The Black Cat,
Washington D.C., 2/23/97
with Saturine and Ladybug Transmitter
Sunday, February 23, 1997
I hate driving through Washington D.C. It is not a nice feeling town, and everything seems to close once the sun goes down. We had found The Black Cat pretty early, and had plenty of time to kill...but I will skip that whole event. Suffice to say we entered the club and began downing beers, as is the custom. The Lilys sat behind us at a table, laughing and being festive...the drummer even played "The Tennis System (and its stars)" on the jukebox.
Just prior to the show, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kurt, who is the mastermind behind the Lilys. The odd thing is, I didn't even approach him, he approched me, hand extended and smile on his face. Very friendly guy...the kind who will stand and talk to you for an hour just as soon as forget what he was speaking to you about and drift off into the crowd, seeking somebody else to entertain him for a few minutes. Oh yeah, and he was on acid, or so he told me. This was going to be an interesting night. (note that one of my companions made the mistake of calling him Kevin-as in Kevin Sheilds-and then asked if we were going to hear Ginger that night. I imagine that Kurt would have entertained a few more questions, but sensed that this would be the same ole' same ole'. Too bad...
Saturine and Ladybug Transmitter were both very good...in fact, I bought a Ladybug Transmitter CD that night. Very friendly people, who share members between bands. But of course, I was there to see Lilys.
When I had first heard Better Can't Make Your Life Better I was amazed at how easily Kurt mastered the retro sound...though it shouldn't be much of a surprise, he seems to be quite adept at creating a certain "sound" when he wishes to. The really amazing part was the way he mastered the part onstage. To say that Kurt Heasley is charismatic is like saying that Michael Jackson is a bit lighter than he used to be. With a groovy-as-hell band backing him, Kurt shimmied and shaked and grooved through most of the Better album, as well as a few cuts not to be heard on the record.
A real treat occurred halfway through the night, when the Apples in Stereo popped up in the front, dancing to the Lilys set. The Lilys and Apples have a history of close friendship, of course, but it was still a surprise to see them there. (I had just seen them the previous friday in NYC) And of course, they went wild when Lilys kicked into the Apples classic, "Touch The Water," jamming on it as if it were there own. Dazzling versions of "Ginger" and "ycjcyaqfrj" fit right into the set, blending well with newer material and getting the older Lilys fans jumping.
All in all, this band is severely under-known and under-covered. Live, they are one of the most exciting and vibrant rock bands touring right now (along with the Apples) and should be taken in at every opportunity.
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