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2010/11/09 / monteurhulot

SHOW // Clinic & The Fresh & Onlys – Rock and Roll Hotel, DC

Clinic are gallivanting their way across North America this November; on the fifth they played a decently intimate show at the District of Columbia’s Rock and Roll Hotel, which, as their website announces, is “NOT REALLY A FUNCTIONING HOTEL.” on H Street NE. Opening for them were San Francisco-based tour-mates The Fresh & Onlys, who provided an interesting contrast in their approach to playing rock-based music so many decades are its formulation. The Fresh & Onlys are lo-fi and shambolic in the manner of the contemporary crop of SF garage-rock bands, and while they are one of the more notable groups in that scene, in a live context their washed out sound feels as though it comes as much from the compounded echoes of decades and decades of traditionally-conceived and played garage rock as it does from the physical reality of playing a number of electric guitars loudly in a small room.

Clinic, who on that night cheekily combined their trademark surgical masks with what could be described as “dashiki scrubs,” play a kind of rock music that revisits the past only to use a particular moment as a starting point to newly envision the present. In this way they are similar to Austin’s The Strange Boys, who play a kind of music that might have existed if rockabilly and rock & roll had continued to evolve without a British Invasion ever occurring. Clinic, on the other hand, lives in a world where (yes, I’ll say it again) surf/beat weirdos The Monks reigned supreme over The Beatles, Kinks & Rolling Stones. Playing from an alternate reality gives Clinic’s particular psych-stomp a freshness and enormous power: I was the kid losing his head front row center.

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