The band on the poster was “Garbage Zone” from Coeur D’Alene, Md., but nobody seemed surprised Saturday night at Comet Ping-Pong when The Make-Up walked out in black suits. “We’re a tribute band,” announced frontman Ian Svenonius to the 100 or so fans. Fine, but it was gratifying to hear a Make-Up that still sounds like The Make-Up—-dirty and slinky and holy-rolling. Agree with Malitz here: The highlight was an immaculately ragged “We Can’t Be Contained,” which is still all build, half release. You can’t beat The Make-Up for that kind of emotional unleashing, which still manages to self-examine and instruct; if there’s a line running through Svenonius’ bands, it’s a pedagogical one. For my money, he’s only honed his wit—-and his lessons for modern-day rock and the people who think about it—-with Weird War and now Chain & the Gang. But music that’s unhinged, too? That’s what The Make-Up’s “gospel yeh-yeh” is all about. The Make-Up reunion—-with original members Svenonius, Michelle Mae, and James Canty plus fill-in drummer Mark Cisneros—-continues May 25-27 in London and Sept. 21-23 in New Jersey; both shows are curated by All Tomorrow’s Parties. Hopefully D.C. gets another date, too.
Saturday’s show also included a set of garage-rock covers by Kid Congo Powers, Tom Bunnell, Brendan Canty, Alyssa Bell, and Cisneros. Check out Erica Bruce‘s photos of both sets here.