Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Train and Andy Grammer at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 8/20

San Francisco rock outfit, Train brought their crisp, progressive tones to Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday night along with an energetic performance from opening act Andy Grammer.

Train’s commercial success dates back to the ’90s with the hit single “Meet Virginia” from their 1998 debut album. The band’s second release scored two Grammy Award wins for the single “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” in 2002, and Train’s third studio album, My Private Nation was certified platinum with the release of the hit “Calling All Angels” in 2003. Judging by the droves of fans that lined the grounds at Merriweather on Saturday, it’s clear that this band still touches the hearts of many who flock to see them.

While the band’s lineup has changed over the years, their core remains intact with band mates Jimmy Stafford and lead singer Patrick Monahan conducting this train. The current lineup includes Jerry Becker, Luis Maldonaldo, Hector Maldonado, Drew Shoals, and Nikita Houston and Sakai Smith on backing vocals. Live, Train’s sound is clean and refreshing and they are completely in their element on stage.

When Andy Grammer walked into the spotlight to get the night started he brought an overdose of charisma and charm that was matched by the sheer talent of his backing band. Grammer, a multi-instrumentalist, played the piano, trumpet, guitar, showcased his dancing abilities, and set the evening off with proverbial panache.

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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: Prophets of Rage and Awolnation at EagleBank Arena, 8/19

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The use of music as a medium to react to politics and injustice is not a new idea. Tracing back to Irish folk songs and bard’s tales from ages ago, to Baez and Dylan’s antiwar folk movement of the ‘60s, to Black Sabbath’s metallic railings against a conformist society in the ‘70s, the message has been the same, even though the method of delivery has varied. As the ‘80s were drawing to a close and the ‘90s approached, two of the biggest voices of musical revolution were Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine. Whether it was Chuck D’s unmistakable baritone demanding that the masses “Fight the Power” or the fury of Zach de la Rocha’s cry for justice, the face of rebellion in music was forever changed.

If there was ever a right time to bring these outspoken musical forces together to make a statement, that time is now. With the election right around the corner, America has turned into a polarized, partisan, daily minefield of he-said-she-said rhetoric. Thus, the Prophets of Rage were born.

The idea was simple, yet effective. First, you have three of the four members of Rage Against the Machine (singer Zach de la Rocha declined to participate but gave his blessing). Filling his shoes is the aforementioned Chuck D of Public Enemy, B-Real of Cypress Hill, and DJ Lord, also from Public Enemy on turntables. All the pieces were in place, and after some rehearsal time and two performances in Los Angeles and Cleveland (coincidentally at the same time and in the vicinity of the GOP Convention), the “Make America Rage Again” tour was ready to launch at EagleBank Arena in the DC suburb of Fairfax, VA.

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TVD Live Shots: Bush at Pier 6 Pavilion, 8/14

“I’ve been a lot of places, but this is a lovely place to end a tour,” said Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale on Sunday night at the Pier 6 Pavilion in Baltimore. And wind up the last leg of the US tour behind Man on the Run they did, with one hell of a show. In spite of the stifling humidity, and the torrential downpour/ thunder/ lightning that cut short the set of opening band Chevelle, Rossdale and the band showcased why they’re still playing shows—their live show is full-on power, a throat punch, a kick to the teeth.

This was no 1990s-era band phoning it in for the payout, delivering just the hits. Well, it was, perhaps, in theory—they played only one song from Man on the Run, “The Only Way Out,” which is unusual for a tour promoting a record—while the rest of the set was from the hitmaking records like 16 Stone, Razorblade Suitcase, and The Science of Things. But bands phoning it in don’t usually work this hard, so much that the frontman breaks a string from playing so heavy on the first song (“Everything Zen”), and the whole band is 10 pounds thinner from energetic sweat by the end of the show.

How tight this band is as a whole needs to be acknowledged—they could start and stop on a dime collectively. Chris Traynor on lead guitar plays the meanest slide and Corey Britz isn’t the usual bassist who just stands there, Entwhistle-style. Original Bush drummer Robin Goodridge still pounds the bejebus outta the skins. And Rossdale never stops moving, who, at one point, singing “Little Things,” was running full-tilt through all the Pier 6-aisles and fan-filled rows. A testament to cardio routines, the man should market his and sell it.

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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: L7
and Post Pink at the
9:30 Club, 8/12

In 1994 L7’s Donita Sparks said “Rockin’ is our business and Jimi Hendrix signs our paycheck.” Hell yeah! A friend of mine was lucky enough to see them that year and after the concert last Friday at the 9:30 Club he was blown away, commenting that they haven’t skipped a beat. In fact, he thought they sounded even better. It was my first time seeing them and I was totally riveted. They’re in that category of bands where you’re an hour-plus into their set and you’re not secretly wondering when they’re going to wrap it up. Fast, dirty and lean, you just want more.

Every song was on point—every note was on point—which was impressive considering how much they move around the stage and how much head-banging they engage in. Guitarist Suzi Gardner played to the audience in a quiet, badass kind of way, periodically leaning into the crowd and snarling, while lead singer Donita Sparks and bassist Jennifer Finch were relentless. Drummer Dee Plakas looked like she was having a great time, sweating and smiling her way through their sometimes blisteringly fast beats.

Finch asked the crowd how many people were there because their parents made them, and a few hands went up. She quickly retorted, “I’ll be taking you to see Slayer next week.” Gardner got dirty. Commenting on how hot the place was, she solicited offers for an exfoliation after the show. I wonder how that worked out…

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TVD Live Shots: Shinedown, Halestorm, and Black Stone Cherry at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 8/10

Wednesday evening Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD played host to an onslaught of hard rock from some of the best bands in the business—of rock. Carnival of Madness, the annual hard rock tour that launched in 2010, brought their 2016 lineup to shake things up in Merriweather’s Symphony Woods.

Jacksonville, Florida based hard-rock ensemble Shinedown was the festival’s main attraction. Touring to promote their 2015 release Threat to Survival, the band served up a super energetic and dramatic performance whose setlist included “Fly From The Inside,” “Unity,” “Asking For It,” “I’ll Follow You,” “45,” “Sound of Madness,” “Creep” (Radiohead cover) and their famous rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.”

Prior to Shinedown was Halestorm, the Pennsylvania based outfit featuring brother and sister Lzzy and Arejay Hale. Lzzy—known for her amazing guitar leads and her huge vocal range—together with the band delivered a non stop barrage. Halestorm’s latest release, 2015’s Into the Wild Life is the band’s third studio album and was been acclaimed by rock critics upon its release. Since hearing “I Am The Fire,” “I Like It Heavy,” “Mayhem,” and “Amen” performed live, I can see why this album has been called earthshaking. Halestorm blew me away.

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Vinyl and good vibes: The Washington, DC Record Store Crawl, 8/6

There are a few schools of thought when it comes to record shopping in these modern times:

  • Those who were born in the ’90s, and have discovered a fascinating retro-cool way to listen to music while shopping at Urban Outfitters.
  • Those looking to detach from the digital wasteland and reconnect with their beloved music in a tangible way.
  • Those who grew up with vinyl, and have either never stopped listening to it or who have reembraced the format.

No matter which group you may fall under, there’s no denying that the popularity of vinyl is at an all-time high since being dethroned as the preferred music format by cassettes and CDs in the ’80s. If you were to ask any vinyl aficionado what they love most about vinyl, somewhere between “the warmth of the sound” and “the artwork” would be the hunt. Sure, it’s easy nowadays to hop on ebay or Discogs and find your prize within seconds of typing in the search, but nothing beats the joy of finding that long-sought-after gem after hours of crate-digging at record shows or your local shops.

Not long after I was approached by TVD to cover the 2016 Record Store Crawl, I read up on it and found the concept an intriguing one: a pseudo-bar crawl, hopping from record shop to record shop, getting drunk on shopping and live music rather than cheap drinks. Taking place in seven cities in the U.S. over a three-week span, they tout the crawl as “The Coachella of crawls” on their Facebook page. While that description didn’t exactly endear me personally, I was still excited to hit some of my treasured local record shops with a group of like-minded souls.

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TVD Live Shots: The
Go Go’s and Best Coast at the Warner Theatre, 8/5

For the third stop on their current “Farewell” tour, The Go Go’s choose the lovely Warner Theatre for a landmark moment—the band’s last Washington, DC appearance. In tow was LA’s Best Coast

38 years since their debut album Beauty and the Beat arrived, the LA based new wave outfit has had more than their share of success and are among a small club of musicians who can claim legendary status. The fact is, The Go Go’s have pioneered the way for countless all-female bands.

Their ’81 release sold more than 3 million copies and achieved triple platinum awards, as well as retaining the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 for 6 consecutive weeks in a decade full of great music. Their follow up album, 1982’s Vacation, was certified gold in the US and the album’s title track was another top 10 Billboard success. A year later Vacation was even nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Packaging for the LP’s iconic cover.

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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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