Tuesday, July 29, 2008


STP vs. Dylan

And this is why I hate festivals:

Virgin Mobile Festival - Sun Aug 10 Baltimore, MD

12:00 - 12:45 -- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
12:20 - 1:05 -- The Go! Team

1:05 - 1:55 -- Shudder to Think

4:50 - 5:50 -- Iggy and The Stooges
5:15 - 6:15 -- The Black Keys

6:20 - 7:35 -- Stone Temple Pilots
6:45 - 8:00 -- Bob Dylan

Full schedule here.

So there's a conflict with nearly every band I want to see. The sole exception is Shudder To Think, who come on at 1:05. Oh - And there's a 3-hour lull when there's nothing going on that interests me at all.

I really wanted to see The Go! Team, but I'm going to have to leave their brief, 45-minute set early, if I want to get back to the other stage to catch the Shudder To Think reunion. Do I really want to miss all of BRMC just to catch 20 minutes of The Go! Team? Not sure about that yet. And the first bands of the day? Really? Frankly, we'll be lucky if we make it there in time for them at all.

Of course, The Stooges are the obvious choice, but I was looking forward to seeing The Black Keys. I've been told "come-hell-or-high-water" we're going to see STP. I'm fine with that, but putting them up against Dylan is unforgivable.

What a drag. I was really looking forward to this one. Now it looks like we're spending $100+ per ticket to see STP and The Stooges. If Dinger wasn't so excited about seeing STP, I'd skip this altogether.


Saturday, July 26, 2008



Brent Mydland (of The Grateful Dead) singing "Never Trust A Woman" (aka "Good Time Blues") at Tinley Park, IL on 7-23-90. He was found dead 3 days later.

I wasn't at this show, but I was there 2 days prior - also at Tinley Park.

RIP Brent.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Jay Brannan @ 9:30

Thanks to the fine folks over at The Vinyl District, I scored tickets to see Jay Brannan at the 9:30 Club last night. Most of you are probably aware that Jay was featured in the movie Shortbus. Being the only homo on the planet who hasn't seen this movie, I wasn't aware of that until I looked it up. Anyway...

We got to the club about 10 minutes before Jay came on. We picked up our tickets, only to be surprised with a pair of those sticky VIP badge-things. That was very cool but we didn't really know what they were good for. We ended up asking our favorite bartender about them. She told us that those let us into the VIP balcony - the one that's usually roped off. I've never seen a show from there before - other than Blowoff, which doesn't really count. Excellent.

Jay came out and did the basic acoustic singer/songwriter thing for about an hour, I guess. Nothing revolutionary about it, other than him being completely open about his homosexuality. God, that's so refreshing. It's amazing how just changing a few pronouns or hearing a guy say "boyfriend" in a song can change everything. The percussive guitar playing combined with quite a bit of falsetto made him come across as a hybrid of Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell, singing songs with all the whimsy of Morrissey. His lyrics are so very gay and so very sad and so very introspective, you can't help but think they're done with at least a hint of sarcasm or irony. That just adds to the charm though. There were more than a few moments of eye-rolling, but mostly it was just very touching and heartfelt. Oh yeah - Then there was the cover of "Straight Outta Compton," which pretty much ruled.

Jay came off like he wasn't used to playing places this big, and his awkwardness was quite charming. Did I mention how adorable he is? Yeah, there's that, too.

Nice show. Good night. Thanks, TVD.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


No Age

So I was hanging out with a friend of mine on the 4th of July and he was extolling the virtues of No Age - a two-piece band from LA on Sub Pop. I had heard the name thrown around, but hadn't really paid much attention to them. I did a little investigating and the reviews were almost a little too good to be true. I don't think I came across a single negative comment about them. All the right names were being dropped as comparisons: My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Husker Du, The Dickies, etc. I ran over to emusic and downloaded Weirdo Rippers and was hooked.

So I was successfully talked into going to their show at the Rock and Roll Hotel, also featuring Abe Vigoda and High Places. I got there shortly after Abe Vigoda started - about an hour after the posted start time. Typical for the RnR Hotel. Abe Vigoda were surprisingly good - a bit thrashy, but catchy enough to keep me interested. I need to look into them further. My friends showed up a few minutes after High Places started. It didn't take long before we agreed that it was time to go upstairs and lounge for a bit. Finally - around the time I was expecting to be headed home, No Age takes the stage. Much more raw than I expected, which was a mixed blessing. I love the way Weirdo Rippers sounds, so I was hoping for more of that. But there's no denying the power these guys have. That's a lot of noise for 2 people. The fact that they're just guitars/drums makes White Stripes comparisons almost inevitable - even if they're not quite fair or accurate. Their live sound made me think of Jay Reatard meets The Jesus and Mary Chain. No bullshit hard-driving power - heavy and fast, with a little fuzz on top. Awesome.

So they weren't exactly what I expected, but they were terrific anyway. It was one of those nights where I wish I could have bought all of their musical merch (along with a few things by Abe Vigoda), but I settled for a couple seven-inches. I'll definitely be back for more.

I actually got to meet the band for a while before the show. Nice guys. Buy their stuff. Give them money so they can stay in better motels. Most importantly - go see them while they're still playing these small venues. It won't stay that way for long.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Farewell Metropolitan

Another good DC band bites the dust. Metropolitan is calling it quits. It looks like Shyam is heading for Chicago and the band is breaking up. Rats.

So last night was their big farewell show at the Black Cat. And when I say "big" I really mean "nobody seemed to care." Don't get me wrong. Dinger and I love us some Metropolitan. Sometimes I think we're the only ones though. They can't draw a crowd for anything. Somehow they always manage to get Saturday night headlining spots on the mainstage at The Cat, yet they consistently do a terrible job of filling it. I actually counted people in the crowd last night. There couldn't have been more than 75-80 people there. The club holds 500-700, depending on your source. They should have stuck to smaller rooms. Playing to an empty club gives the impression you've got nothing going on and drives the vibe into the toilet. It's a shame, because they're a great band. They deserve to be heard by more people.

Then there was the show itself. For some reason they were back to their original 3-piece lineup last night. The second guitarist/keyboard guy was absent. Someone in the crowd actually asked "Where's the other guy?". The band sounded ok, but looked pretty damn bored. They barely looked at each other all night. The bass player looked like he was mentally packing his suitcase on stage. There were moments of greatness, but overall it was just kind of dull. Dinger got a setlist, but I don't think it's completely accurate.

Still - I was happy to get one last chance to see them. They were one of my favorite local bands. Their last 2 records are hook-laden indie rock gems. There's really no reason that they shouldn't have been more popular. It's a shame they went out with such a whimper. They're better than what they gave us last night. Oh well.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


The Truth About Burma

I totally hibernated this week. Just work. No gym. No shows. No errands. I worked and slept. And it was Good. The only thing that was going to get me out of the house was a "can't miss" show. That came in the form of Mission of Burma at the Black Cat on Saturday.

MoB are currently touring, playing their 2 original records in their entirety - alternating each one for different cities. The DC date got them covering their album Vs. I'll admit I would have rather had Signals, Calls and Marches, but any Burma is good Burma. They never disappoint.

When I heard that we were getting Vs., I immediately thought..."Wouldn't it be funny if they got the band Versus to open for them?" Well, sure enough, that's exactly what happened. Versus has been around forever - at one time on the DC-based Teenbeat label. They've played the Black Cat plenty of times before. Great band, regardless of the name-connection with the MoB record. I've only seen them once and was completely blown away. I can't recommend The Stars Are Insane highly enough.

I was hoping they'd repeat what they did last time - play The Stars Are Insane from start to finish - but it wasn't meant to be. They played a few brand new tunes and a smattering of old stuff. They were really good, but weren't quite as engaging as last time. Still, I hope the new material is a hint that a record and tour will be following soon. I'm all over it.

Burma actually opened with one of the bonus tracks on the reissue of Vs., but after that played the whole thing from start to finish. The f-cking nailed it. Wow. These guys are the go-to band when people talk about reunions that don't suck. For good reason. They're f-cking fantastic. After the run-through of the record they played a few other random songs, and an encore that included "Academy Fight Song" and "This Is Not A Photograph". Awesome.

Did I mention how damn loud it was? This was not the show I should have chosen to forgo my earplugs. Ugh. Kind of surprising, considering the reason they broke up in the first place was due to ear damage from playing too loudly. Oh well...

Fantastic show, although I was beat by the end. Seems I wasn't quite as caught-up on my sleep as I had hoped. I ran over to The Eagle afterwards, picked up Dinger and headed home.

Next up - Metropolitan's farewell show on Saturday. Another good one bites the dust.


still catching up...

So you'd think that after flying home Sunday afternoon, after being in Philly, New York and Atlanta in the past four days, we'd be tired cranky and ready to crash hard. Well, you're right. That's pretty much how we felt by this point.

But Pearl Jam's in town! With Ted Leo opening! There's no way in hell we're gonna miss that. One of Dinger's all-time favorite bands...fan club seats...Ted!....As tired as we were, we were ready for more.

We got there in plenty of time, not wanting to miss a minute of Ted Leo. Ted was on fire. Unfortunately, the sound was abysmal. I didn't even recognize "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?" until he started singing. The next few songs fared no better. Ted commented that everyone there either had no idea who he was, or we had already seen him a bunch of times. Either way - it seemed like the perfect time to break out a bunch of new stuff, which he did. A short, but sweet set - including a cover of The Saints' "(I'm) Stranded". My thoughts on the sound were confirmed when the lights came up and the guy behind me yelled "Hey sound guy - you suck!". Kind of rude, yet completely accurate.

If you've never seen Pearl Jam, well, you don't know what you're missing. It's an event not to be missed. The band never disappoints. No frills, all-out, big-time rock show. Arena rock done right. But the most impressive part is the audience. Holy cow, do they love them some Pearl Jam. Singing LOUDLY to every word of every song. That's something that usually annoys the hell out of me, but it just seems perfect here. People were singing like their lives depended on it. Nearly choreographed call/response, hand-clapping, etc. I haven't seen a crowd like this since my Dead days, but these folks took the intensity up a few notches. You really need to experience it at least once. PJ isn't my band, but their fans get it. Coming off of the REM tour, it was kind of neat being on the outside of a similar experience. I knew exactly what most of these people were experiencing - it's just that I experienced it with different bands. Good for them.

As for the band - they played a great mix of hits and some relatively obscure stuff (obscure to me, anyway - certainly not to the faithful). One song had to be aborted because of some screwup. They're human after all. The crowd ate it up. Just another kick-ass rock show from one of the greatest bands out there. Highly recommended.

Random notes:

- We were exactly halfway back, 10 rows off the floor. Perfect. I probably could have done better, but the ease of getting the fan club tickets was well worth the money spent on the membership. Especially since we were out of town most of the week before.

- Dinger (wearing his spiffy new R.E.M. t-shirt) got a kick out of people asking if he knew that Eddie sat-in with R.E.M. in Philly. Um, yeah, we were there. :-)

- Pearl Jam brings out lots and lots of really cute and really drunk frat-boy-types. I'm just sayin'.

- Poor Metro timing and a semi-buzzed bad decision ended up with us not getting home until nearly 2:00am. Ugh. (The decision had nothing to do with the cute frat-boy-types - I swear.)

- I have never been more tired than I was at work the following morning. I'm pretty sure I was head-bobbing most of the afternoon.

I'd do it all again in a second though.

Main Set: Hard To Imagine, Severed Hand, Hail Hail, Do The Evolution, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Evacuation, Corduroy, I'm Open, I Am Mine, I Got Id, Daughter, Light Years, Even Flow, Green Disease, You Are, U, Who You Are, Why Go

Encore 1: Comatose, Sad, Given To Fly, Come Back, Grievance, Black, Rearviewmirror

Encore 2: No More, Last Kiss, Crazy Mary, Alive, All Along The Watchtower, Yellow Ledbetter

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