I’ve known the Roomrunner fellows since they became a band and I’ve known Denny Bowen since he was in high school, back when his early bands Yukon and Economist used to play shows in my basement, usually at the request of Sean Gray, another old friend who runs Accidental Guest, the label that is putting out the new Roomrunner record. I think I have taken almost all of their promo photos, but this was the first time we did it not after a show and a lot of beers. It was still fun. Great fun, actually- rambling around the Copycat building, petting Dan’s cute cat, climbing up on the roof and dodging weird moss and horsecrab corpses (no joke).
The other week, I shot Baton Rouge rapper Kevin Gates at Fillmore. I was expecting to be underwhelmed, as most hip-hop shows I go to lately have been fairly disappointing… a lot of the younger artists haven’t been playing shows that long and seem to lack the showmanship you used to see. Not Gates, though. After a slow start, I was pleasantly surprised as he burst into life, stalking back and forth on stage, calm one moment, barely contained energy the next. The crowd ate it up, too. Good show, fun to shoot too, as he kept interacting with crowd members.
I shot the Arcade Fire Reflektor Tour at Verizon Center for the Washington Post. Was a little skeptical at first, having not kept up with them in years, but I thought the show was fun, and fun to shoot. The reviewer didn’t seem to like it much, but I had a good time.
The other day I shot Dan Deacon and Arcade Fire for the Washington Post at their Verizon Center stop of the Reflektor tour. I initially was a little worried that the show would be a little empty, or that the crowd wouldn’t ‘get’ Dan’s typical group-participation antics. I was wrong – though it took a minute for the large venue to fill in, it eventually got packed in there and it seemed like everyone was super happy to join in with Dan.
Some funny moments of the show for me: at these big shows, photographers always have media handlers who take you where you are supposed to be. However, since Dan set up at front of house to play, they were like “wow, I don’t know what’s going on, just do your thing,” which rarely happens. Also, was surprised to find that grindcore legend Scott Hull was in attendance. He asked me what Dan Deacon was all about, I tried to explain it, and assumed it wouldn’t be to his taste… but he loved his show!
Cemetery Piss (cricketcemetery.bandcamp.com)
For his birthday, Baltimore promoter Adam Savage gave us a present – a sick party at the Metro Gallery (a venue that has stepped up it’s game of late with a remodel, new stage as well as way more metal shows). Local newcomers Putrisect are the most promising new band I’ve heard this year- brutal, guttural howling vocals, killer riffs and a “fuck y’all” live performance attitude add up to a band to watch. Black Metal band Cemetery Piss (featuring the birthday boy himself) have been a fave of mine for awhile but they just keep getting better and more consistent. Pick up their new 7″ if you are at all a fan of the genre. I had to slip away at this point to go to LadyFest to see Whore Paint, but Inter Arma’s set was, by all accounts, incredible. Magrudergrind killed, as always – love those guys and the crowd obviously did as well. Finally, it’s great to see Pig Destroyer strutting their stuff as a five-piece – they have been playing a lot of out of town dates, and it shows in how together they are. One of the best times I’ve seen them in awhile (and I’ve seen them a lot). Super secret birthday suprise: A Pig Destroyer Misfits cover set with Adam joining in on vocals!
Earlier in the day, I shot Pig Destroyer and Magrudergrind band photos, so be on the lookout for those soon…
Big Mouth (bigmouthsound.bandcamp.com)
Whore Paint (whorepaint.bandcamp.com)
Coup Sauvage & the Snips (coupsauvage.bandcamp.com)
War On Women (waronwomen.bandcamp.com)
Lizz King (www.ehserecords.com/lizzking)
Trophy Wife (trophywifetheband.bandcamp.com)
Crimson Wave (crimsonwave.bandcamp.com)
This was such a great event. Two days of bands, workshops and community in Station North. Got to see some of Baltimore’s best bands and discover quite a few out of town acts that I had never heard of – Coup Sauvage and Whore Paint in particular impressed me. Baltimore rules.
Saturday night was the last night of The Gold Bar, an amazing local venue started by Dana Murphy of Unregistered Nurse Booking. In the same building as the Crown, it was unfortunately only open for a little less than six months, but in that short time managed to have amazing shows like Skull Defekts, the Death Set, Nothing, Big Mouth, and dozens more that I was too wizened to take pictures at.
A really cool spot and Baltimore is poorer with it gone – but Diarrhea Planet, Cowabunga Pizza Time, Ratboiler and Music Band, along with a packed house of local troublemakers, gave it quite the send-off. Beer, silly string, confetti, champagne and bodies were all flying through the air by the end of the show (sooner, actually), which sold out by 9pm. Everything got a little fuzzy (and messy) there at the end, but it’s safe to say everyone had quite the time.
Friday night one of my favorite Baltimore bands, Big Christ, played their last show at the Gold Bar (itself winding down – this was the second to last night of the venue’s existence) with another local favorite, Old Lines. Big Christ has been around for a bit, playing noise rock/punk in the vein of Black Flag or Shellac… clearly enunciated, bold lyrics with pounding, lurching music backing it up. They have a couple release up on their bandcamp, but I don’t think any of them really compare to their live sound. I saw them play recently with Protomartyr and was struck by how good they sounded; Friday they had improved even more. Apparently one or more members are moving away, a shame, was looking forward to them developing further.
The night was capped off (after plenty of nightcaps) by my friends Old Lines, who I’ve been talking with about providing some promo photos for their upcoming release on No Sleep for awhile now. Finally the night seem primed for everyone to be drunk enough for it to happen… with the help of some local lovelies, of course.
3 Floyds Brewery and my friends in Pig Destroyer (primarily Scott Hull, noted craft beer fan) collaborated on a beer, Permanent Funeral, which rated VERY highly on the various beer sites, including Beer Advocate calling it one of the top 40 beers of the world. To celebrate, they threw a release party at the Black Cat in DC. Continuing on my mid-year resolution to get my site up to date, here are the photos I took at the event… Baltimore band Old Lines and (now-defunct, I believe) DC band LTW opened.
Continuing to catch up with posts of things from the year I neglected this site. Last summer, Dana and I took a trip to Luray Caverns. It was my first time – a really amazing place. I recommend anyone go at least once. If you can manage to go in with a smaller group it’s very much a peaceful experience. They have weddings down there, too, apparently, which would be pretty amazing and unique.
My good friend Chris Richards published an article today in the Washington Post (with photo contributions from yours truly) titled “How the “Sassiest Boy in America” became the most interesting man in rock-and-roll“, and I thought this would be as good as an occasion as any to post photos from the recent Chain and the Gang show at Comet Ping Pong in DC (which marked the release of their new record, Minimum Rock and Roll), as well as photos from the once-in-a-lifetime the Make-Up reunion at the Lithuanian Hall in Baltimore.
The Lith Hall show was pretty spectacular, mainly because I have a pretty low opinion of reunions, and most I’ve been to are fairly disappointing. I forgot, however, just how good of a performer Svenonious is – while I never saw the Make-Up in their heyday, I’ve seen all or most of his bands since and he definitely still has it. Strutting the stage, engaging in his crazy banter, busting his lip on the mic and bleeding without even acknowledging it… good stuff. The rest of the band brought it as well, though I wondered about the absence of Steve Gamboa on drums.
Flash forward a year, and I’m asked to go check out Svenonious’ current band, Chain and the Gang, play at Comet Ping Pong as they bring out their new record, Minimum Rock and Roll. Equally fun time, though minus the anthem factor of having known the songs for 15 or so years… but still, they have it down and know how to work with the crowd and the initimate atmosphere brought with it a sense something crazy might happen at any moment. I was surprised, however, to find the Gang opening for the Coathangers… perhaps a sign of the times? Perhaps not since a good chunk of the crowd seemed to leave after their site, skipping the headliners.
Haven’t updated my site in a WHOLE YEAR. Wow. Going to rectify that, hopefully, with a bunch of new stuff and slowly posted old stuff as well. What better way of starting it off than something that combines the two – photos of old homies and former Baltimoreans THE DEATH SET, playing an e.p. release show for their new record on Dim Mak, ‘King Babies’ at the Gold Bar?
A great night of seeing old friends, though a bunch of old heads I expected to see didn’t make – I guess we are all getting old now. Still, Johnny and Dan tore it up, played old favorites, crowd surfed, jumped around and generally reminded us all why TDS were considered Baltimore’s Best Live Band back in the day… good times.
The Death Set, ‘Light the Fuse’ from King Babies
Flashback to: the last time Death Set played in Baltimore, when they played Sonar with the F Yeah tour (which is now a documentary), and one of my favorite shows ever, them and Matt & Kim at the Lo-Fi Social Club, before it became the Hexagon then Dan Deacon’s studio.
Last month, I shot The Evens (Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina) in their home for Ghetto Blaster magazine, for a feature about their new album. I was a little nervous, unsure how it would be working with Ian, but my worries were totally unfounded – they were both great to work with, friendly, firm about what they wanted, and full of great ideas that made the final product better. A great shoot, and I think the final product came out well!
Noisem (formerly known as Necropsy) are a great young Baltimore metal band – though their sound and chops are already quite seasoned, as is their live performance. They recently signed to A389 Recordings and changed their name… I would guess you will hear alot more about these guys in the next couple of years. Here are some photos from their last show under the old name, at the Golden West.
I spent a pleasant afternoon in Matmos’ Baltimore City studio, photographing them for a recent XLR8R piece on their studio, their gear, and their new album. A really interesting pair of artists, they explained some of their process and a lot of their gear to me, and they even demonstrated the basic concept of how they came out with the concepts and raw material for their new album – having a friend of theirs undergo sensory deprivation and describing the music that he heard (pictured above). A really cool shoot.
Two shows I shot for the post, both bands I hadn’t heard before. Imagine Dragons (playing at the Fillmore) were super energetic live, or at least the singer was, but not really to my taste. Veronica Falls (playing at the Black Cat), however, I loved. Very poppy indie rock with melodic vocals… I thought they would fit in opening for the Smiths in the 1980s, or something. Check them out!
Ruth Moore, a veteran, went to Capital Hill to deliver 160,000+ signatures to her petition that the VA re-evaluate the way it deals with victims of sexual assault. I documented her meeting with the VA representative. See all the photos here.
Every year in Maryland, there is a Polar Bear Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics. It’s grown from a modest event, to one that is huge, with 10,000s of people crowding near the base of the Bay Bridge to watch the brave souls that jump in the freezing cold water. There are bands, contests, and costumes… this year the Baltimore Sun sent me out to take photos of some of the creative costumes of the event. And, as you can see, there was a lot of Ravens pride this year…