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.
This was a fun assignment. I have to admit, I knew nothing about Omar Souleyman going in… he is a Syrian singer who performs what sound like traditional songs (to my unknowledgeable ears) with a more modern style drone-y synth music background. Pretty interesting and a charismatic performer, to boot. Apparently he has released more than 500 albums! See more photos from Omar Souleyman’s performance at the 9:30 Club. Continue reading →
Wow. I had never heard of this band before, though I realized once I was there that I had heard their hit single “Tonight Tonight”, but WOW. This was the first show I have been to where the crowd (comprised mostly of teenage girls) was louder than the music… much louder. A sold out 9:30, all screaming in unison, without much pause! Pretty wild.
I hadn’t seen Darkest Hour in years… seeing them at the 9:30 Club on the Summer Slaughter tour was a far cry from seeing them play on a friend’s driveway in 99, which was the first time I saw them, but it was still alot of fun. Definitely one of the highlights of the Summer Slaughter 2011, the other of which was Dying Fetus, of which I will post photos in a few days…
The other week, I shot the Arctic Monkeys and the Vaccines for SPIN… I am not super knowledgeable about either band, but fun show, good lighting, good sound… the Arctic Monkeys were lively, more so than I had been led to believe, and the Vaccines were fun and energetic. I hear they are a band to watch… Read the review, linked below for more details!
Sunday, after a looong weekend, I saw Lykke Li and Grimes play at the 9:30 Club. I had never heard of Grimes before this show was announced, but I have been a pretty large Lykke Li fan for years, since before her debut album Youth Novels came out. Grimes turned out to be a one woman band, who played an odd, eclectic mix of pop/noise/danse music. I’d have to listen to her stuff recorded to really pass judgement, but live it was interesting, if really distorted.
Lykke Li, who I’ve seen before, has upgraded her sound and more than upgraded her stage show. The set was almost like an arena rock performance, with blasting strobes, synchronized lighting, tons of fog, weird cloth strips that hung from the ceiling and swirled around the stage… The new material is also bigger and more bombastic (even as the song thematic material is darker and somber at times), so it’s quite a spectacle. For me, it left me a little unsure if I preferred this new Lykke Li to the one from Youth Novels and before. She got her start with small, intimate songs with a stripped down sound. Part of the reason I loved those early singles and her first album (and her earlier stage show) was how it felt like she was really putting herself out there with little artifice. While this new record and show are way, way more pro and accomplished, I think it loses a little of that feel. Still, it was a super impressive show and she is certainly flexing as an artist.
Last week, I was able to go see The Pogues for the first time, along with New Jersey band Titus Andronicus. TA was pretty fun, a really lively, together band. I understand they are about to be big, or so several people are telling me, it’s well-deserved if so.
The Pogues… were good. I’m glad I saw them. But Shane Mcgowan was pretty hard to watch… he sort of shambled onto stage, clutched his mic stand for dear life and sort of mumbled his way through their set. The rest of the band was animated and put on a good show, and Shane did… okay. Just sad to see someone who was once so talented and full of life just sort of be an echo of their former self.
Never saw this band before, but I remember people being blown away by their shows at the Black Cat back in the day… they put on a really good show, and the sold out crowd was seriously into it. Dunno if I would buy their records, but this was a fun show to shoot. Interestingly, they had us wait and shoot the middle of the set… maybe so they would get a little sweaty first?
This show was fun. Die Antwoord, at the very least, can actually rap and perform live – something I wasn’t convinced of going in. Unfortunately, none of their other material is as fresh or good as their two singles… but that can be said for a lot of groups. They had a lot of energy, were stage-diving, spitting water on people, generally jumping around like crazy… it will be interesting to see if they can keep the momentum going or if this is it. Rye Rye opened, and did great – though the stage was crazy dark for her set! I was suprised but I guess they decided to keep it low-key. It’s great to see the arc of her career, she is still going strong and I imagine this time next year will be even bigger.
Last weekend Michael Byrne and I covered the Vaselines US tour kickoff at the 9:30 Club in DC. Pretty fun show, I had never seen them before, and honestly didn’t know much about them besides that they were Kurt Cobain’s muse… well, pleasant suprise, an engaging poppy band with really foul mouthed (but in an adorable way) stage banter.
A week or so I ago was lucky enough to cover two New Orleans artists for the Washington Post – I asked my editor if he gave me the assignments because I’m from Louisiana, but no, total coincidence! The first was Trombone Shorty at 9:30 Club, who I wasn’t particularly familiar with before going in, but I figured it was going to be fun since he started the set with “As the Saints Go Marching In”… it was a pretty energetic show, Trombone Shorty has an almost unbelievable amount of energy and he got the crowd worked up to a level I haven’t seen in a long time at the 9:30.
Leo Nocentelli’s The Meters Experience (at Blues Alley) was alot more relaxed, focused more on a chiller mood that fit in with the dark atmosphere at Blues Alley, a dinner club I had never attended before. Actually, before going there, I had spent years wondering if the dinner clubs you see in old movies, where a big band plays to people dining even still existed… it does! This show was a lot less intense then the one at the 9:30, but it was chock full of stories and anecdotes about the early days of the Meters and how they came up with their songs, and so forth. Pretty interesting stuff.
Last week (or was it, time is getting wonky in this holiday/blizzard/travel maelstrom) I checked out Raekwon w/ Cappadona and Capone @ the 9:30 Club in DC. Rae was good, as usual. I was slightly disappointed that the rumored Noreaga appearance didn’t happen but… still a good show.
Sunday, Dan Deacon and his Ensemble rolled back into the area (along with Future Islands and Teeth Mountain). It was awesome to see so many friends playing on the big stage at the 9:30 Club. It was especially great to see Denny Bowen (of Double Dagger, Smart Growth fame, and part of the Ensemble) up there, as I have known Denny for years, and used to have his high school bands playing in the basement of my old house, the Dirtfarm. Such a good show, so great to see Dan’s songs performed with instrumentation, and to see him work his showmanship magic on such a huge crowd, and a “professional” space.
Future Islands and Teeth Mountain were really good as well, I was especially taken by Teeth Mountain, their set really benefited from the big sound that is possible at a venue like the 9:30.
View the whole set here. The show was fun, though I miss the days that Mastodon and Kylesa hung out in my house with my old roommate Sonny and played sold out shows at the Velvet Lounge vs sold out shows at the 9:30 Club. Still, times change and both bands are still very talented… I’ll never like Mastodon’s new sound as much as their earlier work, but it suits them and has obviously won them alot of fans, so more power to them.
Friday I shot Blisspop at the 9:30 club. It was a pretty wild party, with a photo area for saucy photos courtesy of BYT. It was good to hang out with Dakota (and watch him roll around with Ms Claus). Good times.
Last night, I shot Jamie Liddell at 9:30. He started out strong, the first few Prince-and-MJ-influenced songs were great fun, but after awhile the show just sort of petered out for me… I had never really listened to his music before, though… now I am going to probably check out some of his tracks.