Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jay Reatard with Cola Freaks at the Black Cat

I went to the Black Cat Tuesday night to see Jay Reatard play. It was a good crowd of mostly dudes, but the show was really great. The openers were the Cola Freaks, a really high energy punk band from Denmark. The lead singer was really intense and he went into the crowd and had people scream into the mic.
I've been listening to a lot of Jay Reatard records recently, particularly Blood Visions. He was pretty fantastic live- reminded me of punk shows I saw in college. He played his set with very little break between songs, and I'm betting that in my younger days, I would have wanted to get in on a mosh pit.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Magnetic Fields at Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh, NC

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to get to see The Magnetic Fields play in Raleigh, NC at the Meymandi Concert Hall. The show was truly memorable.
The band played their set all acoustic which is interesting because their new record has a lot of distortion in its production. The songs performed more pared down sounded incredible. A lot of it also had to do with the amazing acoustics of the venue, which was definitely set up for classical music. During the show, the power went out, but the sound of the instruments still carried well in the hall.
The show was so good, I hope that the band plans to record a live record from this tour. They played songs both new and old, which prompted me to want to re-visit some records of theirs I don't listen to as much right now.

The Wedding Present at the Black Cat

Last weekend, I went to the Black Cat to see Britpop legends, The Wedding Present play. Before the show even started, David Gedge was talking to fans at the merchandise table which I thought was pretty cool.
Their set was a nice mix of some of their classics as well as songs from their most recent record, El Rey. The band sounded great, and Gedge broke several guitar strings. It was odd that their roadie, instead of being the stereotypical middle aged dude, was a young cute woman wearing an Obama button.
As with all their shows, they played their setlist with no requests or encores. During their show, Gedge said they don't do requests because it was too hard to remember all his songs.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the 9:30 Club

Last night, I went to the 9:30 Club to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds play. It was an interesting group of fans from aging goths, young hipsters, and some guy in a bathrobe wearing devil horns and a red glove on his right hand.
Nick Cave and his band were amazing- especially guitarist Warren Ellis, who looked like a madman onstage. Nick Cave was charismatic onstage and his voice sounded incredible. He even took the time between songs to sign autographs.

Glasvegas at The Ottobar

After the VP debate last week, I went to the Ottobar to catch up and coming Scottish band, Glasvegas play at the Ottobar. The turnout was a bit meager- there must have been about 30 people there, but the band sounded great. Since they only have one record, there set was only about half an hour, however all the songs sounded great. There were enough Britpop fans there that there was even a singalong.
The bassist and guitarist danced around like the Fine Young Cannibals, and the lead singer admitted his only knowledge of Baltimore was Hairspray. I bet it wasn't even the John Waters version. . .

Santogold at the TLA, Philly

I was lucky to catch Santogold in Philly at the TLA a few weeks ago. She puts on a great show. Accompanied by two dancers and a laptop, she sang nearly all the songs from her record, and she did a few of the songs from her mixtape with Diplo.
I particularly liked it when she did "The Guns of Brixton" cover song. The crowd was pretty wild for her music.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Walkmen at the 9:30 club

Last night, after the rains from Hurricane Hanna passed over, I went to the 9:30 club to see The Walkmen perform.
Opening up was a group called Golem, a band inspired by Eastern European and Jewish klezmer folk music. They were fun to listen to, and the violinist was gorgeous.
The Walkmen's new record, You & Me, is really good- they seem to have a knack for writing songs about the holidays and New Year's. Live, the new song "In the New Year" was amazing- Hamilton Leithauser's voice crescendoed into a scream in the chorus. They played a nice mix of songs from all their records. It was also nice to see Leithauser smile and banter between songs.
At the end of their main set, during "Louisiana", keyboardist Pete Bauer's son rushed up on stage in a small set of earmuffs and played the wooden sticks.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mission of Burma perform Vs. at the Black Cat

This past weekend, I went to see legendary band, Mission of Burma perform their album Vs. at the Black Cat.
Opening up was the band Versus, named after the Mission of Burma album. They haven't really played much since 2001, so I was pleasantly surprised at a chance to see them as well. They sounded good- playing a mix of old songs as well as some new ones.
This was my first time seeing Mission of Burma, and they were awesome. Their energy onstage really got the crowd going, even singing along. They had producer/musician Bob Weston on the sound board doing the effects for the songs. I really liked watching Clint Conley rock out. Despite their age, this band played better than a lot of younger acts.
For encore, highlights included "Academy Fight Song" and "This is not a Photograph".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Breeders at the 9:30 Club

I went last night to see The Breeders at the 9:30 Club. It was actually my first time seeing them play, and it was great. They played songs from all their records as well as some Amps tunes. Kim and Kelley Deal were really fun onstage, and their voices sounded amazing. Honestly, they were more fun to see than the reunited Pixies shows a few years ago.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

SVA MFA Thesis Exhibition

Big props to my friend Brooklen, who just completed his MFA at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I stopped by his MFA exhibit reception to check out his project, Merge/Feast, which focuses on food (of course) with families from different backgrounds and cultures.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Polvo at the Black Cat

So last night in DC, I was lucky to see the newly reunited NC noise rock band Polvo in their first show in 10 years.
The last time I saw them was opening for Pavement in the mid-90's. They made a crack about a lot of drunken 35 year olds in the audience tonight.
At first, they didn't seem as tight a band as before, but after warming up, they were pretty great. The new drummer seemed to fit in well to their vibe as a band. They played some familiar songs as well as a new song.

Their setlist included: "Thermal Treasure", "Every Holy Shroud", "Festher of Forgiveness", "Fast Canoe", "Tragic Carpet Ride", "Title Track"

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Raveonettes with Black Acid at The Black Cat

Three sold out concerts in a row in DC- I'm tired today.
Last night I went to see Danish band The Raveonettes at the Black Cat main stage.
The openers were a British band Black Acid whose style reminded me of old British metal of the 70's and 80's. They were actually very entertaining for me- the lead singer had on tight white pants and a sleazy voice.
I love the new album by the Raveonettes, Lust Lust Lust. It's their best to date- part Jesus & Mary Chain and part Angelo Badelamenti. In concert, they were really great. Their music needs to be heard really loud because of the feedback and noise made by their guitars- they remind me of the house band in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
I was standing right in front of singer-guitarist Sharin Foo- she looked cool with her really blond hair, dark mascara and blue eyes. I also liked how their drummer only had 2 drum and a cymbal. One highlight of the concert was when they did a cover of Stereolab's "French Disko".

Stephen Malkus & The Jicks with John Vanderslice at the 9:30 Club

Friday night, went to the 9:30 club to see Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks perform in a sold out show. Wonder why he didn't come to Baltimore because it's a title of a song on his new album. Oh well.
The opener was John Vanderslice, who I had heard of, but not actually heard before. Not too bad- he had nice songs and his band was good. He gave props to vegetarian Chinese restaurant Vegetable Garden in Rockville.
This was my first time seeing Malkmus outside of Pavement. Janet Weiss formerly of Sleater-Kinney was also his drummer. They were really good- I still love Malkmus' quirky lyrics combined with his always interesting guitar sound.
He is definitely a big nerd- I recall a reference to the word "Frak" during the show.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Xiu Xiu with Thao Nguyen at the Black Cat

The backstage area of the Black Cat was soldout last night for arty rock band Xiu Xiu and former DC musician currently getting a bit of internet buzz, Thao Nguyen.
Opening up was musician Chris Garneau, a musician who sang low key breathy pop songs accompanied by organ and cello. I was not a huge fan of his songs, and I wished he hadn't played so many songs with the exact same pace and mood.
Clearly the show was sold out because of fans of former local musician Thao Nguyen with The Get Down Stay Down. She was alright- the band had a lot of energy. Similar to musicians like Feist, she reminds me of Cat Power with less angst. I understand her appeal, and I though she put on a good show, but not quite my cup of tea.
Xiu Xiu still blows me away when I see them live. I appreciate how serious they are about their music, and despite half the room clearing out before they started, they were still impressive. Jamie Stewart is a really interesting frontman - his voice is very impassioned, and his guitar playing is interesting.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Pogues at the Rams Head

Last week, I was lucky again to see The Pogues on their US Tour before St. Patrick's day. This time, they came to Baltimore!
Shane looked better than any other time I've seen him- this time he was upright, and I actually understood 90% of his speech. It was also good to see Phil Chevron play as he was treated for cancer last year.
As a tribute to The Wire, Spider Stacey dedicated "The Body of an American" to Mcnulty, and then asked for no one to give anything away about the last episode.
As usual, the band was on point- the sound at the Rams Head had the best sound of all the times I've seen the band play.
For the finale, when they played "Fiesta", Shane joined Spider in bashing his head with a tray. I hope they decide to come back to Baltimore next year.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Conservatory Avant-Garde Ensemble at Peabody

Last weekend, went to the Peabody Conservatory to see the Conservatory Avant-Garde Ensemble perform George Crumb's "Music for a Summer Evening (Makrokosmos III)". This was the first time I went to a concert at Peabody, and I was really impressed. The space, the sound, all were impeccable. I loved hearing the Crumb piece performed live.
In addition, they also performed a piece by Peabody student, Amy Beth Kirsten entitled "For a Dream's Sake" (pictured) which was really nice- I particularly liked the vocal part of the composition.
They also performed "Mugam Sayagi" by female Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Matmos at Floristree Space

Last night, went to Floristree to see recent Baltimore transplants, Matmos play a benefit concert for the Transmodern Age art festival.
Despite a noisy crowd during their set, I enjoyed my first time seeing them play their music. It was definitely part performance as well. They started the set with a video projector during the song "Rainbow Flag".
During their song, "Rose and Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein", they had two guys drum using bunches of roses, and in the following song, "Germs Burn for Darby Crash", they shaved a guy's hair into a mohawk.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cornelius at the 9:30 Club

This past weekend, I went to 9:30 club to see Japanese musician Cornelius play.
After eating some great soul food and bearing the set of a Medeski, Martin & Wood-inspired jam duo, Cornelius and his groups came on stage. They started with a large sheet in front of the stage- soon a video projection started introducing the show as the "Sensuous Synchronous Show". Then after seeing band members' silhouettes backlit on the sheet, it dropped down to reveal the band playing.
Cornelius and his band were really good. They changed music styles with great ease- from pop to ambient to metal to disco.
His video show though was pretty spectacular and, as promised, completely in sync with the music. Highlights included a video that started looking like sound waves, but was in actuality flowing water filmed sideways. I also liked another video that had a hand walking around a room.
Cornelius was also very engaging with the audience: he pulled a kid onstage to play the theremin, and he also passed a sampler with large buttons into the front row of the audience to play.
He put on a great show.