Every year local neer-do-well Dustin Diamond has a cover band show at the Talking Head… well, next year it will have to be somewhere else, sadly, but it’s historically a great time. Different Baltimore bands or mixtures of Baltimore bands get together and do cover sets. This year among the bands were Fairies Wear Beards, which featured most of The Pilgrim doing Black Sabbath songs, and PISS, which featured most of Murder + Josh Seipp (formerly of Triac and Maudlin of the Well) and Matt Gabs from the Biters doing KISS covers… in full make-up! Continue reading
For the last near-decade, Maryland Death Fest has been a Baltimore Institution, bringing the best current and historic extreme metal bands to Sonar in Baltimore to play for thousands of fans. It’s literally the best and most interesting metal related event in the US. Spanning over several days (4 this year), dozens of bands play to a crowd of thousands, who travel from all over the world to be there. Because of it’s prominence, many bands choose to reunite to play it, or have their last show there, or play for the first/last/only time in the US there. Basically, it’s an amazing event. And this year’s, the TENTH Annual, starts thursday and last til sunday. For a list of bands and set times, click here. Here are some of my favorite shots from the last several years: Continue reading
Black Pus is Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt, Mindflayer, drawing comic books)’s one man drums+electronics band, and it was really fun… the crowd went crazy for him and his wall of sound, constantly stage-diving and dancing. One girl next to me went up easily 12 times in a row… pretty fun. Even Chester got into the action!
Ed and Devin’s set was energetic and awesome… everyone singing along, dancing, the crowd spill forward onto the stage over and over… there was an amazing moment when the power died and Ed led the crowd in a capella version of Air Show, which was just awesome to have happen.
I did a couple of photo sessions with Baltimore band Arboretum to help promote their record on Thrill Jockey. Great guys, we had a lot of fun. See all the photos (or most of them) here on flickr!
I shot these with Dan in his house in… 2009? Wow. Don’t know why I never posted these. These were for XLR8R Magazine, which no longer exists in printed form (RIP). The fabric in the background is the fabric that was used (he had it hand-made) for the tent that is on the cover of Bromst (which was photographed by the lovely & talented Baltimore photographer Frank Hamilton).
Awesome show, from beginning to end. 3 very different, yet complimentary Baltimore music groups, all on one bill! A great weekend for the Ottobar, who also hosted a sold out Wye Oak show the following night… anyway…
I have seen Matmos several times, and they are always different. This night, they chose to create a droning/grooving sort of atmosphere with a Caribbean (to my uninformed ears) feeling type of beat, very noddable and swayable. One of their songs got pretty minimal industrial, again to my uniformed ears, and I would SWEAR that on one song they used the same sample as Ministry does on one of their “Land of Rape And Honey” era records… but maybe I am just a goth.
Celebration remains one of my absolute favorite bands to see live in Baltimore… I love their old material and their newer stuff is growing on me more and more now that I have seen it played live a few times. Their set has morphed into only having one or two songs from the “The Modern Tribe” era, and they are still a treat to watch.
Dan Deacon used this show to introduce his new five piece ensemble (who I have posted about here recently) , and I really enjoyed the additional instrumentation. I think it worked best on the newer songs, ones that I assume were written for this group, but even on the classic Deacon songs, I think they added alot, especially the dual percussion. Live drums really can create a feeling like nothing else. The crowd seemed to agree, they went CRAZY, which is too be expected, and it was a really really fun set. Somehow I managed to stick it out the whole time at the front… a bit of a while since I managed that, but I was having a blast!
Saturday was something I thought I would never see… the reunion of Baltimore band Daybreak. They were a late 90s/early 2000s power violence band who put out records on Reptilian Records and Robodog Records (now Robotic Empire). I never saw them, but their records made their way to Baton Rouge by way of Page 99’s distro table and the Robodog’s Geocities-era website. Me and my friends appreciated the music, extreme but approachable and with musicianship, and even more, we appreciated the humorous piss-takes at “the scene” and the feeling of a crew of punks that we got from their record art and inserts… I thought it was cool that there was enough people who liked this music there to even HAVE a crew!
Anyway, somehow, someway, 10+ years later and I am friends with alot of the people involved with the making of these records, and they are all great and I am thankful they decided to do this reunion show so me and others had the chance to finally see this band! It was a fun night, and for a good cause – to help pay for a friend of the band’s cancer-related medical bills.
Great show the other day at Sonar, courtesy of Unregistered Nurse. Australia’s Total Control (featuring at least one member of Eddy Current Suppression Ring) and California’s Thee Oh Sees.
Caught one of my favorite metal bands, Thou, the other day at the Talking Head Club. They played later than I thought, but always great and they ended with a cover of Black Sabbath’s
Sabotage Into The Void, which was really, really awesome. Great to see some old friends too.
I got out of there as fast as possible and made my way to the Unregistered Nurse show at the Golden West, just in time to catch the last couple of songs by new baltimore band Tremors 2. Amazingly bad/good/bad/unsure name, but they were really good and lively to watch. I managed to get a few snaps. Then Natural Child played, who are a slowed down southern garage/punk band who are really catchy and fun, most of their songs have more than a hint of humor about them and the dudes in the band are really chill as well. Go check them out, they seem to always be on tour.
Last week, Future Islands played a show at Baltimore bar the Depot, a fairly small place, to celebrate the release of their new album, On the Water. The place was PACKED OUT, and they didn’t disappoint, playing a mix of new and old songs… the temperature had to go up like 10 or 15 degrees in that place by the time they were done. They are going on a nationwide tour starting next week, so check the tour dates and don’t miss your chance to see them!
As most readers of this site probably know, this week ends with the last 3 Double Dagger shows ever. The band is calling it a day… one of the best punk bands, the best bands in general to ever come out of Baltimore, and all friends of mine as well. I have been seeing their shows for years, photographing them for years. In fact, Double Dagger was one of the first bands I shot after deciding I wanted to pursue concert photography seriously, and the above close-up of Nolen with the microphone was from that very show. It was taken while he was precariously standing on my chair (why were there chairs at Hampden Fest? I’ll never know… obviously they were expecting a different kind of band), singing down at me the words to “Camera Chimera”, their song about the over-whelming presence of the camera eye in our lives. Sorry, Nolen! Right after I took it, the guy next to me turned to me and said “That’ll never come out.” A week later, it made Explore (the top 200 photos on Flickr).
One of the best things about Double Dagger is their sense of humor; their smart/punk sensibility. After a “drums in the crowd” issue the previous year’s Whartscape festival, Dan Deacon told the guys specifically “don’t throw any drums in the crowd this year”. So of course, that was the first thing they did in 2010 – throw plastic inflatable drums! There are about a hundred more examples, too.
They also are a band who managed to write songs about important topics in out lives, and within our communities, but at the same time kept them fun & catchy… something so few punk bands have managed to do. So many of their songs resonate to Baltimoreans (but I imagine, everyone also) as reflecting aspects of the city and community we live in. It’s great to see so many younger kids at their shows… inspired not just by the wild stage hijinx (though there is plenty of that), but by the thoughtful content of the songs.
They are going to be missed. Come out to the last shows, I’ll be there.
Wed, October 19 – Washington, DC – Black Cat – w/ Imperial China, Holy Ghost Party
Thu, Oct. 20 – Brooklyn, NY – Death By Audio – w/ AIDS Wolf, Zomes
Fri Oct. 21 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar – w/ awesome secret guests!!!
See more of my photos of Double Dagger below, or click here to see all of the ones I have up on Flickr.
This past weekend was the first Baltimore Grand Prix event, currently planned to be held every Labor Day weekend for the next 5 years. I was there for the City Paper and managed to try and soak up some of the race, my first. It seemed very crowded, at least on the actual race day, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. I heard some grumblings that some of the businesses of the Inner Harbor were seeing less foot traffic due to the race, but it’s hard to say. One thing I can say for sure is that people were covering every possible surface:
Just got back from Miller’s Island with J.M. Giordano, he was out there on assignment and I tagged along and snapped some incidental shots… Not great shots but it was raining so hard I literally couldn’t see! The wind and rain here was way stronger than in the city – when we got back in the car we heard they were starting voluntary evacuation of the island. It flooded badly during Isobel. Stay safe out there.
For the last near-decade, Maryland Death Fest has been a Baltimore Institution, bringing the best current and historic extreme metal bands to Sonar in Baltimore to play for thousands of fans. It’s literally the best and most interesting metal related event in the US. Spanning over several days (4 this year), dozens of bands play to a crowd of thousands, who travel from all over the world to be there. Because of it’s prominence, many bands choose to reunite to play it, or have their last show there, or play for the first/last/only time in the US there. Basically, it’s an amazing event. And this year’s, the Ninth Annual, starts today and last til sunday. For a list of bands and set times, click here. Chris from DC HeavyMetal posted a great Death Fest Survival Guide here.
Below are some of the favorite photos I have taken at previous Death Fests:
A couple of weeks back, I caught an assignment from the Sun to shoot Wye Oak’s homecoming show at the 2640 Space in Baltimore. This is a great venue, a retired/decommissioned church in Charles Village… huge, and beautiful, withc great acoustics. I have seen a lot of great shows there over the years, such as Celebration, Future Islands & Arboretum and negativland.
Wye Oak was extremely tight, coming off a month(s?) long US tour in support of their new Merge Records album, Civilian, and the sold out crowd was super receptive… after a weird incident with a drunk guy screaming about how he loved Titus Andronicus ended with crowd members escorting him out, anyway. As Erik Maza from the Sun said to me after the show, “Who gets drunk on Sunday BEFORE going to see Wye Oak at a Church?!” But back to the show… Wye Oak were good, and supplemented with a horn section for a few songs, which I thought was interesting and sounded good, I wonder if that is going to become a normal thing?
Maryland Death Fest 2009 was amazing. I only was there for one day, but it was incredible! So many bands… I never expected to see Bolt Thrower, ever! Much less with Pig Destroyer, Napalm Death and Wolves In The Throne Room! Not to mention Misery Index, Birdflesh… too many bands to name, really. Also the festival was very well run, which was impressive for just how big the scope of it all was. So many metalheads in one place and there were not really any major problems, at least not that I heard about… congratulations to everyone involved at MDF and Sonar!
Last week I went down to DC to catch one of my favorite bands from the “old days” of Maryland Hardcore (the early 00s), Tradition Dies Here. Mikey is leaving town for a year or two to travel the world so they had this show in case it is the last one. Good times, old friends. Good luck Mikey!