Review by Matt Miller, photos by Elise Dawson
A few weeks ago, in a city only about 80 miles away, a stalwart sect of peg-pilgrims arrived saturated, but satisfied at the Velvet Lounge for another episode of PEG WARS in Episode VI: Palpy Gets Bent.
The tempestuous trek began with some minor problems upon waking. I had never been to D.C. and I loathe piloting uncharted cosmos in the X-wing Oldsmobile… just call it a bad motivator. The situation resolved itself naturally though with sunshine and supper, and we began our tempestuous trek south.
Approaching the Capital, traffic speed shifted abruptly from about 95 to 45 light-years per second as hundreds of nerf-herders cowered before a mighty gale. Compiling intelligence data and our own fanaticism, we held a council and concluded that this was no storm, but rather Senator Palpatine flinging forks of force-lightning from the Death Star v3.0, which was hidden above the haze and clouds. This reincarnated ambassador of disaster had decided to befoul our mood and keep us from reaching 51 Peg! Nevertheless, rapid reflexes and a healthy measure of lunacy saw us to the fast lane and a speedy delivery to the Lounge of Velvet.
Palpy would have his revenge, however, using a subtle approach…oh yes, the Mind Trick. Couched in drama, the master of malevolence struck first by making the show start an hour later than scheduled, giving Illuminati more time to hit the cantina on the first floor to squelch the pre-show jitters in excess. After four and a half songs – or as near as I could tell, extended technical problems, Palpy invaded the vocalist’s mind. Onlookers saw him kneeling on the stage, trying to fend off the intrusion, but the darkside was just too powerful in that room and he ejected himself from the stage in a fit of hysteria.
Despite a few cases of catching drama among the crowd and a brief defection to the darkside myself – giggling as an inebriated fan of the previous band exited the stage on her face – the lightside shift in attitude was tangible. My best estimation suggests that the previous act performed to a swollen (and apparently infected) crowd, while 51 Peg hosted a more intimate smattering of souls. Perhaps the weather kept some fans away, although July is one damn fine month to take a soggy jog in D.C. even if the downpour is Sith-conjured.
After a minor delay and the undelivered promise of a complete set of Monkees covers, 51 Peg pelted the audience with the best sounding performance I’ve seen this spring/summer. Despite a ‘troubled’ drumset early on and an attack of the Code 12’s (the malfunction is standing 12 inches behind the device) on the sampler at the beginning of “Hacksaw Grin,” an unreleased yet highly crowd-motivating song, and the Imperial monsoon rampaging outside, nobody stormed off stage. Among the usual ESC/CTRL dominated set, 51 Peg also treated those of us who are fairly new to the 51 Peg live show with a couple songs from Strange Appointments. “Dust and Grind,” which apparently hadn’t been played on stage for two and a half years, was a surprising and welcome twist, and fans were even graced with a favorite, “Conditioner,” in a rare encore performance.
The atmosphere remained relaxed and enjoyable. In fact, I believe Palpy even forgave us the epic bantha up his ass for a time and joined in the excitement. I swear he was bobbing with me to “Rest of Us,” an unreleased song that will unsettle even the most malicious, bantha-inhabited ass.