Author Archives: Amanda Pittman

TVD Live: Peter Hook and The Light presents Closer at 9:30 Club, 9/21

I’ve read Touching From a Distance, I’ve watched Control, I’ve dated people who idolize Ian Curtis, and I have an appreciation for his musical contributions. I hope that if you are someone that loves Curtis unconditionally, you’ll excuse me, because I don’t. That aside, I think flailing around in his memory for a buck is sad, desperate, pathetic even. Joy Division fans aren’t shallow; they are devout, they love the music above all else.

The fact that Peter Hook co-founded Joy Division before Ian Curtis was ever thought of is irrelevant, Curtis made Joy Division what it was. His stage presence shaped their reputation, and his distant vocals defined their sound. He is the legacy and the reason they didn’t continue as Joy Division, but created something new in New Order. This is something Peter Hook should have considered before going on tour with his Joy Division cover band, The Light.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Peter Hook at the 9:30 Club, 9/21

You love Joy Division. You love New Order. You love Peter Hook.

The co-founder of what would become the defining band of Post-Punk, Joy Division, is on tour with his new band, The Light. They will be performing Joy Division’s last album, Closer in its entirety this Wednesday at the 9:30 Club. For those looking to be transported to 1980, we have a pair of tickets to award.

Post-punk fans are a very specific breed of people. To win, leave a comment telling us about your best spent Twenty Four Hours.

Mine were last summer. It went as follows: drunken cupcake devouring, Wii bowling, naked roof dancing, skinny dipping at sunrise, breakfast surrounded by strippers, going to work and sleeping in five minute intervals, going out dancing and watching the consecutive sunrise from a roof in another city.

The winner will be chosen at noon on Tuesday, September 20th.

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TVD Live: RVA Music Festival 2011

On the heels of Richmond’s notorious Best Friend’s Day, RVA Magazine with the help of local promoters and investors organized the inaugural RVA Music Festival.

The popular magazine and website has become a mainstay in Richmond, helping to cultivate and support the art and music scene. Richmond is a small city, but the people are diverse and the history is rich. Hardcore and folk music are appreciated equally here and house shows are more likely to fill in than a venue. The DIY ethic prevails, the success of the mostly punk festival Best Friend’s Day and the bike kid’s Slaughterama serve as proof that Richmond likes action, but they are not used to paying for it. RVA Music Fest has been the first real attempt at testing the local denizens and hoping that they’ll support something larger, though a steal at just $30.

The gates opened at two on Sunday afternoon in the historic Shockoe Bottom district. I arrived around three and found a sparse crowd. Best Coast and the ever popular Girl Talk were headlining, but local acts filled two stages throughout the day before anyone got a glimpse of Gregg Gillis.

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w/ Slowdance and
Buildings at RnR, 7/30

Last week I had the opportunity to talk to Dom, the person, not the band that bears his name, on the phone. He has a soft voice; he forces you to listen closely. It isn’t vain, it’s uncertain.

His story sounds like a tearjerker—kid is given up by parents at age eight, he grows up being juggled between foster homes, group homes, and month-long placements, and after he turns eighteen and is free of the system, he moves similarly between rented rooms. He doesn’t maintain contact with his immediate family and doesn’t know if they have any idea what he’s up to these days, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. It happened, it’s over, and he’s created this.

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TVD Live: Sia with Oh Land at 9:30 Club, 7/28

Thursday afternoon, I got word that I would be able to make it to the SiaOh Land, and Ximena Sariñana show at 9:30 Club. This was welcome news, but I live in Richmond, and if you remember from my Bonnaroo posts, I no longer have a car. Thankfully, I live within walking distance of the Megabus stop—but my bus didn’t show, and I had to catch a later one. By the time I arrived to the venue, I had missed Ximena Sariñana completely, and Oh Land was halfway through her set, to a well sold-out audience.

The Danish pop-star turned Brooklynite, has been called a “more commercial Lykke Li.” They share a similar style for writing melancholy, yet hopeful, pop songs. Though, of the two, Oh Land is slightly more optimistic.

I came in at the end of “Lean,” her invitation to a lover to depend on her in his time of need, though, as the song goes on, it becomes less of an invitation and more of a beg. From there, she moved perfectly into the upbeat “Human.” From the balcony, I could see small groups dancing on the floor, the movement spreading as she transitioned into her most recent single “White Nights.” Both her soft vibrato and white-robed figure danced and jumped across the stage and led those familiar with what will hopefully be her next single and most upbeat track into a singalong for “We Turn It Up.” She followed her set by meeting with fans by the merch table before Sia took to the stage.

I’ll be honest, before Thursday night I only vaguely knew of Sia. I had reviewed one of her albums for my college radio station a few years ago. I don’t think I listened to it more than once, but needless to say, I didn’t fall in love. Thursday I did.

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TVD Live: White Denim at Rock and Roll Hotel, Tuesday 6/21

I saw White Denim for the first time three years ago when they opened for Tapes’N’Tapes at the 9:30 Club. That night I went for Tapes’N’Tapes and left loving White Denim. They have an energy about them that’s boundless. They do not stop. They aren’t cool, they move, and so do their fans. For them it’s very much about playing together and less about a performance.

When they took the stage at Rock and Roll Hotel on Tuesday, there was a massive push forward. I expect this at fuller shows, but the Hotel was probably at about two-thirds capacity, and people in DC tend to like their personal space. Not Tuesday, post-grad yuppies and high-schoolers alike danced throughout the upbeat set, while those of the still variety stayed rightfully towards the back.

The band is made up of four members, though the sound they produce would have you believe the band is much larger. It’s not rock, or funk or jazz, or jam – it’s all of those things. Everything I liked about them the first time was still soundly intact. Their particular brand of rock (or whatever you’d prefer to call it) isn’t a caricature of their influences, it’s an original combination of everything their predecessors had been inspired by as well. White Denim encompasses all of it. Their ability to transition smoothly between a rock riff into bouncing funk is difficult to keep up with. I didn’t know where one song ended and another began, but that was the point.

They played a healthy mix of older songs as well as songs off their latest release, D. I tried to keep track, to no avail. They didn’t play off a set list, and when I asked guitarist Austin Jenkins and lead vocalist James Petralli to write one for me after the show, they tried their best, but even they couldn’t remember the order or if they had played particular songs. It was just as much a blur to them as it was to us. This mash of songs and styles and different people, all to create what I suppose is White Denim.

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It’s a diary: TVD at Bonnaroo 2011, Part IV

By Sunday attendance had dropped as people had left early and those that were still there were mostly zombies. Bonnaroo had taken any kind of energy we had, and we were ready to be on our way back to where we came from.

I started my day with The Head and The Heart. The folk-rock group has garnered huge popularity over the past few months and I recently (admittedly late) bought their album. They’re not particularly special as far as their sound, but they represent what a mishmash of people can do when gently pushed in a particular direction. They’re relatable and humble and talented, and I’m curious to see how they grow.

I left The Head and The Heart in a pretty good mood, only to have that increase immensely upon hearing Mavis Staples. Regardless of your religious affiliation or feelings towards religion, it does not matter. Mavis Staples is a legend. “Now, ya’ll, it’s Sunday, and this is about as close to church as you’re gonna get.” It was true. Between her gospel songs she would express thanks for all of our “sweet spirits” coming out to see her. Not once did she refer to us as people, always spirits. For that hour she was everyone’s grandmother, our Southern, religious grandmother who told the best stories and wouldn’t tolerate us not participating. We did anything she asked, she had that command and presence on stage.

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It’s a diary: TVD at Bonnaroo 2011, Part III

Saturday, I saw a total of ten acts. Bouncing around from one act to the next on what was the hottest day of the festival proved to be effortlessly tiring.

I napped much longer that morning, and tried to stay in the shade as much as possible. Though, in a field shade is difficult to come by, so I ended up sleeping under the shadow created by my car. It was still hot, but sleeping in your tent during the day isn’t, or shouldn’t be an option as it basically becomes an oven (remember, people die at this festival every year, and I was not looking to be one of them.) In addition to my naps, I drank water like it was my job. I drank probably two gallons—two gallons of water on Saturday to escape heat exhaustion. I also spent a good deal of time in bathroom lines, which was fine, because it was a reminder that I was still alive.

Remember, I was by myself. If I baked in my tent no one would find me until the festival was over. And my parents would be so pissed.

Anyway, I grew up on country and oldies. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is one of my dad’s favorite movies. I have seen it probably hundreds of times. Alison Krauss and members of Union Station band performed on the soundtrack, and performed many of those songs for us Saturday afternoon. Whether or not you’re a fan of bluegrass and gospel music is irrelevant, she is one of the most decorated musicians of our day and certainly deserving. They’ve been making music together for over twenty years, and their chemistry and talent shows.

From there I walked over to Man Man. If there is an opposite to Alison Krauss, Man Man is surely it. Their noise-rock is the counter to her smooth voice. Man Man fans, more than Man Man themselves, are some of my very favorite people. There is not a group that could give less of a fuck about anything. They move and shout and probably masturbate more than the average person, because well, Man Man fans aren’t exactly the most social people. But they have a great time by themselves, and in close proximity with other people hopping around by themselves.

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It’s a diary: TVD at Bonnaroo 2011, Part II

Friday, I woke up early to an already oppressing heat and still very tired. After a quick breakfast I found some shade and took a long nap. Napping, for me, was just as important as staying hydrated throughout the weekend. When I woke up, I made my way to Centeroo to catch some early acts. Most of the acts I had planned to see that day didn’t go on until later in the day. I seeing the majority of a honky-tonk set before wandering over to What Stage for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

Grace Potter is the sexiest woman I have ever seen. She embodies femininity. She isn’t girly, and she isn’t dumbed down, there’s no shtick; she is Grace Potter and ain’t nobody gonna bring her down. She takes Americana, a genre that can often be boring, combines it with traditional rock and has her way with it. Her voice, her dancing, her dress that kept threatening to ride a tad too high, it all came together with an energy that was difficult to ignore, despite the heat. This energy proved to be a force throughout the day.

I took a break for another nap to prepare for Florence + The Machine. Florence Welch, another powerful feminine force made her Bonnaroo debut with ease and grace. It was a among the most crowded sets I attended. I managed to move up a tad, but for the majority of the audience she was a distant flickering flame. This didn’t detract from the show. It wasn’t about seeing her, because you could hear he powerful voice echo well beyond the perimeter of the tent. To say that the audience was excited and engaged is an understatement. Each person knew every word to every song, save for her new material, and clapped along with childish enthusiasm. She humbly thanked the audience for our support before disappearing off stage.

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It’s a diary: TVD at Bonnaroo 2011, Part I

I woke up Thursday morning in a cheap motel off interstate 81, about four hours from Manchester, Tennessee. I figured I would make it to my first Bonnaroo between 2 and 3 pm.

POP! I heard what I hoped was a flat tire. I pulled off the highway and into a gas station with smoke billowing from the hood of my car. Upon lifting the hood of my car, I could see a massive oil leak. A kind man pulled up behind me to see if I was okay. I was stranded in the middle of nowhere, I’d been better. This man, Frank Bologna (his God-given name) gave me a ride to a local mechanic. From there I was able to get my car towed back and checked out. Before leaving, Frank gave me his information and told me his wife had given him the okay if I needed a place to sleep that night.

Gary, my mechanic, informed me that it wasn’t just an oil leak, it was a huge hole in my engine block. That was the “pop” I heard. It was going to cost more than my car was worth to replace and take at least a week. But that was irrelevant, I had to get to Manchester. Determined to get there, I made some frantic calls and hopeless Tweets in the off chance that someone would be able to give me a lift. But I had more stuff than usual, I mean, it wasn’t just my camping equipment, it was all the other car stuff, too.

After calling about five car rental places, I was finally able to make a reservation. I just had to get there. Frank. I called Frank, and thankfully retirees have time to spare taking strange girls to Knoxville where I was able to pick up a tiny Chevy to get on my way.

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TVD Live: Javelin, Big Freedia, 5/24 at DC9

Tuesday night DC9 felt different. The people there were different. I’ve seen The XX there, The French Kicks, various local bands among others, but most of those are of the “indie” rock variety (though is anything “indie” anymore?) There was an obvious divide in those that filled the room, those who were there for the Javelin duo, and those there for The Queen Diva her(him)self, Big Freedia.

With Tom on the keys and warbling into a muffled mike and George destroying his drum pad, these two were there to be heard. Their love for what they do was obvious and sincere, there wasn’t any snarky banter, just two dudes there trying to get us to shake our asses. They borrow from all genres, and incorporate as much as possible, my favorite being the electrified kazoo.

Their energy began and ended with the same enthusiasm. As they took us from their early synth-heavy noise pop, to their western inspired recent release and a few unreleased songs as well, all infused with bits of R & B. It’s music made for the most hyper of the ADD kids, or maybe just the kids popping Adderall, just because they can. We all hopped on at ‘C-Town’ and didn’t notice the songs change, they didn’t stop, it all became one cluster of dance singles, though ‘Radio’ and ‘Soda Popinski’ were among the crowd’s favorites.

I couldn’t keep track and they didn’t have a set list, so I asked Tom to write down what he could remember, they played a whopping thirteen songs in under an hour. To hear Javelin is to dance to Javelin, though reluctant DC can be, they eventually got on board and were ready to do it some more when Big Freedia took the stage.

Big Freedia is the embodiment of Sissy Bounce. Bounce is a sub-genre of Hip Hop based largely in New Orleans, it’s characterized by the high energy and fast tempo, but also the very specific type of dancing. It’s largely participatory, and those participating are quite literally bouncing all the way to the floor. Sissy Bounce is a sub-genre of bounce performed by transvestites, Big Freedia’s real name is Freddie Ross.

Bouncing is similar to Daggering, both largely simulate sex, but where Daggering is predominantly straight men taking a dominant role and women playing submissive, Bounce disregards all of that. And Sissy Bounce goes a step further, there are no gender roles, there’s no segregation, and there certainly wasn’t Tuesday night. What could certainly be seen as vulgar out of context was irrelevant because, gay, straight, black and white, the crowd was as diverse as they come and everyone was there to shake their ass, together.

Big Freedia walked out onto the stage announcing, “It’s a Tuesday, but we’re gonna make it into a Saturday night,” and they did. Accompanying her on stage was her dancer Altercation and DJ Rusty Lazer. The stage quickly filled with more from the audience, all ready to bounce. She opened with the call and response, ‘Gin in My System.’ The crowd was into it.

For the popular ‘Azz Everywhere’ she had four volunteers, two girls and two boys, compete for a free copy of the latest album. The first couple were dismissed with boos, while the second was egged on and declared the obvious winners.The set closed with a dedication to the late Magnolia Shorty, to which the crowd uproariously applauded, and danced in her memory. “I’m Big Freedia, Queen Diva!”

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TVD Live: Peter Bjorn and John, 4/30 at the 9:30 Club

The first time you heard “Young Folks” and then listened to the lyrics and then went home and listened to it over and over because that song to you was cathartic and fit whatever your present romantic situation was. That is the energy that Peter, Bjorn and John continue to share. And that’s the reason why the crowd was packed with new and old fans alike this past Saturday night.

To say that their set was well received would be a gross understatement. Whether it was their first time or fifth time, each person in the audience was enchanted with anticipation for what they were about to see.

They opened with “May be Macabre” off their latest album Gimme Some. (I fully anticipate “macabre” to fall into common use by this summer.) It was a beautiful introduction the high energy set. Followed by “It Don’t Move Me” off 2009’s Living Thing, the crowd began moving.

I watched from the balcony, but looking down, the dancing on the main floor was constant. Whether they were bobbing their heads, or jumping up and down, fans were fully participating in the energy emanating from the stage. The set was heavy on Gimme Some’s melancholy dance numbers, including “Second Chance,” “Little Deeper,” and closer “I Know You Don’t Love Me.” The ten song set left everyone wanting more.

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