If We Shout Loud Enough (Double Dagger documentary) now streaming!

Double Dagger's last show.

Gabriel Deloach‘s documentary about Double Dagger, one of the all-time great Baltimore punk bands, is finally streaming on Amazon. I am biased since I am friends with everyone involved in this project, and contributed photography which appears in the film (and was even interviewed, though I unsurprisingly did not make the cut), but I truly think this is a great music doc and worth watching even if you are somehow going in not knowing who Double Dagger was. It’s full of insightful moments and plenty of great live footage from the band’s last tour, a tour I also documented:

“An inside look at the Baltimore underground music scene through one of its most pivotal bands, Double Dagger, this intimate and entertaining portrait follows the band as they complete their final tour and album, tracing the history and growth of the band and of Baltimore’s underground music scene.”

Streaming on Amazon | Buy the physical LP+DVD

Best of… 2013?!?

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.

Concert

Goblin @ Housecore Horror
Goblin
A band I waited a lifetime, almost, to be able to see.

Future Islands @ Hopscotch 2013
Future Islands
A band on the cusp, playing their hometown. Well-deserved success stories like theirs are part of what makes this job fun.

Municipal Waste @ GwarBQ 2013
GwarBQ pit

High Zero Experimental Dance Night
High Zero
Only was able to make it to one night of High Zero this year but it always provides something exciting.

The Gories @ Unfest 2
The Gories

Robin Thicke @ Virgin Free Fest 2013
Robin Thicke
Thicke pretty much was peaking at this festival, but it was fun to be there for it.

the Breeders @ Hopscotch 2013
Kim Deal/the Breeders
Just love how much fun she’s having. As I recall, this was days/weeks after she bid goodbye to the Pixies. She seems plenty happy.

Cannibus Corpse  @ GwarBQ 2013
Canibus Corpse

Chvrches @ Virgin Free Fest 2013
Chvrches
Had never heard of this band before this, but I love quiet moments at huge concerts.

Old Lines @ Black Cat
Old Lines.
I love the guy on the left.

Down @ Housecore Horror
Phil Anselmo
He made fun of me from stage during this set.

Non-Concert

The Evens.
The Evens
This was an amazing shoot. They were really easy and fun to work with.

Dana rooftop pool, Austin 2013
Dana.

Call Girl of Cthulhu
Call Girl of Cthulhu
Got to shoot a lot of stills and behind the scenes for this film, as well as the DVD cover. Really fun experience.

Luray Caverns 2013
Luray Caverns

Maryland Film Fest 2013
Maryland Film Fest Hotel Party
This was, I think, taken in Bobcat Goldthwait’s hotel room but the memory is hazy.

Bronycon Baltimore 2013
Bronycon I
The Brony thing has gotten a little weird since this first con but I found them to be refreshing an earnest when I spent the weekend hanging out with them.

Ryan.
Ryan Schapell

Glitter Thighs @ Tiki Barge
Glitter Thighs

Wallhunters.
Wallhunters

Ottobar Haunted House
Ottobar Haunted House

Baltimore Tattoo Convention 2013
Blue Man
I’d heard about this guy for years. A retired Baltimore City civil servant who dedicated his retirement years to getting completely tattooed.

For the truly curious, here is the pool of photos I picked from.

UNfest 2 with Gories, Pissed Jeans, Peach Kelli Pop & more!

The Gories @ Unfest 2
The Gories @ Unfest 2
The Gories

Pissed Jeans @ Unfest 2
Pissed Jeans @ Unfest 2
Pissed Jeans

Peach Kelli Pop @ Unfest 2
Peach Kelli Pop

Obnox @ Unfest 2
Obnox

Ed Schrader's Music Beat @ Unfest 2
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat

Hunters @ Unfest 2
Hunters

Roomrunner @ Unfest 2
Roomrunner

Old Lines @ Unfest 2
Old Lines

Cult Control @ Unfest 2
Cult Control

Big Christ @ Unfest 2
Big Christ

UNfest 3 is this weekend, so enjoy the above photos from 2013’s fest! You can buy tickets for this year’s fest here.

Click here for all the photos from UNfest 2.

Click here for day one and here for day two photos from UNfest 1!

(These photos originally ran on Noisey.)

Pig Destroyer & 3 Floyds beer release with Old Lines, LTW

Pig Destroyer @ Black Cat
Pig Destroyer @ Black Cat
<a href="https://www.flickr .com/photos/joshsisk/8717977613″ title=”Pig Destroyer @ Black Cat by Josh Sisk, on Flickr”>Pig Destroyer @ Black Cat
Pig Destroyer  + Katherine Katz (of ANB) @ Black Cat
Old Lines @ Black Cat
LTW @ Black Cat

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.

VIEW ALL THE PHOTOS FROM THE PIG DESTROYER/3 FLOYDS BEER RELEASE HERE

Luray Caverns.

Luray Caverns 2013
Luray Caverns 2013
Luray Caverns 2013
Luray Caverns 2013
Luray Caverns 2013

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.

VIEW ALL THE LURAY CAVERNS SHOTS HERE

Ian Svenonious: the Make-Up reunion, Chain and the Gang LP release show.

Chain and the Gang @ Comet Ping-Pong (record release)

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.

VIEW ALL THE MAKE-UP REUNION PHOTOS HERE | VIEW ALL THE CHAIN AND THE GANG PHOTOS HERE

The Make-Up at Save Your Soul in Baltimore:
the Make-Up reunion 2013
the Make-Up reunion 2013
the Make-Up reunion 2013
the Make-Up reunion 2013

Chain and the Gang LP release at Comet Ping Pong:
Chain and the Gang @ Comet Ping-Pong (record release)
Chain and the Gang @ Comet Ping-Pong (record release)
Chain and the Gang @ Comet Ping-Pong (record release)
Chain and the Gang @ Comet Ping-Pong (record release)
Chain and the Gang @ Comet Ping-Pong (record release)

Baroness’s John Baizley on their crash, comeback & Baltimore show

I first saw Baroness in late 2003, at a show at the old Talking Head Club on Davis Street. From seeing that early show, as well as listening to their demo, it was clear that this Savannah-based band were destined to be a big deal. Over the years, I’ve followed their rise to the heights of the metal scene (and, in the interest of full disclosure, also met them and booked a show or two for them along the way). Like everyone else, I was horrified to hear that their tour bus had crashed in the UK, leaving 3/4ths of the band severely injured. While guitarist Pete Adams received only minor injuries, John Baizley, vocalist and guitarist suffered extreme damage to his left arm and left leg, requiring complex surgeries and months of physical therapy. Drummer Allen Blickle and bassist Matt Maggioni both fractured vertebrae, and have since left the band. That was on August 15, 2012, at the beginning of the tour for their then-new album Yellow & Green. After a nine-month hiatus, the band is going back out on the road, with some changes, and is playing Baltimore on Saturday. I spent a few minutes catching up with John Baizley on the phone:??????? ???????????????. ????????? ??? ???????????????

CP: It’s cool that you are coming back to Baltimore right at the beginning of the tour, it’s been awhile off the road – how are you feeling about touring again?

JB: The Baltimore show will be our second show back. We’re really excited about doing it again, because we haven’t been on tour in almost a year now. It’s not been fun.

CP: What’s preparing for this return to the road like?

JB: It’s good, it’s work. We’re finally working again, and that’s a super good thing. After we got in our wreck last year, it’s like ‘okay, now you can’t do -anything- for awhile’. At this point we’re all healthy enough to be rehearsing as much as we can, we have a new rhythm section basically, so we have to learn everything, kind of start from square one again, figure out exactly where we are physically and musically, get back on the road and start doing it again.

CP: Sebastian Thomson (of Trans Am) is the new drummer, how is that working out?

JB: It’s awesome, he’s a kickass drummer, I’ve been a huge Trans Am fan for years, so it’s awesome to have the opportunity to play with somebody that’s made music that has influenced you and of which you’re a fan. It’s totally kick-ass. Part of what we do in Baroness is spend a lot of time considering the chemistry of the members. He gets it and we all get along, it’s great. It literally couldn’t be a better situation.

CP: He doesn’t live in Philly (where the band is based), though, does he?

JB: He and our bass player live in brooklyn, but we can have practices and do all the things we need to do, like learn and get better at music.

CP: This is going to be the first time the Yellow & Green material is going to be played by the band in the states, right?

JB: Yeah, ever. I’ve done some solo tracks, but quite literally, these will be the first live performances of the full band playing them in the states… and, really, we did a couple of shows in Europe with them, but not even enough that we got comfortable with it and I think at the time we were playing them, most people didn’t know the songs yet either. It’ll be cool to play them to an audience that knows the songs.

CP: Now that everyone has had a year for the album to soak in.

JB: Yeah, that could be a good thing or a bad thing. I’m hoping it’s a good thing. It’s good when there is some comprehension happening, and people can anticipate the songs or get excited about our setlist, have a good time singing along, hopefully. That remains to be seen – this will be as big a surprise for me as it will be for everyone else at the show .

CP: Are the setlists going to mostly focus on the newer material, or…?

JB: We always play a good cross section of our back catalogue and I intend on keeping it that way. We won’t eschewing the old songs in favor of purely new songs. We’ll always dip back and play the good songs off the old records. It’s fun to do.

CP: I saw you play a solo set in Austin for SXSW, you played some new material – are you already working on a new Baroness record?

JB: Honestly, I don’t know. It’s been a lot of energy to get this first tour together. So much so, in fact, to consider anything else has been a distraction. So we put all our energy into this, in developing a rapport with the new guys, teaching them the songs, getting comfortable with it and hopefully working towards not just being comfortable with the material, but being better than we were.

CP: How long has the new group been practicing? How long are you going out?

JB: About a month and a half- not terribly long. It’s a 3 week tour, couple weeks off, then another month on, then we’ll take another weeks off, then a couple things after that.

CP: How are Allen (Blickle, the band’s founding drummer) and the other guys?

JB: Everybody’s doing well, we’re all pretty much past the intense physical therapy side of things, kinda moving forward and getting on with our lives.

CP: It was pleasantly surprising to see how fit you seemed in Austin, and how well you played.

JB: That was actually a very difficult set to play, I was in quite a lot of pain, but you’ve got to deal with it.

CP: I’m sure everyone has asked you this, but what’s your reaction to the recent news that Norman Markus (the bus driver during the 2012 crash) has refused to return to the UK to face criminal charges?

JB: I don’t even know what to say about that, you know? That is what it is. We weren’t anticipating it, we were totally fucking surprised by it, I don’t think anyone of us knows what’s going to go on with that. Sufficive to say, I am not pleased by that fact whatsoever. It’s making a complicated situation infinitely more complicated.

CP: Does the band have to go back to the UK for the trial?

JB: No, because we didn’t file charges. This is a criminal case that the UK has filed against him, and it’s not a big enough case to do extradition or anything like that, so he said ‘I’m not gonna come to the UK’ and we’re waiting to hear back what’s going to happen.

CP: One positive thing that came from this terrible situation is the large amount of support that’s come from the music community.

JB: It’s super powerful, there’s a lot of people out there I have to thank as nicely as I can because collectively this was a very big shot to us, physically, mentally, financially- in every way. We’re still, nine months later, trying to make heads and tails of it, and everybodys got their own experience with it, medical bills, psychological effects, medications and doctors visits, and continued chronic pain. It’s not pleasant, but we’re gonna get through it, and everybody’s gonna be fine at the end.

CP: One last thing- your show is during Maryland Death Fest, I know I’ve seen you there before, are you stopping in this year?

JB: if we can figure a way to get in, we’re definitely coming. Look, INFEST is playing – I’m not gonna miss that.

Baroness performs this Saturday, May 25th with Inter Arma at Rams Head Live in Baltimore.

A Touch of Grey

It all started with a simple internet search. That’s what led Ron Weldon to discover that his former band Grey march had, in the 20 or so years since their breakup, developed a small but dedicated following online. That moment would lead to a string of successful reunion shows, the reconnection to hundreds of fans, as well as a May 3rd show celebrating not one, but two new releases from the band.http://reteks.ru

A stand out of Baltimore’s punk scene in the 1980s, Grey march are often referred to as a post-punk band, but if you ask them, they were simply punk rockers. They formed at a time when there were not a lot of places for young bands to play or practice. Then the band met Jules Savarese, who ran an underground music venue known as The Loft. With his support, and that of the community that sprang up around his venue, Grey march went from playing small shows for friends to opening for popular touring bands of the time like COC, the Circle Jerks, MDC and Samhain. From there, they grew popular enough to headline their own shows, regularly drawing crowds of 300-400 people. “As it grew, it would get bigger and the shows would get bigger,” says Weldon, the band’s keyboardist. They also extended their reach outside of Baltimore, touring the US and playing several shows at the legendary NYC venue CBGBs. They even managed to release 1000 copies of a self-titled album. Today, that album is long out of print and fetches relatively high prices on online auction sites like eBay.

Before they could record another album, though, the band called it quits in late 1986 or 87. “We had been around awhile. We started getting older, and the crowd started changing…our scene started kinda dying. The people in the band started getting into different influences and stuff,” Weldon explains. “It just ran its course.” There was one brief attempt to unite the original line-up in the early 90s, but after a single practice, the band members lost touch – until 2008, when Weldon, surfing the net, thought to look up his old band. Weldon’s reaction was: “Wow, there’s a Grey march site? Thats really weird – and there’s music on there too! I don’t have any music, where are these people getting this music from if I don’t have any?”Movie Carol (2015)

After meeting a Polish fan of the band online, who help make a Grey march MySpace page, he managed to get in contact with vocalist Trip Burch, who soon pitched the idea of a reunion show. The pair tracked down the other members – guitarist Mikey Dub was living on the west coast, drummer Eric Wiegmann was working as a professional musician in Japan, and bassist Stuart Berlinicke was still here in Baltimore. They all agreed that they should meet up and jam, when time allowed, to see if the chemistry was still there.

Since the master tapes of their LP had all been lost, the only material the band had access to were demo tapes, saved by fans and traded over the internet, along with that sole LP. From this, they relearned their songs. “Once we got together it came back really natural. After a couple tries, we could play it, we could totally do all the songs,” says Weldon.

In late 2011, they were asked to play a show at Fraziers in Hampden. Uncertain at first, the band decided to commit and the gig was a success. “They sold every beer they had, that place went nuts,” recalls Weldon, “people were out in the street, it was so big.” Shows at The Ottobar and DC’s the Black Cat soon followed. One problem did emerge, however. As Weldon puts it, “personal band issues got a little bit out of control.” As a result, the band parted ways with original guitarist Mikey Dub. However, Paul Anderson (a member of another of Burch’s bands, the Pearl Fishers) stepped in and learned all the material, becoming a permanent member.

After the reunion shows, the idea of re-recording the original material was floated by Burch and the band agreed on one condition – they would also write and record new material. However, this arrangement was complicated by the fact that Wiegmann still lived in Japan and could only return for short trips. On one of these trips, the band clocked in studio time at Remington’s Wright Way Studios and recorded 8 tracks, a combination of classic Grey march songs, along with two new ones.

After attempting to self-release a CD of this material, another roadblock emerged. The band had worked with a friend to handle the details of the CD pressing. But, when it came time to actually release it, the band found itself in a dispute with this friend. According to the band, they were in contention about the business aspects of the release, and ultimately, although 1000 copies were pressed, this version of the album will not be publicly released. “Its the most insane thing you’ve heard in your whole life,” says Weldon of the outcome.

As a result, the band reached out to Pennsylvania-based independent label Hand/Eye Records which is run by Tim Renner, a long-time fan of the band. With his aid, they have readied a new release- self-titled, just like their 1986 LP- featuring the tracks from the Wright Way sessions, with new artwork. Hand/Eye will also be releasing “Early Works”, a CD compilation of the various demo tracks and original LP tracks (taken from a vinyl copy) that the band had used to re-learn their repertoire. When asked about his attraction to the band, Renner replies “First and foremost, I love their music. It doesn’t matter to me that they were a ‘local’ band… I think they have really captured something special with their sound. I don’t try to analyze too much what it is – some people have said it’s their combination of diverse influences, but it can’t be just that alone. Lots of artists have diverse influences. There is something really special going on with this band.”

To celebrate the dual release, Grey march will be returning to The Ottobar on May 3rd, with a line-up that includes John Stabb (ostentatious frontman of 80’s hardcore band Government Issue) and his new band Repeated History as well as Baltimore’s Lisa Doll & the Rock n Roll Romance. Both CDs will be for sale early at the show, in advance of their release dates (the self-titled drops on May 14th, Early Works two weeks later on May 28th).

When asked about the band’s resurgent appeal, Weldon has this to say: “I think its all about a certain time period. That whole vibe is about an old community… it was all about hundreds and hundreds of kids, over and over and over again every weekend, the same kids. And now they’re all adults. And now they don’t really see each other a lot, yet they’ll come down for something like this… they’ll come and they’ll reconnect.”

Bangers & Thrash : April 2013 Edition

Spring brings changes, and this year that starts with the news that local record store Celebrated Summer is expanding. Currently residing in the back of Atomic Books in Hampden, they will be moving next door when Atomic Books itself expands to take over the adjacent storefront. The additional floor space will allow for a larger selection of new and used records, as well as what owner Tony Pence describes as a “living museum” of Baltimore punk show fliers, posters and other items on display.??????? ????????? ??????

There’s been quite a lot of buzz about the upcoming Baltimore metal band Noisem. Local label A389 Records recently sent out word that they have signed the band, who at the same time changed their name (they might be more familiar to readers by their old name, Necropsy). Lead guitarist Sebastian Phillips says the name change is due to “the thousands of other Necropsys out there.” He adds, “our new name Noisem is inspired by the term Noisome which means unsettling or discomforting, disagreeable… we all really liked it, as it isn’t so generic.” The newly branded group have an album, titled “Agony Defined”, on the way in June.

Noisem will also be playing the 11th annual Maryland Death Fest, along with other local acts Pig Destroyer, Ilsa, Old Lines, Eddie Brock, Full of Hell and Asthma Castle. In a first for the fest, it will occupy not only the former Sonar nightclub (now known as Paparazzi), but also the parking area beneath the JFX underpass. There will also be a punk and hardcore stage at the nearby Baltimore Soundstage nightclub (124 Market Place). Year after year, the Death Fest organizers manage to pull off an impressive line-up, and they’ve continued that tradition with marquee acts like Bolt Thrower (in a rare US appearance), Carcass, Down (featuring Phil Anselmo of Pantera) and Venom as well as a reunion performance by powerviolence pioneers Infest. Bobby Liebling’s Pentagram will be playing as well, their first area appearance since the release of the Liebling-focused documentary Last Days Here, and it’s a chance for them to share the stage with fellow 80’s Doom Metal luminaries The Obsessed, who are reuniting for a set at the fest. Between these appearances and sets by Sleep and the Melvins, this year’s MDF appears to be the Doom event of 2013. Of course, there are also plenty of young acts to see, including Pallbearer (who’s 2012 album Sorrow and Extinction topped many year’s best lists), Rotten Sound, DC’s Magrudergrind and Weekend Nachos. It all unfolds May 23-26 in downtown Baltimore. While many ticket options are sold out, others remain for sale at marylanddeathfest.com.

There are plenty of other notable shows coming up besides MDF: The Wayward, Big Christ and Headwounds play with Dangerous Ponies at Club K on Wednesday April 24th. Or, the same night, experience an 80s hardcore revival with Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I. and Sick of It All at Baltimore Soundstage. Grind lifers Triac play with Inter Arma and Earthling Sunday, April 28th at the Golden West. Also at the Golden West, May 2nd one of DC’s best punk bands, The Shirks (who have a new album out on Grave Mistake Records), play with Baltimore bands Hard Dads and Gutterhooks. On May 3rd at the Ottobar, the Gray March plays a show with John Stabb of Goverment Issue’s band History Repeated. During Death Fest weekend, May 24th, Kentucky hardcore band Coliseum plays right around the corner at the Sidebar with DC’s Give and Red Hare (featuring members of classic hardcore band Swiz).

In upcoming record news, Drugs of Faith is in the studio recording a new as-yet-unnamed EP to be released later this year by Malokul Records, a label started by the DC band Disciples of Christ (who also are recording for an upcoming release on the label). Strong Intention and Coke Bust also are working on new records, and Baltimore punks Double Dagger have a new posthumous ep out now on Thrill Jockey.

Top 12 Moments of SXSW 2013

1. Nick Cave stepping on my hand & offending a thousand NPR listenershttp://focuz.ru

Right off the plane, I got an email informing me that I had won a ticket lottery to see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, which meant the first thing I did was one of the big moments of the week for me… I was a little surprised he was playing the NPR showcase, and was afraid he might be toned down… however, I shouldn’t have worried. He did not disappoint, performing bawdy, offensive tunes like Stagger Lee (featuring frequent discussion of various types of sodomy), which seemed to surprise most of the crowd at Stubbs. He performed the “hits” as well though, including his well-known track Red Right Hand, which caused even the most random of crowd members to raise a fist, and he did a rousing performance of the somber track Mercy Seat.

Oh, and he stepped on my hand. How about that?

2. John Baizley from Baroness solo

After the horrific tour bus accident that critically injured most of Baroness – Baizley, the singer & guitarist received serious arm damage, drummer Allen broke several vertebrae – the future of the band seemed uncertain. But on stage at the North Door during SXSW, Baizely confirmed both that their future is sound and that he is committed to moving himself in a new, more personal direction. He brought out a set of stripped down, yet spaced-out songs with introspective, personal lyrics, including at least one interesting choice of a cover tune (Townes Van Zandt? Wow!) More than anything, though, it was good to see the man on stage, in one piece, playing guitar again.

3. Mutilation Rites at the Invisible Oranges showcase

After a long, brutally hot day of walking, this was the perfect release – the Grim four-piece, without any pomp or circumstance, simply walked on stage and cut loose – delivering an hour of blackened thrash metal. While they have none of the pretensions of some other modern NYC black metal bands, their set was legitimately transcendental.

4. Roomrunner at the Palm Door

Baltimore’s own Roomrunner briefly sparked life in what was otherwise a sleepy stage area as they delivered a great set of their grunge-tinged rock. Singer/guitarist Denny cracked wise about the increasingly corporate nature of SXSW from the stage, but this crowd was all music fans, excited to simply see a great band cut loose.

5. Thee Oh Sees outside of Beerland

The very last set I caught, but one of the best. Beerland is among the best places to see a SXSW show in Austin – partially because they are no frills, and don’t care if you have a wristband or a badge, a fact spelled out on the sign at the door. Thee Oh Sees didn’t even bother with the stage, instead setting up on the sidewalk patio outside and played for the street, various onlookers crowding around to get a peek, and when 2am rolled around, they just kept going! A great high point to end the long week on.

6. Diarrhea Planet at the Palm Door

The largest band in terms of number of members that I saw at SXSW, also the one that played the most shows, probably. This six piece band from Nashville seemed to have six people on guitar alone, all constantly soloing in triumphant rock god poses and generally exhorting the crowd to cut loose and have a great time… which they did.

7. Merchandise at the bridge party

Every year at SXSW, there is a punk show hosted illegally on a pedestrian bridge that spans Colorado River, and it’s always been one of the highlights of the trip. This year was no different, with Tampa’s Merchandise playing along with one of the heavily buzzed bands of SXSW, Parquet Courts. Merchandise really impressed me at this show, though like most good live shows, the crowd was as much an important part of the moment- exploding around them, dancing, making out, moshing, throwing fireworks. This year, the cops didn’t even come.

8. The Sparring at the Jackalope

Simple, pure, SoCal punk with a metal tinge – this band ripped into a set of short, brutal anthems, including a sloppy cover of Ace of Spades. The singer dominated the space – doing laps on top of the bar, scattering people (but hopefully not their drinks), shoving the mic into surprised onloookers faces, and general creating a time that was surprisingly fun and raucous for 2pm. We stumbled into this place simply to get out of the heat, but it ended up being one of the more fun moments of the week.

9. Spider Bags at a random bar

These North Carolina country & garage tinged psych rockers impressed me at Hopscotch Festival last year when I walked into a random bar and they were playing, and I was stoked to completely randomly catch them again under similar circumstances – this band deserves to be more well known than they are.

10. Boy (on a boat)

A bit of a departure from the other bands on this list, Boy delivered a quiet, earnest set of Americana-tinged indie pop… even though they are Swiss-German! Bonus entertainment was found when the singer Valeska Steiner spoke between songs, not in the Southern twang of her songs, but in her native Swiss accent. This was a fun break… watching Austin’s skyline roll by and enjoying the cool Colorado River breeze.

11. Destruction Unit at Beerland

This band was a fresh discovery for me, even though the late Jay Reatard was once a member., They played several shows at SXSW but their set closing down the last night of the Beerland stage, was their best I saw – great onstage antics, fast, catchy (yet dark) songs, and they managed to whip a crowd exhausted from days of partying into a frenzy, including yours truly.

12. Mac DeMarco hanging out

I watched from my vantage point on the side stage as Mac DeMarco, full of energy, bounced around above the crowd, eventually performing most of one of his songs hanging upside down from the lighting above the stage, people’s hands and cameras outstretched all around him.

The Evens feature shoot.

The Evens.
The Evens.

The Evens.   The Evens.

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!

The Evens - Ghetto Blaster cover tear sheet
The Evens - Ghetto Blaster splash tear sheet

Noisem (formerly Necropsy) @ Golden West

Noisem (aka Necropsy) @ GW
Noisem (aka Necropsy) @ GW   Noisem (aka Necropsy) @ GW
Noisem (aka Necropsy) @ GW
Noisem (aka Necropsy) @ GWir-leasing.ru

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.

Matmos in the studio.

Matmos in the studio.
Matmos in the studio. Matmos in the studio.
Matmos in the studio. Matmos in the studio.

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.

XLR8R Matmos feature

Imagine Dragons, Veronica Falls shows.

Imagine Dragons @ Fillmore 2013
Imagine Dragons @ Fillmore 2013 Imagine Dragons @ Fillmore 2013
Imagine Dragons @ Fillmore 2013

Veronica Falls @ Black Cat
Veronica Falls @ Black Cat Veronica Falls @ Black Cat

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!

I Used To Be Darker poster

I Used To Be Darker.

Stoked to be able to announce my photo of lead actress Deragh Campbell is being used for the festival poster for I Used To Be Darker, the new film from Baltimore director Matt Porterfield. You might know Matt from his previous films Hamilton & Putty Hill. It’s great to be a part of this project, which has just premiered at Sundance as I type this.

Some coverage of the film at MovieScope and MovieMaker, and you can also read Matt’s journal from Sundance here at Baltimore Magazine’s site.
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