Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots:
The Silopanna Festival
at the Anne Arundel Fairgrounds, 8/16

Last Saturday gave way to a solid festival of music and fun at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds.

Nestled in a cozy little patch of woods in the Annapolis countryside which is also known for hosting the Maryland Renaissance Festival every October, the Silopanna Music Festival took shape and filled the wooded fairgrounds, bringing local and national artists together and serving up a mix of genres on its stages—with a little something for everybody.

The festival featured three stages with no down time between sets, games, plenty of good food, and enough beer and mixed drinks to go around. The festival also delivered something more than just a schedule of outdoor musical performances, from apparel to custom craft brews, there was something to suit any fancy at Silopanna.

Hosted by the good folks at Rams Head Live, the scheduling went smoothly the way any well-managed festival should. Headlining act, The Flaming Lips were preceded on the main stage by popular acts Matt and Kim, Dashboard Confessional, Sleeper Agent, and Hellogoodbye.

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TVD at Den of Thieves welcomes Analog Soul Club, tomorrow, 8/21

The third Thursday of every month The Vinyl District curates DJs for all-vinyl sets at Den of Thieves. This Thursday we’re excited to present the Washington, DC collective known as Analog Soul Club with founding members Mettabbana and Sir Ramases on the decks. Chances are you won’t hear anything you’ve ever heard before and that’s not a bad thing. These guys aren’t in the game to be esoteric. They’re eager to share their booty so you can shake yours.

Sir Ramases, aka Ramases Harnett, is the founder of a research collective called Afro Ritmo Records which focuses on what he calls “the music of the original African man’s vintage past.” His keen focus on vintage global sounds embedded to vinyl have him very busy in 2014 with DJ gigs stretching from Venezuela, Surinam, the Dominican Republic, Panama City, as well as select dates in the US and Canada.

Besnik Hyseni’s (Mettabbana) musical journey began with collecting international music, 8-tracks, cassettes and vinyl as a teenager in his native Kosovo. Today his sets include melding vintage and raw analog and urban electronic music from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and his native Balkan homeland.

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TVD Live Shots:
Buster Poindexter at
the Birchmere, 8/8

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | There’s been much said as to the glorious songwriting canon that is the “Great American Songbook.” Friday night at the Birchmere, Buster Poindexter took an audience through the “Great American Unsung Book”—and it was a revelation.

“It’s hard to compare it to anything else, because I don’t think anyone else is doing anything like this,” Poindexter told us last week as a lead up to the evening. “It’s really hard to say, ‘Oh, it’s like Tony Bennett—only funny!’ Because it’s not. [Laughs] I don’t know how to explain it. It goes through so many changes in an hour-and-a-half that it’s hard to put a finger on what it is. But it’s just great music and laughs and it’s a good vibe.”

“I would like to say it’s mellower than the old show used to be, but… it gets bombastic sometimes. It’s fun. It’s a lot of great music, great players, a lot of laughs—it’s a good night out.”

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TVD Recommends: Buster Poindexter at
the Birchmere, 8/8

Are you ready for Buster Poindexter’s post-modern cabaret? Who hasn’t watched an old movie and thought how cool it would be to experience an authentic night club show in this day and age? If you’re in the DC area this Friday night, David Johansen, as the inimitable Buster Poindexter, will be doing exactly that: playing music for a twenty-first century nightclub at the Birchmere. From the reviews we’ve been reading of his raucous New York shows, this second coming of Buster Poindexter is something you’ll want to say you’ve experienced.

BUSTER IS BACK… but the fact of the matter is, Buster Poindexter never really went away. Johansen has been using the Buster character on and off for over thirty years, mashing up calypso, doo-wop, lounge, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and jazz—a spectacular palette of colors in the eccentric musical rainbow that spill over in a Buster Poindexter show.

“It’s hard to compare it to anything else, because I don’t think anyone else is doing anything like this,” Johansen tells TVD. “It’s really hard to say, ‘Oh, it’s like Tony Bennett—only funny!’ Because it’s not. [Laughs] I don’t know how to explain it. It goes through so many changes in an hour-and-a-half that it’s hard to put a finger on what it is. But it’s just great music and laughs and it’s a good vibe.”

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TVD Live: Mayhem Festival at Jiffy Lube Live, 8/3

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The heat of the summer brings another edition of the sweat and sugar-fueled metal circus known as the Mayhem Festival back to Bristow, Virginia. Jiffy Lube Live has been the DC area’s destination for the Mayhem Fest since its inception in 2008.

Without sounding like Rip Van Curmudgeon, the majority of the crowd at Mayhem has been getting younger and younger every year, with many of the current bands being marketed to the younger set. Flashy contact lenses, half face decorative leather masks, and other assorted fashion eccentricities were the order of the day.

I headed through the gates and up the hill, following the masses to the side stage area. Texas’ Upon a Burning Body was already in full shred mode at the Sumerian Records stage. These guys made a huge impression two years ago when Sumerian’s stage was a tent. Vocalist Danny Leal gave the crowd its marching orders for the mosh pit, then led off the singalong of “The stars at night, are big and bright…deep in the heart of Texas,” and when “Texas Blood Money” began, an enormous circle pit opened up in the gravel. A funnel cloud of dirt was kicked up, covering the whole area in a brown haze.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Buster Poindexter at the Birchmere, 8/8

Admit it, you’ve missed Buster Poindexter too.

We certainly have—and it seems we’re not the only ones either as the Wall Street Journal has recently noted in their pages, “Today, the words “blues” and “shouting” are, alas, inextricably linked, but what about the tradition of mellow blues crooners that extended through Charles Brown, Nat King Cole and, in their more romantic moments, Joe Williams and Ray Charles?

“Buster Poindexter” (nee David Johansen) first attracted attention as a glam rock pioneer (in the New York Dolls, with whom he still tours) and then as an early MTV idol (with “Hot Hot Hot”). Yet with his big, deep, resonant voice, Buster Poindexter is most impressive as a crooner and occasional belter of ballads in the classic R&B tradition.

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TVD Live: Rodrigo y Gabriela and Kishi Bashi at Wolf Trap, 7/31


PHOTOS: KRISTIN HORGEN | As music fans, we have an innate need to classify our music, to make sure that we have put a specific label on what we are listening to. Rock, black metal, jazz, folk, alt country, fusion, post-punk, shoegaze, electro….the list goes on and on. What Rodrigo y Gabriela have successfully done is make you rethink any preconceived notion you may had about their music, and how it can be classified.

A duo from Mexico City on acoustic guitars…flamenco, right? Wrong. Ok, maybe not 100% wrong, but when the pair’s biggest influence is heavy metal, that kind of shakes things up a bit and breaks them out of the typical “flamenco” mold.

I have lived in Northern Virginia/the greater DC area for my entire life and for some insane reason had never made it to Wolf Trap until this night. The lawn areas were full of picnickers, and the pungent aromatic mixture of wine, Off bug spray, and assorted foodstuffs assaulted the senses as I wandered around before the show. The intricacy of the beautiful wooden pavilion in its woodsy setting gave the show a natural, rustic feel. Adding to the natural feel of the show, during those moments when the music got a bit quieter, a symphony of summer crickets provided their own accompanying harmonies to the man-made music onstage.

Kishi Bashi, clad in a pink jacket and bow tie and spiky dyed mohawk opened the night. The immensely talented violinist from of Montreal has struck out on his own, doing a one-man band performance with the help of a loop pedal and a lot of coordination.

He had the audience clapping along halfway through his first song. The audience, while responding heartily at the end of each song, seemed a bit divided. The older men in the crowd didn’t seem to embrace Kishi as wholly as the younger set. This was best represented by the hoots when he asked who saw him (with of Montreal) at the 9:30 Club. I think the older ladies found him adorable. Not a sweeping statement, just an observation from my vantage point.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Charanjit Singh with Protect-U at Tropicalia, 8/7

True musicians are organic transmitters of culture, like a bridge that spans our past, present, and future. The terms visionary and pioneer are often tossed around by music critics to distill the description of an artist whose artistic breadth is like trying to fit the ocean into a bottle.

Enter one Bollywood demo musician based in Mumbai, Charanjit Singh, who many allege is the unlikely founder of acid house music because of his 1982 release, Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat. The record certainly showcases all the trappings of acid house and subsequent styles: the Roland TR 808 drum machine, the Roland TB 303 audio oscillator and bass generator, synth tones galore, and a percolating, incessant 4/4 disco groove, but the clincher for me is that it’s set to ancient classical Indian musical raga scales.

Therein lies the rub: what makes this record a peculiar masterpiece and Charanjit Singh a living legend are all of these disparate elements coming together as one sonic anomaly.

I can’t claim to have been ahead of the curve on this one. I picked up the 2010 Bombay Connection reissue as soon as I heard a sample of the track, “Raga Bhairav” in an Other Music newsletter. It was like Giorgio Moroder met up with Kraftwerk in a basement in Mumbai to score a Bollywood musical.

Still, I found it hard to believe that this record never showed up in any family tree diagram of house music or that it was never cited by other music luminaries and writers like Aphex Twin, Simon Reynolds, or Daft Punk. It almost seemed like a ruse, too good to be true.

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TVD Ticket and Vinyl Giveaway: The Deadmen at the 9:30 Club, 8/9

The Deadmen are bringing Americana rock to the nation’s capital and are definitely a band to look out for this year. Despite their morbid name, The Deadmen are alive and kicking in the DC music scene and are here to stay.

The band is composed of three talented singer-songwriter-guitarists—Josh Read, Justin Jones, and Justin Hoben— and bassist John Hutchins. They each bring new elements to the style and writing of their music. Although they formed The Deadmen recently, they have been performing individually for more than a decade.

We interviewed Justin Jones last year to discuss his “I Can Feel It Tour 2013″ and the upsurge in the popularity of rock ‘n’ roll. Jones puts a lot of value into creating quality rock, and it shows.  He told us, “We played a show in Indianapolis a while ago and someone came up to me afterwards and said, ‘I just wanted to thank you for playing fucking rock and roll—no xylophones and whistles and melodicas and shit.’ And I love all that stuff, but you know what I’m talking about. I never really paid particular attention to the newest trending thing. When stuff gets a little too derivative, it just starts to sound like watered-down whatever it’s trying to rip off. To me, it’s just never as good as the real thing.’ 

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TVD Live Shots: Phish
at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 7/26

We have a long history of naming bands after animals. To name a few, we have The Monkees, The Arctic Monkeys, The Turtles, Whitesnake, The Eagles, Grizzly Bear, and Flock of Seagulls. There’s Dr. Dog, Temple of the Dog, Snoop Dog, Three Dog Night, and Blue Oyster Cult. We adore acts like The Stray Cats, Kitten, Ratt, The Eagles of Death Metal, Counting Crows, The Black Crowes, and Animal Collective. There’s even Mastadon, and the Unicorns—extinct and/or fantasy creatures. And then there’s Phish.

No one saw it coming when Phish hit the scene in the mid 1980s cleverly morphing the spelling of Fish to Phish, and in doing so, ingraining their brand permanently into musical culture. The band is actually named after their drummer Jon Fishman, but that’s a whole other story.

If you don’t already know about Phish, they are one of the most prolific and celebrated jam bands in today’s music scene and Saturday night marked night one of their two-day stay at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. Phish is known for playing to a very lively, very large and enthusiastic crowds on every stop of their tours. Saturday evening in Maryland? No different.

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