Q and Not U's Farewell to NYC

Former Dischord Records partners in crime, Supersystem, (members of El Guapo) open things up for the final Washington, DC showcase of its kind at the Knitting Factory. September 20, 2005 marks Q and Not U's final concert in New York City.

For a Dischord showcase in NYC, the crowd at 11pm is larger than usual. Supersystem takes the stage as a confused gang of musicians who know their audience well. They want to dance and will dance continuously throughout the night.

Last year, same time, Supersystem was El Guapo and was wonderful. Now they have switched labels, changed names and the overall sound has also been tweaked. Justin Moyer, the self-proclaimed genius of the band, dresses in a black hoodie, using it to hide in from time to time during the set. Supersystem is funky, but not as rhythmically charged as I have seen when they performed as El Guapo. A favorite, "Glass House," is played, but a feeling is missing. What feeling - could this just be nostalgia for post-punk danceable music that Dischord used to provide by another recently extinct band, Black Eyes?

On its own, the Supersystem album is only all right, but it finally becomes illuminated tonight. Unlike the displaced disjointedness that Supersystem expresses when playing El Guapo songs, their own songs are together, more dramatic and melodic. Finally, the semantics of an onstage persona like Moyer come together. Moyer dances angularly, bending his elbows and knees to the beat and something else takes over. Their sound has gone out of this world into a sound like an early 90s synth punk band. The crowd at this point, reacting positively to the change, nods and dances in sync for the first time in the evening.

Live music is great and Supersystem introduces that band that gave DC back its political dance music. Q and Not U make kids from DC proud of their place of origin as music scenes change, but hometowns never do. That could be why they are so popular, why their last show in DC was sold out, why the crowd control at the final Ft. Reno (DC's free summer stage which covers performances from local bands, many from Dischord) show was so intense, so utterly intense.

At the Knitting Factory performance there is a mosh pit, highly unlikely for a show at the Knitting Factory. Speeches between songs bring members of the audience back to their sorrow at the announced breakup of one of their favorite DC bands, if not their favorite. However, "Book of Flags" perks up their ears and makes everyone realize how truly amazing it is to be a witness at this concert.
Q and Not U is that band that everyone's been talking about, album after album, year after year. Their performances are political, mind-blowing, ferocious, and simply incredible. The post-punk dance-pop world that NYC creates will never understand what their city has just lost tonight.

- Nancy Wolfe