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.
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
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.
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.
Earlier this year, Marked Men played 3 shows in two days at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus. I covered it for Noisey. Great shows, I wish we could have stayed for the third one but no sense being greedy, I suppose. The atmosphere at these shows were great, really intimate, lots of fans from all over there to see one of their favorite bands play with little or no BS. The day show, especially was cool, though less “wild” since people were just waking up/not tipsy, but it gave it a more youthful vibe. Don’t miss a chance to see this band.
Good show at Ottobar the other day (week? slowly getting my site up to date). Really dug the chance to see Windhand, as this was the first time I had seen them in a non-festival setting. The Pilgrim is always great, one of my favorite heavy Baltimore bands.
Saw Baltimore’s Best Band, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat awhile ago at venerable DIY venue Floristree along with Rat Fist, a new band made up of members of No Age and Pissed Jeans. Long time homie Sean McGuiness of PJ (and various back-in-the-day DC bands) drums and sings for Rat Fist, so I couldn’t miss it. Great show. ESMB really deserves all the attention they are getting, what a great band. Seeing shows at Floristree is a really good experience because it feels so home-y (after all, it is a home) and the crowd is generally so respectful and into the music. They even have a better sounding PA now, too!
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.
My good friend Chris Richards published an article today in the Washington Post (with photo contributions from yours truly) titled “How the â€œSassiest Boy in Americaâ€ 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.