This was a great show – Screaming Females are always amazing, and Downtown Boys have to be seen to be believed – so much energy. Post Pink is rapidly becoming a favorite local band as well. Great times all around!
Government Issue, the legendary DC hardcore band fronted by John Stabb, played a surprise show at the Ottobar recently. Pretty cool getting to see them play just blocks from my house, on a icy Sunday evening.
Great show, stacked line-up. Napalm never disappoints, though I was curious why Mitch Harris wasn’t touring with them. Hopefully that’s temporary, though Eric Burke filled in nicely. Voivod was really good and fun, though I am not a big fan of their later material, they played a bunch of classics… as did Exhumed, who even joked from stage that they would play the old material if the crowd didn’t object to a new song or two. It’s fun to see bands have a good attitude about the fans wanting to hear “the hits”. Iron Reagan, solid as always – Tony joked about how often he is at Soundstage in one band or another.
Found these photos of a Noisem practice from 2013 lurking on my photo drive, never posted before. This Baltimore metal band has come a LONG way since these were taken…
THE SOFT PINK TRUTH (aka Drew Daniel)
Two of the most interesting people making experimental music today performed to a packed Metro Gallery last week. Pharmakon’s two full-lengths, Abandon and last year’s Bestial Burden, both made it to close the top of my best of lists in their respective years. She has a way of making challenging music that easily fits into the realm of noise but also is very listenable in a way that most music from that genre is not. “Listenable” is probably not the best way to describe the hellish soundscapes she creates, yet they are extremely captivating records that seems to be able to cross over to metal listeners as well as avant-garde/experimental. I’ve seen her perform three times now and each performance she seems to bring in new elements and work with the crowd aspect more and more – at Metro Gallery, she wound her way through the crowd, getting her microphone snagged on people and furniture, at one point the audience had to struggle and pull on the microphone cable en masse as she ascended back onto the stage – it was pretty interesting to watch.
Drew Daniel (of Matmos fame)’s the Soft Pink Truth project flew under my radar for many years, but when he announced that his most recent record would be a series of Black Metal interpretations entitled Why Do the Heathen Rage?, I took notice. It’s a really odd record, idiosyncratic electronic/dance versions of classic black metal tracks. And, lest you think Daniel is making fun of the genre… well, he is, sort of, but it’s the loving sort of jibe that comes from a true fan who has encyclopedic knowledge of his source material. The record won lots of accolades, including “Best Thing Ever” from the City Paper, and has led to several pretty amazing live performances, the latest of which is the one pictured above. Really unique artist that I recommend you go see if you have a chance.
BUY PRINTS HERE (including a few from this show)
Scaled down a little this year, but still a blast! I was only able to make it to half of the 4 shows that comprised this year’s event but still managed to catch a bunch of great performances, see some homies, and dodge some fireworks at Haymaker. Seeing them in that small, smoke-filled room was really a surreal highlight of my show-going so far this year.
Uploaded some odds n’ ends last night, among which were included the above: photos from Thomas Dolby’s (of she blinded me with science fame) first DJ performance, which was at the Paradox in Baltimore, and photos from a Birth (Defects) show at the Wind-up space, among many more. I still post photos on my Flickr, because of ease of use and the fact that I just have such a huge library already there, so if you want the raw feed, follow me there.
A note about the Dolby DJ set- it was pretty disappointing, I must say. Partially because so much effort was spent on presentation, so I was expecting something pretty cool. He had a DJ booth set up like a machine gun emplacement, with sandbags and walls and stuff, and a big projection thing going. But his DJ selections were just standard 80s fare… nothing too bad or anything, but the song selection just didn’t match up to his level of art direction.
ESMB = best band in Baltimore! It was good to see them with a responsive crowd – there were plenty of people really stoked to see them play a hometown show. When Yonatan Gat started I was like “uh-oh, this is NOT for me” but they managed to win me over, I ended up really liking their set.
I shot and wrote a thing for Noisey about the Marilyn Manson tour opener at the Fillmore… photos above, here is the text:
Yesterday, I got the all-clear to shoot the Marilyn Manson tour opener in scenic Silver Spring, Maryland. After a hiatus of sorts, my generation’s number one shock rocker is back with a comeback album, The Pale Emperor, and this show would be the first chance for live impressions. I’ve never been a Manson fan really; as a teenager, I liked some of the early songs like “Lunchbox,” and once saw him open for Nine Inch Nails, but by the time he hit full superstar mode, I was too busy listening to hardcore and screamo records to care very much about what Brian Warner was getting up to. Still, the guy is an icon—of course I wanted to see his show!
After navigating a line that literally wrapped around the block (later, I was told that concertgoers had started lining up twelve hours before doors), I went in expecting some serious 90s rockstar antics. I wasn’t disappointed. In a set filled with solid hits, Manson’s show also featured multiple costume changes (including four costume changes for the microphone itself), casual cockiness and furious anger at the sound guy, calls for fans to throw drugs on stage (he casually picked up one baggie containing an impressive amount of powder and filed it away in his back pocket for later), a contingent of women with their tops off and Manson lyrics written on their bodies, and of course, calls for the crowd to suck his dick. In true rock star fashion, any time he was done with an object—a microphone, an open bottle of water, a glass of liquor—he just let it drop to the ground, and someone would scurry over there to put it back in its rightful place without the show missing a beat.
After the show—which was entertaining enough to me, a non-fan, to stay until the end—the overall fan reaction seemed pretty ecstatic. One gothy teenager beamed at me and asked if I also thought that it had been the best concert ever. A few people I spoke to did say that they were disappointed with his vocals (though I must say that they sounded generally fine to me). I asked them if they thought that made the concert suck, and one of them replied enthusiastically, “No! Marilyn Manson can’t do a bad show!”
Always amazing – one of my favorite bands of all time. So stoked to get to see them in my city. If you ever get the chance, don’t sleep. I almost skipped their Philly show in 2013 and it ended up being one of the best shows I have ever seen, and I see ALOT of shows. Classic band.
This was a fun shoot. Ed texted me to ask if I wanted to take photos of him and Kevin making ‘Cats on the Lake’ shirts for a City Paper story. Since that’s not the norm, the subject assigning you the photo, I cleared it with the paper and – yep – it was indeed a story. So one afternoon I went over to Kevin’s house/studio and hung with them as they joked, made shirts, and Kevin’s roommate made dinner. You can see his legs in a few of the photos.
As per the tradition, here are my personal favorite photos from 2014, posted in no particular order. I even managed to get them up in January this time! Prints of many of these are available here, contact me if there’s one you would like that is absent.
BEST LIVE MUSIC
INFEST @ A389 Bash X / Soundstage
BEST EVERYTHING ELSE
Black metal legends Watain are always so good live. The times I’ve seen them before I was never able to get too close, either because of circumstances, fear of getting actual pig’s blood thrown on me/my equipment, or inebriation, but this time it worked out well. Blood was still there, but less than previous tours and you could still smell the scent of grave dirt as soon as they walked out on stage…
Wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but after an uninspiring set by an opener I hadn’t heard of before, FKA Twigs proved to be worthy of all the hype. The music she plays isn’t my thing, really, but she had the crowd in the palm of her hand and had a great stage setup as well. Fun show, she is going to be big.
Last month, Doom icons Pentagram played Soundstage (which is really shaping up into a great venue for metal in Baltimore) along with The Pilgrim, Bang!, Kings Destroy and Radio Moscow. Pentagram shows are notoriously hit or miss, as anyone who was at their infamous Black Cat comeback show can attest, but this night they were on their A game. It’s also always great to see them with Victor Griffin, when he is back with the band everything seems to just run more smoothly and Liebling (the famously troubled frontman of the band) seems to hold it together more. They didn’t disappoint, one of the best times I have seen them (though not sure if that first time I saw them at Sonar can be topped).
It was great to see Bang! too, a band I had always heard about but never had the chance to see – they really seemed to have a great time on stage, the first half of their set especially killed. This was apparently one of the last shows for quite some time for The Pilgrim, one of my favorite Baltimore bands. Cool that they managed to get on such a sick bill.
So, I have been doing yearly “best of” round-ups of my work since 2007. Right around now is when I start to think about what to put in the running for the year… the only problem is, I never posted one for 2013. So, here goes, in no particular order: my very late list of best photos of 2013.
For the truly curious, here is the pool of photos I picked from.
The other day I had an extra twenty minutes (literally) between a photo shoot and a train I needed to catch so I shot these photos of my old friends Dave Nada & Matt Nordstrom, who make dance music together as Nadastrom. We shot these close to U Street Music Hall before their monthly residency.
This was a fun assignment. Baltimore Rock Opera Society have been making really ambitious/crazy performances for awhile now, but I’ve never gotten a chance to shoot them. This year director Mason Ross and artistic director Aran Keating invited me to shoot their dress rehearsals and some behind the scenes shots. There was a lot to see, check em out.