Before you squander another brain wave wondering whether rock-and-roll is still alive, ask yourself a better question: Is rock-and-roll still weird? That’s the most telling vital sign. When music sounds truly strange, it often means that the players — and the listeners — are communing with the unknown.
For Bless, strangeness isn’t a pose. “I’m not intentionally trying to be weird,” says Luke Reddick, the District quartet’s 20-year-old frontman. “For me, and for everyone in the band, we’re just trying to get at this thing — the thing that’s in your fingers and your toes.”
Channeling new magic from those extremities has been slow going, though. Over the 20 long months that have passed since Bless dropped its clamorous debut, “Bless Tape,” Reddick says that he and his bandmates — Peter Hartmann, also of Poppy Patica; Danny Saperstein, also of Flasher; and Owen Wuerker, also of Big Hush — have adopted a more patient, painstaking approach to writing songs. He describes it as an ongoing quest to locate “the right notes” — and he knows they’ve finally found them as soon as the experience starts to feel dissociative.
“You can spend so much energy and time on a song that it doesn’t feel like it’s your song anymore,” Reddick says. “Playing live will always be my number-one thing. It’s the time when I can grab the most things out of the air and just, like, make it all up. Sometimes, we’ll be playing a song and I can’t even believe it’s real.”
Show: With Palberta and Puff Pieces on Saturday at Slash Run, 201 Upshur St. NW. Show starts at 10 p.m. 202-838-9929. $5.