July 26, 2011

Hoots & Hellmouth - Hill Country BBQ - July 23, 2011

Want On Nothing At All
Do you like foot-stomping country? Do you dig on thigh-thumping folk? Can you deal with some right-on roots? Well I think you'll enjoy the rich sounds of Philadelphia-based rockers Hoots & Hellmouth. At times rowdy and at others contemplative, they are a great mix of roots and Americana. And lucky for us, they played a free show last Saturday at the newest DC music venue, Hill Country BBQ in Penn Quarter.

Hill Country is fairly small as venue space - only the basement is setup for shows and half of it's filled with long, family-style dining tables. The bar is fairly accommodating though, and service was great, only slowing when the venue swelled with bachelorettes and bros (apparently, a free show attracts a strange and diverse group of spectators). And it would be shameful not hype the food available in the main hall - some of the best and most authentic Texas BBQ you can find in greater DC.

Solid sound too for such a tight space; while the band had a hard time getting the mix right in their monitors, it sounded whole to us in the audience, with crisp upright bass, sharp trap set work, perfectly matched harmonies and just plain awesome mandolin and banjo. The band did two sets filled with most of their work to-date, however show highlights were our two personal favorites Roll Brandywine and Home for Supper, played back-to-back in the first set.

Per usual, the low score on the totem pole was for crowd misbehavior. Why you would want to come to a music performance just to have to yell to talk to your equally obnoxious friends is beyond me, but that's kind of DC's thing right now. All I can say is sorry band. But ultimately it was a great show and I for one am eagerly awaiting a return trip. See scorecard and sampler below.

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