Always a blast to see live, New Orleans’ own Queen Diva Big Freedia graced Baltimore with her presence a few weeks back and it was a sweaty, azz-filled evening. I’ve seen her show many times, but never get tired of it. Don’t miss Freedia if she comes to your town!
Tonight Baton Rouge doom metal band THOU is playing at Sonar/the Talking Head, along with Black Tusk and (members of Torche) Monstro. You should go, if you even have a passing interest in metal. Thou is one of the most interesting underground metal bands right now – their music is really dark yet not theatrically so, and they are very accomplished musicians that manage to make doom metal seem very fresh without adding disparate elements into it… they have consistently toured (at generally very affordable prices), made most (all?) of their music available for free on their web site, and strive to make sure all of their physical media is up to high standards of audio quality and visual fidelity. They have released albums both diy and on larger labels like Southern Lord. And tonight, they are in Baltimore! Come out!
I have been a fan for some time, above are some photos I have taken of them over the years…
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.
I shot Big Freedia at DC9 for the Washington Post, one of the first shows after their re-opening, I believe. I was worried at first that it might be a low turnout, but DC crowds are expert at showing up JUSSSSST before the artist they want to see plays, and suddenly it was packed! Great show, one of the funniest I have been to this year. So much ass-shaking, which is to be expected. Freedia was really nice too, I managed to get a quick portrait before the show. I’ll always shoot a bounce show if I get a chance!
Last week EYEHATEGOD played a blistering set at Sonar. I’ve seen this band a half dozen times but they are always awesome… one of my favorite bands that are still playing. Brutal, dissonant, nihilistic sludge metal. Highly recommended. Weirdly enough, TONS of people were stage diving, I guess because it’s fairly easy to in the club room. Not the kind of music I normally associate with stage diving, but it was a fun show anyway.
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.
In the last couple of weeks I have seen a LOT of New Orleans bands/artists for some reason… it’s been pretty cool. First I saw the always amazing EYEHATEGOD at Maryland Death Fest, and even though I have seen them before, it is always a treat. (Possibly amusing aside – when I moved to New York City for college, I ran into a dude who, when I said I was from Louisiana asked me if I liked EYEHATEGOD and Acid Bath and it blew my MIND because this was before the internet was a big deal and I just assumed no one knew who those bands were outside of Louisiana)…. click here to see more EYEHATEGOD photos from MDF2010
I also managed to catch “Queen of Sissy Bounce” Big Freedia. In case you don’t know what bounce music is, it’s the regional dance music of New Orleans (like Baltimore Club is for Bmore and Gogo is for DC), and is heavily call-and-response oriented. Sissy Bounce, which I think was originated by Katey Red, is gay/trans-themed Bounce music, and is getting alot of attention right now. Bounce is also pretty awesome, and used to be a bit controversial. Back in the day people like Mystikal would record songs with lines like “never gonna bounce!”. Not sure if it’s still like that. Anyway, the show was awesome, Big Freedia had a bunch of dancers with her and there was tons of call-and-response, ass shaking and everything you’d expect… click here for Big Freedia photos.
Finally I saw the Amazing Mister Quintron and Miss Pussycat the other night, at the Golden West. I have been a fan of theirs for yearssss and they are good friends with people I know from New Orleans. Their music/art is crazy and fun, and you probably have heard of them if you are reading this, but if not, check them out. They do things like host puppetshows before every show and build their own musical instruments. They also used to have a underground club in New Orleans, the Spellcaster Lodge… I don’t know if it has re-opened or not. Anyway, the show was excellent. Click here for Quintron and Miss Pussycat photos.
Click here to see the set, and to see how the photos were displayed. Special thanks to Front Gallery, Jenny and Kyle of Hot Iron Press and Dana (my tireless girlfriend) for all the help with this show, it was indispensible!