Laibach is a pretty weird band, one I never really expected to see live nor expected to actually be good, but this was a great show. I first heard of them from watching this video years ago, as part of the Wax Trax box set. It blew me away with how unlike just about anything else it was… their more recent material is less esoteric than that era of the band, but was really stoked to see this show.
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.
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.
This was a fun show, and pretty packed, in the Backstage of the Black Cat. The popular belief is that DC kids do not dance at shows, but that was proven untrue here… while it was not as wild as Baltimore or NYC, Double Dagger fans got moving and the band worked up a sweat. It was a great time, and a great start to 3 days in a row of me seeing this band.
The other monday I tackled not one, not two, but THREE shows in one evening. First I shot Ramblin Jack Elliott for the Washington Post in Rockville, MD. He played a church to a music preservation society crowd. Nice people, and a cool setting. The last time I saw him was at a huge political event in San Francisco, years ago… it was cool to check him out, even for a little bit, in a more intimate space.
Next up was Dirty Beaches at the Black Cat in DC. My girlfriend has been telling me to check out his music for quite awhile, but I must admit I had never heard Dirty Beaches until I stepped into the show. The lights were almost totally down, he was light by what looked like a single light… a white-tshirt clad 50s greaser-looking guy freaking out on a guitar, unaccompanied, playing crazy, fuzzy music out of Blue Velvet or something similar. It was pretty great. I’ve since gone back and gotten several of his records and downloads of his earlier tape only releases, and his music is great! Really recommended.
Finally, I limped back to Baltimore, dead tired, to Cullen Stalin’s No Rule party at Metro Gallery, to see DJ Ayres of the Rub and T&A Records. Ayres is an awesome guy, and a great DJ. I usually only see him at big events like SXSW or My Crew Be Unruly, so I really wanted to make it, say hi, shoot a few shots. Glad I did.
This band was not what I expected… I guess the name and the pedigree made me think this would be some driving, semi-aggressive indie rock, but in actuality they are basically the exact opposite… soft rock, made me think I was at a waterfront restaurant in the 80s or something. Not bad, though, and the crowd certainly enjoyed it…
I love the Ex. I am a late-term fan, I first saw them with the new line-up, so a lot people may think less of them now with their more guitar-oriented sound… but I think they are terrific, and they are always spectacular live… this was definitely one of the best shows of the 60 or so shows I have seen so far this year.
I covered the Dismemberment Plan reunion tour kick-off at the Black Cat for SPIN, and it was a really fun show. Sold out, of course, and they played a stacked set, with a lot of attention to Emergency and I, their most revered album, as well as a lot of other tracks… They were totally together too, without any of the minor technical foibles at their secret preview show the previous week (more on that in a sec). Really cool band Bluebrain opened up, too…
I was also lucky enough to be able to shoot a secret, invitation only show at the Galaxy Hut in Arlington, VA a week before the tour officially started… this was a great experience, 60 or so people crammed into a little cafe area, a feeling similar to what I imagine D-Plan shows in DC were like in the late 90s.
I went into this show knowing very little about Grant Hart, except that he was the drummer of Husker Du. And honestly, I don’t know a ton about Husker Du. I have met Bob Mould before, but I’m no expert on the band. I was pleasantly surprised by the show, however. Grant Hart’s music is simple, stripped down, dark songs about people who have lived rough lives (and it looks & sounds like Mr Hart has lived one too, based on his appearance and what I read about him), but with a hopeful tinge. Really good show, and I’m going to check out his solo albums.
Last month I took some photos for the Washington DC band The Gift. They are a great band, and comprised of three old friends. Henry was in Exosus, who I put out a record for in some mist-shrouded past, Beck was in Turboslut, and Mikey was in one of my favorite hardcore/punk bands from Maryland, Tradition Dies Here (among many other pursuits they’ve all been a part of). It was fun doing these shoots, even though making a “band photo” can sometimes be really ridiculous.
Speaking of which, we shot the group photos in the Black Cat before they opened, and while there, the most amazing thing happened. Apparently, Henry had told Mikey previously that “nothing he did could shock him”… so Mikey thought about it, came up with something, and revealed it to Henry during the shoot. And that is how I came to be present when Mikey showed Henry that he had gotten a HUGE photo realistic tattoo of Henry’s face on his upper thigh. Wow.
PS – Their debut record “Mostly In Sickness” comes out in January.
Two shows I shot on assignment. My first time at the Kennedy Center after almost ten years in the DC area… I felt under-dressed. The Kennedy Center show was my first time using my new 70-200 lens. Not the best shooting situation, I could have really used a 300mm… maybe next Christmas.
Maff Moffat, co-owner of DC record store SMASH organized a benefit show for Stereofaith, a DC scene stalwart (former hardcore band member, longtime DJ and promoter, all-around cool dude) who had to have some pretty serious surgery. Seminal DC band Government Issue played a reunion show, along with the classic DC-suburbs punk band The Goons. It was a really fun show, sold out but not too crazy, probably because most of the people in attendance were a little older, so it was still fun to be in that room. The Goons set was rowdy, with some circle pitting and stagediving, but things kicked up alot when Government Issue took the stage. John Stabb is a crazy guy, I’d seen YouTubes but it was awesome to see him still getting wild, 30 years later. J Robbins, Tom Lyle, and Pete Moffett got pretty wild themselves… I saw Robbins and Moffett grinning and goofing with Stabb many times, Lyle seemed to remain more serious but was definitely playing hard. All in all, a good show…
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!