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July 24, 2007

The Drugstore Cowboys @ Jammin Java 7/23/07

I don't mean to harp on you guys, but seriously, go to some local shows at small venues.  It's an order!  No matter where I go, I always seem to find a diamond in the rough. 
The untrodden territory I happened upon Monday night was at Jammin Java in Vienna, Virginia.    As I sat there with my beer, watching the little scenesters gyrate to the opening bands, I began to feel as though my friend Ben and I were the oldest people there... until we saw the anxious parents waiting on the sidelines for their sons to start wailing away on their practice guitars.  The first few bands were okay, but needed practice.  This place was good for them because it was intimate enough to make them feel comfortable, but large enough to give them an idea of what it was like to play a "real" venue.  I sat through "Like A Movie" and "The Distance."  The former went through guitars like I go through text messages and the latter just kept telling us how tired they were, blaming that for their set being lackluster, which it was not. 

I was starting to grow tired of the excuses when The Drugstore Cowboys came out.   There was an energy that flew over the ever-expanding crowd and I kind of sat up in my chair, hoping for the best.  I wasn't disappointed.  These clever stallions decided to set up a projector as their backdrop and treated their guests to snippets from movies.  You name it, they've probably sampled it: Bad Boys to zombies, Bruce Lee to TMNT, they created new beats for old classics.  When our eyes weren't feasting on Will Smith and Vanilla Ice, they were watching the gyrations of singers Philippe Grenade and Jeffrey Scott as they threw candy and maracas to the crowd and organized stage dives all the while screeching their hearts out to beats reminiscent of the Faint mixed with the Beastie Boys.  I don't think there was one person in that room that wasn't enjoying themselves by the end of the show. 

Today, I had the pleasure of having an email conversation with the guitarist, Niku Azam.  I asked him who their biggest influences were, musically.  He replied "[they] range between members. The best part about our band is that we fuse so many different styles and genres of music that you cant really classify it too easily. A couple of the influences that we all share range from The Faint to Marilyn Manson to Dillinger Escape Plan to Movie Scores to Justin Timberlake."

I also asked him how they came up with the idea to have movies playing behind them as a backdrop because I have never seen that done before.  "We always try and do something new and fresh with our live show," he wrote.  "We came up with the idea of projecting movies not only onto our backdrop, but also onto us when we were thinking of something cool to do that nobody has ever done before."

"When we go to shows," he continued, "we believe that a band should not only be musically appealing but also visually appealing. Thats why we incorporated videos to our songs. We also love getting the crowd involved by handing out various toys such as maracas and things of that sort because getting the crowd involvement is very important to us. We want to be able to connect to our fans. Also, with every tour, we always have a new and crazy show."

Well put.  And well done, guys.  The Drugstore Cowboys are currently on tour in the Northeastern part of our wonderful United States so even if you're not in the DC area, I suggest you check them out.

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