Monday, January 17, 2005


Most people change and mellow out after they graduate from college. Other people take their eccentricities, hone them and really make something of 'em.

My friend Don Cambria was this wiry, absolutely electrified guy who talked a mile a freaking minute. He could sit there and have like three impassioned conversations with you at once, looking you in the eye the whole time and totally paying attention, but just blurring all over the place about music, politics, movies, everything. I remember wondering what would happen if a generator were attached to his jawbone--how many dinners could you microwave from one conversation?

Usually when people get described as talkers, it connotes a lack of depth or a type of inaction. Not so in Don's case. He just thinks and cares about so much stuff and happens to have the energy to communicate all of it...talking to him is exciting because it pumps you up with so much passion and energy, you just want to run right out and change something.

I haven't seen him in years, but as it turns out, he's the singer/shouter for a hardcore band. This makes total sense.

Shellshocked is a discordant, indie-hardcore hybrid sort of band. Their sound is explosive, quiet-then loud, with jangling atonal guitars and Don's focused yelps punctuating the rhythmic fog. They are the sort of protest-oriented, ultra-left rock-with-a-conscience band that proliferated madly here in D.C. in Fugazi's shadow.

Many would argue that bands use a mission as an excuse for a sound--sort of a just-add-ideology-and-drums approach. It's easy, boring territory to slip into. Knowing Don as a person, I know for a fact that his band is a loud, organized sonic outgrowth of that same babbly, hectic passion I loved having lunch with in college--with the internal mandate to fight Republicanism wherever it stands. Admittedly, there is little Republicanism in Brooklyn's hipster clubs, but you gotta start somewhere.

They're playing this free party, Death Disco at the Delancey on Wednesday, January 19th. The party starts at 9 pm, Shellshocked goes on at 11. If I didn't have to take the Chinatown bus up there from D.C., I'd totally check it out...


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