The New Wave/punk movement has been much stronger in New york than in Washington -- witness the over-whelming dominance of New Wave artists in the annual jazz and pop critics poll in The Village Voice -- so that the Urban Verbs can play CBGB, a New York club, and remain cult figures in Washington. But their local audience is increasing, and they are at least the first group in memory to have people dancing in the aisles of the Cellar Door.
Those who grew up with the Animals and the Who and the Stones and the Kinks, and grew in sophistication along with them, would do well to take a second look at New Wave to remember just what it was that was so exciting 15 years ago. The Verbs are artists in the same vein, but they are minimalists, and it takes some getting used to. The most obvious difference is that they have exchanged an onstage stoicism for the sexuality which animated those earlier groups; but, from time to time, a flash of brilliance (for example, the compact violence of the group's name) shines through.
A congas duet may sound less than delightful, but Carla Perlo and Steve Bloom combined African, Cuban and Caribbean rhythms into a fascinating percussive display.