Black Box Revelation/The Jones at DC9

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sometimes when bands that are acting as support on large tours have off dates, it gives them the opportunity to headline some smaller clubs and give their established fans a more intimate experience while also converting some newcomers. This is exactly what Belgian rock ‘n roll band Black Box Revelation has been doing, as they are currently playing large venues as support for Jane’s Addiction while headlining in between dates. Washington D.C. happened to be one of these dates, so I made my way to DC9 on a Thursday evening to see what the group had to offer.

Local DC area rock band The Jones was chosen to open the performance, and they offer a familiar mixture of blues and southern rock with a dash of some radio friendly elements that could easily make their songs appeal to a fairly broad range of listeners. Although there was a disappointingly small amount of people present in the audience (out of the 200-250 person capacity there were maybe 25-30 people there throughout the course of the evening), the group didn’t let that faze them and performed as though they were in front of a stadium full of people. While the core of their music pulled together some familiar sounds and vibes, each song felt different from the last and it never felt as though they were trying to stick with one formula and run it into the ground like many of today’s modern rock bands. Despite the fact that The Jones had some catchy riffs and gave each of their three members time to solo at some point during the set, what I enjoyed the most was the singing ability of guitarist Michael Greenberg. He has one of those extremely gravely voices that gives the group a rawer sound that is well suited to the instrumentals and reminds me of a time before rock bands of this type sounded so manufactured. According to their online bio these guys have been making music together since 2005, and you could definitely tell as they seemed to have good chemistry and never showed any signs of hesitation or nervousness. Local bands tend to be hit or miss, especially when it comes to rock, but The Jones won me over and I would like to continue following them to see if they have any success with breaking out across the country.

Black Box Revelation takes things back to a period of time when garage rock bands consisting of a guitarist and drummer were more prominent than they are now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are purely a retro act. Their sound is surprisingly loud for just two guys (and this led to some interesting banter between singer Jan Paternoster and the audience when a few people told him to play even louder), and some of the tunes that I recognized off of their newest release may have sounded even better in person than they do on the album. A lot of people seem to think that Black Box Revelation is a fairly new band with a limited amount of material, but that’s mainly because their first two albums didn’t get as widespread of a release as last year’s My Perception. But even though they flew through a wide range of material it still seemed as though the group’s set flew by far too quickly. Paternoster’s voice translates well to a live setting and his slightly higher pitch helps to make the band distinguishable from a number of the other garage rock acts out there. The crowd may have been fairly small for this particular show, but every single person was enjoying themselves and the duo was feeding off the vibes. Rather than ending their set with a song, the group chose to launch into an extended instrumental jam that kept building and building until the wall of sound was almost overwhelming. It’s always nice when bands of this type choose to play small shows like this and can create positive energy even with a small crowd, but Black Box Revelation did more than that and appeared to blow everyone in the audience away. They may just be getting momentum going in North America, but I could really see them going far in the years to come so check out these smaller venue performances if this duo comes your way as they might be in much bigger clubs next time around.


The Jones-
Black Box Revelation-

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