For A Moment Last Night At DC’s Black Cat, Capsula Were The Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band In The World

Capsula 2

All lifelong aficionados of real rock’n’roll have essentially the same fantasy, which is to see their favorite band play ten feet away.  Some burly mothers regularly achieve this by muscling their way to the front of the crowd and staying there for an hour before the show starts.  Others — including the team at Tulip Frenzy – like a little breathing room, a little distance.  Unless circumstances allow us to get real close without bother.  Last night, alas, the Nation’s Capital did not show up in force to see Capsula open for Brazilian legends Os Mutantes.  But you sure couldn’t have told that from the way Capsula played.  And so we stood there, maybe five feet away, while they put on one of the best shows we’ve seen in the modern epoch.

Capsula, for those who don’t know — and if you don’t, we pity you — are the finest punk rock band to ever emerge from South America, though for the past 13 years they’ve used Bilbao as their locus for world domination.  It’s been paying off, too, as Solar Secrets, their recent album produced by Tony Visconti — fresh from his handling the chores for David Bowie’s The Next Day — has been topping Alternative charts in Europe.  They may be the hardest working band in rock’n’roll these days.  Based on the commitment they showed last night, wherein Martin Guevara and Coni Duchess bounced off one another, and then the ceiling, like those ping pong balls about to be plucked for the Powerball lottery, they may, at moments, also be the single best live band working today.  The drummer — was that Ignacio Villarejo or someone else? — was like a locomotive, minus the smoke, and even when Guevara and Duchess were doing synchronized back flips, the musicianship would have made the Berlin Philharmonic seem like amateurs.

Longtime fans of Tulip Frenzy know we’ve been wild for Capsula for years and years.  Ever since hearing 2006’s Songs & Circuits, we’ve viewed them as some magical combo of the Cramps, the Stooges, and the best ’70s radio pop.  We can’t put it better than… we already have: “Capsula is a throwback to an era of punk rock that may not ever have existed, a remnant of a Platonic world where all songs are played fast, where the drummer keeps an animalistic beat for hours on end, a place where the pogoing guitarist can fill the stage and stage the fills with melody and soul as the girl bassist with the bunny ears rocks harder than Izzy Stradlin. When Songs & Circuits came out five years ago, we could scarcely believe our luck, pinched ourselves to find a modern punk band that played fast and offered steaming parilla of smoking riffs and still poured on melody like it was hot sauce.”

We still feel that way, even as we would rank Solar Secrets a half-notch below both Songs & Circuits and 2011’s In The Land Of The Silver Souls.  The set list last night was long on new material like “Constellation Freedom,” and a cover of Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” which they played on their Ziggy Stardust homage, with a dip back into the catalogue with songs like “Communication,” their update of the Stooges’ “Penetration.”

Capsula 1

At one point, Guevara hung his guitar from the ceiling and then wrapped his mike around a pipe, singing into it while it dangled above him.  Although on record, they can be very smart classicists, in their first-ever DC concert they showed themselves to be the kind of hams that the Fleshtones can be, willing to do virtually anything to extend that rock’n’roll moment one minute longer, to turn the dials to 11.  There should have have been 1000 people there, not a couple of hundred, but here’s the essential thing to know about Capsula: the set they would have played for that larger crowd wouldn’t have been any different than what they did for us last night.

3 Responses to “For A Moment Last Night At DC’s Black Cat, Capsula Were The Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band In The World”

  1. […] not the only person who thinks Capsula is the best rock n’ roll band in the world. Check out what John Buckley over at Tulip Frenzy has to say about their November 23rd performance at The Black Cat in Washington […]

  2. […] Capsula, though, a band that we have previously called The Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band in the World, Dead Or Alive is definitely a great place to begin, as it quickly proves we’re right, is an […]

  3. […] exiles who now use Bilbao as their base for contra-European conquest, and who Tulip Frenzy once declared was the Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band in the World.  With three albums already recorded in Buenos Aires, and in Spanish, they leapt to our attention […]

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