In the best of all possible worlds, Washington, D.C.'s Minor Threat would be considered one of the best bands possible.
Their show, Sunday night at the 9:30 club, was an instance of irresistible force meeting implacable beauty at impossible velocity. It functioned more like film than music, individual frames flickering by so swiftly and brilliantly that they registered on the brain as pure, incandescent motion.
The first few songs were a bit shaky, the band having to pause for guitarist Lyle Preslar to retune and bassist Brian Baker to retone. In the final moments, overwhelmed by the crowd's hysteria, they lost the grip on their straight-edge precision. In between, though, they displayed the sort of style and strength associated with a class act.
The other groups on the bill spanned the spectrum of local hardcore punk. Scream made formless, thrashing noise except when they played slower, more orthodox rock covers. Faith began its set lucidly, making it possible at last to discern the eerie stuff of which their material is made.
The real surprise of the evening was Void, which set tough, chunky little gems of tunes in a web of celestial feedback. It was an amazingly taut and expressive unit, a name to watch out for.