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F R I D A Y
So-called “experimental” rock instrumentals so often shoot for rapture without coming anywhere close that a real bull’s eye is something to behold. Labradford’s January D.C. show offered a dazzling display of marksmanship. Subtle without being “atmospheric,” disembodied without seeming “spacey,” and so calm that it seemed quiet even at cranium-vibrating volume, the music of the Richmond trio mapped out new territory where none was thought to have existed. Exercising great discretion in honing their sound, guitarist/vocalist Mark Nelson, keyboardist Carter Brown, and bassist/sampler programmer Bobby Donne shunned the obvious sonic clichés of electronic music and remade the 9:30 Club into a holy place. Such an experience is maddeningly subjective, I’ll admit, and I can’t honestly say any of the band’s discs have recreated it, but the self-titled third long-player would be a good place to start looking for a reprise. Of course, back at the club would be a better one. Duck out before Tone, D.C.’s (and the 9:30 Club’s) own mini-Rockestra, takes the stage. The artily packaged Sustain’s seven-guitar attack, both turgid and surprisingly uncontrapuntal, does little to recommend such instrumentation. Besides, I thought that’s what we had amplifiers for. At 10:30 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. FREE. (202) 393-0930. (Glenn Dixon)