Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Smashing Pumpkins, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and AFI
at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 8/17

Smashing Pumpkins singer, Billy Corgan fell ill right before the band’s performance at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday night. Luckily for those in attendance world-famous vampire, Nosferatu was on site to fill in for the ailing singer. If not for his long fingers, sharp teeth, and creamy pale skin, the vampire would’ve been an odd stand-in for Corgan, but things seemed to work out just fine as the crowd were none the wiser to have the doppelgänger center stage.

Buffoonery aside, it was 9:25 when the Smashing Pumpkins took the pavilion stage in the woodlands of Columbia, Maryland. Billy Corgan—the real Billy Corgan—and his re-united Pumpkins, (James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin) must have been eager to play because I can’t recall any artist at the pavilion appearing on stage even one minute early for their set.

Prior to the Pumpkins taking their places on stage, the atmosphere had been set with dramatic stage props put in place; three striking Matryoshka dolls that stretched to the upper ceiling lights of the pavilion.

Reunited with guitar player extraordinaire Iha and drummer Chamberlin for this tour, the band is almost completely reformed. The only missing element is D’arcy Wretzky. the founding bass player, whose relationship with Corgan has been one of a “he-said, she-said” for as long as I can recall.

Opening their set with “Today” from 1993’s Siamese Dream, The Smashing Pumpkins played roughly a 90-minute set that spanned their catalog and of course showcased their many hits—”Solara” and “Zero,” with a sullen version of “Disarm” following. Later the classics “Ava Adore,” “1979,” “Tonight, Tonight” and “Cherub Rock.”

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TVD Live Shots:
Bryan Ferry and
Femme Schmidt at
the Anthem, 8/13

Bryan Ferry’s North American Tour landed at DC’s premier waterfront venue, The Anthem last week for what turned out to be a stunning performance from the prolific songwriter behind Roxy Music. 

After being inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame with his much adored band in December of 2018, it’s no wonder that Bryan Ferry is on tour. This run of shows is being billed as Ferry “performing songs from Avalon, his solo work, and Roxy Music” and the tour definitely leans heavily on Ferry’s Roxy days, except for his unique covers of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” (from Ferry’s 2007 release Dylanesque) and “Let’s Stick Together,” from 1976’s release of the same name, as the final song of the evening.

Ferry’s setlist did include the mega-hits: “The Space Between,” “Don’t Stop the Dance,” “Love is the Drug,” “More Than This,” and of course, “Avalon.” His performance was stellar—as to be expected—but for this show his band sounded particularly good. In fact, the best I’ve ever heard them. The bass was crisp and the melodies shined the way they do on the recordings. The sound engineer deserves kudos for balancing volume and tone and The Anthem’s acoustics shined brightly as well.

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TVD Live Shots: Aerosmith at MGM National Harbor, 8/10

TOP TWO IMAGES: ZACK WHITFORDAerosmith, the bad boys from Boston, brought their “Deuces are Wild” Las Vegas residency show to the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland for three dates which concluded this past Tuesday.

Named after the track originally recorded for their 1989 album Pump, and not released until 1994 for The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience, the “Deuces” run includes 35 shows spread out among the MGM National Harbor in Maryland, the Borgata in Atlantic City, the MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, and finally the Park Theater in Las Vegas beginning in late September.

It’s hard to pigeonhole a band like Aerosmith. Not only has the band been a major player in the rock music scene from their inception in 1970, they practically define the genre for those of us who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. The band up and ran with the baton passed from mega-rock predecessors like Led Zeppelin, the New York Dolls, and the Rolling Stones, and they’ve done a hell of a job reaching new audiences and a new crop of fans. Their music has definitely inspired generations, and icon status fits the band quite well.

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TVD Live Shots: Reignwolf and
JJ Wilde at U Street Music Hall, 8/10

On Saturday, August 10, Reignwolf, with support from JJ Wilde, brought their headlining tour to an intimate crowd at Washington DC’s U Street Music Hall in support of the band’s new album Hear Me Out. Stirring up fans with their charisma and blistering fuzzy blues rock, they tore through the roughly hour-long set of new songs and old favorites, leaving fans and themselves worn out and sweaty.

Reignwolf (songwriter/singer/guitarist Jordan Cook, bassist S.J. Kardash, and drummer Joseph Braley) released Hear Me Out, the band’s first LP, in March. Prior to this, Reignwolf had only released a handful of singles over seven years, developing an enthusiastic following while maintaining an air of mystery among fans.

This mysterious air was underscored in the darkened, underground room at U Street Music Hall. The band played shrouded in smoke and back-lit by bright white lights, allowing those in attendance to see Cook and Karsdash in silhouette, and Braley not at all. No matter, as songs like the ferocious “Wanna Don’t Wanna” and Gary Clark Jr-ish “Black and Red” were loud and energetic as the blazing fires of Hell. During those moments when Cook emerged from the smoke and could be seen, he revealed a look that calls to mind 1970s Bruce Springsteen or even a black leather-clad Cat Stevens, while the band’s sound could be compared to Jack White, the aforementioned Gary Clark Jr, or the barely contained insanity of Black Pistol Fire.

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TVD Live Shots:
The DC Record Fair at
the Eaton DC, 6/30

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | After a decade in regular rotation, the enthusiasm for the DC Record Fair appears to not be waning one bit as its Summer 2019 edition exhibited. At a brand new location, the Eaton Workshop in downtown Washington, DC, a line formed early on Sunday on June 30 and kept apace all day long. Perhaps it was the free entry? Who knows.

What we do know is that TVD’s ace photographer Richie Downs spent some time documenting the fair for us before we went on our annual summer (sanity) break. Click through for his coverage.

And watch this space for an announcement of perhaps a Autumn event as there’s plenty spinning around the fair at the moment.

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The DC Record Fair Summer 2019 Edition comes to the Eaton
DC, 6/30

Back in its 10th year is Washington, DC’s twice yearly record rummage, The DC Record Fair which comes to Washington’s vinyl and community centric Eaton Hotel on Sunday, June 30, 2019. 

As with each event, we’ll have 40+ vinyl vendors from up and down the East Coast, the special DJ line up, the bar, food—and hey, keep your wallet in your pocket for this one as the event is free of charge for the entire day.

Our friends at the Fillmore Silver Spring put together the above feature a little while back that provides a handy overview of the event for the uninitiated.

The DC Record Fair Summer 2019 DJs:
11AM – 12PM – Anna Connolly
12PM – 1PM – Crown Vic’s Weird World with Area Woman
1PM – 2PM- Marcelo Bentine (BaTiDa! DC)
2PM – 3PM – D-Skillz
3PM – 4PM – Kenny Megan
4PM – 5PM – Les the DJ

Mark your calendars! 
THE DC RECORD FAIR

Sunday, June 30, 2019 at the Eaton DC, 1201 K Street, NW DC
11:00AM–5:00PM—and free all day!

RSVP and follow via the Facebook invite!

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TVD Live: The Minus 5 and Dot Dash at the Rock and Roll Hotel, 6/25

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The recovery from a stroke in 2017 remains a source of celebration surrounding rocker Scott McCaughey. He’s surrounded by musicians who have been friends of his for years, is writing slightly more reflective songs following his brush with mortality, and still rocking out with a verve that may surprise even him. Fronting the latest version of The Minus 5 at the Rock & Roll Hotel in Washington, he flitted between his band’s latest collection, Stroke Manor, some sturdy classics from the band’s past, and some choice covers.

Only last month he and three others from the current band were in town as part of another group, Corin Tucker’s pointedly political Filthy Friends. And here again, like a personal support committee, were guitarists Peter Buck and Kurt Bloch and terrific drummer Linda Pitmon. To them were added Joe Adragna on vocals (and a fourth guitar, albeit acoustic) and Mike Mills on bass. To back McCaughey’s sometimes thin vocals, everybody but the hangdog Buck chipped in with harmonies. Having both Buck and Mills—fully half of R.E.M.—on a small stage was a throwback to the early days of their famous Athens band (McCaughey was supplemental musician on a lot of their final tours so the pedigree went even stronger).

Still, who expected them to ring out a version of “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” with Mills on lead vocals, to start the encores, a thrilling little rock moment in a club. It was one of a few very well-chosen covers of the night. They had been pairing the doleful “Beatles Forever” with that band’s “Nowhere Man,” which sounds pretty good live with Buck picking the 12-string Rickenbacker. But McCaughey veered from his planned set by adding the Kinks’ “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?” which took a minute for everyone to recall the chord changes.

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TVD Live Shots: Priests and Mock Identity at the 9:30 Club, 6/15

Touring to support their new studio album The Seduction of Kansas, Priests hit the 9:30 Club stage on Saturday night for a late, late show that was billed as a record release event. Along for the ride were the gritty fellow DC natives, Mock Identity.

Priests’ new record was released in April of this year on their own label, Sister Polygon Records. The album marks the band’s second full length effort following 2017’s Nothing Feels Natural. The new record has made mostly positive waves among music critics and judging by the support they have established here in DC, there’s nothing standing in the way of this band’s success.

Priests have been on the road now for the past three months playing shows scattered throughout the northeastern US and northern Europe, and the 9:30 Club stop was less of a homecoming than a kick-off to part two of their US tour. The band will now travel out west to California by way of the south.

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TVD Live Shots: Glen Hansard and Junior Brother at the Lincoln Theatre, 6/3

Touring to promote his latest release This Wild Willing, Glen Hansard brought his talents and his live show to the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC for an unforgettable performance this past Monday evening.

The performance marked Hansard’s last US stop on the current leg of his tour before European dates start on June 9th in Amsterdam. Hansard will play a few more US shows this year with stops in Chicago and a few California dates in September.

His album, This Wild Willing was released in April of 2019 to critical acclaim. This record marks Hansard’s forth solo effort and his third overall release in less than four years, including work with his more rockish project, The FramesThis Wild Willing is a departure from his most recent work and is perhaps Hansards most ambitious project to date.

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TVD Live: Filthy Friends and Dressy Bessy at U Street Music Hall, 5/20

FILTHY FRIENDS PHOTOS: JOHN CLARK | Women rule the world, or at least they did at DC’s U Street Music Hall in a rockin’ Monday night show by Filthy Friends with Dressy Bessy.

The oddly named Friends are a kind of supergroup led by Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney that also features Peter Buck of R.E.M., Scott McCaughey and Kurt Bloch of Young Fresh Fellows, and the ace drummer Linda Pitmon who worked with Buck and McCaughey in the Baseball Project.

Great to see such adept musicians in such close confines. And as solid as the musicians’ credits are, it was clear that it was Tucker’s band, as she tore through songs that seemed especially changed and pointed as performed a couple of miles from the White House. The proximity seemed to add extra punch in her delivery, wringing emotion in the opening accusations of “November Man” sang with the spite of a “Masters of War,” about a leader for whom “we don’t have no love.”

Then there’s the inhumanity of child separation at the border in “Angels” (“What monster holds their fate tonight?”) and the sheer surreal state of contemporary American life in “Only Lovers are Broken” (“My head spins and the world turns madly are we almost on the brink?”).

Much of the band’s new Kill Rock Stars album Emerald Valley has to do with environmental warnings, from the title song to “Pipeline” and “The Elliott.” about the desecration of forests. But Tucker has a way to make the personal political too from the urban story of “One Flew East” to the more tender lines of “Hey Lacey,” which began the three song encore backed by just two guitars.

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TVD Live Shots: DC101’s Kerfuffle with Greta
Van Fleet, Young the Giant, Tom Morello, The Revivalists, Shaed, and The Blue Stones, 5/19

DC101’s one day music festival, Kerfuffle returned to the woodlands at Merriweather Post Pavilion for its annual romp amongst the trees last Sunday. This year’s lineup featured a diverse mix of sounds ranging from electro-pop to straight ahead rock and roll.

At the top of the heap were the evening’s headliners, Greta Van Fleet. The four piece group from Frankenmuth, Michigan really added something special to the lineup. The outfit is made up of brother’s Josh, Jake, and Sam Kiszka along with drummer Danny Wagner. On top of being skillful musicians, the fellas couldn’t be more down to earth. We had the pleasure of taking them record shopping at DC’s Som Records in the midst of their US tour last year, and they couldn’t have been more humble despite their large scale success.

Although the band has been criticized for their retro sound, the truth is that Greta Van Fleet is making music their own way, garnering a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album in 2019 for From the Fires and an iHeartRadio Music Award for “Safari Song” in the same year. They also grabbed Loudwire’s ”Best New Artist” award in 2017 and rock aficionado, Eddie Trunk of SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation” on the Volume channel has said “they’re an important band and they’re keeping rock alive!”

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TVD Live: Ex Hex and The Messthetics at the 9:30 Club, 5/10

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNSMixed amid the sheer exhilaration of an Ex Hex gig at the 9:30 Club is the added pride of a hometown date. The DC rockers led by Mary Timony, once of Helium, Wild Flag, and Autoclave, quite rightfully nearly sold out the place, but I’m wondering why the trio isn’t selling out everywhere they go.

The songs are catchy, the guitars rock out, the female harmonies alternately bracing and empowering. Female-led bands aren’t the novelty they once were, thankfully, and the trio has moved into trying to recreate the crunching, double-guitar attack of arena rock. But they’re better than that, with catchier songs that are smarter and more fun. One quietly has to be happy they aren’t bigger than they are, or they’d be in some cavernous theater or arena instead of a cozier rock club.

Closing out a six-week US tour to boost their newest release on Merge, It’s Real, the band seemed as fresh as if starting it, a big neon logo behind them underscoring their determination to glow. Topping a bill that also boasted the best of DC rock, particularly The Messthetics, the instrumental power trio of guitar whiz Anthony Pirog with the Fugazi rhythm section of Brendan Canty on drums and Joe Lally on bass, the night seemed to make a case of the health of rock in the Nation’s Capital.

Ex Hex is almost sunny compared to their darker sound, but there’s every indication that Timony wants to stretch things out on guitar as well, even if her songs seem best suited to be short and exuberantly punchy as anything from the Ramones. She means to get more textures and aggressive sharpness with every release, though, with a couple of the tracks on It’s Real clocking in at over five minutes.

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TVD Live Shots: Judas Priest and Uriah Heep at The Anthem, 5/12

On tour to support their 18th studio album, Firepower, Judas Priest hit the stage hard at The Anthem in DC last Sunday night. Delivering a heavy metal assault upon the District’s audience, the UK metal masters proved once again that they are still reigning kings of the genre they created.

Rob Halford took the stage decked out in a long purple cloak, a purple jacket and top hat, with a blinged out skull adorned staff and his commanding persona for the set opener “Necromancer.” “Heading Out to the Highway” and “Chains” followed as they blazed through their set. Some highlights of the night were classics, “Killing Machine” and “Victim of Changes,” but the peak arrived with the band’s “Hell Bent for Leather” as Halford rode his motorcycle out on stage to thunderous cheers from the audience. Judas Priest finished their set with true classics “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight.”

Metal veterans, Uriah Heep served as the night’s openers and and set the tone quite ably. After 50 years in the music business, the road warriors’ musicianship is unmatched and their stage presence is a force all its own. Lead singer, Bernie Shaw lead their attack as they served the gathering crowd a big dose of—in your face metal.

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TVD Live: Maren Morris at The Anthem, 5/2

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNSMaren Morris paused a couple of times in her splashy headlining show at The Anthem in DC to take it all in.

It was her largest sellout to date, with 6,000 people, and just about everybody in the young, largely female crowd knew every lyric of her new album, which she only released a couple of months ago.

Its messages of empowerment, love, and occasional loss strike a chord, even if its genre transcends its Nashville roots. There was nary a note in the 100 minute show you’d identify with country music. Even when she picked up an acoustic guitar to sing “A Song to Everything,” its references were to Springsteen, Katy Perry, and Coldplay.

Morris may have come up writing songs recorded by Tim McGraw, but she’s no more country than Taylor Swift these days. In fact, it’s her voice on last year’s ubiquitous dance record, “The Middle,” with which she closed her big show, that brought her a large new audience.

Her main pop influence though, judging from how often it surfaced in the show, is Beyonce, particularly her uplifting “Halo,” which was not only covered at the tail end of “Second Wind,” but seemed to have incorporated into the title song to her new album, Girl, which kicked off the show.

From atop a staircase lined with lights, Morris arose from a hydraulic lift in a glittery cape, boots and hotpants. With a five man band seeming to augment unseen tapes, her voice is precise and soaring, so much so that it’s surprising that she was set on becoming only a songwriter before someone talked her into doing her own songs.

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TVD Live: Jakob Dylan, Cat Power, and Jade Castrinos at the Lincoln Theatre, 4/27

Jakob Dylan grew up amid his own small-town musical crossroads—Woodstock—but the subject of his new documentary is the one that flourished on the other side of the country in Los Angeles’ bohemian Laurel Canyon in the late 1960s. An added treat to his bringing the film to festivals ahead of its release is accompanying it with a live performance much like the one captured in Echo in the Canyon—accompanied by Cat Power and Jade Castrinos.

Their eight-song set at the Lincoln Theater Saturday, kicking off the Washington DC International Film Festival, included some of the highlights from the film, which had its origins with a 2015 all-star concert saluting the era that also included Beck and Regina Spektor. But it also veered into areas the film did not because of time.

A documentary on Laurel Canyon could focus on the singer songwriter heights of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles and the eventual formation of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Or it could look at the epicenter of experimentalism that was Frank Zappa’s home base. Or that Jim Morrison wrote “Love Street” for the Doors about the vicinity.

Instead, the directorial debut of Andrew Slater, the former president of Capitol Records, with Dylan as the interviewer, focuses intently on a few bands—the Byrds in particular, but also Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, and the Beach Boys, whose Brian Wilson lived there while writing Pet Sounds. Although CS&N all are on camera, the narrative never reaches the point where they form their trio.

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