Black Kids – Looking backward to preview upcoming show…


Black Kids are coming to the 9:30 Club on April 4. The last time they played in the area (Bmore) my friend Duffy did a post reviewing the show and in a total dick move by me I did not post it. Here it is. Better late than never, I suppose. And now it serves as a nice preview for the upcoming gig.

For months, I’ve been noting how great the Baltimore music scene is, but haven’t taken nearly enough time to get out and see some great shows. Sure, they might be at some tough places to get to, but a solid set from an up-and-coming band can make the $30 cab ride blues disappear.

I had one of those nights last weekend when Black Kids and The Virgins came to Baltimore’s Ottobar. (Full disclosure: The Magic Wands kicked things off, but I was too late to catch them. Sorry, Wands.)

I’d been following Black Kids for a few months now, after reading about their 80s-style synth-pop melodies in an early-summer edition of SPIN magazine. After spinning a few of their tunes from this year’s Partie Traumatic on their MySpace page, I was intrigued. A multi-racial collective, Black Kids are driven by lead singer and songwriter Reggie Youngblood and his sister, Ali, on keys.

Round it out with Dawn Watley on a second keyboard, Owen Holmes on bass and Kevin Smith on drums, and there are ample ways to create something that is reminiscent of a cranked-up, punky Cure.

In fact, Robert, 28, sings with a nasally wail that is very similar to Robert Smith’s pitch.

The Jacksonville, Fla., quintet actually got its start playing Christian rock songs, and such fiery roots also ran as an undercurrent to the catchy, new-wave sound.

The show itself was a simple mix of synths and a steady drum beat takes care of the head nodding, while the male Youngblood has the hooks appropriate for a fist pump once and a while. Pack it in a dingy and cramped club and charge $3 for Natty Bohs, I’d defy you to not move your feet.

Highlights were Look at Me When I Rock Witchoo (I know, unfortunate title), which has a great trade-off on vocals between both Youngbloods, Hit the Heartbreaks and their new single, I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You.

They closed with Boyfriend, which had everyone singing along with the “Dance! Dance! Dance! Dance!” mantra.

There wasn’t much of a stage show, but with the size of the stage, I can’t blame them. I will say Youngblood had a pretty good relationship with the crowd, and it was definitely evident the band was having a good time.

Listen, I’m not going to say Black Kids are doing anything new or original, they’re just making really good remakes of 80s fare. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I’d check them out if I were you, but just make sure to bring your dancing shoes.

Sidebar: The Virgins, who opened, were pretty impressive. Reminded me of an “Is This It”-era Strokes. They’re apparently also from NYC, so go figure. But, I think there’s been a departure from some of that good, gritty garage pop/rock that came out around 2000. Seems like The Virgins are now carrying the torch.


One Response to “Black Kids – Looking backward to preview upcoming show…”

  1. duffster Says:

    Thx for the pub, man!

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