The greater Washington-Baltimore area has certainly been involved in a lot of tension-filled, white music since Minor Threat's hard-core declarations threw up a flag of protest over Chocolate City and one of America's R&B capitals. And can you blame the I-95ers? Even youthful rebellion in the shadows of the seat of power is tackled as a heavy, idealistic chore -- not as playtime for ironic cutups. "Get serious or get out" has long been those towns' artistic (and, often, alienating) call to arms, which maybe made go-go that much more an ecstatic release.
While they've hardly been fervent politicos, the Dismemberment Plan adopted the D.C. scene's serious, tense side, playing a rocked-up, emo-charged post-punk for 11 years -- more linear than the Jawboxes of the world (their immediate surrogates), mind you, but hardly straightahead. Now that the quartet, which has been one of that city's main rock focal points, is calling it quits -- this is advertised as their "non-farewell" farewell tour -- one wonders if Washington will develop a funny bone. Don't hold your breath. Though, if you want a Beltway-area giggle, just show up early for Baltimore ex-pat Cex, whose lunatic fringe white rhymes and laptop beats should redefine the way audio-software-adept teens keep diaries.