Q and Not U
Logan Square Auditorium; Mon 25
Can you imagine trying to get a dour Aragon-sized crowd of Interpol fans to dance? Well, maybe not dance, exactly—more like channel the pogo-ing, herky-jerk motions from the party in A Charlie Brown Christmas if Lucy went goth and Schroeder started covering Devo. When Interpol chose Q and Not U as its opening act last month, it was a surprisingly deft move: While both bands are rooted in the same dark, angular art rock, Q and Not U's infallible shakeability briefly energized things before the darkness settled in.
The group started in 1998 with its roots deep in D.C. punk (drummer John Davis still publishes a zine that chronicles the scene); since then it has dropped a member and, like many other Dischord bands, dropped its straight Fugazi-emulating aural abrasions. On its latest, Power, it explores everything from elevatorial free jazz associations and Ben Folds–style piano banging to eerie church choir prayers, all while referencing the plays in dynamics that Fugazi virtually defined. There's no traditional D.C.-style politicking, either: "Eat rubble and ruin," Chris Richards sings on "Dine," one of Q's many vague musings. "That won't feed this baby. Feed this baby another baby." There won't be an afternoon sing-along set with the Wiggleworms at Old Town, we're guessing.
The most joyous part of Q and Not U's music, though, is probably the one thing the band would deny under oath: that the falsetto choruses, body-shaking basslines and wrist-flicking funk guitars are derived from socks-on-their-dicks–era Red Hot Chili Peppers. Block out the lyrical pretentiousness and just let loose.—Antonia Simigis