Saturday, February 26, 2005
Teenbeat Anniversary #2
Back again for the second Teenbeat 20th Anniversary show at The Black Cat.
My night didn't start off so well. After standing in line for a half-hour in sub-freezing temps, The Black Cat decided to open their doors at 9:30, despite the 9:00 time listed on the tickets and website. Thanks. At least they had a coat-check tonight - unlike last night. Maybe enough people complained about having to carry/wear their snow covered coats around the club last night. I wish they had the coat-check open all the time. That's just one of several things that makes 9:30 a much better club.
But I digress... First up was HollAND, which consisted of a film of incredibly slo-motion footage of I-395 (near the Seminary Road exit, to be precise) along with a soundtrack of electronic music. I waited outside for this? Downstairs to The Red Room for about 15 minutes until that was over.
Next up were Hot Pursuit. Fine pop from 3 women - including members of Tuscadero and Blast Off Country Style (another Teenbeat fave). Made a mental note to pick up their CD on the way out.
Aden, hmm...I remember thinking they were ok, but I also remember getting bored and walking to the back to checkout the Teenbeat Buffet again.
Flin Flon is another of Mark Robinson's projects. They were ok, but they just didn't do it for me. I think at this point I was just getting tired from my long week - and getting incredibly anxious to see Tuscadero.
Things all changed when Versus hit the stage. Versus is another band that I'm embarrassed to say I only knew by reputation and the occasional compilation track. I was really looking forward to seeing them, as I've heard nothing but good things about them. Holy crap. They were absolutely fantastic. Good strong rock that had the crowd in a bit of a frenzy. Nice and tight. Wow. How could I have been nearly oblivious to these folks all this time? Rumor has it they played their entire The Stars Are Insane disc in order, in it's entirety. How cool is that? I need to pick that up before I leave. Another mental note. If their records are as good as their live show, I predict I'll own their entire catalog in the next few months. Versus absolutely blew me away.
But now it was time for my beloved Tuscadero. The opened with a rollicking Holidays Are Hell and the hits just kept coming. Dime a Dozen, Angel In A Half-Shirt, Leather Idol, Dr. Doom, Mt. Pleasant and a bunch more. We even got a cover to The J. Geils Band's Centerfold. Truth be told, they were a little sloppy, but who cares. I adore this band and seeing them was a total blast.
As soon as they were done, I headed back to the TB Buffet and picked up CDs by Versus, Hot Pursuit and +/-, as well as a couple more 7" singles (by Eggs and The Project).
The highlight of these shows for me was easily Versus. Tuscadero, Unrest and Eggs were also very good. It was just a very cool vibe both nights. The people you bought a t-shirt from a few minutes ago was now playing on stage. The guitar player from the last band is now standing next to you cheering on the next band. I loved the way everyone plays in everyone else's bands - a la Dischord. I forget who it was, but someone in one of the bands mentioned that they had records out on several labels, but they thought of Teenbeat as their family. I'll bet nobody says that about Sony.
Happy Anniversary Teenbeat. Here's to 20 more.
[Edit] - I forgot to mention that Butch Willis made a special guest appearance and sang a couple of songs. Bonus!
Teenbeat Anniversary #1
Dumbek loves him some Teenbeat. I love everything about this label. It takes me back to the days of SST, Alternative Tentacles and Dischord. Back when I would buy records without knowing anything about the band, but trusted the labels enough to know that (at a minimum) I'd get something interesting, if not something I absolutely loved. I remember seeing their ads in local fanzines like Truly Needy and WDC Period advertising their cassettes - before they made the big jump to selling vinyl. It's hard to believe that was 20 years ago.
Anyway - there were 2 big shows to celebrate their 20th anniversary this week, right here in their hometown of DC. People came from all over the country for these shows. California, NYC, Ohio...rumor has it someone was flying in from Israel for these gigs. Apparently, I'm not the only one that loves him some Teenbeat.
Teenbeat Anniversary #1 2-24-05
Doors at 8:00. I got there at 8:15. Inside by 8:30. I already missed half of Jonny Cohen's set. Dammit. Jonny was great though. He's definitely an acquired taste, but I like him a lot. He seems very nervous on stage, which just makes him more endearing. The highlight of his set was a tribute to John Saxon, the actor.
I was really looking forward to +/-. I had only heard one song by them prior to this (Summerlong - from the 2003 Teenbeat sampler). Summerlong is quite the electronic, ethereal, airy melodic soundscape. I was quite surprised to find out what a rocking band they are. The exact opposite of Summerlong, but still very, very good. I'm bummed I missed them at Iota last year. I need to pay closer attention to them.
The main reason for me going this night was to see Eggs. I picked up Bruiser a couple years ago on a whim (It's on Teenbeat - It's gotta be pretty good) and I've been hooked ever since. Great disc. Indie rock needs more trombones. I've since picked up everything they've released (that I can find). Eggs did not disappoint. Despite some minor feedback problems, they played a nice long set. I wish they played longer though. The schedule was tight, trying to get all 6 bands in in one night. Always leave 'em wanting more, I guess.
The band everyone was geared-up to see, though, was Unrest. The leader of the band is none other than Mark Robinson - founder of Teenbeat Records. I'll admit, I know them only by reputation. I've never gotten around to buying one of their discs (until tonight). They had the crowd going nuts. Apparently heavy on material from Imperial F.F.R.R. , the crowd ate it up. Being the headliner, they got 50 minutes. They crowd obviously wanted more, but Mark said they ran out of time and had to stop. Oh well. Very impressive, considering they haven't played together in years.
In the back of the room they had what I'll call the "Teenbeat Buffet". Two tables just loaded-up with all kinds of Teenbeat schwag. CDs, LPs, 7"s, t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. If it wasn't for the crowd, I could've spent an hour or so just going through all of their goods. I walked away with a newly remastered copy of Imperial F.F.R.R., the 20th Anniversary compilation CD and 5 new 7" singles. There were a few more 7"s I wanted, but I wasn't sure if I already had them or not (or if they were already in the mail, on their way to me). A sure sign of a true record geek. I needed to go home and check on that before returning for night #2. Dumbek hearts vinyl.
The night flew by. Had a fantastic time, but I was looking to night #2 even more - featuring my beloved Tuscadero.
Le Tigre 2-22-05 9:30 Club
What could be better on a Tuesday night than some ass-shakin, booty-quakin' lesbian-feminist-politico-dance-punk? These ladies were terrific. It's impossible to stand still while they're on stage. It's been years since I've seen a DC crowd dance so much. What a blast this show was. Wow. I can't wait for them to come back. We got there too late to catch Lesbians On Ecstacy. Word is they were really good. Maybe next time.
Wilco 2-23-05 9:30 Club
I'm not all that familiar with Wilco. I've had Summerteeth for a few years, but I don't really listen to it that much, and I couldn't name a single track from it. It's not that I don't like it - I do - I just don't pull it out very often. Maybe because of it's location on my bookshelf (the W's are at the very bottom). I may need to change that though, because Wilco put on a really nice show on Wednesday. Any band that can hold my attention for 2 hours with material I'm completely unfamiliar with has to be doing something right. I was expecting a night full of mid-tempo country-tinged rock. I got that and a bit more. At times dark and moody. Sometimes almost flat-out country ballads. Occasional jamming, experimental rock and just a bit of interesting "noise". The films were interesting without taking the focus off the music. Very nice show. Listen for yourself. There's a torrent of it here. Or you can stream it from NPR here.
The 9:30 Club was absolutely packed for this show. They had half of the left balcony roped off for VIPs. All 5 of them. Between that and the taping section on the main floor, the rest of us were packed-in like sardines. That was a bit annoying. The predominantly male 6-foot and taller crowd made me appreciate the predominantly female 5'6" and shorter crowd. It was a bit tough to see from the back, but I have nobody but myself to blame for that one.
Very nice show. I'm glad I got to see them in the club as opposed to a larger theater.
Friday, February 25, 2005
My Way Or The Highway
I think I need to go sit in the car during lunch so I can rock out a bit. I wish I could leave early today.
Tonight's show is sold-out, but so was last night's and there were plenty of people trying to dump extra tickets. That may have been because of the snow though. But if you've got nothing else to do, it's probably worth a shot.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
2 of 6
Caught the Futureheads in a bit of a hit-and-run show last night. I was flying solo and had no interest in the opening bands, so I just showed up a little after 10:00. They came on at exactly 10:30. Perfect.
There's really not a lot to say about this one. They were good, but they sounded exactly like their album. That's fine, but sometimes it takes a little more. They had quite a bit of energy - jumping all over the place and playing their hearts out. They talked to the crowd a bit too, which I like. They seemed to be having a really good time. But I don't know...Maybe it's because they only have one album out and they sounded exactly like the record, but I wasn't exactly blown away. I can't think of anything bad to say about the show though. Maybe it was me.
55 minutes, including the encore. I expected that. They also did a cover of the Television Personalities' Picture of Dorian Gray - a song I know nothing about. They played well. They were fun. Definitely worth the $12. I was home by midnight (a major plus). The club was perfectly crowded. Enough people to create a good atmosphere, but not sold-out and packed-in like sardines. Lots of room to mill about. No lines at the bar. Places to sit, if you wanted to.
Fill your basement with smoke, play the CD really loud and close your eyes. It's just like being there.
Le Tigre tonight. Waiting for the BF to get home...
Monday, February 21, 2005
The First of Six
BF and I got to The Cat a little after 10:00. I figured WSC would come on close to 11:00, but I like to get there early....much to the chagrin of the BF. He was a little cranky about it at first, but after we found a place to sit down in the Red Room things got better. The cute-boy factor helped a little too. Lots to see last night :-) After hearing our songs on the jukebox (gotta love a jukebox that has both Johnny Cash and The Germs) we headed upstairs, only to find WSC already playing their first song. So much for getting their early. My bad.
I've never had a bad time at a WSC show. Last night was no different. They were a blast. A great balance of new and old. A decent crowd, but not overly crowded. People were singing along, dancing and generally having a really good time. It's like being at a really cool party.
Today - I discovered that HST died. That sucks, but I'll admit it wasn't really a surprise. I mean, it's not too difficult to imagine him self-destructing. Still... a big loss. He still had it. I never did finish reading that book of early letters he put out years ago. I'll have to dig that out next week.
We went to Ikea to get a small rack to control our CDs, which have completely taken over the basement. We just need something small enough to hold a couple hundred or so, until we can plunk down the $$$ to get a real bookcase-style solution. We found exactly what we wanted, in the exact color we wanted. Of course, in true Ikea form, it was out of stock. We specifically chose one of the models that did not have an "out of stock" tag on it. Suckers. The only other thing that came close already had the "out of stock" tag on it, so we just left. There goes a few hours of my day. Thanks again, Ikea.
Tonight - I'm getting ready to walk out the door to see The Futureheads at 9:30. I predict a very good, but very short show. We'll see.
Hunter Thompson Dead
(CNN) -- Journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson, who unleashed the concept of "gonzo journalism" in books like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," fatally shot himself in the head Sunday at his home near Aspen, Colorado, police and his family said.
Shame on Rolling Stone for not mentioning this on the front page of their website.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
What's been going on...? hmmm. Well, I went to see The Wrens last Friday at The Cat. Army Of Me opened. I thought they were pretty good. Rockin', poppy stuff. The lead singer is definitely a "front man", which can be amusing at times, but he actually pulls it off. More power to him. I'd definitely check them out again, though I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to do so.
The Wrens were fun, if a little sloppy. It actually made them endearing, in a way. They had a bit more energy than I expected. The Meadowlands isn't exactly a rocking album, but they kicked it pretty hard. I was kind of surprised they focused so much on The Meadowlands. I don't think they dug into their back catalog much at all, and I don't recall them introducing anything new. They need to come up with some new songs before people forget about them. We're fickle that way.
What's with people going to shows and just blabbling the whole time the band is on? The Wrens' crowd was by far the noisiest bunch of folks I've ever heard. There were times when you literally couldn't hear the band because of all the talking. Parts of their songs get extremely quiet and the sound just vanished under the sounds of people yakking away about all kinds of crap. It's not like they just wandered into the bar. They paid decent money. It sold-out at the door, so they had to plan ahead at least a little. They made the effort - you'd think they'd want to hear the band. I don't expect everyone to act like they're at The Shushmere, but a little consideration goes a long way. If there's a band on stage and I can hear every word of your conversation from 10 feet away - you're talking too loud. Shut up already or go downstairs.
Oh yeah - Valentine's day. BF and I went out on Sunday instead of Monday. Went to JR's for a few drinks, then to DIK for dinner. JR's isn't half-bad, if you only go 4-5 times a year. We decided no presents this year, but he got me flowers anyway. awwww. He's so cute.
Our anniversary was Thursday. 9 years. Hooray for us! Best 9 years of my life. Really. We kept things very low-key this year. A very quick drink at The Eagle, then we were off to see De Novo Dahl and The Small Shouts at The Warehouse Next Door. DND is from Nashville. Great band. Just good basic pop music. Sometimes very catchy. Sometimes rockin'. One song was just flat-out funky. Fun band. The Small Shouts features Olivia from WSC. Damn that girl's busy. Apparently, it was only their 4th show. It was a little rough around the edges, but a great time. The each took turns singing and playing each instrument. It was a little odd seeing Olivia behind the drums or playing guitar, but she's pretty darn good at all of them. Back to The Eagle for another quick drink and we called it a night. It was a school night afterall.
The Warehouse is a great venue. It's like seeing a band in a row house living room. No smoking. Nice folks. Highly recommended. And right around the corner from The Eagle. How perfect is that?
Out-of-control week concert-wise next week. Even the BF is hitting 2 shows. We're starting tomorrow with Washington Social Club at The Black Cat. You should go. You have Monday off. See them before they're huge.
Friday, February 11, 2005
Little known Dumbek fact: I once patted Mick Jagger on the head.
I have to work tomorrow. Ugh. I hate working on Saturdays.
The Wrens tonight. Army of Me are opening. I've heard mixed things about Army of Me. Maybe I'll show up for the last half of their set. I'm surprised The Wrens haven't sold out the Black Cat yet. Maybe they will at the door. Maybe they should have toured more when The Meadowlands was at the top of everyone's "Best of 2003" lists. Maybe they should put out something before everyone forgets about them. Maybe they should re-release Secaucus, so people don't have to spend a fortune for it on Ebay.
I downloaded some Cartel mp3s this week. I like them a lot. I need to check them out.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Change It Or Kill Me!
It's also the same music they pipe into the locker room, so I got to experience the song another 4-5 times while I showered and changed.
Friday, February 04, 2005
Erasure tickets are on sale NOW. Go buy yours before your friends buy them out from under you. Then tell them how cool you are because you already have yours.
Everyone should go to Exit Clov's CD release party at The Black Cat tonight. Other circumstances are preventing me from going. I'm bummin' that I'm going to miss it.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Erasure @ 9:30
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Arcade Fire On The Mountain
1/30 - Arcade Fire - 9:30 Club
I like Funeral. That's like - not love. I appear to be the only person on the planet that doesn't think this was by far the greatest album of 2004. It's ok. It's interesting. Very busy. Definitely a "grower", but I just don't see what all the fuss is about. But with all the hype surrounding them, I couldn't help but feel like I was missing something. I decided to check them out live.
I took the Metro down to 9:30 and got there just a few minutes before the band came onstage. By the time I stopped at the window to pick up my Le Tigre ticket, they were coming on. Perfect timing.
Within 10 minutes I completely changed my mind about this band. They completely blew me away. Amazing energy. They were as much fun to watch as they were to listen to. Everyone in the band played at least 2-3 instruments (except for the 2 violin players). They were banging on every kind of percussion instrument I could think of - not even counting banging on the amps, walls, cymbal stands, or even the railing on the balcony 10 feet above the stage. They were literally climbing over each other and the equipment while still playing - at one point climbing up to the balcony and jumping back down. They were literally wearing crash helmets at one point. 8 people on stage at all times. They were constantly playing, singing, chanting, banging, dancing....they never let up. They played their entire album (I think) and cranked the intensity beyond anything I would have imagined. A few new songs too. Even after the encore they came into the crowd - still singing and playing. They crossed through the floor of the club, went up the stairs and around the balcony before they finally faded out somewhere backstage.
There are photos from the show here. They're not mine. If they're yours, let me know and I'll give you credit.
Edit: The pix are from Amanda. Very nice!
Shows like this are exactly the reason I'm addicted to live music. Arcade Fire was absolutely terrific on Sunday. "Show of the Year" doesn't really hold much water on 2/1. But they've certainly set the bar high for the rest of the year.
Travel time for me to get home after a concert at the 9:30 Club:
Driving: ~30 minutes
Metro : 1 hour 20 minutes
I won't be doing that again any time soon.