If I could only use one word to describe the crowd at Zanzabar (2100 S. Preston St.) last night, that word would be "flannel." Seriously, it seemed like every hipster in the joint had on a flannel (or plaid) shirt. Not my thing. What is my thing, however, is the fiery rock trio out of Athens, Ga., known as the Whigs. Dudes put on a sweaty, adrenaline-fueled show. Definitely one of the top three concerts I've seen in town, N.E.R.D. at Coyote's and TV on the Radio at Headliners being the other two.
I had one too many $1.50 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon to recall a set list, but I will say this: The fact that they played "Already Young" and "Right Hand on My Heart" (the two best songs off 2008's excellent "Mission Control"), back-to-back right before the encore, made the $12 ticket price well worth it.
In March, the band will release the album "In the Dark," and guitarist-singer Parker Gispert, drummer Julian Dorio and bassist Tim Deaux road-tested several new songs. The low-ceilinged venue facilitates crisp acoustics, and the new material sounded great, though I still prefer jumping around to tunes I know like "Like a Vibration," which was the second song the Whigs tore through.
At one point, the head of Gispert's guitar was literally in the crowd. If you don't show up early for a Zanzabar concert, you won't be able to see a thing because there really isn't a stage. It's more like one big dance floor. (Basically, I'm apologizing for the crappy photos.)
1. A kid in a brown shirt with polka dots -- the next hipster clothing trend? -- threw up on the floor.
2. I had never heard Knoxville, Tenn., opener the Royal Bangs before last night. "These guys are badass," I said to my buddy. "Hell yeah they are," replied some stranger next to me.
3. At the merch table after the show, I got the Whigs to sign my ticket stub. I also bought a Whigs beer koozie, which has a drinking game on the back called Wizards. According to the koozie, one to infinity people can play. From the koozie: "Tape each fresh beer you open to the top of the one you just finished. The wizard with the tallest staff at sunrise wins! Game on!"
4. Also at the merch table, I overheard a woman ask Dorio where the band was staying. I would have guessed the Seelbach. "The Quality Inn," he said.
5. Women in the men's restroom.