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Kay Basement Preview: Local Orange, Mannequin Fight, TORO and Home Remedies

A promotional poster for WVAU’s Kay Basement punk show on Mar. 2.

It’s back.

WVAU’s biggest, loudest event of the semester is back this Saturday, Mar. 2, in the Kay Spiritual Life Center Basement. The Kay Basement concert is a long-standing WVAU tradition that goes back to at least 2012–or at least, that’s the earliest Instagram post about it. This year’s lineup includes local bands Local Orange, Mannequin Fight, TORO and Home Remedies. Most of the performers are students from the DMV area, including AU, UMD and GW.

WVAU’s yearly Kay Basement concert aims to showcase local, DMV-based talent. Although it is generally a DIY / punk vibe, the bands play a variety of genres from indie to hardcore. Highlights from last year’s show include Cuni’s cover of Deftones’ “My Own Summer (Shove It)” and Scuttlebus’ use of a cello. The showcase returned after a COVID-induced hiatus and might claim the title for the most energetic and successful WVAU event in the past few semesters. 

TORO is a returner to the Kay Basement show, having performed in the revival show last year alongside Mass(ave), Cuni, and Scuttlebus. Their first EP, Honor the Bull, was just released in January and combines the sincerity of a classic emo/shoegaze record with a playful sense of irony throughout the lyrics and sampling of the record, with some absolutely ripping guitar riffs to top it all off. They describe themselves as “Born out of a love for Jordan’s and expensive tuna, TORO came together to make cohesive, eclectic and forward-thinking music with guitars, among other things; something that most thought was impossible.” TORO truly cooked when they added guitars to their shows…so don’t miss it.

Toro, one of the local bands playing WVAU’s Kay Basement show.

Local Orange, Mannequin Fight and Home Remedies are all newcomers to the Kay Basement show, but perform regularly around the DMV area, including at Songbyrd, Comet Ping Pong and the Garage, among others.

Local Orange, one of the local bands playing WVAU’s Kay Basement punk show.

Local Orange is a Baltimore based indie rock / post-punk group that describes themselves as “combining progressive and art rock characteristics with manic post-punk energy and ethos,” having been compared to the art- and post-punk of the 1980’s and “a mix of Rush, Mac DeMarco and Muse.” 1980s Mac Demarco sounds like quite an intriguing combo, so you’d better come see them play in person, right?

Mannequin Fight is a self-described “alt rock band from College Park, MD. They perform the music that the bugs tell them to and they do it quite well.” And having listened to their September EP, Becoming, I’d be inclined to agree. Tracks like “Taking Photos” and “Animals” beautifully combine grunge and shoegaze with explosive guitar solos. Mannequin Fight’s lead singer, Ella Buskirk, also performs with Flowers For The Dead, who recently opened for Snail Mail at DC9…and also may soon be playing at AU as well. Stay tuned…

Mannequin Fight, one of the local bands playing WVAU’s Kay Basement punk show.

Home Remedies, one of the local bands playing WVAU’s Kay Basement punk show.

Home Remedies is a DC-based band that draws inspiration from artists including (but not limited to) Elliot Smith, PUP, Alex G and Big Thief. They call themselves “another indie rock band with love for a wide mix of independent songwriters, always willing to bite off more than they can chew.” Their 2022 album “Live from Before” is packed with almost an hour of energetic, danceable indie music that invites the listener to sing right along with them–which luckily, you have a chance to do this weekend.

After reading this, you surely don’t want to miss this year’s Kay Basement show…right? Bring your AU ID, your friends, and get ready to rock the house down at 8 p.m. this Saturday, Mar. 2.

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