concert reviews

Oxford Collapse at the Black Cat Backstage, Washington, DC, Wednesday 1 November 2006

After Oxford Collapse's first song Wednesday night at the Black Cat Backstage, guitarist Michael Pace asked the crowd how the music sounded, and one fan yelled back, "It sounds just like your record!" He may have been complaining, but the reproduction of the studio sound in the live setting is hardly a bad thing for this Brooklyn, N.Y., trio. The band's latest album, "Remember the Night Parties," is an infectiously boisterous indie-rock collection that evokes the rowdy festivities of its title.

That energy was the crux of Oxford Collapse's 40-minute set. Bassist Adam Rizer joined Pace on vocals for most of the show; the sloppiness of their singalong on "Lady Lawyers" captured the drunken jubilation of the end of the school year. The repeated yelp of "You should be standing right next to me!" on "Please Visit Your National Parks" reflected the song's raw emotion better than more eloquent lyrics could.

Beneath those exuberant vocals, Rizer's bass lines were the songs' driving force, from the thunderous melody of "Let's Vanish" to his vigorous strumming on "Return of/Burno." His style certainly evoked Minutemen/fIREHOSE bassist Mike Watt, but Oxford Collapse was so intent on pushing forward that most comparisons were obliterated by the band's overwhelming energy.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post, 3 November 2006; Page C11
.: Selected discography: Remember the Night Parties (Oxford Collapse, 2006); A Good Ground (Oxford Collapse, 2005); Some Wilderness (Oxford Collapse, 2004).