And…I’m Deaf, Part Two: The Orwells Are Here

The Orwells are everything you want in a band. If rock and roll is about youth, they’ve got it. (They also have a bit of trouble.) If you want catchy songs, they’ve got it. They have riffs fast, slow and they have sing-alongs. They play as a tight five piece, like they’ve been playing together all of their short lives.

Quite literally just out of high school (apparently graduating early last year) none of them look old enough to drive a car. Drummer Henry Brinner looks like that awkward kid that sat behind you in high school. His brother, Grant Brinner on bass, is the quiet skinny one. Their two guitarists, Dominic Corso and Matt O’Keefe, are talented beyond their age. The thing is, they don’t sound young even though they sing about “chocolate swirls” or “we don’t gotta think ’bout school” or have songs called “Hallway Homicide” and choruses, “we’ve got this fear of aging/we’re living in a daydream.” I love everything about this band. I wish I could spend every Sunday night at DC9 with The Orwells.

The best part about this show was singer Mario Cuomo. (Yes, you’ve heard that name before.) But you’ve never seen anything like him. Cuomo thrashes his body around the stage, lays face down into the drums, staggers into his bandmates, trips over his mic chord and whips his long blonde hair all over you. Every move he makes looks like he’ll fall down. And he does. It looks and sounds like Cuomo has taken front man lessons from everyone – but he makes it his own. He wraps the chord around his neck in a swing (maybe not quite like Daltry) and I’m not sure how or why, but he seems to have an air of Iggy to him. [Read: don’t miss this live show.]

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Nothing was more satisfying than them opening with my favorite track, “In My Bed.” WHAT SHE SAID/IN MY BED/SAID SHE WISHED THAT/I WAS DEAD. Riff riff riff. [Below].

The crowd was a mix. A mix between (what looked like) all their roadies and sound guys drinking beer – and the young. There was a boy who didn’t look a day over thirteen there with his dad. He was glued to the stage, glaring up at Cuomo and dancing around. I was watching this kid’s life change. It looked like it clicked for him, Cuomo his hero, showing him that he could do it too one day. The other young stand out in the crowd was a girl with braces. Before they went on, the band dedicated the whole show to her. She enthusiastically knew every word and said “Isn’t this the greatest show ever?” after every song to the photographer she was with. [Below: “Painted Faces and Long Hair.”]

The Orwells did what I secretly hoped they would and played new songs. I figured they couldn’t play too long, considering Remember When is only 12 tracks long. But the new stuff did surprise me and got me excited for a new release. Everything they played was in line with their record, maybe even better. I’ve never seen a band play as near perfect as this. Out on Autumn Tone by way of the greatest music blog ever, Aquarium Drunkard, you can get Remember When here. They’re on tour and hitting SXSW…so get at ’em.

The Kingston Springs were one of the openers for them. Check them out here. Great fucking band.

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