Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

Liveat930.com brings the live concert experience to your quarantine

PHOTOS: JOHN SHORE | In our time of the Coronavirus Clampdown, fans of live music are feeling the void, just as musicians have seen their livelihoods temporarily disappear. The nation’s string of music clubs reliably alive with nightly shows are shuttered and empty as the streets around them. One of the nation’s best-loved venues, the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC is attempting to fill that void by streaming a string of live shows it shot for a public television series that ran a few years back.

The 12 episodes of Live at 9:30, recorded in 2015 and 2016, features performances from nearly 60 different artists—from heritage acts like Garbage, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The English Beat to local heroes Trouble Funk and Thievery Corporation to groups that have long since outgrown playing 1,200-capacity clubs like the 9:30: St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Grace Potter, and Lake Street Dive.

Filmed with 15 different cameras, the intent was to “capture the energy of the audience, something we unfortunately can’t reproduce at the moment,” says 9:30 spokesman Jordan Grobe. The shows, streaming free on Liveat930.com, reflect not only the energy of the room, but the variety of its bookings.

“Each episode focuses on five different artists to show people different genres they might not be familiar with,” Grobe says. “So for instance, you might love Gogol Bordello, but not be familiar with Shakey Graves, so those are in an episode together.” “The format of it is sort of a reverse Saturday Night Live, where instead of it being 85 percent comedy, 15 percent music, it’s 85 percent music, 15 percent variety.”

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TVD Live Shots: Poguetry: The Songs
of the Pogues at the Black Cat, 3/7

For a few years there, the Pogues coming through DC around St. Patrick’s Day was as common as The Dubliner being at max capacity on the day when everyone wears green. DC got to celebrate a little early this year when Pogues tin whistle player Spider Stacy and bassist Cáit O’Riordan, backed by the Grammy-winning Cajun band, Lost Bayou Ramblers, brought “Poguetry: Songs of the Pogues” to the Black Cat last Saturday. “I fucking love being in DC,” said Stacy at one point.

The pairing of Irish folk-punk music and Cajun may sound like an odd couple initially, but the two are incredibly similar with use of fiddles, squeeze boxes, marching pattern time signatures, and so on. The Pogues song “White City” showcased this dichotomy really well, with the Cajun style as the backbeat, and the Irish trad serving the tempo and flavor. It was also interesting to hear Pogues lyrics in Cajun French as in “Dirty Old Town,” which was sung by the Ramblers singer/fiddle player Louis Michot.

Stacy, a Louisiana resident since 2010, almost seems to be leading a charge in merging both genres, much like the Pogues did with Irish folk and punk.He and the band tossed around lots of Cajun French phrases between songs, and he played tin whistle, both Saturday and on the recording of the Ramblers’ “Si J’aurais Des Ailes.” Rumor also has it that they may be doing a record together soon.

Roots embracing wasn’t just on a musical level, but a fun fashion one as well. Stacy, O’Riordan, and Michot were all wearing different colored jumpsuits, and when I inquired if there was a significance about them, Michot explained that there is a whole history with older Louisiana men and jumpsuits. “We like, them,” he said. “Lots of older men in Louisiana like my grandfather, they had them for different occasions.” For those of you seeing the next batch of shows, you may see the whole band wearing them soon.

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TVD Live Shots: Dermot Kennedy and SMYL at The Anthem, 3/4

Last Wednesday evening, DC’s Anthem hosted Irish songwriter Dermot Kennedy for an exciting night of music that showcased both his talent for song craft and his skill as a live performer.

Dermot Kennedy was in command of every aspect of his performance. His melodic acoustic riffs were perfectly complimented by the gargantuan sound of his band, even down to the smallest hum of his electric accompaniment. Kennedy’s vocals, engaging on their own, were pushed atop the mix to shine through it all.

Live, his material comes across as both intellectual and surprisingly dark conjuring a very unique experience, down to his stage presence which highlighted the moodiness of the evening with creative side lighting and negative space to emphasize the venue’s atmosphere.

Kennedy is on tour to promote his first full length LP, Without Fear via Interscope Records. The album boasts four singles including the radio hits, “Outnumbered” and “Power Over Me.” Without Fear debuted at number two on the UK album charts upon its release in October 2019, and came in at number twenty-one on Billboard in the US. Without Fear is available in standard black vinyl which arrives with a digital download for those of you without a record player in your cars.

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Sorry You’re Here: Beauty Pill’s Lost Record Sees the Light At Last

PHOTO: STEPHAN GIOVANNINI | “I didn’t want to put this record out,” Chad Clark tells me at the beginning of our conversation about Sorry You’re Here, the most recent release by DC-based band Beauty Pill. “It’s a pretty interesting journey.”

You’ll find the album filed under new releases in your record store or on your preferred streaming platform, but Sorry You’re Here was first conceived in 2010 as the soundtrack to a devised dance play by the Taffety Punk theatre company. The premise of suicide.chat.room tends to give listeners pause, because the text is taken entirely from real chatrooms of the late 1990s and early 2000s devoted to the subject of suicide—not how to prevent or avoid it, but how to actually do it, and why so many people felt the urge to take their own lives in the first place.

“I love the play,” Clark says. “I stand by it as a work of art.” It’s certainly not for everyone; because the text of the piece is gathered from real life—and death—online, it can be a disconcerting experience for audience members. “It’s sensitive, but it’s not a timid work,” Clark explains. “It doesn’t surprise me that it’s disturbing for some people. But artistically, at that level, I support it.” Given the difficulty of the material, his initial hesitation to release the music to a wider audience might seem obvious. “It’s not an area that I take lightly,” he says. “[But] my unease about releasing the music had a lot more to do with the fact that the style of the music deviated very strongly from what people expected from me or wanted from me at that time.”

Eventually, he decided to part ways with Dischord, not because the label imposed what he refers to as a “kind of an aesthetic straitjacket,” but because fans of other Dischord artists expected something different from what Beauty Pill had to offer. “This music is far out and away from what people thought I should be doing,” he explains. “I was nervous, I was insecure, that’s just the reality. And now I hear it, and what’s happened in the time since is people have really come around.”

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TVD Live Shots: Calexico and Iron & Wine with Frances Quinlan at The Anthem, 2/7

I simply love the 2005 EP “In the Reins”—so much so that I would even deem it among my favorite releases from both Calexico and Iron & Wine—and with their combined body of work, that’s saying quite a lot. 

“In the Reins” was the first joint calibration between Calexico and Iron & Wine and is revered by musicians and beloved by their fans. Rein’s soothing and rhythmic grooves are stunning, yet subtle, and its songwriting is extraordinarily delicate. The title track alone, “He Lays In the Reins,” is a song that feels like a warm bed on a cold, rainy day as its calm verses wash over.

Samuel Beam better known by his stage name, Iron & Wine wrote all the songs for the EP and cut it with Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino in a studio in Tucson, Arizona. This current tour led them to DC’s Anthem last Friday night for an unforgettable set by two bands who seem destined to perform together. The venue seemed to come alive for Friday’s show as the mood was truly electric—especially for a seated show. “In the Reins” is available on black vinyl from Subpop Records.

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Independent Minded: A podcast with Ron Scalzo: G. Love

The Independent Minded podcast features conversations with indie artists in the music and entertainment business.

Pop culture legends “Weird Al” Yankovic and Henry Rollins, indie icons CAKE, Gogol Bordello and Mike Doughty, and up-and-coming indie artists The Districts and Vagabon talk about their experiences in the business, their inspirations and passions, and their recent projects.

The podcast is hosted by Ron Scalzo, an indie musician and radio producer with 9 self-released albums and an independent record label of his own, Bald Freak Music.

Episode 112 | Ron interviews Philadelphia indie music icon G. Love about The Juice, power naps, politics, Brooklyn accents, beards, Brushfire Records, and being hazed by Keb’ Mo’. Ron also rants about The Grammys.

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TVD Live Shots: Vinyl Record Preservation Society presents Billy Gibbons, Carmine & Vinny Appice, and Ron Holloway at Pearl  Street Warehouse, 1/30

Did you know that the Library of Congress has an extensive vinyl record collection, and that when that collection gets periodically culled, the records get tossed in the bin? Enter the Vinyl Record Preservation Society, a DC based non-profit that places these otherwise doomed discs in the possession of schools and senior care facilities for folks to enjoy. A humble but noble effort, and one that needs funds to keep moving.

Enter the fine folks at DC’s Pearl Street Warehouse, a smaller room in the city’s Wharf which hosted a benefit for the organization on the last Thursday in what felt like a never-ending January. In addition to local rock and ska bands, the night’s lineup included saxophonist Ron Holloway, vocalist Franky Perez, Carmine and Vinny Appice and, much to my delight, the one and only Billy Gibbons.

After DC locals The Deplorables kicked the night off with a bite sized, three song set, ska band Free Lobster Buffet took the stage. I’m not a ska fan normally, but this was a fun one. Bassist Chris Boesen is also the head of the Vinyl Record Preservation Society, so the band was a natural fit for the night.

Cramming eight musicians onto the Warehouse’s tight stage, they got the crowd’s excitement up with a fun, high energy set. My own favorite was their jam “Nude Beach.” In addition, they brought out Holloway for a few tunes as well as Perez, who sang alongside FLB’s own Joan Bishop. This is a talented lot—great to catch them on one of their mid-Atlantic/East Coast dates. The tuba player gets sweaty and undressed during the set if that tells you anything about the fun levels. Boesen acted as emcee for the remainder of the night.

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TVD Live Shots:
Grace Potter and
Devon Gilfillian at
The Anthem, 1/25

Grace Potter brought her considerable talents to Washington, DC’s Anthem this past weekend, touring in support of her new release, Daylight. In tandem she brought one very special guest for the evening, Devon Gilfillian

Potter’s latest album was released to critical acclaim in October of 2019 and is a big step in a new direction, leaning more than ever toward the pop side of her blues-rock roots. For Saturday’s performance she was in excellent form and simply as exuberant as ever. Dancing straight through the first few songs of the set, she appeared elated during “Love is Love” and “Back to Me” which proceeded the title track of the new record, “Daylight.”

Potter even honored some older fan favorites such as the soulful “Big White Gate” off of 2007’s This is Somewhere which was a request just four songs in. Throughout the evening Potter also seemed to glow and radiate from within, and it’s obvious that her new band suits her well as she’s hit a whole new stride. Daylight was released via Fantasy Records and is available on gold-tiger vinyl.

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TVD Live Shots: The Winter 2020 DC Record Fair in Photos

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The DC Record Fair, now in its eleventh year, just gets bigger and better.

Vendors arrived early to seize prime real estate before the venue opened to the general public at 11 a.m. on Sunday, January 26th, while early bird buyers paid $3 more to beat the crowds. Dozens were busy digging—upstairs and down—as soon as the doors opened. They surely weren’t disappointed: veteran vendors and freshman sellers alike brought their best discs, from high-priced collectibles to $10 must-haves.

At Penn Social, elbow room is in short supply, but most people didn’t seem to mind, gamely trading places and taking turns so everybody got a chance to eyeball everything and hopefully go home happy. The bar opened for business along with the doors for diggers to drown their sorrows or celebrate big scores.

Downstairs a rotating regiment of District DJs kept things grooving, while the coffee bar did a roaring trade in liquid pick-me-ups. Lindsey Mastis—ABC7 news anchor, vinyl enthusiast, and human pick-me-up—made the rounds, interviewing buyers and sellers and livestreaming the event on Instagram, complete with her trademark jumps for joy.

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The Winter 2020 DC Record Fair returns to Penn Social, 1/26!

The weekend before the Super Bowl historically signals two things: a welcome reprieve from your TV and couch, and now in its 11th year, the DC Record Fair.

The DC Record Fair returns to Penn Social on Sunday January 26, and just like every year we’ll have 40+ vinyl vendors from up and down the east coast, DJs, drinks, food, and loads of records designed to put a welcome hurt on your wallet or pocketbook. You’ve been warned.

Our friends at the Fillmore Silver Spring put together the above feature a while back that outshines any descriptive copy of the event we could conjure—hit play.

THE DC RECORD FAIR WINTER 2020 DJs:
11:00 – 12:00: DJ Chaim
12:00 – 1:00: Adrian Loving
1:00 – 2:00: DJ Pari (Soulpower Richmond)
2:00 – 3:00: DJ Guiherme
3:00 – 4:00: Lulu Lewis / Dylan Hundley & Pablo Martin
4:00 – 5:00: Kriz Baronia (A Town So Small, Stay Smooth)

Mark your calendars!
THE DC RECORD FAIR
Sunday, January 26, 2020 at Penn Social, 801 E Street, NW
11:00–12:00, Early Bird Admission $5.00
12:00–5:00, Regular Admission $2.00

RSVP and follow via the Facebook invite and watch this space for updates!

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TVD Live Shots: The Budos Band with Paul
& The Tall Trees at the 9:30 Club, 1/18

We burned the midnight (Old Engine) oil in DC when The Budos Band presented its funk/rock/soul party as a burnt offering at the 9:30 Club on a cold, wet Saturday night.

Kicking off the late night party was Paul & The Tall Trees. Led by Paul Schalda who, like the Budos Band, hails from Staten Island, NY, Paul & the Tall Trees are described as an intersection of classic bands like Buffalo Springfield and The Band. These are apt comparisons; live I also heard hints of Neil Young. It’s a poetic, occasionally tortured, but ultimately warm sound. Underscoring that warmth was Schalda’s frequent references to his father, a member of his own band.

The Budos Band (Jared Tankel, Thomas Brenneck, John Carbonella Jr, Mike Deller, Daniel Fodor, Andrew Greene, Rob Lombardo, Brian Profilio, and Dame Rodriguez) took the stage at the stroke of midnight. I’ve been a Budos fan for ages, having discovered them when I was taking a walk on a summer evening in Milwaukee. They were performing in a park near the Milwaukee School of Engineering and I stopped for a listen. After ten minutes, I bought up half the merch table and never looked back, having fallen hard for the band’s ’70s Afro-funky instrumental sound. Saturday night marked only the third time I’d seen them since that first evening in Wisconsin years ago and I couldn’t have been more stoked.

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Independent Minded: A podcast with Ron Scalzo: Mock Identity

The Independent Minded podcast features conversations with indie artists in the music and entertainment business.

Pop culture legends “Weird Al” Yankovic and Henry Rollins, indie icons CAKE, Gogol Bordello and Mike Doughty, and up-and-coming indie artists The Districts and Vagabon talk about their experiences in the business, their inspirations and passions, and their recent projects.

The podcast is hosted by Ron Scalzo, an indie musician and radio producer with 9 self-released albums and an independent record label of his own, Bald Freak Music.

Ron interviews Josh Hoffman, bass player in Washington, DC indie rock band Mock Identity about Rhizome DC, Iowa punk rock, being a musical ambassador, playing the euphonium. Ron also rants about “Best Of” Lists, Taron Egerton, and Whitney Houston in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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TVD Live Shots: Hiss Golden Messenger and Lilly Hiatt at the 9:30 Club, 1/15

Last Wednesday evening DC’s 9:30 Club played host to a night of indie-rock from two acts that will demand more attention for years to come, Hiss Golden Messenger and Lilly Hiatt.

His Golden Messenger is the led by MC Taylor, a Southern California native who transplanted to the Durham, North Carolina music scene in 2007. After various successful lineups, Taylor made subtle personnel changes over the years to explore different capacities for the band’s sound with rock remaining at its core.

The band boasts eleven studio albums to date along with multiple EPs, various singles, and live releases. In 2014 Taylor signed with Durham’s Merge Records and joined the ranks of artists such as Arcade Fire, Robert Pollard, and Washington, DC’s own Ex Hex among others. Hiss Golden Messenger’s latest LP, Terms of Surrender was released in 2019 and is available in black vinyl and limited edition Coke bottle vinyl which includes a two color newsprint posters within.

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TVD Live Shots: Clutch and The Steel Woods at the 9:30 Club, 12/29

So nice, we reviewed ’em twice.Ed.

Clutch, the mighty four-piece from Frederick, Maryland, performed to a sold out crowd at DC’s 9:30 Club to give 2019 a much-needed final kick in the nuts.

As tradition would have it, the band’s annual December run of mid-Atlantic shows (known to kids across the land as “ClutchMas”) has Clutch on a three show run that includes Washington DC, Sayreville NJ, and Philadelphia PA. For three days the band performs unique sets at each venue, delivering grit and explosiveness to the good little boys and girls with a lucky golden ticket.

This year’s DC stop was the 9:30 Club, and for those in the room who were not too drunk to notice (single digits, trust me) Clutch was in exceptionally good form. As for me, I’m always excited to see Neil Fallon and the boys play live, and as usual they never disappoint.

“You Can’t Stop Progress” and “Power Player” from 2007’s Beale Street to Oblivion got the evening up and running, and “Ghoul Wrangler,” “Gimmie the Keys,” “How to Shake Hands,” and “Book of Bad Decisions” from the 2018 album of the same name kept the evening festive. “Rats,” CCR’s “Fortunate Son,” and “Sucker for the Witch” were among my favorites of the night.

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TVD Live Shots: Clutch with The Steel Woods and Damon Johnson at the 9:30 Club, 12/29

Maryland’s Clutch received a hometown-style welcome when it sold out Washington, DC’s legendary 9:30 Club during the last weekend of 2019, bringing with them The Steel Woods and Damon Johnson.

Damon Johnson, known for his work with Brother Cane, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper, and Black Star Riders, kicked off the night. I was looking forward to seeing Johnson again as, while I’m old enough to have heard Brother Cane on played on the radio back in the 90’s, I never got to see Damon until he toured with Black Star Riders in 2018 when they supported Judas Priest. Stepping out of the shadow of that band, we got to see Damon taking the lead, showcasing some new tracks and setting hits from his back catalog aflame including Brother Cane tunes “And Fools Shine On” and “Got No Shame” along with a very fun cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed.”

The Steel Woods then took the reins. Donning cowboy hats and turquoise jewelry, the Nashville-based band appears to embody the Southern rock tradition, mixing blues-rock with an outlaw spirit and giving a nod to their brethren during a muddy cover of “Whipping Post.” Lest they be pigeonholed however, influences on their 2017 debut Straw in the Wind are said to include Metallica and Led Zeppelin. The band formed after guitarists Wes Bayliss and Jason “Rowdy” Cope met in Nashville and became friends, later collaborating musically and adding bassist Johnny Stanton and drummer Jay Tooke to the lineup. The band added a dark country outlaw edge to the rock lineup and it worked well.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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