Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

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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THIS SUNDAY! 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: 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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TVD Live Shots: Daughters with HEALTH and Show Me the Body at the 9:30 Club, 12/18

Daughters made a triumphant appearance on December 18 at Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club, bringing their critically acclaimed noise rock to an exuberant crowd. Along for the journey were Show Me the Body and HEALTH.

Kicking off the night were Show Me the Body, appearing in DC for the second time this year after a headlining show in the spring at Union Stage. After the New York trio (Julian Cashwan Pratt, Harlan Steed, and Noah Cohen-Corbett) thanked DC for its welcome, they launched into their roughly half hour set of hardcore punk. They tour in support of their new album Dog Whistle, which notably features the song “Camp Orchestra,” inspired by a visit to Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

Being the first band of the night, one might anticipate a slightly more subdued interest from the crowd. That was not the case at all here. Standing in the photo pit, I could feel gusts of wind hitting me in the back of the head. I turned around to see the front row of fans headbanging, many of whom were wearing the band’s merch, easily identifiable by the three coffin logo.

Adding to the intensity were LA noise rockers HEALTH (Benjamin Jared Miller, Jake Duzsik, and John Famiglietti) who took the stage shrouded in relative darkness. That darkness was punched, however, by the strobe lights on the stage (beware of this if you are sensitive), leaving the band in a near-constant state of silhouette.

Famiglietti, when he wasn’t playing bass, hovered over an array of pedals and switches, headbanging so hair swirled in time. Touring on the heels of their February 2019 release Vol 4: Slaves of Fear, HEALTH are notable for contributing to film soundtracks such as Atomic Blonde but also video game soundtracks, composing the soundtrack to Max Payne 3 in 2012. Like with Show Me the Body, the crowd responded with rabid support.

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Independent Minded: A podcast with Ron Scalzo: The Bouncing Souls

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.

Independent Minded 110 features Greg Attonito, vocalist in New Jersey punk rock band The Bouncing Souls. Greg talks about fatherhood, crucial moments, ’80s movies, Bruce Springsteen, and 30 years of The Bouncing Souls.

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TVD Live: She & Him Christmas Party at the Anthem, 12/5

PHOTO: DAN WINTERS | The first time Zooey Deschanel sang a Christmas song for huge audiences was 16 years ago in the movie Elf, crooning “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in the shower, eventually dueting with an unwelcome Will Ferrell. It was that moment that showed M. Ward that the actress could actually sing, and they eventually got together to form the duo She & Him, which continued to record originals and covers even as her star rose as the star of TV’s The New Girl for seven seasons.

The third album for the two was a Christmas release, as was their sixth, two years ago. That makes fully one third of the She & Him recorded output Yuletide music. So Christmas is a big deal for them. Hence a big “Christmas Party” tour that filled Washington, DC’s cavernous Anthem with good cheer if not completely with fans. A lot of them came in holiday finery so extreme there was a costume show and competition mid-show, hosted by the comic who opened the show Pete Lee, whose schtick is being a wide-eyed innocent, not unlike a certain overgrown elf Deschanel has worked with before. Six Christmas trees stayed alight on the broad stage all night and a huge 10-foot video screen looped a fireplace fire throughout.

Deschanel’s well-defined favorite holiday period was clear from her choice of the the 1944 Frank Loesser duet she did in Elf—relying on the kind of mid-20th century, postwar pop standards popular way before her time—from about the time her father was born. That lent a kind of draggy, melancholy haze to the first half of the show, weighed down with slowed versions of nostalgic standbys from your mom’s Firestone albums like “Happy Holiday,” “The Christmas Waltz,” and “The Christmas Song.”

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TVD Live Shots:
The Joy Formidable
with Twen at the Rock and Roll Hotel, 11/29

The Joy Formidable made a stop at Washington, DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel on Black Friday, giving fans respite from the Thanksgiving holiday and oncoming Christmas onslaught. Celebrating ten years together, they treated VIPs to a short acoustic set prior to doors opening before filling the RnR Hotel with tight indie rock.

The Joy Formidable (Ritzy Bryan, Rhydian Daffyd, and Matt Thomas) are playing their entire album A Balloon Called Moaning (plus a few more from their catalogue) as a celebration of hitting ten years together. The fans, crammed into the RnR Hotel’s dark snug room, were ecstatic; one yelling appreciation to Thomas as he took the stage and many singing along with Bryan.

The band appeared to be in good humor and a celebratory mood as well, appearing delighted to play their old songs. Bryan stopped to thank a young boy (age ten or so) for being in attendance and Daffyd even took it in stride when an on-stage encounter with Bryan ended with a cut to the forehead, blood trickling down his nose. Thomas for his part pounded the drums like a sledgehammer; I was situated next to his drum kit and could feel the blasts of air moved by his high hat.

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TVD Live: Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 11/26

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Usually I spend three days before a concert plumbing the depths of the band’s discography, but this time there was no need. I know Led Zeppelin’s back catalog like the back of my hand. So I walked to the venue listening to an astrophysicist with a thick Italian accent explaining orbital mechanics over a poor-quality long-distance call. I mention this interview because it turned out to be an oddly fitting warm-up act for JBLZE—it’s as confusing as it is fascinating.

From the beginning, it’s unclear what JBZLE is supposed to be: cover band? Nostalgia trip? Both at once, or something else entirely? To the band’s credit, it’s also difficult to fuss too much about this performative identity crisis. JBLZE is undeniably fun. They’ve been opening for Peter Frampton recently, and they hit the much smaller stage at the Fillmore with the same energy—they’re loud, proud, and happy to be there.

So is the audience, a mixed collection of Baby Boomers out on Date Night, parents who have dragged their children along (or vice versa), and die-hard Led Heads difficult to categorize any other way. In the queue outside the venue, a teenager chatters at her father about other concerts they’ve clearly been to together. He catches my eye over her head and shrugs, smiles. She’s got the bug. It’s a familiar scene; ten years ago it might have been my father and me.

The family resemblances don’t stop there. Jason Bonham reminisces about his own father between songs, recalling how the resurgence of analog audio led him to an unexpected discovery: that the liner notes give Bonzo songwriting credit on “Good Times, Bad Times.” “He didn’t play an instrument [besides the drums],” Jason explains, “so how did he get the ideas across?” He sang them, according to Jimmy Page, who answered this question with an anecdote about “Out on the Tiles”—which started with one of Bonzo’s old drinking songs.

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TVD Live Shots: La Dispute with Empath
and Touché Amoré at
the 9:30 Club, 11/24

La Dispute brought its post hardcore punk to Washington, DC on 11/24 with an appearance at the 9:30 Club. Philadelphia noise rock band Empath and Los Angeles post-hardcore punks Touché Amoré were along for support.

La Dispute is touring in support of its their well-received fourth album Panorama, the first release with Epitaph Records. The current lineup is vocalist Jordan Dreyer, drummer Brad Vander Lugt, guitarist Chad Morgan-Sterenberg, guitarist Corey Stroffolino, and bass guitarist Adam Vass. Getting great reviews from outlets like Pitchfork, the music blends melodic tones with finely constructed stories that touch on death and life. I was not entirely sure what to expect from this band, with the dim lights and salt lamps on stage; however, the show was extremely energetic and Dreyer possesses the ability to convey deep emotion through fine vocal execution.

It’s worth noting that La Dispute often works with charitable organizations. In addition, early in the set, Dreyer stopped to state the band supports a safe environment for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or race. A quick search reveals that the band makes their catalog of music available free each Christmas, asking only that fans make donations to organizations of their own choosing. It’s always refreshing to see bands use their position to support positivity and charity.

The night kicked off with Philadelphia noise punk darlings Empath, described by Rolling Stone as being much of a “cosmic jazz combo as a screaming punk band”. Empath (Catherine Elicson, Garrett Koloski, Emily Shanahan, and Randall Coon) are promoting their debut LP, Active Listening: Night in Earth, described as fierce and cacophonous. It’s clear, in performance, this is a band not interested in fitting into a neat category.

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Independent Minded: A podcast with Ron Scalzo: Ra Ra Riot

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 108 features Mat Santos, bass player in New York indie rock band Ra Ra Riot. Mat talks about poor tour packing, bonding over U2, making Superbloom, and his bass guitar heroes.

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TVD Live Shots: Electric Wizard with Midnight at the Fillmore, 11/18

It was a night of doom and black metal as veterans Electric Wizard made an appearance at the Fillmore Silver Spring supported by the barely contained black metal and punk energy of Midnight.

For the uninitiated, an Electric Wizard show involves slurping from a chalice of sludgy metal masterpieces, with lyrics touching on gothic literature and obscure horror films. In concert this is all set against a backdrop of ’70s Satanic Panic exploitation films and bathed in orange and red lights. The guitars (Liz Buckingham with Haz Wheaton on bass) are raw, the drums (Simon Poole) pound, and Jus Oborn’s vocals are tortured while blood and Satanic ceremony flash above the stage on the screen. It’s hypnotic and intense, and a little unnerving if you’re unaccustomed to it.

The fans gathered at the Fillmore were there for it, however. The usual roundup of black-clad metal fans came to see Electric Wizard on their brief jaunt through the East Coast, two years after their 2017 release, Wizard Bloody Wizard. The stop at the Fillmore Silver Spring was number three of six for the US this fall, so a special appearance indeed, and a treat for doom metal fans.

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TVD Live: Hozier at
the Anthem, 11/18

Monday night, freezing rain, and there’s a queue outside the Anthem that stretches all the way to the rideshare drop-off loop. It’s a motley group, ranging from teen- to middle-aged and representing eclectic social and sartorial demographics. There’s as much flannel as there is glitter. The line lurches along until everyone is swept inside with a wave of a security guard’s magic wand. The auditorium is a dark high-ceilinged dome, vaguely churchlike. It makes sense—an assignation in the House of God made Hozier famous in the first place.

But the people packed into the Anthem didn’t just come to hear “Take Me to Church.” They listen attentively to opening act Angie McMahon, an Australian singer-songwriter whose waifish appearance and guttural vocals are somehow reminiscent of Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith at the same time. (She’s fantastic, by the way. Folks who skipped her missed out.)

When the main attraction makes his way onstage, the audience worships him, loves every song, knows all the words. It’s not just music; it’s more like a religious experience, complete with gospel choirs and rays of celestial light. There’s something hagiographic about Hozier—a gangly bearded Irishman with the voice of a soul singer and the sublimely morbid sensibility of a Romantic poet. He seems like he’d be equally at home in an Irish bog or a boneyard in Baton Rouge, crooning to a lover or howling at the moon.

But as normal indoor concerts go, this one is thoughtful, absorbing, and impeccably produced. What’s most impressive is the cohesive artistic vision: intricate lighting cues are in constant conversation with the music, while the projections fluently transform from live feed to animation to news reels and abstract film, all designed to heighten the mood.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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