Consistently great metal shows at Baltimore Soundstage. I had never seen either of these bands before. Yob was a band I’ve heard alot and enjoy, thought they might have been a “relaxed” band life before I saw them, but the life show was good. Made me want to crank the albums up when I got home. Enslaved is a band I’d always heard a lot about, but wasn’t super familiar with – they were great! Amazing stage presence, with little to no ‘kult’ stuff that can sometimes be a little much with European bands. They loved the crowd and played to the crowd (and the photographers) perfectly, really great performance.
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 generationâ€™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. Iâ€™ve never been a Manson fan really; as a teenager, I liked some of the early songs like â€œLunchbox,â€ 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 iconâ€”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 wasnâ€™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 objectâ€”a microphone, an open bottle of water, a glass of liquorâ€”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 showâ€”which was entertaining enough to me, a non-fan, to stay until the endâ€”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, â€œNo! Marilyn Manson canâ€™t do a bad show!â€
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…
UNfest 3 is this weekend, so enjoy the above photos from 2013’s fest! You can buy tickets for this year’s fest here.
(These photos originally ran on Noisey.)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!