Concert Review & Photos: Ex Hex / JD Samson & MEN @ Comet Ping Pong (Washington, DC) 12/8

Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

A scorcher inside the pizza-and-ping pong joint.

This past Sunday the snow could not dampen the excitement for the Ex Hex and JD Samson & MEN show at Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C. Though the first band (Coup Sauvage & The Snips) cancelled due to the weather, it was a scorcher inside the pizza-and-ping pong joint with rock and dancing to warm the soul.

The evening began with brilliant guitarist Mary Timony’s new band Ex Hex performing around 45 minutes of fresh sounds. Joining the Autoclave/Helium/Wild Flag alum was bassist Betsy Wright and drummer Laura Harris. Their songs were brief bursts of sonic candy, with Timony leading on vocals and doing her trademark kicks and arm-raising. Frequent jams occurred, with Timony’s guitar meeting Wright’s bass for a glorious visual and audio show punctuated by the drumming of Harris. “Hot and Cold,” the one song Ex Hex had posted to the web, was even more catchy live then recorded and their set closing cover of Slant 6’s “What Kind of Monster” was a brilliant end to a brief taste of what is to come, as Ex Hex will release an album and tour in 2014.

From the punk of Ex Hex to the alternative dance world of JD Samson & MEN (who are playing Johnny Brenda’s Feb. 6) may seem like an odd transition, but the crowd who dug the hooks of Timony and Co. also drank up JD Samson & MEN’s quirky and infectious tunes. Samson, along with guitarist Michael O’Neill and keyboardist Lorna Dune began the night with the subversive and catchy “Credit Card Babies.” Complete with oversized pants and a baseball cap adorned with fringe, Samson got the crowd dancing as O’Neill expertly added guitar and Dune owned the keys. Samson hopped, jumped and, most importantly, solidified her unique vision in song. This was best exemplified when she got the crowd to sing “Who am I” with joy and fervor in response to the masterful “Who Am I to Feel So Free.” The night outside may been cold, but not a single member of the audience could have left without being drenched in sweat and smiling from ear to ear.

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