DREAMCAR played 9:30 Club this Thursday, May 18 with Superet, and both bands brought down the house with a visceral 80s experience both in style and sound.
There are two types of opening bands: ones that have nothing to do with the headliner musically, and ones that sync perfectly. Superet fell into the latter category, hitting on a range of sounds reminiscent of Green Day, Boy George and The Vines. With a strong start and finish, the five-piece band was the perfect choice for opening the show, and made the best of their 30-minute set time to corral the crowd of 20-somethings and older fans alike.
As the crowd quickly grew from 100 to 200-plus attendees once the clock struck 9:15 p.m., it was time for DREAMCAR to take the stage. Joined by two female backup singers and a gentleman wielding a saxophone in a Blues Brothers getup, AFI’s Davey Havok and crew made their presence felt throughout the venue in spectacular fashion.
Sporting an all-salmon pink suit and slick, gelled-back hair, Havok took immediate command of the stage with a profound voice that has only improved over time. A mix of Elvis and a refined Gomez Addams is the best way to describe Havok’s look and performance style as he worked the stage like runway.
As the show progressed, the band’s sound became more defined with No Doubt’s Tony Kanal and Tom Dumont bringing their signature string sounds with strong power chords and a heaping dose of bass backed by 80s synth leads. By the fourth song, Havok’s sports coat and tie were off, and the gentleman with the sax took center stage. Havok was a hard man to pin down, taking advantage of the entire space and moving around left to right, addressing the crowd from the pit to the balcony.
Despite the raucous energy, midway through the set, there was a significant drop in sound quality as all instruments started to get muddled and harder to distinguish from one another. However, the 80s sound of the band became sharper toward the later stages of the set, and finally got the entire venue moving with their closer, “Kill for Candy.”
As the crowd yearned for an encore, they were only met with bright lights and the stage crew breaking down equipment. As a relatively new band, DREAMCAR only had one album to play, which they did in a quick hour. Overall, the show was a huge success, but seemed a little short for the admission paid.
Havok’s stage performance and playful mannerisms brought the entire show full circle, and transformed a good show into a great performance. If you are an 80s music fan who’s looking for something a little different with a vocalist that has some solid pipes, DREAMCAR might be the band for you.
9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; 202-265-0930; www.930.com