Red spotlights illuminated two gigantic Corinthian columns, following them to the ceiling of the cavernous Pension building. At their base, the stage was set for the Urban Verbs. When the group appeared, the capacity crowd jumped to its feet.
Saturday night, the Urban Verbs paid a fitting farewell to Washington. The performance was not so much an event as a party, with the group and its fans getting together one last time before the Verbs set out on tours of the United States and Europe.
In many ways, the show was a typical Urban Verbs concert. Singer Roddy Frantz cavorted about like a crazed marionette, sputtering out the lyrics while the crowd clapped and sang along. Behind him, the rest of the group remained anchored to the stage, churning out the dense jagged musical figures that have become their trademark.
Robert Goldstein's chain saw guitar chords and Robin Rose's pointillistic synthesizer work wove their way through the wind-tunnel like acoustics. The songs were held together by the rock-solid rhythms of bassist Linda France and drummer Danny Frankel. With the added reverberation of the hall, the music became a harmonic steamroller that crashed into the crowd. When it was all over, the group was called out for three encores.
With a record just released and tours ahead, the Urban Verbs no longer belong to Washington. One thing is certain, however. For the past two years, this group has served as a catalyst and focal point for the burgeoning local rock scene. Without question, the Verbs are the most important pop group to emerge from this city. Now they are about to confront the precarious pop world. Good luck. Bon voyage. Salud. Thanks.