Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: U2 at FedExField, 6/20

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Playing whole albums from past catalogs is the variation that has kept arenas full for classic rock acts. It’s a way to both break from the greatest hits format and the struggle to push a new product fans may not prefer while providing a one time celebration of the past.

U2 may be one of the few acts to fill football stadiums no matter what they are doing, but celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, one of their most revered albums has made their current tour a quick sellout. Among the estimated 1.7 million fans in 33 stops Tuesday was the 45,000 or so at FedExField in Landover, MD, the stop closest to DC.

It may be easy to dismiss such celebrations of the past as rekindling nostalgia for an audience that seemed strictly on the 40 and up side. But from the rat-a-tat of Larry Mullen’s initial clarion drumming to the initial words from Bono—“I can’t believe the news today; I can’t close my eyes and make it go away”—it was clear that the messages of much of the band were just as riveting and up to the moment as they may have been, in the case of the opening “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” 34 years ago. How long must we sing this song, indeed.

The spray of songs that would normally make for the encore’s rush—“Sunday Bloody Sunday” followed by “New Year’s Day,” “Bad,” and “Pride (In the Name of Love)” brought a quick urgency and immediacy to the proceedings, especially as the attack of “Bad” and its foray into Paul Simon’s “America” set its sights at the soul of the country not far from its capitol.

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The Best of TVD’s 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: Third Eye Blind, Silversun Pickups, and Ocean Park Standoff at Pier Six Pavilion, 6/18

As part of their “Summer Gods Tour,” Third Eye Blind played to a sold out crowd on June 18th at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut album. The show included opening performances by Ocean Park Standoff who got the evening going with a 30 minute set, followed by Silversun Pickups who effectively set the tone in preparation for the headliners.

According to Third Eye Blind front man Stephan Jenkins, the tour was given the name “Summer Gods” because it was intended to support an EP to be released this summer. However Jenkins joked, “…but this is Third Eye Blind, so we _____ it up!” Clearly the crowd was not disappointed as they sang in unison to hits from the band’s first album “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Graduate,” and “How’s It Going to Be.”

The band ended their main set with the second to last song from their debut, “Motorcycle Driveby.” Returning to the stage, Jenkins was wearing a “Summer Gods” tee and the band roared into their hit “Never Let You Go” from the band’s second album, Blue. This left the fans, including myself, wondering if they were going to play the final song from their first album.

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TVD Live: Bush and The Kickback at Power Plant Live!, 6/10

Bush seems to really love winding up tour segments in Baltimore. Last August, they ended the US tour behind their sixth studio record, Man on the Run, at their Pier 6 Pavilion show. This past Saturday, the band and openers The Kickback, rocked a near sold-out Power Plant Live! show before being off tour for a couple of weeks. Maybe it’s the grittiness of Baltimore, maybe it’s a love of the blue crabs, but based on Saturday’s show, it’s obvious Bush loves Baltimore as much as Baltimore loves them.

Out supporting their March release, Black and White Rainbows, Bush played with the polish of a seasoned band and with the enthusiasm of a seasoned band who still loves to tear the roof off places. While last year’s show was loose, this year’s was way more wild and wooly. Last year, the photographers were told to “not shoot in front of Gavin”—this year, there were no restrictions. And, apart from Rossdale running through the aisles during “Little Things” last year, no one left the stage.

This wasn’t the case on Saturday, where Rossdale, bassist Corey Britz, and lead guitarist Chris Traynor, all utilized boxes arranged in the photo pit to stand on at various times during the show. Rossdale came down to sing along the barricade often, even leaning over and pushing his white Fender guitar into the crowd so audience members could strum. (To say the female patrons in that first row weren’t thrilled to be leaned on by him is an understatement.) The band played off, and to, each other onstage, and looked like the audience’s energy was only making them stronger as the night went on.

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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:
Royal Blood at the
9:30 Club, 6/6

Last Tuesday, DC’s music fans were treated to one of the hardest rocking, modern blues duos in the business today when the 9:30 Club hosted UK’s Royal Blood.

With all the great music that’s coming out of the hip seaside town of Brighton on the south coast of England, it’s perhaps somewhat difficult to create a unique musical identity. This however this is not the case with Royal Blood, the bass and drums duo. Band members Mike Kerr (bass) and Ben Thatcher (drums) formed Royal Blood in 2013, eventually signing with the same management company as labelmates Arctic Monkeys. Their first single “Out of the Black” was released in 2013 and was followed by their first full length album in 2014, the self titled Royal Blood—easily a career defining record. The band is currently touring to support their forthcoming release How Did We Get So Dark?, in stores this week via Warner Bros.

Royal Blood’s sound and style lends itself best to a live setting. I’m still amazed at the full tone they produce with just drums and bass. At last week’s show, the band laid down the anticipated barrage of heavy, rumbling, tones with an even more enthusiastic performance than their previous stop at the club just 2 years ago.

How Did We Get So Dark? will be available on June 16th on either signed vinyl or a super deluxe vinyl edition featuring bonus tracks.

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TVD Live: (Sandy) Alex G, Japanese Breakfast at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 6/2

PHOTO: SONNY MALHOTRA | I wanted to see the show by (Sandy) Alex G in part because my daughter called him “the Elliott Smith of my generation.” This comparison took me aback, partly because I thought of, say, Nick Drake as the Elliott Smith of my generation. Which means I’m about two generations removed from what’s selling out the Rock & Roll Hotel these days.

There is an interesting back story to the Philadelphia guy once known as Alex Giannascoli, who only added the parenthetical aspect of his name last month. Working in a home studio he turned out a handful of albums that got wide play on Bandcamp, as well as a half-dozen other singles and EPs. The grass-roots success got him a label deal with Domino and his second release Rocket just came out this month along with the ambitious tour that’s already selling out a lot of places.

In addition to his own work, he got something of a wider audience when he started to work with Frank Ocean, a connection I still can’t quite get my head around. The guy is still only 24 and may look even younger on stage, with his raven black shoulder length hair brushed behind his ears. His recordings do denote some sensitive handling of personal material in a melodic manner. But on tour it seems he doesn’t really want to show that part of himself in front of so many people.

It’s one thing to bare one’s soul in the bedroom, mumbling personal thoughts and double tracking it; but in front of a band and hundreds of fans (S)A.G. would rather play up every rock trope of being on the road instead. So a big blast of Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway” plays overhead to start and end the show (which got some bro-tastic singalongs and high fives in the crowd). More importantly, he takes a hard-edged, turned-up-to-11 approach on stage with a backing trio that he never introduces, making him sound overall more like the Rivers Cuomo of his generation.

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TVD Live Shots: Helium and Noveller at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 6/6

Veteran indie rocker Mary Timony played the first of 9 dates of a short tour being billed as “Mary Timony plays Helium,” to an almost sold-out crowd at the Rock & Roll Hotel last Tuesday. The string of dates coincides with the reissue of the band’s two full length LPs, 1995’s debut The Dirt of Luck and 1997’s follow-up The Magic City.

The reissue campaign also includes a new compilation of rarities titled Ends With And, and though the band didn’t include many of the rare tracks in their set this night, we were treated to a 13 song set, consisting of 7 songs from their debut record, 5 songs from their follow-up, and 1 song from their “Pirate Prude” EP. Unfortunately, I missed out on Helium during the ’90s; a casualty to the long list of bands whose music I knew of but just never made it to one of their shows, and I’m sure that I wasn’t alone in feeling like these shows are some small amount of redemption for not catching the band in its heyday.

Though Timony’s original bandmates aren’t accompanying her on this short run of shows, the backing band she has assembled, consisting of two members of the band Hospitality—Brian Betancourt on bass and David Christian on drums—and rounded out by multi-instrumentalist Nicole Lawrence on rhythm guitar and keyboards, I couldn’t help but feel like they had conjured up the ghost of the original band and allowed it to course through their bodies and exit through their fingertips. It felt very much like we were back in 1993, if only for one night.

Noveller, the Brooklyn-based project of Sarah Lipstate, opened the show. I wasn’t familiar with Lipstate’s music prior to this show, but gauging interest by the number of people who made their way through the crowd to catch a quick glimpse of her two effects pedal boards, it was clear that I was in the minority. I overheard several people remark that many of her shows are sold-out affairs—not surprising for a guitarist who has collaborated with Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth and was a member of Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Army.

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TVD Live: Richard Lloyd at the Black Cat, 6/1

When Tom Verlaine brought his latest version of Television on tour last year, fans savored hearing so much of Marquee Moon, their 1977 debut that has only grown in guitar stature over the years. Good as it was, there clearly was a missing link—the guitarist Richard Lloyd, whose intricate guitar interplay (and co-writing “Guiding Light”) helped make that the classic it’s become.

Lloyd joined various Television reunion schemes over the years, but not for the last decade or so. Any replacement in Television could only hope to replicate Lloyd’s intricate inventiveness, not always successfully. Seeing Lloyd himself on tour Thursday at the Black Cat in DC was an opportunity to get his half of some of those classics—though he was clearly not as Marquee Moon dependent as the current version of his last band.

Still, the telltale opening licks of things like “Elevation,” which came mid-set, followed by the title song, “Friction” and the one song from the album that Verlaine’s Television didn’t play in DC last fall, “See No Evil” got the crowd excited. Performing with Terry Clouse on bass, Jeff Brakebill on drums, and Jason NeSmith on second guitar, Lloyd revved up those tunes on the clubs backstage that was not so different in height and size than the one they inaugurated at C.B.G.B.’s more than 40 years ago.

Lloyd has had an impressive resume since those days, playing backup on Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend, recording with John Doe, and touring with Rocket from the Tombs. He included one song he wrote for the latter that was never recorded, “Amnesia,” and a 13th Floor Elevators song he recorded for a Roky Erickson tribute, “Fire Engine.”

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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.

Read More »

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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