Last time was the second time I have seen Glasvegas in DC and I have come away with the same feeling both times. I really like the album, but as far as the live show goes, there is just something about it that’s a bit off. The band and their show both seem a bit contrived. I get that they think they are big rock stars and that they play to 3000+ each night in the UK, but if that’s the case, they should totally own a gig at a cozy place like the Black Cat, but they didn’t even come close last night. Thinking you deserve it is one thing, showing you deserve it is another. The band has attitude to spare but the songs (especially the lyrics) just don’t hold up. Opening the set with “Geraldine” was a ballsy move, but it backfired on them because James Allan’s vocals sounded very rough (and that’s me being kind). He ultimately got it together about halfway through the set (“Flowers and Football Tops” sounded much better), but it wasn’t enough to salvage the gig in my mind. I’ve seen plenty of sold out shows at the Black Cat, but this was one of the least exciting. But not as bad as this.
Last night turned out to be a bummer all the way around since Duke crashed and burned against Villanova. I DVR’ed the game and will go back and watch it later (caught most of the second half before they cut away to watch Mizzou shoot free throws) and will offer my thoughts then.
No rest for the weary tonight. Primal Scream at the 9:30 Club! The Scream have long been one of my favorite bands and I am super excited for this show. I fully expect my face to be melted off by “Shoot Speed (Kill Light)” or “Swastika Eyes.” The set from their L.A. gig looks incredible. The club is running a two-for-one special on tickets, so there is no excuse not to come!
I’ve always been pretty meh about Longwave. All style and no substance. I would constantly hear people talk about how great they were but none of their recorded material did a thing for me. I remember being very excited to hear their 2005 album There’s A Fire because the great and wonderful John Leckie produced it but it didn’t do it for me. They piqued my interest again a few months later when they picked up former Sea Ray (RIP) keyboardist and all-around good guy Jeff Sheinkopf for a while, but he eventually left the band and my interest faded.
Anyways, I had still never seen them live so I thought I would give them a shot on Sunday at the 9:30 and I am so very glad I did. Not sure what has happened to them in the last few years, but man, they were straight fire. I was gobsmacked! Gone were the breezy pop songs I remembered, in their place was a wall of guitar effects that Ride or Spooky-era Lush would be proud of. And lead singer Steve Schiltz has the pipes to keep up too. They were amazing. Wikipedia says they put out a record at the end of last year. I’m going to have to track that down ASAP.
Also, the band said they were recording the gig for future use. There were quite a few video cameras set up around the venue. Hopefully they share that with all of us before too long.
[Photo Gallery] Longwave @ 9:30 Club
I wrote up a quickie review on DCist earlier int he week, but here are a few other thoughts on the Bloc Party show from Sunday.
- It was way sold out. Shoulder to shoulder all the way to the back of the venue.
- They didn’t play “Waiting for the 7.18” Boo!
- “Ion Square” was pretty mind-blowing. The slinky keyboards from Gordon provided a nice respite from a very guitar heavy set. Definitely my new fave song.
- The seamless segue from “Song for Clay (Disappear Here) into “Banquet” was pretty awesome.
- Best lighting and best sound I’ve experienced from a 9:30 show in a long time.
- I love it when headliners go on before 9:30. We stayed through the firt encore and still got home a little after 11. Yes, I’m old.
[Photo Gallery] Bloc Pary @ 9:30 Club
Got some killer shots of Longwave. Will post those tomorrow.
Last Thursday I swore of basketball for the night (I more than made up for it over the weekend) and headed down to the Black Cat to check out Pree and Meredith Bragg. As I’ve mentioned a few times in the last week or so, Pree is the new group formed by May Tabol, formerly of Le Loup. Her new group put on a great gig showcasing her quirky folk-pop. Definitely worth checking out if you are curious about them. I was surprised at how polished they were.
Local boy and fellow Kora Records artist Meredith Bragg opened the show. Somehow I had never seen him before, despite him gigging locally all the time. The two names thrown around when describing Bragg, Elliott Smith and Ben Gibbard, are right on the money. If intelligent, sparse acoustic folk is your thing, Bragg is your man.
Pree w/ Meredith Bragg @ Black Cat
I’m a few days late on this (more on that later) but I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on Saturday night’s show. I was very excited about seeing Morrissey at the Warner, it’s one of D.C.’s oldest concert venues, styled like a junior version of Radio City Music Hall.
Strangely, I was not nearly as nervous to photograph Moz this time around. I was pins and needles two years ago at DAR, but was strangely calm this time. That is, until the rush of people crowding the front of the stage when the lights went down. I don’t think security at that venue was used to crowds like that. There was a lot of pushing and shoving at first but eventually everyone got a spot they were happy with and it was somewhat bearable.
I ended up stage right and in retrospect, it was too far from center. And due to the crowds, I couldn’t move around. The lighting was coming from the sides and back of the stage with a spotlight on Moz, so I got mostly profile stuff. Overall I got some good photos, but nothing as iconic as last time.
The show itself was better than I was expecting. I’m still not a fan of Years of Refusal and I wish he would have played some songs off of Ringleader of the Tormentors (I am still bitter that he was over playing those songs by then time his tour got to the East Coast two years ago). I still don’t like the alt-rock version of “This Charming Man” but “Ask” was quite nice. It was a thrill of hear Morrissey sing about the buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg. He also played a Buzzcocks cover and broke out “First of the Gang to Die”
for the first time on this tour (Reader Ken notes that Moz played this in Myrtle Beach. Don’t forget to fact check, kids!). Moz hearts DC, he always breaks out something new here. I was hoping for “Reader Meet Author,” but oh well. Also, “Best Friend on the Payroll” sounded surprisingly great, and “The Loop” is still BEST.
Oh, and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that noticed the heart-shaped sweat stain in Morrissey’s shirt.
This Charming Man / Billy Budd / Black Cloud / Let Me Kiss You / How Soon Is Now? / I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris / How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel? / Ask / Seasick, Yet Still Docked / Something Is Squeezing My Skull / Death Of A Disco Dancer / You Say You Don’t Love Me / It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore / The Loop / Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself? / Best Friend On The Payroll / I Keep Mine Hidden / Sorry Doesn’t Help / The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores / I’m OK By Myself // First Of The Gang To Die
Lastly, I would highly recommend checking out David Malitz’s Washington Post review (with more of my photos!) and Chrs Klimek’s review for DCist.
PS – I have now photographed Morrissey, Radiohead and Oasis for the Washington Post. Jarvis, you’re next.
The other day I was thinking to myself that I might be suffering from seasonal depression. I generally like winter and the cold, but all the gray days were throwing me off a bit. But now I think I was wrong. It had just been too long since I had my face melted off at a big rock show. Well, after seeing Dead Confederate open for The Whigs, I am cured.
I did not know much about Dead Confederate going in to the show. I gave their MySpace tunes a quick listen before the show and generally liked what I heard. But I was unprepared for the sheer force and heaviness of their live sound. They are this weird sonic mix of Kurt Cobain fronting Mogwai trying to play Primal Scream’s Vanishing Point. It certainly didn’t hurt that I planted myself front row and had the lead singer basically spitting on me for the entire set. It was intensity in ten cities!
The band wasted little time setting up and plugging in following a decent set by Trances Arc. After a quick soundcheck, we were off. Their drummer was a dynamo, he was hitting the snare and toms so hard he had the drum platform wobbling all over the place. The loud/quiet/loud thing is very overdone these days, but Dead Confederate made it all sound brand new. Seeing them brought back memories of the very first time I saw …Trail of the Dead, at the Knitting Factory in NYC. They were this incredible ball of energy, wound up and ready to let loose, wreaking large scale havoc on a small stage.
Every so often there is an opening band that comes out of nowhere and blows me away, becoming my new favorite band in the process. Welcome to the club Dead Confederate!
If you want to give them a listen, I highly recommend these two songs.
Dead Confederate – The Rat
Dead Confederate – Wrecking Ball
I’ll have the full photo set next week!
Last Thursday I headed down to the 9:30 Club for what was just the second show I’ve seen all year (long story). I had heard bits and bobs of Fujiya & Miyagi‘s work here and there and really liked their laid back, dancey vibe, so I thought they would be worth checking out. I was not wrong. Their minimalist dance pop may not necessarily jump out of the speakers at you on CD or MP3, but live, the band has a definite cheerful, festive vibe that carried over to the audience. A small but enthusiastic crowd danced the night away to songs like “Photocopier” and “Ankle Injuries.” The projections behind the stage were pretty awesome as well. All in all, a pretty good show.
Fujiya & Miyagi @ 9:30 Club
As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a Metallica fan. I don’t own any of their albums, just a promo double disc set called Madatory Metallica that I picked up from a friend at their label solely because it had their cover of “Breadfan” on it. It is, without a doubt, my favorite Metallica song.
Last week’s show at the Verizon Center went a long way in making me think differently about the band. I can’t remember a bigger show or band that treated photographers so nicely. There was no photo release to sign. We had full access to the stage area (they were playing in the round and we had no restrictions in the photo pit). We got three songs to shoot and other than the lazer light show for the first song, the lighting was incredible. And most importantly, the three songs we shot lasted about 25 minutes. It’s rare that I get to shoot a band that long and I certainly appreciated it. Also, on a side note, their photo pass is the biggest I have ever seen.
Metallica w/ MachineHead @ Verizon Center