There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
I hope that neither my mother nor my former youth minister is reading this, but some years ago, Pentagram saved my life. After losing my job and house in rapid succession, I moved to a basement in D.C. and was temporarily parted from my special starlady. A friend gave me a copy of Pentagram’s First Daze Here, and I was amazed that those songs weren’t already firmly ensconced in the canon of proto-metal, their lyrics transcribed on notebooks during study hall by hessians the world over. Perhaps living in a frigid oubliette and being as lonely and emotionally vulnerable as I’d been since high school made me more susceptible to Pentagram’s dark charms. However, there really did seem to be a universal appeal to that collection of songs; it could stand alongside any Sabbath album. Pentagram was formed in Arlington, Va., in the early ’70s, and vocalist Bobby Liebling has the been the single common element in every incarnation since. At one point, the band was being courted by Kiss for the Casablanca roster, but Liebling’s personal demons ultimately derailed what could have been a rock gravy train. There’s been a resurgence of interest in Pentagram in recent years: A couple of stellar records—Sub-Basement (I can relate, Bobby!) and Show ’Em How—have demonstrated that Liebling still has a gift for doom songcraft. Admittedly, these days he looks—and sometimes sounds—like one of the evil skeksis from The Dark Crystal, but a live appearance from Liebling is as rare as a J.D. Salinger book signing. And I and a legion of other metalloids owe him our lives and eternal allegiance. Apologies, Moms and Pastor Richie. Pentagram plays with the Hidden Hand and Alabama Thunder Pussy at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (David Dunlap Jr.)