Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Ex Hex at
the Black Cat, 5/1

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Even before the release of their debut full-length album Rips this past October, local DC rock trio Ex Hex had been labeled as “fun.” The reputation formed during interviews and at their first shows, and came out in their early music. They play with this lighter side on Rips while still showing off the immense rock and roll experience of each band member. Dance glam and catchy pop tunes meld seamlessly with harder punk-inspired riffs and no holds barred guitar solos.

So it was no surprise that the band’s hometown crowd at the Black Cat last Friday night was waiting impatiently for the dance party to start. And when guitarist and lead singer Mary Timony (Autoclave, Helium, Wild Flag) and bassist Betsy Wright (Childballads, the Fire Tapes) came out in matching black sequins, with drummer Laura Harris (The Aquarium, Benjy Ferree) following close behind, it certainly looked like they were ready to have some fun.

But the party didn’t quite start right away. Timony launched right into “Don’t Wanna Lose,” the opening track off Rips. The sound was off with the vocals too quiet and the reverb too heavy. The noteworthy energy that makes the album so addicting was missing.

But a few songs in, something changed. The sound had been fixed, and the band members seemed to loosen up and started filling the space.

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TVD Presents Analog Soul Club, Funk Parade Edition, Den of Thieves, 5/2 from Noon-5

Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday that the inaugural U Street Funk Parade invaded the heart of DC’s 14th and U Street corridor with its enthusiastic celebration of the multi-ethnic and diverse gumbo that’s at the heart of DC’s thriving music community.

Although not officially ON U Street last year, its spirit was pervasive—and persuasive enough to shut down U this year for the procession, and we’re delighted to have a hand in helping you rev your spirits—with spirits and records—prior to the parade.

Join us this Saturday, May 2 for TVD Presents the Analog Soul Club at Den of Thieves at the heart of 14th and U Streets, NW. We’re spinning nothing but vinyl from Noon to 5, just before the parade. It’s FREE, so pop in, have a hang, groove to some tunes, and lively up yourself to hit the streets. Here’s who is joining us on the decks all day:

NOON-1:00 PM, Crown Vic | Electric Cowbell Records label boss and TVD editor-at-large spins selections of “weird world” music. Vintage analog grooves pull up to the bumper of a shiny new day. DJ Crown Vic, aka Jim Thomson, runs the Electric Cowbell record label, promotes concerts as Multiflora Productions, and is a partner of the online independent record label consortium known as Independent Grand. He’s a founding member of both GWAR and Bio Ritmo and currently plays drums with the DC-based psych-punk-dance group, Time Is Fire.

1:00 PM-2:00 PM, Ty Hussell | Director of the Sitar Arts Center music program, Ty Hussell is a longtime DC analog selector who adds all the fun of live percussion to his sets that always include generous portions of soul, disco, boogie, Latin, Brazilian, African, Jamaican, and global sounds.

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TVD Live: Trampled
by Turtles at the 9:30 Club, 4/22

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | When the boys from Duluth took the stage, they did so in reverent harmony. Each entered the stage and picked up their instrument without addressing the crowd as Dave Simonett began “Wild Animals.” Everyone settled in and got comfortable, ready for show.

In the last few years as Bluegrass has resurged in popularity, it’s also created a very specific fan-base. You can rest assured that whoever lists Bluegrass among their favorite music won’t be an asshole. Trampled by Turtles, or Trampled, or TbT, whichever you prefer—their fans are no different. That “Minnesota Nice” that we’ve heard about on the East Coast is something their fans seem to have taken to heart.

Despite the subject matter, Bluegrass has an easy way about it, and Trampled reminded us of that. “Valley” is an especially acute reminder throughout the chorus: “There’s peace in the valley/ Just give it some time.” It’s no wonder that as our lives get busier, as we surround ourselves with distractions, as the world often seems to be crumbling—solace can be found in acknowledging this fact through music, which can just as easily dismissed. Something else will happen tomorrow, and we’ll get through that too.

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TVD Live Shots:
Hurray for the Riff
Raff and Son Little at
the 9:30 Club, 4/21

Last Tuesday, the New Orleans-based modern folk heroes, Hurray for the Riff Raff performed at DC’s 9:30 Club and indulged their audience with a genuine taste of real Americana.

To commence Tuesday’s performance, vocalist Alynda Lee Segarra took the stage alone and brought to life “The New SF Blues” minus the accompaniment of her band, delivering the lyrics with a commanding voice and an unassuming, graceful swagger. Segarra then turned to welcome her band to the stage for the next song with a “…here comes the rest of the Riff Raff” and smiled as the audience welcomed her and her full combo to DC.

Hurray for the Riff Raff immediately dove into the night’s second song “Blue Ridge Mountain” from their latest full length release, Small Town Heroes. The band proceeded to fill the room with beautifully orchestrated, yet simplistic tones well into the night. Despite their modest stage set up and use of only essential instruments—guitar, piano, drums, fiddle, and bass—the Riff Raff unquestionably fills the room with a very full sound. I suppose that when you use only the key ingredients to make a soup, that’s exactly what you taste the most. Point being—simple is a really good thing.

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TVD Live Shots:
Rick Springfield at the Lincoln Theatre, 4/19

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Standing outside the Lincoln Theatre on a rainy Sunday evening, a crowd of forty-something women with a sprinkling of husbands and boyfriends populated the sidewalk waiting to see ’80s heartthrob Rick Springfield. His one man show (along with a laptop he calls his “Band in the Box”) consisted of personal stories about his life infused with music that in the ’80s had women between the ages of puberty and death swooning. He continues this tradition even today at age 65.

As a collection of photos appeared on a screen highlighting his career in both the music and acting worlds, Springfield began the show with his story of growing up in Australia and did a quick montage of chart hits—“I Get Excited” and “Affair of the Heart”—closing with the line “Why can’t I find a woman like that,” which geared the crowd up for what was to come.

Through his story telling, facts emerged from his life that people may or may not know—such as after being kicked out of high school, Springfield and his band were recruited to play for American soldiers in Vietnam where the locals afforded them steady supplies of pot. After playing a cover of “Oh Well” by Fleetwood Mac, he rolled into the first song from Working Class Dog, “Love is Alright Tonite” which everyone sang along to enthusiastically.

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TVD Live Shots: Priests and Protomartyr at U Street Music Hall, 4/16

Washigton, DC’s Priests eviscerated the stage at U Street Music Hall last Thursday evening with a raw barrage of songs in true punk rock form and showcased some seriously classic punk influences.

I’m not going to bullshit anyone, I am almost halfway to being a cynical old man—at least in regard to keeping up with new and flourishing underground music scenes. The fact is, I love it when I am surprised by finding a band like Priests, and it turns out I could be totally wrong about a real absence of punk rock on this planet. In fact, there is significant strength within the punk scene at the moment and there’s a healthy dose of it right in DC’s backyard with Priests.

The band was on my radar but I had never had the chance to see them perform, and I have to admit, I loved watching Priests live and I was truly taken back with the overall tone of the show. The powerful vocal screams and snarling rants from singer Katie Alice Greer were addictive, and the audience’s reaction to the band as a unit was something that doesn’t come easy—it’s earned.

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TVD Live: Young Fathers at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 4/12

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Young Fathers have been called a lot of things, Krautrock, experimental—whatever it is, it’s the best of politically aware spoken word and hip-hop that will make you dance. After winning the Mercury Award for their debut LP Dead, they came back with the controversially titled White Men are Black Men Too.

Sunday night Steve Morrison took the stage like a conductor, mostly unnoticed by the crowd before he stoically struck the drums. Someone let out a shriek and all eyes turned as the rest of the band joined him on stage for the familiar “No Way.” They carried the crowd’s energy into “Queen is Dead” off their “Tape Two” EP.

Live, each young father’s role within the band is clearly defined in a way that’s difficult to infer from a recording. Even in today’s saturated world of electronic music, it’s usually clear that someone is pushing the buttons while someone else is singing, but Young Fathers has three very distinct voices complementing each other. While G adds dimension with his low howls, Kayus brings the energy as he moves about the stage, Alloysious is the steady harmony bringing it together.

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TVD Live: Delta Rae
and Greg Holden at the
9:30 Club, 4/10

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | On Friday April 10, Delta Rae and Greg Holden played at the 9:30 Club, providing a haven for wayward Washingtonians desperately trying to escape the tornado of tourists taking over the Tidal Basin.

Greg Holden is coming out at the right time. Some people thought he was a Christian act, some thought he was Australian, but everyone agreed that he was two things: great and good-looking. His album comes out today (4/14) and it’s perfect driving and road trip music. His harmonies are made for rays of sun hitting your Ray Bans, and his mastery over the guitar makes you wish you were sitting next to him back on your college campus or favorite park. He’s a natural when he banters with the audience. I fully expect him to become a better performer once he hits mainstream.

He also makes the natural choice for Delta Rae’s opener. If anything, he sounds the most like Eric Holljes on Carry the Fire, Delta Rae’s freshman album. Plainly put, he loves the crowd and the crowd learned to love him. Especially during “Boys in the Street,” his acoustic ballad about an out gay man growing up with a backwards, homophobic father who gets so close to shedding his vitriolic exoskeleton before the end of his life. It brought the crowd to a stand still.

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TVD Live: Electric Wizard and Satan’s Satyrs at Baltimore Soundstage, 4/1

It’s virtually impossible to have a conversation about stoner and doom metal without talking about England’s Electric Wizard. The self-proclaimed “heaviest band in the universe” has been laying down their evil brand of occult-tinged doom since 1995. 2014 saw the release of their eighth studio album, Time to Die, and at long last the Wizard has crossed the sea for their first American tour in ten years. The coven congregated on Wednesday night at Baltimore Soundstage, for a night of doom, evil, and weed—not necessarily in that order.

A sure sign that a band has not toured in the States in quite some time was the fact that upon entering Soundstage, you were instantly hit with a massive line. The line however was not for the bar, not for the bathrooms, but for merch. The line spread all the way across the floor to the front door as fans clamored to buy psychedelic black light posters and shirts that proudly proclaimed, “Legalise Drugs and Murder,” taken from the 2012 EP of the same name. By mid-show, a sign was posted stating that “ALL SHIRTS ARE SOLD OUT!”

The 9 o’clock hour tolled and Satan’s Satyrs took the stage. The trio from Virginia, bedecked in ‘70s garb, help establish the heavy retro vibe of the evening. Drummer Stephen Fairfield was damn near a spitting image of Geezer Butler, down to his frizzy mane and mustache. As they played “Show Me Your Skull,” Fairfield even broke out some retro metal moves, windmilling his hair around as he played. Overall, there was not a whole lot different this night than the last time I had seen them. The music was tight and cohesive at times and occasionally songs tried to be a bit jammy, but just seemed to unravel.

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TVD Live Shots:
Jessie Ware at the
9:30 Club, 3/31

English songstress Jessie Ware graced the stage of the 9:30 Club on Tuesday night—quite literally—to perform for a sold out crowd.

Touring to promote her 2015 release Tough Love (Interscope), Ware’s performance could be described in one word for this attendee…stellar. Her emotive voice and veteran stage presence gave her every opportunity to dispatch her talents with ease. The eager crowd hung on every breath, every beat.

Wielding influences that range from pop, soul, R&B, and folk, Ware’s stage show reflects the passionate vibe of her new album, displaying her singular strength as a songwriter and performer.

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