Been sitting on some older photos from Hopscotch Music Festival 2015. Hopscotch is one of my favorite music fests, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The close proximity of all the venues and the great staff and locals make it a super fun time, year after year… here are some photos of Prurient, one of the more famous noise artists. He played in the big opera house venue in downtown Raleigh, an odd setting for this performance, perhaps, but it was cool to see him there. I noticed the various ushers and staff of the venue shaking their heads in confusion – I assume they normally don’t host this kind of show there.
Right after this, at another venue, I got to check out Chelsea Wolfe, who I’d been waiting to see for quite awhile – great performance (with a guest appearance from Mike Sullivan from Russian Circles, pictured above). Her album Apokalypsis is one of my favorites, highly recommended!
Walked around Old Goucher/Charles Village and took some photos of my buddies in Dope Body.
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.
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.
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€
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).