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 weekend, I saw one of my favorite metal bands, THOU, who are on Southern Lord and a myriad of other labels, and who hail from my hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana (minus the singer Bryan Funck, who is from New Orleans). I have known Bryan for years and he is a stellar dude in the world of diy booking, touring, and all around everything… and the band is pretty incredible. Challenging modern doom that doesn’t fall into the familiar cliches of the genre… recommended. You can find out more about them, and download songs and whatnot, at their website.
Last weekend I saw the Olde City Side Show perform as part of the annual Baltimore Frank Zappa Day festivities… a fun little sideshow team, they did a bunch of vaudevillian type tricks, hanging things from body parts, walking on glass, putting flaming things out on body parts, a beautiful lady dancer, and so forth. Pretty cool, an unexpected at a street festival.
Natural Child are a pretty awesome band from Tennessee, I have seen them twice now (both times brought to Baltimore via Unregistered Nurse Booking), and both times they impressed me. Slowed down, very melodic garage-y punk rock, with funny lyrics and song concepts… good stuff. Check them out when they play your town.
Outside of the Grand Prix, a group of citizens gather to protest the handling of the shooting of Officer William H Torbit, a Baltimore City Police officer who was shot and killed by fellow police in front of a nightclub early in the morning of January 9th, 2011. Last month, an investigation cleared police involved in the shooting – which involved 42 shots fired in front of the nightclub, of any criminal charges.
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:
What a fun show! A combination “back to school”/”Dan’s birthday” show, 350 or so people packed into the parking lot behind Current Gallery at 6pm sharp and got to see great sets by 3 local acts. What Cheer Brigade also played, and were great! They are a 12+ piece brass band from Rhode Island… really fun to see live. They stressed that everyone should be there on time or they would be sold out, which ruled, show started on time, ended on time. The rain managed to MOSTLY hold off, and we got to see an acapella performance by Future Islands after Garrett’s laptop shorted out from the drizzle… hopefully it’s okay. All fun!
Continuing in the trend of photos that I haven’t posted for months, here are shots from the Death Set’s matinee show at the Windup Space a few months back, during Death Fest weekend. Always fun to see these boys. Also included are some shots of Eyeball Skeleton and Adventure (with Mark Brown). And the lovable Russ & Gonz from the Windup Space.
Driving to a City Paper photo shoot, me and my friend (and talented photographer) J.M. Giordano saw the above… some driver who was foolish enough to try and drive through several feet of standing water on North Point Boulevard. I ran out through the rain and grabbed a few pics, the best of which is above.
2 cool shows at the Golden West, one photo post! Milo from the Descendents even made an appearance at the Scott Reynolds show and was nice enough to pose for a few photos!
Shot several shows in Hampden last week… 2 at the Golden West presented by Unregistered Nurse and another at Fraziers. Saw several new bands, including Denny Bowen (of Double Dagger)’s new band Roomrunner, and Ryan Kidwell (Cex) and Jeremy from Ponytail’s new one Sprayer. Great times all around.
I worked with Sam Sessa at the Baltimore Sun on a piece about the breakdancing scene in Baltimore. The monthly party 4 Hours of Funk (at Wind Up Space) and the weekly Dig (at Joe Squared) are both hotbeds of breaking, as well as popping and locking. Both parties are fun, even for the uninitiated like myself. It’s pretty impressive just to hang back and watch their moves.
- Revival of breaking brings a blast of new energy to Baltimore – Baltimore Sun article
- See all my breakdancing photos on flickr
[miniflickr user_id=”50009481@N00” tags=”sunbreaking2011″]
Monday night’s Ice Age show with Give and Death Domain at the Golden West (brought to you by Unregistered Nurse Booking)was a lot of fun… cool to see such a buzzed about new band play Baltimore as their 3rd show of their first US tour! Give was also a band I’d heard alot about and really enjoyed… they seem to be part of this current movement of looking back to hardcore and punk’s earlier days, but I like that! They were fun to see. Ice Age (or is it iceage? I’m unsure.) were fun and somber and Danish and VERY YOUNG. They seemed a little awkward at first, but got into it after a few songs… and the crowd certainly responded, there was lots of slamming and dancing going on, at least at the front. Good times.
I shot a few quick portraits of Scottie B and Cullen Stalin for a City Paper article, on stands now.
Dillinger Escape Plan played a not-quite-secret-but-unpromoted show at the Talking Head, a very small venue behind Sonar after their recent two days opening at Sonar for the Deftones. It was pretty crazy! Everyone that showed up was a devout fan and there was alot of diving, surfing, moshing and other shenanigans. By the end of the show, the ceiling air duct was destroyed and the guitarist’s face was covered in blood. Wild times.
Finally! The last MDF 2011 post… so many photos to dig through! This final day was pretty fun, though I was dead tired. The surprise of the day for me was probably Skinless’ last show, which was ridiculous, with the singer stagediving and jumping into the crowd constantly. Malignent Tumor, who I’d never heard before, had a circle pit like no other, full of inflatable penises and other assorted insanity. Most fun crowd experience of the fest. Also, Nuclear Assault invited the crowd on stage with them, which was really really fun.
Other notable things were the dude from Exhumed playing in ANOTHER band (Gravehill), Cthulhu showing up for a visit, me saying I’d believe that Ted Leo was going to be playing with Citizens Arrest when I saw it… then realizing I was standing next to Ted Leo.
Another big deal for me was managing to make (with the help of my friend Dustin) this happen:
Yes, that’s Marel, the woman from the Deathfest City Paper cover, posing with Jason, the security guy in the photo, both standing in the same spot that picture was taken last year. I had tried to connect with her for several days, we finally managed to make it happen on Sunday. She was really nice, and said that she started getting texts about the City Paper cover as soon as her plane landed at BWI and thought people were joking! Too funny. Glad we could get this shot.
Over the halfway mark with my MDF photos! Day 3 was a little more relaxing for me, the highlight was getting to see Exhorder, a New Orleans thrash metal band that I grew up on and hearing about, but never was able to see live (a little before my time), as well as seeing Voivod again… they were excellent and the crowd seemed super stoked. Many people told me their set was their high point of the whole show. My favorite discovery of this day was Acid Witch, who I had never heard before but who I thought were excellent live. Cretin was also good live, playing with Matt Harvey from Exhumed (he seemed to be guesting in at least one band a day at this MDF).
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: