Live Review: AKACOD @ the Red and the Black, February 16, 2008

Dana Colley made his somewhat less than triumphant return to DC this past weekend with his newest band, AKACOD. Comprised of himself, the stunning Monique Ortiz of Bourbon Princess fame, and drummer Larry Dersch (who incidentally played the skins on Morphine’s “Like Swimming”), the band played to a less than packed house at the Red and the Black on Saturday night. I called the venue on Friday afternoon and was told there had been numerous inquiries about tickets, so I showed up at 6 pm on Saturday, more than four hours before the show expecting to see a line around the block. Not only was I the first one there, I later was informed by the club owner that I was the only person that bothered to get tickets in advance at all (the Red and the Black does not have ticket pre-sales prior to the night of shows). With an 80 person max capacity, I would guess somewhere between 50 and 60 people showed. With Ortiz’s throaty vocals reminiscent of the late Mark Sandman and Colley simply being involved, comparisons to Morphine are inevitable, but the band does manage a sound of its own and it’s one worth hearing.

Even though I picked up the new CD about a week and a half ago, I must admit I am not super familiar with the new material, so I can’t help with a playlist. They did play my two favorite tracks from the album, though, “Happiness” and “Spanish Fly,” arguably the two highlights of the evening. I can and will, however, point out a few things:

1. Mr. Colley had some type of filter on his sax and used his instrument in place of a lead guitar, a somewhat different approach than he used for Morphine and Twinemen. As a result, there was less opportunity for him to really open up and his trademark low, metallic growl was largely absent from the affair.

2. This is a personal thing, but the band didn’t engage in a whole lot of banter with the audience. One of the few comments made from the band came courtesy of Ms. Ortiz when she pointed out that the noise from the club next door was a bit overwhelming when she said, “We’d like to thank Amy Winehouse for letting us open for her tonight.” (“Rehab” was blasting from the speakers next door.)

3. I have one major gripe with the show and it’s directed squarely at Colley. After the show, I approached Ms. Monique and told her I wrote for a few different music blogs and she couldn’t have been nicer. She answered the handful of questions I had and provided me with both her phone number and e-mail address for any follow-up I might have. As a fan, this is the type of interaction that takes a show to a whole new level. I later approached Mr. Dana, failing to mention I wrote for anybody, simply asking if he’d sign the poster I bought. I waited for roughly 20 minutes while he jawed up some ladies before being informed by him that he would not, as his name already was in the corner of the lithograph. My fiance went up to him not 10 minutes later and secured the autograph. Now, I fully appreciate that a performer doesn’t owe the fans anything beyond the time on stage that the crowd has paid for, but I have to say, I thought that was kind of an asshat move. Particularly if you’re a band with virtually no recognition beyond past achievements, would it kill you to show the fans a little love, even if said fans have penises and not vaginas? Yes, I’m on my soapbox here a you may disagree with me entirely, but there we have it.

I’ll certainly see them or Twinemen or Bourbon Princess or whatever iteration comes to town when next they do, but my desire to purchase band schwag and recommend them to friends has been greatly lessened. I realize I’m coming off as a bit of a whiny fan boy, but when you see as many concerts as I do and encounter bands of equal or greater fame that will go to any lengths to please the fans, this came across as a rather unacceptable. So kudos to Monique and a boo to Dana.

Sadly, my cell phone has a POS camera and this was the best shot I could get of everyone.

My gripes aside, it was a strong show and the audience did get into things. Here’s a taste of the band from their MySpace.

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