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A riveting show is rare, and I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve been truly engaged by the live performance of a band I’ve never heard before. After seeing them in Brooklyn last week, however, Washington D.C.’s the OPPOSITE SEX have been added to that list.
Although they held the early opening slot at Trash Bar in Williamsburg on January 14th, an attentive audience awaited the band. It was the kind of crowd that you know is serious about their sounds – not your usual overly groomed, tastefully alternative-looking hipsters, but a melange of people with a forceful, singular thrust to their aesthetic that’s not always so pretty. The real weirdos, if you will, who were more into haphazard dancing than checking their reflections in a compact. And with the opening strains of the Opposite Sex’s arresting post-punk, complete with a slightly saucy glam stomp, we were all swept up in the dark, staccato sway of the music.
Singer SHAWN HELTON’s theatrics are a major part of the magic of the Opposite Sex. He was the consummate frontman, with smudges of black makeup bleeding from below his eyes and a smoldering, intense stare that lasted throughout the set, completely selling me on the band.
Afterwards, listening to their self-titled four-song EP from 2005 confirmed my affection for Opposite Sex. “Dollhouse,” “Ceremony,” and “The Sound,” have great promise, although the recording fails to adequately capture the vigor of such songs live. “All Consuming,” however, the final track on the EP, is a much closer approximation of the exciting sound the Opposite Sex possess in person. The pounding, tribal drums and ominous bassline that crescendo into a space of spacious reverb succeeds in being, well, an all consuming sonic experience that recalls some of GREG SAGE’s best unhinged work with the WIPERS. All this band needs is better production and better album art to really have the total package. Watch for a new release in the upcoming months!