The Black Cat, post-DC-smoking-ban, is a nicer place to be. Besides the air, the long arm of the law pushes junkies outside to smoke between sets, letting slightly late-arriving folks there to see the middle band get up close without much trouble.
The crowd was thick with Beach House and Grizzly Bear loyalists; Papercuts, in the middle, had their work cut out for them. Fortunately they've got some of the best pop songs of the year, and their showmates, whatever their virtues, didn't have many hooks between them.
Lead Papercut Jason Quever's pop is somewhere between dream- and power-, alternately ethereral, upbeat and desperate. Backed by Hammond organ, bass and drums, he played the songs' melodies on acoustic and electric guitar with a relish that was fun to watch. The incredible "Dear Employee" (which you can hear on their MySpace), unlike the recorded verison, started with Quever solo ("Treat me just like a dog/I don't mind at all/I feel bad but babe come on/you're a big girl now"), then slowly built into all its chiming, morose majesty, The Zombies cut with irony and extra regret.
The set included most of Don't Go Back, including lead web track "John Brown", and seemed to make the Grizzly crowd happy. Here's hoping they come around again soon. Their final show is tonight in Baltimore at the G-Spot, with Beach House.