Saturday, January 30, 2010


More Late January Stuff

1/19/09 Beastie Boys/Sheryl Crow/Citizen Cope/Justin Jones @ 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

The day before Obama's inauguration. I knew this was going to be a very late night, followed by a VERY early morning. No way I was going to miss this though. I know it's not cool to say it, but I really like Sheryl Crow. There's nothing wrong with good pop songs. She played about an hour, opening with "A Change Will Do You Good'" I think. Appropriate. Citizen Cope played a solo acoustic set, which was much better than I expected - although I didn't really expect anything, being completely unfamiliar with him. The Beasties were fun - as usual. This whole show was really just a big party. Not as crowded as you'd expect, considering the show sold out in about 30 seconds. Plenty of room to dance, mill about and basically just celebrate the future. I think I got home around 2:30 and was up by about 4:00am to head down for the inauguration.

1/20/07 Exit Clov/De Novo Dahl/Middle Distance Runner Black Cat Washington, DC

I went to this one mainly to see De Novo Dahl. As I recall, they played in their pajamas. Again - I could be mis-remembering. They're always fun live. Fun, danceable pop. Middle Distance Runner is another local indie band. One of the better ones, actually. I think they're still together, but they don't play out much these days. Every time I notice them on a bill, it's in VA. That ain't gonna happen. I think I left early, during Exit Clov's set. They've got an incredibly unique sound, but I find it boring after about 15 minutes and grating after about 30. I seem to be in the minority in that opinion though. The kids love 'em. shrug.

1/22/07 Camera Obscura/The Essex Green @ 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

Speaking of fun, danceable pop, Camera Obscura was quite fun. Kinda twee, which I like, but it always has the potential to get on my nerves after a while. Too much sweetness can eventually turn into a bad thing. They were fine though. The Essex Green is one of those bands that put out a really nice, kinda mellow record, but almost put me to sleep live. I like them a lot, but they're not the kind of band that's exactly exciting - or even terribly interesting - to watch. Most bands step it up a notch live. They didn't.

hmm...I just listened to a bit of The Cannibal Sea for the first time in a while. Not as quiet as I remembered. Maybe I need to revisit them. Anyway - That's still how I remember it.

1/26/07 Washington Social Club/These United States @ The Black Cat - Washington, DC

One of the many WSC shows I saw. I don't remember anything in particular, but These United States was always good to see, so this was quite a good local bill.

1/27/06 Bicycle Thieves/Cedars/Nethers 9:30 Club Washington, DC

Back in the day the old 9:30 used to have local music nights all the time. Not so in the new, larger space. I guess it's just not practical. So when they decided to try it again I figured I'd go support it. I had wanted to see Nethers for a while and Cedars was one of my favorites at the time. I couldn't lose.

My original review is here.

In short: Nethers was quite impressive. The went from the garage-rockness of The Carlsonics and turned into this quiet, acousticy-drony sound, but it really worked. I guess they broke up, since I never hear anything about them anymore. Too bad. They were great.

Cedars was awesome - as usual. Great to see them on a big stage in front of an impressive crowd. I really thought they were going to make it. :(
Bicycle Thieves weren't my thing. They sounded like every other mainstream indie band out there. Not bad by any means, but nothing special. I bought their cd anyway.

I need to start paying more attention to local music again. I've fallen out of that habit.

1/30/05 Arcade Fire @ 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

Now this is what I'm talking about. I know I sound like a grump sometimes - getting bored easily and not being impressed with every flavor-of-the-month band that comes along. But when I get hit by something like this, it reminds me what got me to this space in the first place. I hold the bar rather high. This show jumped WAY over that bar, crushed it, kept going and never looked back. Holy Crap was this a good show. I went in a doubter - fully expecting them to not live up to the hype. Wrong Wrong Wrong. This show (along with their DAR show in 2007) were among my favorites of the DECADE. Whatever great things you hear about Arcade Fire's live shows - believe it. They're the real deal.

My full, more detailed original review is here. I sound like a total fanboy in that one.

1/30/09 Thievery Corporation @ 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

And the opposite end of the spectrum... Here's a show that I think was ruined by all the hype. I knew of Thievery Corporation, but didn't really know much about them, other than they're a hugely popular, local dance band. I kept hearing about these near religious experiences people were having at their shows and how they're just this giant party with people dancing and having the time of their lives. That - and they can apparently sellout 5 nights at the 9:30 Club. Wow. I need to see any band that can do that.

With hype like that - there's really nowhere to go but down. I actually liked them quite a bit. I was really selling them short by calling them a "dance band". They've got this great world-music vibe to them that makes their groove quite infectious. They were incredibly interesting and fun to watch, but it wasn't this insanely amazing performance I had been promised. People seemed to be having fun, but it wasn't the dance-fest I had heard about. That's possibly due to the ridiculous overcrowding of sold-out 9:30 shows. They kept me entertained though. I seem to recall them playing for a LONG time (2-3 hours?), but I never got bored or frustrated. That says a lot. They were actually quite good, but the hype almost ruined it for me.

I'll go see them again, eventually (although I skipped this year's 5-night run), but I'll go in with a different mindset.

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