Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Tav Falco and His Panther Burns at The Runaway, 9/21

Rock ’n’ roll is a sound and it is a style, and Tav Falco’s been straddling both since the late 1970s.

The latest version of Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, on a cross country tour, stopped at The Runaway in DC for a midweek show that was strangely mesmerizing and altogether rocking thanks largely to his straight-outta-Rome backing trio led by Mario Monterosso. At 77, Falco doesn’t look all that different than he did when Alex Chilton joined forces with him to form Panther Burns back in Memphis. Minus his pencil mustache, he’s maintained his black pompadour, and certainly his style.

With only a subtle croon, he does a lot with his moves, taking the stage with maracas—that forgotten engine of old Bo Diddley songs—before slowly putting on his Hofner guitar to add rhythm to the stinging lead that Monterosso had already nailed down (the length of time it took him to get the guitar over his head and adjusted was the only giveaway to his advancing age).

There’s a lot to be said about the guy’s taste. Panther Burns got its name after a legendary cat set afire on a Southern plantation, and the band has similarly mined the swampy and mysterious sounds of the American South for its inspiration.

There was so much ground to cover, Falco played exactly nothing from his latest release, the 2021 EP “Club Car Zodiac” on ORG Music. Instead he dived into his story about a New Orleans voodoo queen and his version of the classic bolero “Sway” before the somewhat surprising, straight ahead version of the Honeycombs’ 1964 chart topper “Have I the Right?” with a 1-2-3-4 countdown right from the Ramones. Then, as if another inspired turn of a jukebox, over to the 1950s country standard “He’ll Have to Go,” before his own throbbing tune of existential anguish, as he described it, “Born Too Late.”

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The DC Record Fair returns to the Eaton DC with a special Capital Audiofest on-site preview, 10/16

Back in its 13th year is DC’s twice yearly record dig, The DC Record Fair which comes to Washington’s vinyl and community-centric Eaton Hotel on Sunday, October 16, 2022. As with each event, we’ll have 35+ vinyl vendors from up and down the East Coast, the special DJ line up—and hey, keep your wallet in your pocket for this one as the event is free of charge for the entire day.

In addition, we’re pleased to welcome an advance on-site preview of November’s Capital Audiofest, Washington DC’s premier high-end audio festival. As such, expect thousands of records and hi-fi options for your enjoyment of them.

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.

Mark your calendars! 

Sunday, October 16, 2022 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 Shots: Meshuggah with Converge and Torche
at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 9/20

Swedish metal legends Meshuggah, after having to postpone original tour dates, finally landed at the Fillmore Silver Spring Tuesday night, assaulting the stoked audience with their brand of extreme metal. Joining them on their US tour are Converge and Torche.

Three bands on the bill means the night got started early. Torche (Steve Brooks, Rick Smith, Jonathan Nuñez, and Eric Hernandez) set the tone for the crowd with their heavy, grinding sound—everyone in the still-assembling crowd was banging their heads in unison. Torche sounded great; sadly, this is to be their last tour. Earlier this year, singer-guitarist Brooks announced he’d be leaving after touring as support for Meshuggah this year. Later, it was confirmed that the band would be calling it quits entirely. Torche’s last album was 2019’s Admission.

Sandwiched in between acts was Converge (Jacob Bannon, Kurt Ballou, Nate Newton, and Ben Koller). Formed in Massachusetts in 1990, Converge’s roots are in both hardcore punk and heavy metal, and they are considered one of the earliest and most influential metalcore bands. Vocalist Bannon paced the stage like an animal, barely pausing so we could get our shots, and swung the microphone cord around like a whip (I got knocked in the head a few times). The crowd responded with gusto and expressed thanks in the form of headbanging and crowd surfing.

Finally, Meshuggah. The anticipation in the crowd was palpable and rightfully so. Formed in 1987, Meshuggah is known for their innovative style and the band has been identified as among the most important bands in metal. They’ve even inspired a metal sub genre—djent—characterized by its complex rhythm patterns.

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TVD Live Shots: Lake Street Dive with Allen Stone at the Anthem, 9/9

Lake Street Dive sold out yet another venue when the band stopped by Washington, DC’s Anthem last Friday night, offering up a night of jazz and soul-inspired music to the happy and enthusiastic crowd.

Supporting Lake Street Dive on this tour is Washington state native Allen Stone. It’s not the first time Stone has treated Washington, DC to his old school funk and soul sounds; he’s headlined in town before, having most recently played the Lincoln Theatre last December and the 9:30 Club just before the pandemic shut everything down.

So the crowd was already happy to see him and eager to hear his gorgeous voice, often compared to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. This was my first time seeing Stone; the voice stopped me dead in my tracks. Stone’s latest album, released in November 2021, is APART, featuring acoustic versions of fan favorites spanning his catalog. Friday night, Stone filled The Anthem with his sweet melodies and even sang his thanks to everyone present, from the crowd, to the bartenders, and even the venue’s custodians.

The Brooklyn-based, multi-genre band (Rachael Price, Bridget Kearney, Mike Calbrese, Akie Bermiss, and James Cornelison) packed much into their set—plenty of the setlist came from their 2021 release Obviously (“Hypotheticals,” “Hush Money,” and “Same Old News,” among others).  In addition, the set was sprinkled with cover tunes—the Jackson 5’s “Want You Back” made an appearance, as did Carole King’s “So Far Away,” and Bonnie Raitt’s “Nick of Time.”

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TVD Live Shots:
At The Gates, Municipal Waste, and Enforced at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 8/29

The unofficial last week of summer kicked off with a treat for metal fans at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland. Swedish death metal legends At The Gates performed their 1995 album, Slaughter of the Soul, in its entirety and brought along Municipal Waste and Enforced for the ride.

Virginia-based Enforced took the stage at 8PM, assaulting the still assembling crowd with its thrash metal. Formed in Richmond in 2017, Enforced (Knox Colby, Will Wagstaff, Zack Monahan, Ethan Gensurowsky, and Alex Bishop) came together from the ashes of other hardcore and punk bands. Their latest album is Kill Grid, released last year, said to be a “nine-song cluster-bomb of thrashing death on apathetic times.” Vocalist Knox Colby marched back and forth across the stage like a beast, an animal roaring at the crowd. I can honestly say this was one of the most intense sets I’ve seen in recent years.

Virginia was represented yet again with Municipal Waste, who treated the Fillmore to a whopping nineteen song setlist, crammed into 45 minutes. The thrash outfit (Tony Foresta, Ryan Waste, Philip Hall, Dave Witte, and Nick Poulos), which formed in Richmond back in 2000, traffics in aggressive yet fun material. Labeled “party thrash” by the media, the band includes songs like “Beer Pressure” and “The Art of Partying” in their setlist, along with new tunes from their latest album, Electrified Brain, such as “Demoralizer” and “Electric Brain.”

The Monday night, first-day-of-school crowd had to be nudged a bit by vocalist Foresta to get the circle pit and crowd surfing going, but they got up to speed in short order. If you’re unfamiliar with Municipal Waste, it might be easy to write off their music based solely on the party hardy subject matter of their songs. That would be a mistake. Underneath that partying is heavy, hard driving, ass kicking musicianship. While Municipal Waste counts bands like Anthrax and Slayer as influences, I also picked up a heavy dose of Judas Priest in their sound; if you know me at all you know this is high praise on my part. Municipal Waste picked up a new fan in me Monday night; I’m sorry I forgot to buy a shirt!

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TVD Live: The Decemberists with
Jake Xerxes Fussell
at Wolf Trap, 8/24

The Decemberists, the charming chamber folk-rock band from out of Portlandia, became famous for live performances as elaborate and detailed as their ornate songs, staging obscure battles or sea scenes with sudden appearances by man-eating whales into their shows.

There was none of that Wednesday as the band took the stage at Wolf Trap in Virginia, two years after they were originally supposed to play there, during the time when everything disappeared. The title of the current excursion, “Arise from the Bunkers! 2022” was just about the most florid part of the tour. It was enough to be present, at long last, alive and performing before thousands of fans in the Virginia woods, even as they have given up for now the costumed accessories or even the notion of promoting any particular release — I’ll Be Your Girl, their eighth full length album, came out a full four years ago now.

But certainly the audience had no complaints about their straightforward approach to their solid, 17-song, 105 minute show. The band has been sprinkling its sets this summer with selections from throughout its career (though sadly, nothing from 2015’s What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World). “Hope you like the old ones,” said frontman Colin Meloy, as keyboardist Jenny Conlee strapped on her accordion and Chris Funk sat down to the pedal steel guitar for “Shiny,” the oldest song from their repertoire, from an an album that was mostly demos before they had a full recording contract. They followed it, though, with a new song, about meeting someone at a burial ground.

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TVD Live Shots: Duran Duran with Nile Rodgers & Chic at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 8/23

It’s been a busy year for Duran Duran. Last October, the legendary band (Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor) from Birmingham, England released their 15th album, Future Past, one that they say is a nod to their past while embracing their future. It makes sense. Duran Duran have always had an eye to the horizon; they were famously among the first to embrace the music video.  That willingness to look ahead has contributed to their longevity as a band, but mostly they just make great music that stands the test of time.

But I digress. Back in June, the band performed at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration outside Buckingham Palace, celebrating the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Last month, Duran Duran kicked off the 2022 Commonwealth Games with a headline performance in Birmingham. To top it all off, Duran Duran—one of my all-time favorite bands and my first true musical love—were announced as one of 2022’s inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  That honor will be formally bestowed on them November 5th in Los Angeles.

Amidst all of that, the band found time for a tour to promote the newest album; the Future Past tour made a stop at Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion Tuesday night. Duran Duran brought down the house with their mix of old and new. I expected nothing less.

As in the past, Nile Rodgers & Chic joined the tour as support. What a pleasure and a privilege it is to see Rodgers perform. The man’s career has been simply mind boggling—the record producer, composer and co-founder of Chic has contributed to records that have sold over 500 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide. He co-produced Duran Duran’s 1986 album Notorious, and remixed “The Reflex,” their biggest-selling single. Grammys? He’s got three of them. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? He was inducted in 2017. If you’ve ever liked a great pop/ funk/ disco/ soul song that was made at any point since the ’70s, chances are Nile Rodgers had a hand in the creation of it—the man’s abilities are just jaw dropping.

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TVD Live: Blondie
with The Damned at
the Anthem, 8/21

The crowd lined up outside the Anthem to see Blondie on a Sunday night in DC is about what you’d expect, which is to say eclectic. Some are there for the opening act, The Damned—for instance, the thoroughly bald but Viking-bearded man wearing his sunglasses inside, or my friend Marcus, a less conspicuous veteran of the punk scene.

The Damned themselves have aged with unexpected grace, despite a few tired jokes about not remembering the Sixties even if you were there. Dave Vanian’s vampiric melodrama and the mad scientist antics of Monty Oxymoron make it strongly reminiscent of The Rocky Horror Picture Show—as camp as it is macabre. Vanian’s voice isn’t what it was, but his performance is thoroughly committed and the set so thoroughly entertaining that it’s impossible to care if “Eloise” is missing a few fermatas.

Except for a nondescript white man memorable only because shitfaced and the woman in the ten-gallon hat who appeared to be his date, a good time was had by all. When the Damned left the stage, a slight shift in audience composition sent the Vikings back to the bar and brought GenX girls’ nights out and Blondie die-hards in old tour T-shirts to the front.

The third most populous group was young women somewhere between teenage and twenty-something, who’ve discovered in Debbie Harry a crush, a role model, or both. I’m one of the odd ones out—too old to get carded but too young for GenX, inkmonkey at large and garden variety vinyl dork, with more than the obvious Blondie records in my collection.

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TVD Live: Elvis Costello with Nick Lowe and Los Straightjackets at Wolf Trap, 8/18

It’s gratifying to have any Elvis Costello concert come around after two years of pandemic postponements. But the one that finally took the stage at Wolf Trap in Virginia last week had the added advantage of being opened by Nick Lowe, his longtime colleague, producer, and influencer.

It was a version of  “Surrender to the Rhythm” originated by Lowe’s old band Brinsley Schwarz that was playing as Costello appeared on stage. Costello’s version came on his latest recording, marking 50 years since he and a friend recording under the name Rusty tried to release a record of such covers they did at the time.

Costello told a story about approaching Lowe back then as fans and hopefuls and being shooed off. Eventually Lowe would produce six Costello albums, play bass on a dozen of his songs, and otherwise cross paths through the years.

It was Lowe’s ringing “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding?” that was the climax of the rewarding show with the two trading its memorable, ever-timely verses. Lowe had come back on stage (in a third dashing outfit) to duet on “Indoor Fireworks,” a Costello song that Lowe had released a year before its author did on The King of America. Frankly their harmonies weren’t great, but it was almost touching to see the two together on stage making an effort.

Costello’s headlining set was a freewheeling one for the huge crowd (who looked to be averaging the singer’s age, which turns 68 this week). As such, they wanted to hear songs that ignited his aggressively creative career. They were rewarded with the frequent concert-starter “Accidents will Happen” (likely because of its irresistible opening line, “I just don’t know where to begin”). But also “Green Shirt” and, before long, “Mystery Dance.” In between, he’d fit in songs from this century that few seemed very familiar with, such as “Hetty O’Hara’s Confidential” and “Either Side of the Same Town.”

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TVD Live Shots:
Anthrax, Black Label Society, and Hatebreed
at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 8/18

Last Thursday night, I was in the pit of the Fillmore Silver Spring, focusing on photographing Hatebreed, when I was startled by a firm nudge to my ribs, inching me closer to the stage. It was a member of the Fillmore’s security staff making his way to a crowd surfer who was swiftly approaching the barrier. In a flash I had to recalibrate my actions in the photo pit to dodge security, the half dozen other photographers sharing the space, and fans coming at my head, all while getting my shots.

It was 6:50pm and the roof was already coming off the joint five minutes into the support act’s set. The tone was locked in for the rest of night as Anthrax and Black Label Society’s coheadlining tour made a stop in the Washington, DC area and were received with headbanging enthusiasm by thrash and heavy metal fans of all ages.

While the night got started early, the venue was already full when Hatebreed (Jamey Jasta, Wayne Lozinak, Frank Novinec, Chris Beattie, and Matt Byrne) took the stage for a loud and aggressively fun set. It was a fuss free, no-frills production but that didn’t matter—the Connecticut metalcore vets delivered. After I left the pit, I retreated to a far upper corner of the venue. From there I could watch the fans on the packed floor. Hatebreed had the crowd fist pumping and headbanging in sync. The setlist drew from across the band’s career; it speaks to the strength of a tour’s lineup that the support act has a career that spans 25 years.

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TVD Live Shots: The Budos Band with Rogê
at the 9:30 Club, 8/3

I love telling the story about how I discovered The Budos Band, because it was, for me, like finding a unicorn. A special event that only happened by chance. In 2011, I was in Milwaukee for a conference and stepped out one evening for a stroll. My feet led me to a park across from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. My instincts served me well; The Budos Band just happened to be there, playing a free show. Captured by the band’s funky, Afro-soul sounds, I fell hard and remain a Budos disciple to this day, attempting to convert the uninitiated any chance I get.

Over the last year, these lords from Staten Island (Jared Tankel, Thomas Brenneck, John Carbonella Jr., Mike Deller, Daniel Foder, Andrew Greene, Rob Lombardo, Brian Profilio, Dame Rodriguez) have played a few dates here and there; much to my frustration, I was unable to attend shows in Seattle and Chicago in the fall and spring. So I was thrilled when the summer tour was announced—the band’s longest in four years—and joined many others for a Budos party at the 9:30 Club Wednesday night.

The band crowded the stage which had been fully stocked with beer (beer that was generously shared with the audience), and launched into “Old Engine Oil,” from their 2019 album, simply titled V. It was a good thing the photo pit set up by the 9:30 Club was narrow that night, otherwise it would have been impossible not to use it as a personal dance floor.

The great thing about a Budos Band show is they could pick songs out of a hat and the setlist would still be great—their catalog is just that good. However, they were careful to choose tunes from across the band’s history, from 2005’s Up From the South, to 2020’s Long in the Tooth. As usual, I was happy to hear “Chicago Falcon” and “Black Venom,” two songs I can honestly say I listen to daily.

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TVD Live Shots: Eivør and Emily Jane White
at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 7/30

The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland had the privilege of hosting a stop on Faroese vocalist and musician Eivør’s very first North American tour Saturday, bringing a night of Nordic music to the Washington, DC area.

First, a little context for the unfamiliar. The Faroe Islands are a tiny archipelago located halfway between Norway and Iceland and is a part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Known for its isolation and subpolar climate, it’s from this environment that musician and vocalist Eivør Pálsdóttir, who performs professionally simply as Eivør, comes to us. Raised in the village of Syðrugøta (population <500), she performed on television for the first time at age 13 and has since dabbled in jazz, classical, folk, chamber pop, and electronic music, releasing her first album Eivør Pálsdóttir, in 2000.

In the last decade, Eivør has also contributed to the soundtrack of BBC’s The Last Kingdom, her voice has made an appearance in a video game (God of War), and she received the 2021 Nordic Council Music Prize. Eivør’s latest album is Segl (2020). Unlike most of her catalog, her latest release is mostly sung in English.

It was a seated show Saturday night, unusual for the Fillmore, but chairs were filled with fans who not only knew the music but could also sing along in Faroese. I arrived unfamiliar with Eivør’s work and was in the minority that night. There was a woman in full face makeup who never bothered to take her seat, she simply danced in the back of the room all night. Others shouted words of support and threw horns. Eivør seemed genuinely humbled by the support of the crowd, saying she only expected “maybe about 10 people” to show up.

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TVD Live Shots: Warpaint at Capital Turnaround, 7/22

I’ll confess to being unfamiliar with Warpaint prior to last Tuesday, when I had the pleasure of photographing the LA dream/ psychedelic pop quartet at Washington, DC’s Capital Turnaround. I’m more into rock and metal and usually prefer loud, shredding guitars to dreamy harmonies. So, while I headed into the venue not entirely sure what to expect, I headed home a new fan.

Warpaint faithful gathered early to get good seats in the general admission venue and to catch techno duo Belief. Belief is a collaboration between Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa and producer Bryan Charles Holon. For roughly 20 minutes they played their thumping techno music shrouded in darkness, against a backdrop of rapidly changing graphics projected onto a screen. It got the crowd moving in their seats and many fans leapt to their feet and cheered the duo as they took their bows.

Soon the quartet of casually dressed, cool, LA women (drummer Mozgawa, guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, and bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg) took the stage, launching into “Stars,” from the 2012 album Exquisite Corpse. The band’s latest album, Radiate Like This, was released in the spring; six of the ten tracks on that album were in the set. The audience ate it up. There were many notable moments, including the stunning “Melting,” when the group gathered at the front of the stage to sing together while only Kokal strummed a guitar and, appropriate for DC, a cover of Fugazi’s “I’m So Tired.”

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TVD Live Shots:
The Cult with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Zola Jesus at The Anthem, 7/19

Veteran rockers The Cult made a stop on its “We Own the Night” tour at The Anthem in Washington, DC, bringing along Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Zola Jesus to play to the mostly Generation X crowd.

Kicking off the night was Nika Roza Danilova, who goes by the stage name Zola Jesus. Her latest album Arkhon, was released just last month; the album explores heavy themes brought about by the current state of the world. In a 30-minute set, Zola Jesus introduced the still-assembling Anthem crowd to this music, appropriately wrapped in an industrial and goth sound and bathed solely in red light (the latter making for a frustrating photographic shoot, especially from the soundboard).  There are elements of classical music in her songs as well as underscored by the presence of a violinist in her backing band.

After a quick turnover, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took the stage. The setlist spanned most of B.R.M.C.’s albums, but leaned mostly on songs from earlier LPs, like “Spread Your Love” and “Red Eyes and Tears” from the band’s first album, B.R.M.C (2001), and lasted an entire hour, rather unusual for a support act.  While well-performed, the band’s vibe was also distinctly mellow, somewhat flying in the face of their garage rock sound. Nevertheless, including B.R.M.C on the “We Own the Night” tour was a good choice.  The band’s catalog complements that of The Cult, and provides aural lubrication for the crowd, prepping them for the headliner.

It was 10:20PM when The Cult finally took the stage. In 2022, The Cult consists of two original members, Ian Astbury (vocals) and Billy Duffy (guitar), as well as John Tempesta (drums), Charlie Jones (bass), and Mike Mangan (keyboards). They launched into a setlist of fan favorites, which included all the songs you’d hope for, “Sun King,” “Edie (Ciao Baby),” and of course, “Fire Woman” and “She Sells Sanctuary.”

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TVD Live: Nicole Atkins at the Hamilton, 7/10

Nicole Atkins is the kind of performer who is not only bursting with song ideas, she could also go any number of directions in her musical approach, from folk and pop to soul and rock with a little jazz thrown in as well. During the pandemic, she released a jazzy version of her previous Italian Ice as a way to serve fans and keep her career alive when the pandemic prevented touring.

There was a grand piano on the stage at The Hamilton in Washington, DC, where she concluded her latest tour last weekend, but its cover stayed on it; Atkins preferred to rock out the songs’ original versions with her four-piece band, augmented by the occasional backing vocals of Levi, who also served as opening act.

The tiny and mightily-voiced Atkins brings Lea Michele to mind, and if that singer ever tires of her recently announced gig fronting Broadway’s revival of Funny Girl, this versatile vocalist has the spunk and pipes to fulfill it. As if to remind us, she made sure to mention at the end of one of her songs, “AM Gold,” that it had a Barbra Streisand reference in its refrain, “People needin’ people.” But that’s about as close to pop she got in a set that otherwise moved to harder rock and at one point, dance (“Fire up that disco ball if you can,” she called out before “Domino”).

The Jersey girl opened with a tune named after her hometown there, “Neptune City,” but by the end of the show was was taunting onetime neighbor Southside Johnny, whom she called a grump and is apparently in a competition for creating the better “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” anthem. As such, she capped her “In the Splinters” by calling out, “Eat it, Southside Johnny!”

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