Monday, December 17, 2007

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings at TLA

This past weekend, we went up to Philly to the TLA for a Daptone Records showcase of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. Opening up were label mates, the Budos Band. They played African jazz like the stuff from the Ethiopiques series. Groovy and fun for about 3 songs. The band reminded me of a bunch of band geeks, but they knew how to play.
See Sharon Jones onstage was amazing. She was small, about 5 foot tall, but so much energy. Her voice was spectacular, and boy did she dance on stage. Her style is so retro without any preludes towards kitsch. It was a fun night.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Thermals with Reporter at the Black Cat

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. More venues are not allowing personal cameras- I saw Cat Power and Morrissey recently and they were cracking down hard on people with little cameras. Kind of sucks. Another show I went to, Feist at the Rams Head is viewable on MSN now. I'm the big head middle, towards the back.
So Saturday, went to the Black Cat to see The Thermals for the second time this year. Openers Reporter were pretty fun to see as well. Lead singer Alberta is friends with lickingpants and studioacorn, so I said hi to her at the merch table and wished her a happy birthday.
Didn't get as good a spot as last time to see The Thermals, but yet again, they were pretty great- high energy, fun music.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Patrick Wolf & Bishi at the Black Cat

Last night I went to the Black Cat to see Patrick Wolf play- it wasn't too crowded which was nice. Opening up was singer-sitar player Bishi from London. She mixed Indian music with a dance sound. Her voice was really nice, and it was fun watching her jam on the sitar. She mentioned her sitar teacher was in town but she was reluctant to have him see her as rock sitar is counter to what sitar is all about.
I was really happy to have had a chance to see Patrick Wolf. I've been following his music since Lycanthropy first came out. He is an amazing musician- playing guitar, viola, and keyboards. I wish his acccordion hadn't broke on the trip over.
He actually played a lot of songs from his earlier records- I got the impression he was burnt out on playing songs from The Magic Position.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Night at the High Zero Festival

I went to a concert last night that was part of the High Zero Festival. It's basically a gathering of free improv musicians from Baltimore and the rest of the world to play together.
The concert started with Dutch musician/vocalist Jaap Blonk performing solo. His voice is an amazing instrument; one piece using his "cheek synthesizer" was in stereo- each cheek creating different sounds simultaneously. I was moved by his performance of a Dadaist poem where he shouted the German word "brüllen", meaning "to cry" about a hundred times.
The second piece involved several artists who had there own custom made instruments. They were accompanied by a vocalist and a dancer as well.
The third set included contrabass and 2 theremins, one of which, by Italian musician Massimo Simonini, was prepared so that it produced presampled sounds from piano to what sounded like an Italian disco song.
The fourth set featured former Wolf Eyes menber Aaron Dilloway on tape loops accompanied by a cellist, a violinist, and electronics.
Due to a computer now working, we were lucky to be treated with Jaap Blonk again, this time in a set featuring beat boxer Shodekeh and amazing local percussionist Dan Breen. I think this was the best set of the night.

Diplo & Switch at Sonar

On the same night as Sea & Cake, Sonar also had the DJs Diplo and Switch spinning.
Switch is the DJ that produced most of the latest M.I.A. record, Kala. His style of DJing was pretty fun to hear- a lot of house actually with crazy electronic sounds.
Following him was Diplo, probably my favorite DJ right now. He really know how to get the crowd moving. My favorite moments were when he did a Baile Funk medley, when he threw in a jazz riff, and when he segued from House of Pain to Daft Punk.

The Sea and Cake & Meg Baird at Sonar

Friday night, I finally got to see The Sea & Cake, a band I've been a fan of for several years. Oddly enough, on the PA before the show, they were playing John Prine.
Opening up was Meg Baird, lead singer from the Espers. Her solo music involves a lot of traditional Appalachian folk songs. They were all a little melancholy and bittersweet. She is a really good guitarist and her voice is very lovely.
The Sea and Cake were great to see live. They performed a whole range of songs from their catalogue, and their musicianship was pretty fantastic- Prekop, McEntire, Claridge and Prewitt are all talented on their instruments. I think the last time I saw Archer Prewitt play was with the Coctails.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Genesis at the Verizon Center, DC

Last night, went with a bunch of friends from high school to see the great band Genesis play on their Turn It On Again Tour at the Verizon Center in DC.
We started the night at a bar that also turned out to be the meetup for the Genesis fan club. It was good warming up to fine beer and Genesis on the PA.
The concert was great. On this tour, the band is playing more of their classic hits like "In the Cage", "The Carpet Crawlers", "Ripples", and "Firth of Fifth". They sounded fantastic. I am personally a fan of their 70's music the most, and I loved it.
A moment I found amusing was that immediately following a medley of classics like "In the Cage", the band started playing "Hold on my Heart", a newer song, so I decided to run to the restroom. When I first went in, the men's room was empty, but then, dozens of guys started showing up as well, all with the same idea that we didn't really like the latest stuff.

John Prine at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

This past Saturday, I saw folk music great John Prine perform at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. He was amazing. I last saw him when I was in college, and in the interim he was treated for throat cancer, so despite his voice being a little hoarser, he was still pretty great. It was an older crowd with a more than a few aging hippies. The acoustics of the place were fantastic.
He played with a bassist and another guitarist who also did double duty on a mandolin. He also went electric towards the end of his set as well. My favorite songs he did were "Whistle & Fish", "Angel from Montgomery", "Souvenirs", "Lake Marie", "In Spite of Ourselves", and "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness". The last one nearly got me choked up.

Girl Talk at the 2640 Space

Sorry for the delays in posting. Last Tuesday, I saw Girl Talk play a sold out show at the 2640 Space, an old church in Baltimore. The kids these days go nuts watching a guy checking his email.
His set was pretty close to his V Fest set- the usual ADHD mashup of familiar hits of the past 40 years of music. I worry that there are cracks in his act though- Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" is not a clever sample.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Phil Collins and the Breakup Song

Did anyone catch the recent episode of This American Life on breakup songs and Phil Collins?
One of my favorite programs in recent time. I particularly like how Phil gets choked up in his interview and the revelation that his breakup is responsible for his turn from working with the likes of Eno to becoming a pop monster.
All this is in the light that I am seeing Phil and Genesis in a short 2 weeks. Can't wait.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard & Ray Price at Merriweather

Last week, I went to Merriweather Post Pavillion to see the Last of the Breed tour featuring Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price.
Ray Price started the night backed by the Cherokee Cowboys led by his son on guitar. He sings a pretty old school crooner style of country. Nice, sobering songs about love and heartbreak. I like his version of "Please Release Me" and Hank Williams' "Mansion on the Hill".
Up next was the Okie, Merle Haggard. He was pretty awesome to see play- I've always loved his blue collar working man songs. He did "Mama Tried", "Silver Wings" and "Okie from Muskogee". Towards the end of his set, Willie came out and they did my favorite of the night, "Pancho & Lefty".
Last up was Willie Nelson. He has always been amazing live- full of great songs and energy. I love how he always opens with "Whiskey River". He had Merle and Ray Price on stage, and the did "Crazy" and "Nite Life" all together. It was an amazing evening of real country music.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Mass Shivers with Oxter at the Current Gallery

Last night, went to the Current Gallery downtown with some friends to see Mass Shivers from Chicago play. The bass player is the boyfriend of one of my friend's cousins.
The space was nice, terrible parking though. The openers were a local band, Oxter. They seemed to be a trio of jazz guys who wants to "get funky" and "rock out". Technically solid, but while it seemed like the musicians were having fun, we, the audience, were made to suffer a numerous variety of false stops, dissonant Hammond organ chords, uninspired horn solos, bad samples of dialogue, and a cover of The Offspring's "Come Out and Play" (a la Miles Davis' "Human Nature" by Michael Jackson).
Mass Shivers reminded me why I like a lot of bands from Chicago- hard drumming, interesting solos, and no nonsense rock. A shame the jam band crowd left after the openers finished as they missed how a good rock set should be. No smiling, just serious music.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stereo Total with The Octopus Project at Ottobar

I've been a fan of Stereo Total for about 10 years, since their album Monokini came out. I remember buying it on vinyl in NYC. Alas, for years, I lived in towns where the band never toured. After waiting so long to see them, I was not disappointed in their show.
Opening up was Austin, TX's Octopus Project. They have a lot of energy, but maybe because they are mainly playing instrumentals, I just don't get into them. Sometimes their music sounds like a harder version of John Carpenter theme music.
I wonder how popular they would be if they didn't have a hot theremin player- she's certainly not clara rockmore. I loved her stance as she played the theremin- reminded of a ballerina.
Stereo Total were great to see live. Françoise Cactus came off as being slightly scatterbrained on stage, but she was very endearing. She attributed her spaciness to jetlag. Brezel Göring looked liked an aging punk rocker.
However, when they played, they played great pop songs with a lot of energy and tongue in cheek. They had no pretense of trying to be cool- it was just pure simple fun music.

Monday, August 06, 2007

4 Hours at the Virgin Festival Day 2

Scored a free pass to the Virgin Festival at the Pimlico Racecourse, so I went for a few hours before the crowd and overpriced food was too much to bear (it wasn't that bad, but when Panic! at the Disco started their set, it was time to go).
I started in the "Dance Tent" and caught local artist Dan Deacon play. His music is an electronic mashup of synthesizer and ipod- it's okay. I just wish he were more trained in music because it has too much of an amateur-goofing off feel to it.
The computer DJ Girl Talk was next- I gotta admit, he was pretty damn fun to hear mashing up several songs at once, and the crowd went crazy for him.
I then went to see Regina Spektor perform at the South stage. She was alright- I liked a few of her songs, but not so much into the songs with too many vocal gymnastics.
I also caught some of Matisyahu. I wonder that if her were not an orthodox Jew, would he be as well known? I haven't really been into his songs so much.

The last act I saw was Spoon. They were pretty good. Former Spoon member Roman from local act Oranges Band joined them for some older songs.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Charlie Louvin and Lucinda Williams at Rams Head

Last night, went to the Rams Head downtown to see Charlie Louvin and Lucinda Williams play.
I was more excited to see country music great Charlie Louvin and he did not disappoint. He was classy, funny, and his voice was great. He played "Great Atomic Power", the song that Uncle Tupelo covered which introduced me to their music.
Lucinda Williams was pretty good as well. While I prefer her earlier songs, her voice is still stirring. My favorite part of her set was when she and Charlie dueted on a pair of songs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Odd Bathroom Paintings

If you read the food blog, Fougoo mentioned the unusual photos in the bathroom of the restaurant Nasu Blanca. Well since they don't really have food, we put them up here.
There was definitely a mysterious scat and bukkake interpretation to these photos of Asian ladies with brown and white liquid on their faces.
The brown one is in the men's room at the restaurant, the white is in the ladies room.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Kwik-E-Mart, Bladensburg, MD

Drove down to Bladensburg, MD to see the Kwik-E-Mart they converted from a 7-11 Store. Needless to say, it was pretty cool.
I got myself a Squishie and a doughnut with pink icing and sprinkles, mmmm.
I also picked up some Buzz Cola and Krusty-O's cereal which I'll post about when I try them.

Here are some of my more favorite signs: