Author Archives: Richie Downs

TVD Live Shots: InfieldFest at Pimlico Raceway, 5/21

Last Saturday, the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Raceway in Baltimore brought with it Budweiser InfieldFest—a smorgasbord of musical offerings from country to rock, from electronic-dance to hip hop.

Headlining the day’s performances were The Chainsmokers from New York City, Willie Maxwell II—also known as Fetty Wap, and Canadian DJ Frank Walker on the main stage. The Jägermeister Stage located at the opposite end of the infield hosted Baltimore locals All Time Low, and for country music fans, openers Chris Janson and Corey Smith.

Finding little reprieve from the rain and the muddy grounds of the infield at Pimlico, attendees didn’t seem to mind sticking it out through every performance. Despite the wet conditions, the crowd in the infield remained enthusiastic and undaunted, and when the Chainsmokers played the final set of the day, it gave the venue a renewed energy and life of its own.

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TVD Live Shots: Adia Victoria and The Grey A at DC9, 5/17

Adia Victoria, the soulful, electric-blues siren from Nashville, Tennessee made DC9 the DC stop on her current “Me & the Devil” east coast tour.

Delivering a mesmerizing performance, there’s something truly indescribable about Adia’s music that can’t be labeled or confined. It’s like a whole otherworldly presence is along for the ride and Adia’s in control of it all. Her music has dissonance and an ethereal quality to it. Its feel is magnified further within a live setting, and her band’s performance is like no other in the game right now. There’s a lot of raw guitar tones among the strings and they churn from silence to a bomb dropping in no time.

Adia’s vocals are gritty, yet refined. She manages to howl, whisper, chant, scream, and demand all eyes upon her with just a gesture. Her vocals soar from high to low and take listeners on a ghostly journey in tandem with her band that’s both tight and impeccable—from the straight-forward thumping drums, the relentless tonality of the guitars, right down to the last organ swipe.

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TVD Live Shots: Filter with Orgy at the Howard Theatre, 5/4

Filter, the hard hitting ’90s industrial rock outfit, made the Howard Theatre their DC stop on the band’s current “Make America Hate Again” tour. 

Nailing a thrilling performance to an enthusiastic crowd, frontman Richard Patrick is no stranger to delivering a pummeling round of songs to his diehard fans. Patrick, after leaving Nine Inch Nails as their tour guitarist, co-founded Filter with Brian Liesegang in 1993 and has racked up multi-platinum records since.

For Wednesday night’s performance the band was in excellent form. Patrick’s vocals sounded incredible and had just enough pop to soar above a relentless rhythm section. On bass guitar was Ashley Dzerigian who delivered an outstanding performance among the beautiful electronic madness. Through the entire set was a large, rapid moving eye on two screens above the stage that was both hypnotic and startling.

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TVD Live Shots: Megadeth at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 5/5

Thursday night the Fillmore Silver Spring hosted veteran heavy metal rockers, Megadeth who played for a packed house and proved their sound and skill is as timeless now as the day they started it all. 

It’s always a privilege to get to cover great music. Sometimes however, it is particularly incredible to be tasked to cover a band who defines a genre. Undoubtedly one of the founding fathers of thrash metal, Megadeth has pioneered a sound all their own. Live, the band exceeded every expectation that you might have—30+ years on.

Thursday night’s performance was one of the best sounding shows I’ve heard so far this year. The band’s music is known for its complex guitar arrangements and its technical prowess—and they’re still hammering the audience tight, fast, and loud.

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TVD Live Shots: Bob Mould and Ted Leo at
the 9:30 Club, 4/27

Veteran alt-rocker Bob Mould brought his myriad of talents to an adoring 9:30 Club last week for a set that included songs spanning the performer’s rather vast career. 

With his unmistakable vocals and his steady saw-like guitar patterns, Bob Mould’s delivery on stage is flawless. His guitar tone would best be described as legendary and is as unique today as it’s ever been. (And for fans of his guitar tone, Mould has been working with Australia’s Tym Guitars on a signature effects pedal called the “Sky Patch,” which will be available soon.)

The previous time Mould appeared on the 9:30 Club stage, the singer was celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of his masterpiece Workbook, played in its entirety. For his current tour in support of the 2016 release, Patch The Sky (which is fabulous), Mould has a much looser approach to the songs that make it into his setlist, performing a variety of tracks that date back to his Sugar and Hüsker Dü days.

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TVD Live, Before and After: Kitten at the Rock and Roll Hotel, 3/25

For a touring musician, the often cliched “life on the road”—shuttling from venue to venue, city to city—can become insufferably grueling. For Chloe Chaidez, Kitten’s unique force of nature, it’s simply the method by which she’s garnering fans on a steady climb to the stratosphere—venue to venue, city to city. It also doesn’t hurt that she possesses a bewilderingly strong catalog of material and a crack band behind her.

In Washington, DC last week, Kitten’s stop was the venerable Rock and Roll Hotel to which we dispatched our own force of nature, photographer Richie Downs to chronicle the stuff the enthusiastic crowd that evening didn’t catch—the minutia, preparation, and the dedication to putting the music together night after night. And the live show too, of course.

Back at TVD HQ, Richie told us, “When Kitten hit the stage around 11PM, Chloe came out at full force and showed no signs of slowing down throughout her entire set. I’ve seen Kitten perform several times and the truth is this band keeps getting better each time they’re in town. Their delivery was flawless.”

Kitten is touring in support of the new EP “Heaven or Somewhere in Between” released this month. —Ed.

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TVD Live Shots: Savages and Angus Tarnawsky at the 9:30 Club, 3/27

Living up to their name and reputation, London’s Savages took the 9:30 Club by storm Sunday night, leveling the District audience. With what seemed like nonstop barrage of melodic indie-post punk, the band played hard and steady. Most of all, they played extremely fucking loud, I’m talking sonic levels here—probably the loudest show I’ve attended this year.

Standing tough and firm, vocalist Jehnny Beth delivered a flawless and often poetic performance. Accompanied by her fellow bandmates—Gemma Thompson on guitar, Ayse Hassan on bass, and Fay Milton on drums, the foursome seemed more like a gang ready for battle.

The show was outstanding and Savages have certainly mastered their live sound. They stayed right in the pocket throughout their entire set and come across as relentless and seemingly unstoppable. Savages are touring to promote their new album, Adore Life, released on Matador Records in January of this year—which is available on vinyl.

Angus Tarnawsky got the evening started with his progressive beats and aggressive use of percussion.

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TVD Live Shots: Ra Ra Riot and Sun Club at the 9:30 Club, 3/07

Delivering a solid and exciting performance, Ra Ra Riot played the 9:30 Club Sunday night, sharing the stage with two great acts.

Touring to promote their 2016 release Need Your Light, the indie rockers from Syracuse had a bigger stage set-up than I’ve seen them use in the past—and judging by their tightness and chemistry, I’d say this band is easily on top of their game and working at full steam.

Their set list included: “Every Time I’m Ready to Hug,” “Oh La,” “Ghost Under Rocks,” “Bad Times,” “Dance With Me,” and “I Need Your Light.” The band is playing extensively throughout the US and Canada through June of this year.

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TVD Live Shots: Breakin’ Even Fest, Day One at Songbyrd Music House
and Record Cafe, 3/4

This past weekend Songbyrd Music House in Adams Morgan served as the home for the two-day music festival, Breakin’ Even Fest, featuring hometown sounds from a variety of DC acts including Loud Boyz, The Mauls, Lilac Daze, Collider, and Curse Words.

Sponsors including Furnace Record Pressing and Mobius Records of Fairfax, VA insured that the vinyl community had a solid presence at the venue. Present as well, TVD’s Richie Downs who captured day one of Breakin’ Even for us in photos. —Ed.

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TVD Live Shots: Coheed and Cambria, Glassjaw,
I the Mighty, and Silver Snakes, Echostage, 3/02

DC’s premier EDM venue, Echostage in the NE neighborhood of the District, opened its doors last Wednesday for an evening of progressive metal sounds, old and new, from a lineup composed of bands from both US coasts. 

Excitement in the venue was building all evening and the crowd seemed to get closer and tighter as the night progressed. As headliner Coheed and Cambria took the stage, you could literally feel the release of tension as an embrace for the band.

For the first selection of the evening, Coheed displayed its softer side performing a flawless version of “Ghost” from their 2015 release, The Color Before The Sun. A thrilling set from start to finish, musicianship is first and foremost for the band, the setlist including “Ghost,” “Blood Red Summer,” “Eraser,” “The Hard Sell,” “Peace to the Mountain,” and “You Got Spirit, Kid.”

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