Digging through the stacks on this Thanksgiving eve and finding lots of old gems I haven’t posted. Here are some photos of my pals PURE JUNK from last year, playing a show at the Ottobar. Perhaps opening for Fred & Toody of Dead Moon? This was a fun night. Look for more posts soon (I always say that, but for real this time).
Greetz : Kuroi’SH, RxR, K3L0T3X
Big Mouth is one of my absolute favorite Baltimore live bands, they hadn’t played a show for awhile before this one, so I was really stoked to go. I’ve been carrying my Fuji x100t lately, a smaller camera, and I took this show as an opportunity to try and shoot a show entirely with it. It was super challenging, but fun, and I think it came out pretty well.
Government Issue, the legendary DC hardcore band fronted by John Stabb, played a surprise show at the Ottobar recently. Pretty cool getting to see them play just blocks from my house, on a icy Sunday evening.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
It all started with a simple internet search. Thatâ€™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 Baltimoreâ€™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. â€œAs it grew, it would get bigger and the shows would get bigger,â€ says Weldon, the bandâ€™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. â€œWe 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,â€ Weldon explains. â€œIt just ran its course.â€ 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. Weldonâ€™s reaction was: “Wow, thereâ€™s a Grey march site? Thats really weird – and thereâ€™s music on there too! I donâ€™t have any music, where are these people getting this music from if I donâ€™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. â€œOnce we got together it came back really natural. After a couple tries, we could play it, we could totally do all the songs,â€ 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. â€œThey sold every beer they had, that place went nuts,â€ recalls Weldon, â€œpeople were out in the street, it was so big.â€ Shows at The Ottobar and DCâ€™s the Black Cat soon followed. One problem did emerge, however. As Weldon puts it, â€œpersonal band issues got a little bit out of control.â€ As a result, the band parted ways with original guitarist Mikey Dub. However, Paul Anderson (a member of another of Burchâ€™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 Remingtonâ€™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. â€œIts the most insane thing youâ€™ve heard in your whole life,â€ 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 â€œEarly Worksâ€, 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 â€œFirst and foremost, I love their music. It doesn’t matter to me that they were a â€˜localâ€™ 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.â€
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 80â€™s hardcore band Government Issue) and his new band Repeated History as well as Baltimoreâ€™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 bandâ€™s resurgent appeal, Weldon has this to say: â€œI 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 theyâ€™re all adults. And now they donâ€™t really see each other a lot, yet theyâ€™ll come down for something like this… theyâ€™ll come and theyâ€™ll reconnect.â€
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.??????? ????????? ??????
Thereâ€™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 â€œthe thousands of other Necropsys out there.â€ He adds, â€œour 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.â€ The newly branded group have an album, titled â€œAgony Definedâ€, 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 theyâ€™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 Lieblingâ€™s Pentagram will be playing as well, their first area appearance since the release of the Liebling-focused documentary Last Days Here, and itâ€™s a chance for them to share the stage with fellow 80â€™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 yearâ€™s MDF appears to be the Doom event of 2013. Of course, there are also plenty of young acts to see, including Pallbearer (whoâ€™s 2012 album Sorrow and Extinction topped many yearâ€™s best lists), Rotten Sound, DCâ€™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 DCâ€™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 Issueâ€™s band History Repeated. During Death Fest weekend, May 24th, Kentucky hardcore band Coliseum plays right around the corner at the Sidebar with DCâ€™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.
Starting off a strong month of heavy shows is Baltimore d-beat band Old Lines, who have been playing out a lot in support of their self-titled first LP. See them Wednesday, March 6 with straight edgers WarXGames and Big Christ at Club K. Also coming up at Club K is Holly Hunt, a new band featuring members of Cavity and Floor (two of my favorite dark, sludgy groups of the 90s). They’re playing with D.O.C., Radical Discharge and Eddie Brock on March 18th.http://dekor-okno.ru
Last year, Baltimore musician Jason Donnells (The New Flesh) split for greener pastures but thankfully heâ€™ll be back long enough for his most recent band, Friend Collector, to play a show in town. See them at the Bell Foundry on March 25th with Curse and Multicult. Later in the week, a new metal party kicks off on March 30th at the Borinquen Night Club on Eastern Ave, featuring performances from Lich King, Possessor, and a host of other bands. The promoters say this will be the first of a weekly metal night at the club.
Moving into April, on the 6th Tim â€œRipperâ€ Owens is performing at Cafe 611 in Frederick. I canâ€™t say Iâ€™m a huge fan, but the guy went from being in a Judas Priest cover band, to being in Judas Priest, to having a movie made out of his life starring Mark Wahlberg as him. Pretty wild ride. The next night, Baltimoreâ€™s Passage Between opens for Kowloon Walled City and Zozobra at the Ottobar, and Cemetery Piss opens for Evil Army at the Sidebar.
Joining the ranks of other local fests like A389 Bash and the upcoming Maryland Death Fest, Chris Moore (Magrudergrind, Coke Bust) has organized a strong line-up for the first Damaged City Fest, a two day event at Saint Stephens in D.C. There are too many bands playing to list here, but some of the area acts include: Mindset, Sick Fix, Ilsa, Necropsy, Coke Bust and Give, along with out of towners like Negative Approach, Double Negative, and Dropdead. It goes down April 12-13th and passes are on sale now.
Necropsy, a Baltimore metal band new enough that several members are reportedly still in high school, have just recorded an album with Kevin Bernsten of Developing Nations for their debut release on A389 records. The album should be out in the next few months. Baltimore punk band Paper Dragons have just released an LP, Die To Please, on Wallride Records. They are also playing on April 14th at the Ottobar, with Diarrhea Planet & Tenement. Everlasting grind band Triac just released a split 12â€ record with D.C.â€™s D.O.C. on German label RSR.
Finally, on a sad note, longtime Relapse Records sales manager Pat Egan recently passed away from pneumonia complications. Egan was a beloved fixture in the metal community at large for years and Relapseâ€˜s Pig Destroyer is releasing a benefit EP named â€œMass and Volumeâ€, which will consist of several doom metal-inspired tracks that were previously available only in Japan. Relapse has also released a 20 band compilation entitled â€œPatlapseâ€. Proceeds from both will go towards his daughterâ€™s college fund. You can find out more at patlapse.bandcamp.com.
Shot the second of two sold out shows at the Black Cat to celebrate the impending release of Salad Days, a documentary about the 80s punk and hardcore scene in DC. Great show. I had seen GI before, so knew what to expect – always fun, though. But Scream I had never seen, and honestly, hadn’t listened to that much in a long time… so I was pleasantly surprised at how much they killed it. Seriously a great performance.
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