Wow, this is my first photo post since the pandemic. And at the first show at the newly opened Metro Gallery. Felt really good to be here. At some point, maybe, I’ll write some sort of bloggy post reflecting on the last year or so, but for now, it’s just cool to post these photos.
Killer show for a good cause – helping a local member of the metal scene out with some extensive medical bills. Incantation and Old Lines were great this night, as was Putrisect, though my camera wasn’t cooperating for their set.
This week marked the relaunch of a Baltimore institution: the Ed Schrader Show! Long before Ed helmed Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, he was known for hosting the always-unpredictable Ed Schrader Show, a live talk show held at various spots around Baltimore. The show would present various notable (and often unsung) people of Baltimore and sitting them down for a chat with Ed in his unique interview style.
After taking some time to focus on music pursuits, this week Ed brought the show back to Metro Gallery and interviewed artist Dina Kelberman (check out her project I‘m Google) and rapper DDM (who is also in the stellar group Bond Street District), both long-time members of the creative scene here in Baltimore.
It was a great show, full of funny moments as well as heartfelt, insightful ones. I’ll add a podcast link here when it goes up- this is just the first in a monthly series of new shows, so you can come to Metro Gallery in march for next month’s taping.
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.
ESMB = best band in Baltimore! It was good to see them with a responsive crowd – there were plenty of people really stoked to see them play a hometown show. When Yonatan Gat started I was like “uh-oh, this is NOT for me” but they managed to win me over, I ended up really liking their set.
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!
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.
A few weeks back, Rye Rye and Say Whut did a video shoot at Metro Gallery in Baltimore for the Baltimore Sun. It was streamed live on the internet by a huge camera crew, as part of the promotions for Rye Rye’s debut full-length, which should be out soon (We’ve been waiting for it to drop for like a year or so!)… it was a great time, and while at first it felt a little weird, with all the lights and cameras, as soon as Rye Rye got going, the crowd loosened up and enjoyed the show… really getting into it and even taking the stage. It’s great to see her career taking off lately, and I am excited to see what happens when the album comes out! Click below to see the rest of the shots!
A few fridays ago, Metro Gallery hosted what I hope is a reoccuring event in Baltimore: an outdoor show in a relaxed environment with only two bands (both great). As I have gotten older, the idea of a two band bill has become OH SO ATTRACTIVE… Click here for photos from the Celebration/Beach House show.