Even though I've lived in the DC area for more than three years, I never went to see the 3x5 "Three bands, 5 bucks" deal offered routinely at the 9:30 Club. I decided to finally check out what it was all about.
My expectations weren't high. I didn't expect to see a large crowd given that all three bands weren't familiar to most people. I didn't expect terribly inspiring performances given that the crowd wouldn't be there to encourage one, and given my impression that these bands were somewhat new to the scene. I ended up having a better time than I thought I would.
First of all, all three bands played amazingly well! They were tighter than many headline acts I've seen in the past, and the music they played, even though it's fairly power poppy stuff that's on the radio, came across really well. Even given the smattering of applauses between songs, the energy level among the bands was high.
Stanford Prison Experiment was first. They were the tighest of the three bands I saw, and the most technically superior one. The problem I have Stanford Prison Experiment is that they take themselves too seriously, and while this in and of itself isn't too bad, they didn't seem to play any complete songs. Still the musicmanship was very good and they were extremely aggressive.
Limblifter was a stark contrast to Stanford Prison Experiment. They didn't move around as much (mainly because the guitarist sang), and their songs were more melodic and poppy than the other two bands. Still, they joked around a lot and were as self-effacing as ever (telling the audience how Stanford Prison Experiment and Local H kicked their butts for example). Their set included stuff from their self-titled debut album including Death Defier, Cordova and Screwed it Up, and a Johnny Cash cover! Their songs sounded better live than on the album release.
Local H was my least favourite of the three bands. Local H has only two members: Scott Lucas (on guitar and vocals) and Joe Daniels (on drums). Together they do manage to create loud power-pop sound that's pretty impressive for a two-person band. However, they didn't do much for me.
I highly recommend checking this show out for the music alone if it comes to your area---it's hard to find a better deal!