Much fuss was made last year when supercool indie band Girls Against Boys made the jump from Chicago’s too-legit Touch & Go Records to the Geffen-affiliated DGC Records. So it was a smart move by the group to introduce its new “Freak*On*Ica” album to local fans by playing this out-of-the-way, promoter-free venue, which was uncharacteristically ringed by two long lines just before showtime.
The Washington, D.C.-bred quartet, which plays an especially original, throbbing guitar-dance hybrid, em-ployed a number of variations on the standard guitar-bass-drums rock setup at the packed and sweaty club, notably Eli Janney’s jumps between keyboards and second bass, as well as the addition of new touring turntablist DJ Jamin, all of which makes GVSB’s current live show one of the more inventive among the so-called alternative crowd.
With a knowing smirk, lead vocalist and guitarist Scott McCloud sang futuristic lyrics of pleasure, bizarre characters and urban nightmares (what he called “disco, Satan, the whole thing”) over the group’s bottom-heavy soundtrack.
The powerful, stripped-down passages that featured the duo bass sans DJ were the 16-song show’s most impressive moments, as on older songs like “Superfire” and “TheKindaMzkYouLike.” But newer selections with Janney on keys, the carnal “Pleasurized,” from “Freak*On*Ica,” for example, were full of energy and benefited from the variety of sounds at his disposal.
Highlights of the 100-minute performance included show opener “Park Avenue,” which celebrates the good life, and “Vera Cruz” — from 1996’s excellent “House of GVSB” (Touch & Go) album — which built from a simple techno beat into a heavy, pulsing rocker.