Comet Gain: Live Last Night

Live Last Night

Nobody does charismatically disheveled indie-pop like the British, and Comet Gain has been doing it -- singer-guitarist David Charlie Christian Feck announced last night at the Black Cat -- for 45 years. A giddy if disorganized mix of bookish irony and scruffy rock, the band's set was charming, cheering and sometimes really good.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

Feck, the sole surviving original member, was joking about a 45-year career. Comet Gain has been together, if that's the word, for only 17 years, and certainly isn't overexposed. Its melodically direct but lyrically tangled music arrives in bits and pieces, some of which are amassed on a new collection, "Broken Record Prayers.'' The rare U.S. tour that brought the quintet to Washington included only two other dates.

Although the band's rueful sensibility remains quite British, its lineup has gone global. Aside from Feck and singer Rachel Evans, this edition of Comet Gain included Japanese bassist Kay Ishikawa, French keyboardist Anne Laure GG and a stateside fill-in drummer. There were false starts and breakdowns, and as Feck predicted, the musicians stumbled over a new song. Yet such sturdy older material as "The Fists in the Pocket'' was solid and dynamic.

Feck alternated self-deprecating remarks with noisy solos, punishing his Rickenbacker more severely than he does in the studio. Yet the singer's playful snarls couldn't disguise his romanticism, and the group closed with "The Kids in the Club,'' a genuine record prayer: "If the kids in the club have faith enough,'' Feck sang, "then the kids at club will rise above.''


By J. Freedom du Lac |  April 9, 2009; 2:05 PM ET Live Last Night
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