Author Archives: Kristin Horgen

TVD Live Shots: Marc Anthony at Eagle Bank Arena, 9/30

Before Marc Anthony took the stage on Friday, his band opened with “El Cantante,” made popular by the legendary Hector Lavoe. I don’t know if this is typical, but it happened to be the 70th anniversary of Lavoe’s birth. Coincidence?

This was not your jeans and t-shirt crowd either. People were decked out—most memorably the men in pressed shirts, nice jeans, boots—and the women in a variety of tight-fitting clothes and great shoes. Once the show started, most of the crowd was out of their seats, moving to the music, some couples dancing in the aisles. Some fans waved homemade signs and Puerto Rican flags.

Performing hit after hit, Anthony commanded the stage with an enigmatic presence that seemed too big for his small frame. Every song was a powerful display of both his voice and emotional expression. The only moment during the show that felt incomplete was during “Vivir Lo Nuestro.” Originally recorded as a duet with La India, Anthony continues to perform it live as a sort of hybrid solo, asking the women in the audience to sing the female part. When you hear La India in your head, but you hear a chorus of disparate voices instead, it’s a letdown. Why doesn’t he perform it with his female backup singer?

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TVD Live Shots: Public Enemy at the Dell Music Center, 8/14

Having been to a few live hip hop shows, I don’t have much desire to see more. There’s a DJ not doing much, one or two rappers, and maybe a hype man. So even if the music sounds good, the shows are usually really boring. Public Enemy defies these norms. Their live show is electric, politically-charged, and visually very entertaining.

There’s so much happening onstage that it’s hard to know where to look. The S1Ws moving in unison, posing militaristically and periodically doing push-ups, DJ Lord spinning from on high, live guitar, bass, and drums, Professor Griff prowling the stage with his customary stern glare, Flavor Flav being goofy and wild cementing his reputation as the greatest hype man ever, and Chuck D bouncing around, swinging his mic like a bat, all the while commanding the stage like the hip hop preacher the world still greatly needs. At one point he reminded the crowd that Pennsylvania is spending more money on prisons than education. Angry boos followed.

For all the gravity of the politically charged show, Flav closed the show with a message of love. He encouraged the crowd to raise their hands and first make the sign of peace and then make a fist. “This stands for peace and togetherness. Make a fist like this, this stands for power. With peace and togetherness, we will all have so much power. If we all stuck together and built a wall of unity, it would be so strong, no others could drop in and tear down what we got.”

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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: Jane’s Addiction, Living Colour, and Dinosaur Jr. at the Fillmore, 7/20

I was excited to attend and photograph this show for a few reasons. First, it meant a road trip from DC to Philly. I love road trips. Second, I’d enjoy a cheese steak. And third, I’d get some quality photo time mere feet away from Dave Navarro, a talented and beautiful man.

Everything was going according to plan until I arrived at the venue. The tour management made some last-minute changes. The security barrier near the stage was removed, so there would be no up-close photography, which meant no seducing Dave from the photo pit. Alas. On top of that, photography was limited to the sound board, which was not elevated. The other photographers left. They were either too short to even attempt to shoot over people’s heads from the back or they didn’t have a big lens. I doubled down, determined to make it work.

Living Colour opened and they sounded great. They were very clearly enjoying themselves and in turn, the crowd was engaged and feeling it. I had to stop shooting after the third song and instead of watching the rest of their set, I put on my hustling shoes and tried to work with various members of the Fillmore event crew to finagle a better spot to shoot. A fellow named Eric was particularly helpful, trying to find me at least a stool to stand on. No dice. I gave up and returned to see the last song, “Cult of Personality.” It sounded exactly the way I wanted it to. Tight musicianship, dynamite vocals.

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TVD Live Shots:
Hall & Oates at Jiffy
Lube Live, 5/26

Considering how much they tour, you’d think that this Hall & Oates fan would’ve seen them at least once by now. Nope. In a way I’m glad I waited because Jiffy Lube Live was a great venue for this show. Way bigger than Wolf Trap and the seating is tiered in such a way that there are no bad views. There is only bad parking. But I digress.

They opened with “Maneater,” and Mr. Causal rocked the saxophone. The crowd was on their feet singing along. “Out of Touch” followed, and a few songs into their set they slowed things down with a cover of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers, another very successful rock duo. As great as they sounded, and as much poppy, vibrant richness as they added to it, it was my least favorite moment of their set. I still see greasy thetan Tom Cruise in Top Gun when I hear it.

Fortunately they quickly turned things around with “Las Vegas Turnaround” and “She’s Gone.” Daryl Hall commanded the stage solo with “Wait For Me,” the second quiet moment of the night. It’s a great showcase for his voice. Could Axl Rose belt out that song? No.

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TVD Live Shots: Bloc Party, The Vaccines,
and Oscar at Echostage, 5/19

If Morrissey and Pulp had a millennial child, it would be Oscar—his songs are thoughtful, cheeky, and bright. The single-named “gangsta melancholic,” Oscar opened with a short and sweet set featuring “Daffodil Days,” “Beautiful Words,” and “Sometimes” off his debut album Cut and Paste. (I got to chat with him after his set. Turns out he’d seen Bloc Party when he was 16 at Brixton Academy. And now he’s opening for them.)

But first, The Vaccines! This is a band that I really wish I’d known better before seeing them live. Lead singer Justin Young exploded on stage, rocking the entire emotional spectrum in his face and body. It was an extremely engaging set and certainly helped to wake up a crowd wary of partying too hard on a Thursday night. My favorites were “Dream Lover,” “Post Break-Up Sex,” and “If You Wanna.”

Bloc Party eased into their set with the subdued and hypnotic “Only He Can Heal Me” off their latest album Hymns. Then they launched into “Hunting For Witches,” which set the crowd ablaze. This is the band’s first US tour since welcoming new members Justin Harris on bass and keyboards and Louise Bartle on drums.

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TVD Live Shots: Yeasayer at the 9:30 Club, 5/16

The first hint that the evening was going to be different was learning that we photographers were being allotted six songs to shoot instead of the standard three. Why? There was no official photo pit. At the 9:30 Club it’s not uncommon to have to scrap with the fans to get your shots. What is very uncommon is having the bands recognize that this can be a hindrance and try to make it up to you. Very unexpected and generous.

Yeasayer were off to a solid start, opening with the mid-tempo “Half Asleep” from their new album Amen & Goodbye. And then the wheels came off. There was some confusion on stage as to why they weren’t rolling into “Gerson’s Whistle” as expected.

Frontman Chris Keating fiddled with his laptop and accompanying sound gear, sparking a fan behind me to utter “I think they’re trying to tap into the Matrix.” Well, the Matrix was broken and Yeasayer handled it like total pros. Relaxed, affable, and more amused than annoyed, Keating gave the audience a choice, “Either we take a five-minute break to fix things or we wing it.” Unsurprisingly, the vote to wing it was unanimous.

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TVD Live Shots: NOFX
at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 4/30

Hours before playing the last US date of their Hepatitis Bathtub and Music Tour, NOFX signed copies of their new, best-selling book at Politics & Prose. The line to get in and see them snaked around the block. El Hefe, Smelly, and Melvin were in good spirits, despite the fact that many fans insisted on taking photos of them—the same photos all the other fans had taken—and were seriously holding up the line. Understandably, Fat Mike was somewhere between Not Amused and Go Fuck Yourself. Or maybe he was sick.

Must’ve been the former because by the time they took the stage at the Fillmore, he looked ready to rock, wearing a sexy above-the-knee leather skirt. Opening with “60%” and “Dinosaurs Will Die,” the energy on stage ramped up. Melvin launched into the air numerous times. The crowd ate it up and the pit refreshed itself for a raucous night.

As the hour-plus set progressed, Mike seemed to warm to the crowd, lovingly engaging with one audience member by hurtling an object at her and yelling “There’s a dollar, you fucking bitch. Shut up!” The set drew from the early days with “Green Corn” and “Linoleum” and the more recent with “72 Hookers,” with plenty of satisfying staples in the mix.

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TVD Live: Cypress Hill and Immortal Technique at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 10/29

REVIEW: CHRISTOPHER DANIELS | I found Cypress Hill about eight years ago on a hard drive my friend’s dad let me borrow. Among albums ranging from Alice in Chains to Tiesto was Cypress Hill’s Black Sunday. It had very raw production, reminiscent of guys rapping on the side of the road on a hot summer day in South Gate, California. They were the first group that pulled me into the world of hip hop, partially due to their Hispanic origin. Something I found very relatable.

Kray spared no time getting the crowd hyped. Most of their songs were short but fairly memorable. They led the crowd in several call-and-responses; one fondly remembered was “FUCK TRUMP,” which garnered quite a bit of participation. They flowed decently off each other, although it was hard to hear what they were saying over the music and their set was very short.

It was a while before Immortal Technique took the stage. DJ STATIC played a solid ten to fifteen minutes and then instead of Immortal Technique coming on immediately after, his hype men did a rather long set. Although it was clear that they were very seasoned rappers, I feel like they overstayed their welcome. They should’ve been billed as a separate act. I felt a tad aggravated, thinking “C’MON, GET TO IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE ALREADY!!”

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TVD Live Shots: Peaches at the 9:30 Club, 10/27

The Teaches of Peaches should be a sex ed class taught in middle school. The world is a better place with her humorous take on sexuality and the weird power of genitalia. Also, independence. Peaches DJ’ed the entire set herself, running the mixing boards while claiming the meagerly decorated stage as her pulpit. Her performance preached freedom, sexual liberation, and quite simply, not giving a fuck. It was refreshing and captivating.

Peaches performed her set with the help of two fierce dancers who were as committed to the visual spectacle as she was. They changed outfits so many times, it was hard to keep up. The sensuous red and pink vulva costumes were a highlight.

Peaches crowd surfed. She unfurled what looked like a 4-foot wide roll of giant bubble wrap and walked out into the crowd on it. She performed in nude pasties referencing her AA breasts in a fantastic rendition of “AA XXX.”

Toward the end of the show, when she and her dancers brought out bottles of champagne, those of us near the stage were looking forward to some kind of audience interaction. We got it. Peaches sprayed the champagne, poured it into people’s mouths, and this writer got a special treat—her hot female dancer seduced me into a body shot and a kiss. Hot, random, amazing. Very Peaches.

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TVD Live Shots: FFS at the Lincoln Theatre, 10/5

FFS, the collaboration of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, really does work. Led by singers Alex Kapranos and Russell Mael, the band of six clearly has tremendous fun playing together.

Russell was in fine form, his falsetto gloriously intact and his energy as bright and hoppy as ever. Alex, when not on guitar, seemed to relish the opportunity to move freely about the stage. He jumped, kneeled, posed, and danced. Their performance was effervescent and seamless.

The band performed their wonderful eponymous debut album in its entirety, along with a few Franz Ferdinand and Sparks hits. This was a real treat, to hear Sparks songs live with the sound of a full band. When Alex paused the show to wish Russell a happy birthday, there were hugs. You could feel the admiration and respect between these musicians.

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