TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Boy George
at the 9:30 Club, 4/21

The one and only Boy George took to the stage at the 9:30 Club on Monday to a sold-out and exhilarated crowd. The legendary performer transformed the venue into one of the most delightful and most steadily grooving show experiences that I have attended in quite some time.

It has been quite a while since the English superstar has performed his new wave, reggae-inspired sounds here in the US, and to say he was well-received by his audience would be a dramatic understatement.

It might have been the fact that Boy George pulled some of his most anticipated Culture Club classics from the vault, playing mega-hits such as “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” along with “Karma Chameleon” and “Church of the Poison Mind.”

It also could have been that he threw some pretty iconic cover songs into the mix from artists like Bob Dylan and T. Rex. But, over all, I think the amazing show experience can be attributed to George himself. Not only is he dearly loved by his fans, but the man brought all the talent of a true world-class performer to his live show. Boy George delivers all of himself and truly sings with the voice of an angel. He could have performed anything on that stage, and it would have touched the nerves of the entire crowd.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live: Queens of the Stone Age at Bill Graham Auditorium, 4/17

Queens of the Stone Age (1 of 19)

The past couple of weeks have been a cornucopia of amazing shows thanks to San Francisco being a strategic pit stop on the way to Coachella. The true standout of the mass pilgrimage to the Southern California desert turned out to be the almighty Queens of the Stone Age. The capacity crowd that night at Bill Graham Auditorium was about to witness the performance of a lifetime.

The show kicked off with an old-school, movie-style countdown, and the moment the numbers ran out, I think the Earth moved, as in the big one had actually hit the West Coast. That very second Josh Homme and company made a defining statement through a blast of pummeling rock ‘n’ roll. (Think Maxell-tape-guy-in-the-chair kind-0-blast.) That statement was, “Put your f**king seat belts on because you’re in for a wild ride.”

Queens of the Stone Age (1 of 5)

Holy hell, these guys delivered the goods. Opening up with the classic “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire,” I thought that Satan himself was about to make a guest appearance by popping out of the stage and condemning us all to hell. Luckily that didn’t happen, and the band quickly jumped into another masterpiece, “No One Knows” which continued the celebration of the modern masterpiece, Songs for the Deaf.

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TVD New Orleans

Jazz Fest without Breaking the Bank, Week One

Jazz Fest can be an expensive, albeit fun, endeavor. Many visitors and locals alike are dismayed when the end of April approaches and it becomes clear how much two weeks of merriment really add up to. With gate prices at the Fairgrounds at $70.00 this year—and many after-shows costing upwards of $50.00—fun doesn’t come free. However, never fear funky friends! We’ve got you covered. We’ve scoured the web and talked to promoters and locals alike to bring you our low-cost and free (!) picks for the first week that won’t lighten your wallet too much.

The Dragon’s Den will host local favorites The Quickening on Friday April 25. Known for a repertoire heavy on both Grateful Dead covers and originals, this is a natural choice for Phish and jam band fans on a budget with entry at the door a mere ten dollars. Blues band Big Danko opens.

The following evening, Saturday April 26, Chris Mule (pictured at top) of Honey Island Swamp Band will host an evening with his side project, The Perpetrators and pedal steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier of the Lee Boys. Those who enjoyed Honey Island’s set at the Fairgrounds earlier that day will find this to be another, great low-cost option ($10). Ian Cunningham of the Upstarts opens. The venue will also host electronic dance parties in the upstairs portion of the club both nights until dawn.

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TVD Asbury Park

TVD Recommends Wreaths release party at Asbury Lanes, 4/26

I’ve already devoted portions of this space to lament the long, bleak Winter that cascaded over the shore for the last few months, so in the spirit of giving fair time to optimism, I’m here to let you know it kinda-sorta-may be over—the part of the Asbury boardwalk not being renovated has been re-populated with doe-eyed weekenders getting themselves adjusted to being outdoors once more.

Outside the bars and clubs, smokers no longer huddle together for warmth and are even joined by others who want nothing more than to come outdoors for some of that fresh sea air blowing off the Atlantic, and of course, windows are rolled down so passing cars can obnoxiously blast potential Summer anthems into the ether.

For good or ill, Summer on the Jersey Shore approaches.

So, while a band named Wreaths might not (in name anyway) make one think about the sunny promise of Summer, they probably should.

If you’ve been hanging around Asbury Park at all the past year, they’ve been tough to miss—veterans of the Saint, the Stone Pony, and Asbury Lanes where they will be again, this Saturday to celebrate the release of their self-titled debut album on Killing Horse Records.

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TVD New Orleans

Our Jazz Fest Picks
for Day 1

The festival that music freaks have been waiting for all year kicks off at the New Orleans Fairgrounds at 11 AM tomorrow morning. It’s the 45th iteration of event. Here are some tips for getting the most out of opening day.

This year the Jazz Fest celebrates Brazil. The connections between New Orleans and the South American country are numerous. The first Brazilian group to hit the stage is BaianaSystem of Bahia on Congo Square stage at 12:25 PM. Bahia is the state in Brazil which has the most similarities to New Orleans. This group is not a traditional ensemble, though. They delve into hip-hop and reggae while staying true to their African roots.

Grab a bite to eat or something to drink after their set and head over to the intimate Jazz and Heritage stage. There you will find a parading group from Brazil bearing many similarities to our own Carnival traditions. Afoxé Omô Nilê Ogunjá hails from Pernambuco—a state in northeastern Brazil.

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The TVD Storefront

Queensryche’s Michael Wilton and Stryper’s Michael Sweet: The TVD M3 Rock Festival Interview

The frost is gone (well, mostly), the warm weather is coming, and with it comes another season of outdoor music festivals and amphitheater shows. As if wagging a defiant middle finger at the Fireflys and Coachellas, the annual M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD has become the late Spring celebration of the hair metal glory days of the ’80s.

Now in its 6th year, the M3 Rock Festival will feature two days of music on two stages, with artists such as Tesla, Kix, Lita Ford, Night Ranger, Extreme, and Stryper among others.

Earlier this week, we spoke with 3 M3 artists and we had a chance to talk to 2 more M3 artists just this week leading up to M3 on Friday—Michael Wilton of Queensryche and Michael Sweet of Stryper. We got their take on M3, vinyl, and quite a bit more.

What have you been up to lately?

Queensryche has been up to a lot of new developments. We’ve been touring for the last year on a very successful release of the self-titled Queensryche CD. It’s garnered very great reviews all over the world, and we’ve toured n that all over the world and the U.S., and right now we are still continuing that through this year, and going into the studio later this year in between touring to begin the next album.

Give us your thoughts on playing M3 Rockfest.

Well, I have lots of mixed thoughts on M3, but it’s always been a great situation for me, personally. I think with this new rebirth of Queensryche, we will prove to the fans that the high energy Queensryche is back, and we are very grateful for the chance to revisit the M3 festival.

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Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.

“On this week’s show my ROTW is Soapbox by The Crookes. I’ll be playing three incredible songs from the album!

I’ll also have my #shellshock to share with you! This week’s bouncy and bubbly number is courtesy of Breton—it’s a delicious one! There will be the usual accompaniment of new and emerging music as I spin some of the best new Alt releases.

Love music? Don’t miss it.” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Dorothy Ashby,
Hip Harp

The list of jazz harpists might be a short one, but a substantial conversation can be had over the instrument’s use in improvisational terms, and without even uttering the worthy name of Alice Coltrane. To this day Dorothy Ashby’s profile as a jazz harp player remains high, and those in sync with the Soul/Spiritual/Acid jazz genres have long praised her late-‘60s/early-‘70s recordings for the Cadet label. Earlier in her career however, she succeeded in adapting her sizable axe to the far stricter norms of post-bop. Her second LP is 1957’s Hip Harp, and it endures as a highly satisfying, non-gimmicky listen.

Like many jazz musicians, the late Dorothy Ashby was a multi-instrumentalist. Starting out on the piano, she also played saxophone and bass while attending Cass Technical School, where amongst her fellow students was future trumpet great Donald Byrd and the excellent post-bop guitarist Kenny Burrell. The Detroit native only chose the harp as her main tool after graduating from Wayne State University, and in fact her introduction to the city’s jazz scene found her seated not at the harp but directly in front of those 88s.

Ashby’s biography presents her as a whirlwind of activity. Rather than accept the harp as a sideline, she organized free shows with her trio (which included her drummer husband John) and accepted non-prestigious but paying gigs at dances and weddings. Eventually her group toured the country. Furthermore, she worked in the employ of heavyweights Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Pentagram, Satan’s Satyrs, Coke Bust, Unholy Thoughts at American U., 4/19

PHOTOS: CHRIS RUDY |Pentagram should have been…” This statement can be ended a number of ways, but the most common answer from heavy metal fans is “huge.” They were the founders of what became known as “doom metal”—thick, huge, downtuned riffs accompanying grim, dark, subject matter. Pentagram’s name should be in the annals of history next to bands such as Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath as forefathers of heavy metal, but it was not to be.

Plagued over the years by lineup changes and enigmatic singer Bobby Liebling’s battle with addiction and personal demons (a battle that was documented in the 2011 documentary Last Days Here), Pentagram never made it to the limelight and achieved the commercial success of some of their metal contemporaries. They did, however, maintain a strong, loyal fanbase throughout the years.

Now it’s 2014, Liebling is clean, guitarist Victor Griffin has returned to the fold after a year-long hiatus, and they are playing a hometown gig in Washington, DC at….American University? As I looked around the room in the Mary Graydon Center Tavern at American University, I felt like I was at a well-organized DIY show. An open, almost cafeteria-like room, bright white lights in the place of stage lighting, and, much to the chagrin of the primarily older crowd, no alcohol was allowed on the premises.

Talking to bassist Greg Turley before the show, I asked him, “This is not where you’d expect Pentagram to play. How’d this happen?” He gave kudos to the AU Independent Arts Collective, the student-run group who put the show together. “These kids really wanted to make this show happen.” When speaking to one of the student organizers, he was over the moon that this show was happening. Hearing someone who wasn’t even born when the seminal album Relentless was released use words like “legendary,” it couldn’t help but bring a smile to my face.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Sound Bites, a Benefit for D.C. Central Kitchen at the Ronald Reagan Building, 5/4

After a long and abnormally cold winter, Spring has finally arrived. What better way to enjoy the warmer weather than with food, drinks, and good music?

Enter DC’s Sound Bites. The music fest previously hosted at the 9:30 Club has been relocated to the Ronald Reagan Building this year. The event features food and drink samples from over 25 restaurants, a Bar Battle between mixologists and, of course, music. Playing at this year’s Sound Bites are eclectic singer-songwriter Billy Thompson and his band, the eight-piece brass band Black Masala, The Get Down’s Saturday DJ Harry Hotter and band Ingleside Collective.

Sound Bites takes place on Sunday, 5/4, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Event tickets have already been on sale, but if you haven’t purchased tickets yet, we’re giving a pair away!

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