Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Fuses and Double Dagger upstairs at the Ottobar

I went to the Ottobar upstairs last night to see local post punk band The Fuses in their last show. I guess they've been around since 1997, but one member is moving to NYC to become a lawyer. I liked their energy and the songs were fun, loud, and driving.
Opening up was another local band, Double Dagger. Their sound was also punk rock, and the lead singer ran around into the crowd and on top of the pool tables in the space.
It was a nice night.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bonde Do Role and DJ Scottie B. at the Ottobar

I was at the Ottobar last night to see Brazilian baile funk act Bonde Do Role play. Usually in Baltimore, there is one guy shooting pictures with a nice SLR camera, but for some reason tonight there were four. I didn't get it.
Baltimore's scene is diverse, but not that huge, and having all these guys shooting and looking up at the front of the stage was pretty annoying.
The first opening act was a local Austrailian transplant The Death Set. They are a duo who sing/yell and play guitars whilst thrashing about. Unfortunately, they are backed by an iPod mini. It plays samples of hip-hop songs and then they sing and play with rather compressed sounding drum and bass parts. It seemed like half the room were already fans while the other half just watched, but I do feel they would do a lot better getting some bandmates to fill out their sound.
They were followed by a DJ set by Scottie B., who is considered one of the early DJ's spinning the Baltimore Club sound. It's like a collage of all kinds of music from Motown to indie music to rap to classic rock mixed over a unrelenting dance beat. It's pretty darn fun to move to- I particularly liked hearing "Money for Nothing". Scottie B. was wearing a shirt dissing on Aaron Lacrate who I thought was crap opening for Lily Allen.
Bonde Do Role followed with a fun and energetic set. They sing and rap in Portuguese to beats sampling AC/DC, Salt N Pepa, and the Grease soundtrack. They told a story about how they were freaked out at having seen John Waters at dinner that day.
The lead singer, Marina, gyrated on stage and reminded me of early Karen O, and I always say, you gotta love a band with a chubby dude- this was the DJ, Gorky.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gito Gito Hustler at Sidebar

Gito Gito Hustler are an all girl rock band from Tokyo that remind me of the the 5,6,7,8's meets the Runaways.
They played their Baltimore debut last night at the Sidebar, a punk club across from City Hall. It wasn't crowded, but the band really pumped up the few patrons with their broken English and unabashed enthusiasm.

They made devil horns, they espoused drinking beer, and the guitarist played guitar in the middle of the crowd.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Ponys, Black Lips, The Films and Blondsai at Ottobar

I went to the Ottobar Friday night for a pretty fun show. First up was local act, Blondsai. They were a garage band with a lead singer sporting a blond beehive and a hot mixed Asian guitarist. They had a lot of energy, but I get the impression they are better when they're more drunk.

The second band was The Films, from South Carolina. They reminded me of Arctic Monkeys some, but not as genuine sounding. They were skinny and dressed right. The young ladies seemed to like them, too. Not my cup of tea.

I think more people were there to see Black Lips than the headliner. They have that disco punk sound that all the kids love, but they have a psychedlic pop sound. They had a little too much fun onstage for my taste.

The Ponys were pretty great to see live again. There new record, "Turn the Lights Out" is a lot more hard rock and punk sounding than the last album. They definitely take inspiration from the 90's Chicago noise sound in their music, and live, they played nice and noisy.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Madeline, Pwrfl Power, Wheatie Mattiasich, Adam Lipman, and Mandarin Dynasty

I went to a concert in an apartment at the Copycat last night because I had heard of one of the artists on NPR.
The first person to play was Mandarin Dynasty (Mike) from San Diego. He played a mix of anti-folk with noisy guitar with some re-sampling. I like that he had a a good sense of humor in his lyrics. He finished off a Maddog 20/20 during his set.

Second to play was Adam Lipman. He was ok. His songs seem to focus on angst over women. His singing style was a little out of tune, and he sang one song in Spanish which he clearly was not fluent in. I don't recall his drink.

Third up was local musician, Wheatie Mattiasich. I last saw her a year ago at Lemon Hill. She played acoustic in the dark in an area of the space with a hookah and pillows, and this time, she had another woman harmonizing with her on a few songs. I love the sound of her voice- it's low and reminds me some of Chan Marshall. Her songs remain simple though- they all sound a lot like traditional folk tunes or children's music. I think she only drank water.

Next up was Pwrfl Power, a Japanese guy name Kazu from Seattle. His songs reminded my of some music my cousin's wife, Kayoko gave me on MD years back. He played very whimsical pop tunes about drugs, pets, and being happy with himself. He was a good guitarist, and I also liked that he sang in Japanese as well as English. He drank beer.

Finally, the main act was Madeline from Athens, GA. I really liked her set. She sings folky-pop songs with a little country sound mixed in. She brought along a bass player and drummer. She was drinking Seagram's vodka and "honey" water, but she played a really solid set.
At one point, she decided to sing a song whilst hula-hooping. For some reason, she reminded me of Mary Louise Parker in Weeds- very dry and matter of fact in her persona, but serious when it came to her performance.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Pogues at the Electric Factory

Despite terrible traffic due to sleet and freezing rain that slowed the way up 95 to Philadelphia to about 35mph, I went to see the Pogues with Shane MacGowan play at the Electric Factory last night. Heck, Shane came out on stage and performed in a wheelchair despite tearing ligaments in his knee a few nights before, I figured it was worth the trek.
Fougoo and Redneckhunter met up with me, and we were lucky enough to position ourselves right up front for the show. We had to bear the very young openers, Starving Goliath, who felt it was kitchsy to sing Elton John's awful Lion King song. Needless to say, the older crowd was not amused.
The Pogues were, like last time in DC, great.
Before they came out, the PA played The Clash's "Straight to Hell", and then the band came out followed out by Shane in a wheelchair.
It was definitely a different set from the other show I saw with them. It was cool to hear some songs performed I had not heard previously.
My favorite songs of the night were "Body of an American", "Rainy Night in Soho", "Dirty Old Town", "A Pair of Brown Eyes", and "Fiesta" (especially watching Spider hit his head with a metal tray).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Good, The Bad & The Queen at 9:30 Club

I went to the 9:30 Club last night to see Damon Albarn's latest project, The Good, The Bad, & The Queen. It was a great show.
The opening act was actually a burlesque duo from Baltimore, Trixie Little & Evil Hate Monkey. The crowd really responded well to their tongue in cheek and very acrobatic act. It was fun to have them warm up the crowd, and really got everyone excited to see the headliners.
The Good, The Bad, and the Queen is essentially a supergroup consisting of Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz), guitarist Simon Tong (The Verve), bassist Paul Simonan (The Clash), and Tony Allen (Fela Kuti's band). They basically played the entire album, and they sounded great.
Albarn was charismatic onstage. I think at one point he took a hit of a joint and proceeded to rock out.
Simon Tong was your basic Britpop aloof guitarist- he seemed quiet, but his guitar playing was solid. I wish we could have heard more of Tony Allen's drumming but when he hit the drums hard, you could tell.
I had the best time watching Paul Simonan onstage. He was so cool- he had this awesome punk swagger. When he smoked a cigarette onstage, he was still cool. It made you wish you had the chance to see him with The Clash. I loved the dub style of his bass playing.

The encore was a song called "Dog House" which they left off the record, and they closed with B-side, "Mr. Whippy", with a guest Syrian rapper. All in all, it was a really fun show. It looks like you can hear it on NPR here.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Shins w/ Viva Voce at D.A.R. Constitution Hall

I went to D.A.R. Constitution Hall to see the sold out show with The Shins. It's not one of my favorite venues because the sound is always a bit muddy sounding in the space that's probably more suited to Kate Smith singing "God Bless America" than a rock show.
Opening up was Viva Voce- a two piece who were alright, but probably are better appreciated in a small club than this space. Unfortunately, half the audience was in the lobby during their set.
I've seen The Shins in smaller venues, and watching them, I felt curious as to why the band, now 10 years old, still had some weak moments in their set. Honestly, "New Slang" sounded really sloppy.
I did like a few of the songs from the new record though. However, the concert was a little disappointing. I think they are better in medium sized clubs rather than these large halls.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Walkmen with The Broken West and Ferraby Lionheart at the Ottobar

Last night I went to the Ottobar to see one of my favorites, The Walkmen, play. Opening up were two groups from LA.
First, a guy called Ferraby Lionheart, who I wasn't really into. He wore a Tom Waits hat and was so skinny that you could see it in his face. He sang so-so folk songs that never really excited the crowd who talked during his set.
The next group was The Broken West, who did a better job of getting the audience attention. They were alright- they reminded me of early Wilco.
I still contend that The Walkmen are one of the best bands to see live right now, and they never fail to disappoint when I see them play. They were amazing. In the Ottobar, especially so because of the intimacy of the venue. Particularly good were performances of "The Rat" and "All Hands and the Cook", and they played several new songs from their upcoming record.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Borbetomagus in Baltimore

Last night, in a loft space at the H&H building, I saw legendary free music band Borbetomagus play.
These guys have been around since the 1970's and have at least 30 records. I remembered I discovered them because there stuff was always in front of Boredoms records.
Anyway, they were pretty amazing- loud and chaotic. There was a good turnout for them and, surprisingly, there were many women at the show, too.
I ran into a friend who I used to do college radio with years ago.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Thermals with The Big Sleep & Statehood at Black Cat

Last night was a great soldout show at the Black Cat with Portland's The Thermals.
Opening up was local group, Statehood. They had a lot of energy. Their sound was very post-punk. They actually reminded me some of Baltimore's Low Moda, but dancier- a lot of driving drums with staccato guitar. I enjoyed their set.
The second act was The Big Sleep from Brooklyn. They were ok- their sound was very rhythmic with a lot of feedback and electronic sounds. It became a little droning after a while - hence their namesake I guess.

The Thermals were pretty amazing live. They played with a incredible amount of energy, and the crowd was going crazy. Lead singer Hutch Harris was really charismatic on stage, and he seemed to really appreciate the excitement of the audience. Also, watching bassist Kathy Foster play was pretty hot- she has this cool mellow attitude to her performance- woo woo.