There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Two summers ago I shared an apartment with a 6-foot, pasty-skinned, completely silent redhead named Gary. The most animated I ever saw him was when my friend Big Al said that Urge OverkillGary’s favorite bandwas nothing but an early-’80s pop-rock band. I don’t think Gary said more than a sentence or two over the entire summer, with the exception of the torrent of verbal abuse that followed Al’s snub. But Big Al might have won the argument if he’d presented as Exhibit A the newly released CD of Greg Kihn’s live performance on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. Depending on whether you’re a Gary or a Big Al tastewise, the result is either fist-pounding brilliance or unforgivable cheesiness. For the Garys, Kihn offers “Reunited” to UO’s “Sister Havana,” and “The Break-Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em Like That Anymore)” to the younger band’s “Positive Bleeding.” The Big Als will note that to the Chicago trio’s urge, Kihn offers, well, overkill. Take this: “I’d like to dedicate this to anyone in the audience who’s ever broken up with someone.” Or these, the album’s inexplicable last words: “Take your shoes off!” Or this customarily raspy interjection: As the chorus kicks in with “Our love’s in jeopardy,” Kihn shouts, “Way down in Sudan, now!” Nash Kato and the boys shroud themselves in cool clothes and impenetrable irony; the Kihnsters (the band’s studio albums all featured zany plays on the singer’s name, à la Kihnspiracy and Rockihnroll) do it all with straight-ahead honesty. Guess they don’t write ’em like that anymore.Michael Schaffer