Author Archives: Richie Downs

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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TVD Live Shots:
The Lone Bellow and Escondido at the 9:30 Club, 3/1

Although the 9:30 Club was packed for Tuesday night’s sold out performance by indie-folk trio The Lone Bellow, the club felt more relaxed and focused than usual. 

Perhaps it was the soulful pipes of lead vocalist Zach Williams or the perfect harmonies from bandmates Kanena Pipkin and Brian Elmquist that kept the crowd perfectly attentive. Perhaps it’s the nature of The Lone Bellow’s songwriting and delivery of their material. Whatever the case, when the Brooklyn based trio took the stage, anticipation was high and DC fans knew they were in for a special night of music.

The Lone Bellow performs at 930 Club in Washington, DC on 03/01/2016 (Photos Copyright © Richie Downs).

Although explosive at times, The Lone Bellow’s songs are written with perfect intricacies that showcase their talents as songwriters, and their well rehearsed musicianship is overwhelmingly revealed in a live setting. Their music is colorful, dramatic, and well crafted. Most of all, their songs are a hymn for the soul.

The Lone Bellow is touring to promote their most recent studio effort, Then Came The Morning, released in January 2015 on Descendent Records. The album is available on vinyl here.

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TVD Live Shots: St. Lucia at the 9:30 Club, 2/20

Last Saturday night St. Lucia took to the stage at Washington, DC’s premier venue, the 9:30 Club in full modern indie pop form for a heavily anticipated show to a sold-out crowd.

Jean-Philip Grobler, the South African native and now Brooklyn based singer/musician, better known by his stage name St. Lucia, brought his genuine and invigorating brand of indie synth-pop to a DC audience with a heartfelt and energetic performance. His deeply layered and percussive based sounds are perfectly crafted and mixed with solid vocal hooks. On stage St. Lucia’s songs come to life, exhibiting his passion for his music with an almost soulful delivery complete with punctuated highs and lows.

St. Lucia is touring to support his new album, Matter which was released in late January of 2016 on Columbia Records. The evening’s setlist included: “Rescue Me,” “Closer Than This,” “Dancing on Glass,” “Love Somebody,” “Physical,” “Too Close,” and “Elevate.”

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The Winter 2016 DC Record Fair in Photos

Going on 9 years ago when we told friends we’re developing a website devoted to vinyl records, we received a lot of raised eyebrows and a whole bunch of good-luck-with-thats. Eyerolls too. Lots of eyerolls.

It’s gratifying and humbling to have had such a turnout on Sunday at Washington, DC’s Penn Social for the winter 2016 edition of the DC Record Fair, now in its seventh year. The return of the flat black shiny medium once thought of as a relic shows no sign of decline, and well over 2,000 of you seemed to agree.

Watch this space for news of our Summer event, and in the interim, ace photographer Richie Downs has a look back at Sunday.

The DC Record Fair is brought you by Som Records, DC Soul Recordings, and TVD. —Ed.

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TVD Live Shots: The Struts and The Karma Killers at the Rock &
Roll Hotel, 12/15

Making up for a postponed show from October of this year, British rockers The Struts returned with their talents and showmanship as promised to the Rock & Roll Hotel in Washington, DC on Tuesday.

Having recently played a stadium show in nearby Northern Virginia, The Struts, on the road promoting their latest EP, “Have You Heard,” brought the glitz and charm to a far more up-close and personal setting, and the sold-out venue’s eager audience couldn’t seem to get enough of the UK retro-rock revivalists.

Highlights included front man Luke Spiller entering the crowd and coaxing the audience to the floor for a fun little sing along game, then later showering those in the crowd with champagne for a one wet encore. The band also used the venue to film footage for an upcoming video release.

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