It’s official: These Arms Are Snakes’ frontman Steve Snere is my favorite frontman.

Simultaneously goofy and raw, Snere is the kind of guy you might think would run out of signature moves — he has so many, after all — but on this evening in Washington, D.C., far away from where I usually catch them near their home in the Pacific Northwest, Snere proved that he can always crank out a fresh batch of onstage moves.

2009 September 29 @ DC9, Washington DC

Surprisingly firing off the set with the organ-heavy “Idaho” from their first full-length, Oxeneers Or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home, TAAS played to a small crowd in Washington, D.C.’s DC9, a venue and bar with an intimate upstairs performance space. As usual, they played cohesively and hard, running through a healthy diversity of tracks from all of their releases, leaving everyone completely captivated in their destructive wake. In general, the crowd responded well, with some individuals full out stomping and thrashing, causing the floorboards to shake in time with their headbangable beats.

Snere himself got off to a shaky start, prancing around a bit awkwardly at the beginning of “Idaho.” After getting into a groove, though, he evolved into the unpredictable Snere that showgoers love so much. In addition to his staple moves, which include spitting into the air, feeling down his pants, wrapping microphone cords around his head, choking himself with his belt, squabbling around like a crab, and climbing on ceiling beams, Snere introduced sashaying moves that were borderline sophisticated, and not completely out of place for someone like a matador or champion tango dancer to do.

On this particular night, Snere’s getting into the groove also resulted in the destruction of two microphones by way of Snere’s flailing limbs — happenings which he became clearly frustrated about. But even Snere’s frustration is comical; he spoke more than I’ve ever heard him speak during a show, and in a dry, sarcastic manner, he completely defused the seriousness of the technical problems and just completely went forth with an admirable “fuck it” attitude.

TAAS never fail to bring the chaos in their live shows, and while it is Snere who ultimately captures the majority of the attention, the band as a whole is just as tight as ever.


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