Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Oh Wonder and LANY at
the 9:30 Club, 6/21

Oh Wonder, the London-based alt-pop duo made the 9:30 Club the DC stop on their current tour, bringing with them the brilliant dream-pop sounds of Los Angeles’s own LANY in tow. 

Oh Wonder consists of bandmates Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West who since 2014 have been touring extensively to promote their debut self titled release which was delivered one song at a time for one year. In tandem with their fluid electronic beats and rhythms, the unique vocals are the center point of this band and it’s easy to get swept away in the band’s sound and music.

LANY, a three piece unit was surprisingly energetic and seemed to have an instant rapport with the audience. Paul Jason Klein, lead vocalist in the band, humbly admitted his love for DC and that it was an honor to play the 9:30 Club. It was a pleasure to hear the combination of natural instruments with the electronic keys and waves of generated sounds. Touring to promote their newest single “Yea, Babe, No Way,” the band has finished their fourteen day stint on the road with Oh Wonder. They have two EPs available on vinyl here.

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TVD Live: The Jayhawks at Lincoln Theatre, 6/18

There is a steadiness and reliability to The Jayhawks’ music—melodic, often wistful, with jangly guitar, keening harmonies, and a solid beat. While frontman Gary Louris is fiddling more with his guitar’s effects panels, there was no worry that their show at DC’s Lincoln Theatre Saturday would explode into any kind of frenzy—except the kind triggered by intense nostalgia. A lot of their songs have a real lasting power.

It could owe to a loyal audience that is, like the band 30 years older, that Louris had to pretty much suggest that people could get up from their theater seats and move around in the encore. Which is a bit like Jeb Bush saying, “Please clap” at a campaign stop.

But for all its intense personnel changes and acrimony that has chiefly resulted in the permanent departure of Mark Olson who co-wrote most of the songs in the early days, nothing much gets the group rattled these days. Even when the Vari-Lites briefly freaked out during the second song, flipping around and finally plunging the theater into darkness, band members merely smiled and shrugged. “That fits perfectly with the next song, in fact,” Louris said, before going into the planned “Stumbling Through the Dark.”

Musically, the band is solid as ever. Louris began the show with a big snarling guitar workout to introduce “Waiting for the Sun.” He and Chet Lyster seemed to switch off on each song on which one was playing acoustic and the other electric. Lyster also turned to pedal steel at key moments.

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Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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TVD Live Shots: Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band at the Warner Theatre, 6/17

While Ringo Starr’s post-Beatles career hasn’t generated the output of Lennon, McCartney, or Harrison, Starr has played with a wider variety of musicians than the other 3 via the many incarnations of his All Starr Band, the latest of which stopped by the Warner Theatre on Friday.

The band, where “everybody on stage is a star in their own right,” currently includes representation from Toto, Mister Mister, Santana, and Utopia, among others. Playing for just under two hours, the set list was filled with Starr’s solo songs, some Beatles songs, influential favorites, and those made famous by the musicians playing with Starr. Was it a little odd to see Starr drumming on songs like Toto’s “Africa” or Mister Mister’s “Broken Wings”? A little, to be honest. But it also showcased his versatility as a performer.

A highlight of the evening was hearing Beatles songs live that aren’t usually played elsewhere. “When I first joined the Beatles, I wrote many songs,” said Starr at one point. “Most were never recorded.” The ones that he did manage to get through, including “Don’t Pass Me By,” “Yellow Submarine,” and the show’s closer, “With a Little Help from My Friends,” were all played, the latter two whipping the audience into a massive sing-along. “In all honesty, you’re the best audience we’ve had all night,” quipped Starr.

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Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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TVD Live: The Heavy
at the 9:30 Club, 6/9

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | It’s not easy being an opener on a big arena tour—the act nobody came to see, playing a fraction of your set to a half-empty barn as people ignore you or try to find their seats. But it may be compounded when you play a driving funk and rock sound—and the headliners are country.

True, everybody knows the UK band The Heavy even if they don’t think they know them since their 2009 song “How Do You Like Me Now?” has been licensed in countless movies, TV shows, and commercials. Even the President has used it.


But the group still may be an adjustment for fans of the Dixie Chicks, who they are supporting on six dates of their big tour. So when the Heavy had a night off from that tour as they did Thursday, allowing them to headline their own show as they did at the 9:30 Club in Washington, their joy was obvious. They could play their full set, before their own crowd, and revel in a popularity they may have questioned at the Dixie Chicks show.

Here was a crowd that loved the band, knew their songs, and would sing along or otherwise participate every time they were asked. Dynamic frontman Kelvin Swaby could hardly believe it.

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TVD Live Shots:
Dolly Parton at
Wolf Trap, 6/8

“Not sure who is going to wind up in the White House. I was thinking about running. I got the hair and we need more boobs in the race,” joked Dolly Parton on Wednesday to a sold out crowd at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center. Touring behind a new record Pure and Simple, out this summer, the show highlighted the pure talent of Parton against a simple stage setup, letting Parton in her rhinestone-studded outfits and talents be the visual on which the audience focused (“I never leave a rhinestone unturned,” she quipped).

The show was equal parts hoedown, comedy routine, church session, and fireside chat, with the show broken into two one-hour sets. In the first hour, Parton talked a lot about her family and the set list concentrated on traditional Americana songs, some from her new record and a couple of her early hits (“Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors”).

One very cool part of this set was to see the variety of instruments Parton could play: guitar, banjo, harmonica, saxophone, dulcimer, and tin whistle. Her band joined in the harmonies and an upright bass when she sang a medley of 1960s protest songs—”American Pie,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Blowing in the Wind,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”—which she coined “a little piece of Americana” to round out the first half of the show.

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TVD Live: Mudcrutch
at the 9:30 Club, 6/6

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | It’s interesting to speculate what inspired Tom Petty to go back to his original, unsuccessful Gainesville band. Nostalgia for the old days? A pang of guilt at leaving his buddies behind? Righting the wrongs of a record company that essentially broke up the band? A sudden urge to rekindle old friendships?

Whatever the reason, it’s what got Petty, who could have very easily gone on another big summer amphitheater tour, back into clubs. And what was a onetime reunion in 2008 with a new album and a two-week California promotional club tour has turned into a second album and a more extensive five-week outing. During his lustily received show at the 9:30 Club in Washington Monday, Petty said they might be inspired to stay out even longer.

There is fun to be had playing for audiences close up; maybe even more fun playing with your old buds from decades ago. Whatever the reason, it was a good night to show up and listen. That 60 percent of the dismally named old band Mudcrutch was composed of the ace Heartbreakers Mike Campbell, the ever underrated guitarist, and Benmont Tench, who adds so much soulfulness to his keyboards, practically guarantees quality output.

But there’s no apparent reason anybody ever fired hard-hitting drummer Randall Marsh or guitarist and co-vocalist Tom Leadon from a band. Together, they seemed to have a sweeter, more country-rock footing than the Heartbreakers, along the early ’70s lines of the band of Leadon’s brother Bernie, the Flying Burrito Brothers—not to mention “some other band” Bernie Leadon co-founded but Petty declined to mention by name, the Eagles.

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TVD Live Shots:
Hall & Oates at Jiffy
Lube Live, 5/26

Considering how much they tour, you’d think that this Hall & Oates fan would’ve seen them at least once by now. Nope. In a way I’m glad I waited because Jiffy Lube Live was a great venue for this show. Way bigger than Wolf Trap and the seating is tiered in such a way that there are no bad views. There is only bad parking. But I digress.

They opened with “Maneater,” and Mr. Causal rocked the saxophone. The crowd was on their feet singing along. “Out of Touch” followed, and a few songs into their set they slowed things down with a cover of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers, another very successful rock duo. As great as they sounded, and as much poppy, vibrant richness as they added to it, it was my least favorite moment of their set. I still see greasy thetan Tom Cruise in Top Gun when I hear it.

Fortunately they quickly turned things around with “Las Vegas Turnaround” and “She’s Gone.” Daryl Hall commanded the stage solo with “Wait For Me,” the second quiet moment of the night. It’s a great showcase for his voice. Could Axl Rose belt out that song? No.

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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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