and groove. These last three are, indeed, the big guns in this spiritual war that music must become in the post-Trump era.

The initial concept was to mix noise/improv guitar with dance grooves – a kind of apocalyptic dance party where the beat keeps you moving, but the guitarist relentlessly terrorizes you. The first track, “Mythomania” retains elements of that posture, but as reality has itself become more daunting, Anthony – a fearless guitarist – has moved closer to his listeners, and is now willing to astonish without being so confrontational about it. That doesn’t mean the Messthetics in any way retreat from the responsibilities of a “hard” sound, just that its volume and edge never eat the bold structural ideas that define this new music. Anthony will even lubricate his tricky time signatures with energetic two-note riffs to keep the listener head-bobbing through the twisting structures. And when their collective voice is thick and heavy (like on “Crowds and Power”), it is neither ponderous nor plodding. Their performances and this debut recording have a lift and buoyancy that reflect back into the audience the love and gratitude at the foundation of this trio’s journey

— Dr. Thomas Stanley (aka Bushmeat Sound)

Visit Website
Watch Video

Tue, November 29

7PM / $25
Sold Out

*Please note:
1. Final sale, no refunds, not transferable.
2. $15 food/beverage minimum per person not included in ticket price.
3. Seating first come at the door. Doors open 6 PM & 8:45 PM respectively.
4. Photography or Recording of any kind is prohibited during the performance.
5. Keep conversation to a minimum during the performance.

Upcoming Events

Wed, November 30, 7:00 PM

Dave Kline Band feat. D.D. Jackson

Get Tickets →

Wed, November 30, 9:00 PM

Dave Kline Band feat. D.D. Jackson

Get Tickets →

Thu, December 1, 7:00 PM

"Jane Monheit....is the Merriest" Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Thu, December 1, 9:00 PM

"Jane Monheit....is the Merriest" Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Fri, December 2, 7:00 PM

"Jane Monheit....is the Merriest" Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Fri, December 2, 9:00 PM

"Jane Monheit....is the Merriest" Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Sat, December 3, 7:00 PM

"Jane Monheit....is the Merriest" Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Sat, December 3, 9:00 PM

"Jane Monheit....is the Merriest" Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Sun, December 4, 7:00 PM

"Jane Monheit....is the Merriest" Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Sun, December 4, 9:00 PM

"Jane Monheit....is the Merriest" Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Mon, December 5, 7:00 PM

The Jazz Academy Orchestra

Get Tickets →

Mon, December 5, 8:30 PM

Blues Alley Youth Orchestra

Get Tickets →

Tue, December 6, 7:00 PM

Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra "Ellington's Nutcracker"

Get Tickets →

Tue, December 6, 9:00 PM

Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra "Ellington's Nutcracker"

Get Tickets →

Wed, December 7, 7:00 PM

Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra "Ellington's Nutcracker"

Get Tickets →

Wed, December 7, 9:00 PM

Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra "Ellington's Nutcracker"

Get Tickets →

Thu, December 8, 7:00 PM

'Tis the Season with the John Pizzarelli Trio

Get Tickets →

Thu, December 8, 9:00 PM

'Tis the Season with the John Pizzarelli Trio

Get Tickets →

Fri, December 9, 7:00 PM

'Tis the Season with the John Pizzarelli Trio

Get Tickets →

Fri, December 9, 9:00 PM

'Tis the Season with the John Pizzarelli Trio

Get Tickets →

Sat, December 10, 7:00 PM

'Tis the Season with the John Pizzarelli Trio

Get Tickets →

Sat, December 10, 9:00 PM

'Tis the Season with the John Pizzarelli Trio

Get Tickets →

Sun, December 11, 7:00 PM

'Tis the Season with the John Pizzarelli Trio

Get Tickets →

Sun, December 11, 9:00 PM

'Tis the Season with the John Pizzarelli Trio

Get Tickets →

Mon, December 12, 7:00 PM

The Redd Brothers - "A Redd Christmas"

Get Tickets →

Mon, December 12, 9:00 PM

The Redd Brothers - "A Redd Christmas"

Get Tickets →

Tue, December 13, 7:00 PM

Veronneau - Annual Holiday Extravaganza - Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Tue, December 13, 9:00 PM

Veronneau - Annual Holiday Extravaganza - Recording Release

Get Tickets →

Wed, December 14, 7:00 PM

Wes Watkins & Got My Own Sound: "A Holiday Celebration"

Get Tickets →

Wed, December 14, 9:00 PM

Wes Watkins & Got My Own Sound: "A Holiday Celebration"

Get Tickets →

Thu, December 15, 7:00 PM

Tyra Levone Presents "Holiday Soul"

Get Tickets →