Entries tagged with: Washington DC

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Long in the works, Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC 1980-1990, is premiering as part of the DOC NYC fest in NYC tonight (11/14). Expected to attend: Scott Crawford, producer Jim Saah, film subjects Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace), Tom Lyle (Government Issue), Bert Queiroz (Untouchables, Double-O, Youth Brigade), and Jenny Toomey (Tsunami, Simple Machines Records).

What better way to prepare than with an advance listen to Fugazi's soon-to-be-officially-released First Demo? Full Soundcloud stream and more info below...

Continue reading "Fugazi's "First Demo" now streaming, 'Salad Days' premiering"

Slim Shady

Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Rihanna and other pop superstars will touch down on the Mall on Nov. 11 to perform in honor of American veterans and their families.

Dubbed the Concert for Valor, the Veterans Day celebration is being hosted by Starbucks and HBO, which will open up its signal to cable subscribers nationwide during a live telecast. For those hoping to see it in three dimensions, the concert will be free and open to the public.

Organizers have also promised performances from Dave Grohl, Metallica, Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band, as well as appearances by Jamie Foxx, John Oliver, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who is ­co-producing the event.

Scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on the grounds between the Capitol and the Washington Monument, the concert is expected to draw a quarter of a million attendees. [Washington Post]

The Boss plays a related event in NYC on 11/5 too.

CeeLo @ Stubb's in 2008 (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
Cee Lo

The losses keep mounting for CeeLo Green in the wake of his shameful comments about rape. On Friday (Sept. 5), the singer was dropped from a United States Navy-sponsored concert planned for Sept. 20 in Washington, D.C.

"Unfortunately, one of the performers we signed for the JBAB Freedom Live show on 20 September recently posted comments on social media that we consider to completely inconsistent with Navy core values," Freedom LIVE posted on its official Facebook page. "Regardless of intent or context, the lack of sensitivity towards an issue that is one of the great challenges facing our Navy is unacceptable."

Those who have already purchased tickets will be able to receive a full refund if they so choose. Little Big Town is still scheduled to play the event, along with a forthcoming replacement for Green, promised via the Facebook statement. [Billboard]

The Gretna Heritage Festival in Louisiana also booted the Gnarls Barkley singer, "as he does not represent the festival's wholesome family environment."

Josh Burdette

Josh Burdette, [Washington, DC's} 9:30 Club's manager and perhaps the most recognizable presence in all of Washington nightlife, has died. He was 36.

With his large ear gauges, facial piercings, tattooed forearms and imposing physique, Burdette was not someone a fake ID-holder ever wanted to encounter. A fixture at the club since 1997, the man known as "Big Josh" or "That Guy at the 9:30 Club" resisted being called a bouncer. "A bouncer is looking to bounce people. It's a reactive way of doing things," Burdette told The Post's Chris Richards in 2006. "We're the face of the club, and we have to do our best to be as friendly, polite and accessible as we can. Some of us look big and scary, but we're just people, too. We're just working our jobs."

9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz issued the following statement:

"Josh was one of the wisest people you would ever meet. When you talked to him, you hoped you would be lucky enough to retain some of that wisdom, but you had to make the effort as he never forced it on you. But every word he spoke was from one of the kindest, most thoughtful and well-centered folks you could hope to have in your life.

And then there was the fantastic joke that people that didn't know him fell for every time. Here was this scary looking dude that was a complete contradiction of his appearance. I think everyone felt a little ashamed and learned from that.

We were all so proud to have him as our ambassador to the world. He was as 9:30 as 9:30 gets.

I'm pretty good at moving on but this one's gonna be tough. There will be no getting over it, sorry."

[Washington Post]
Rest in peace, Josh.

'Zombie Hipsters' asserting their civil rights on Halloween (more by Amanda Hatfield)

When you think of an outlet with its finger on the pulse of "what's next," it might not be Forbes Magazine. Nevertheless the rag has compiled its list of "hippest hipster neighborhoods" in the US, which lands Williamsburg Brooklyn at #3:

1. Silver Lake, Los Angeles
2. Mission District, San Francisco
3. Williamsburg, Brooklyn
4. Wicker Park, Chicago
5. Pearl District, Portland
6. H Street Corridor, Washington D.C.
7. East Austin, Austin
8. Capitol Hill, Seattle
9. The Uptown, Oakland
10. Warehouse District, New Orleans
Just as interesting, and hardly surprising, is the magazine's comments on the changing face of Williamsburg:
Williamsburg may have spawned the hipster craze, but the neighborhood is evolving in a direction that's far less hospitable to the patchily employed, fedora-wearing crowd. "The more successful neighborhoods like Williamsburg become in attracting people, the real estate prices go up and a lot of the urban pioneers end up moving on," says David Morley, a research associate with the American Planning Association, a nonprofit educational group for community developers.

Real estate prices in the north Brooklyn neighborhood have been steadily rising...his firm reports that Williamsburg rents in July were 23% higher than a year ago ... [and] the mean rent for a studio apartment in Williamsburg was $200 higher than for a comparable (albeit smaller) apartment in Manhattan's Greenwich Village

There you have it folks. The Williamsbur hipster apocalypse according to Forbes.

J Crew

"Surely somebody has noticed that the old 9:30 Club building in Washington, D.C., is soon to be a J. Crew store. Surely someone will claim this is somehow ''ironic,'' that the club that fostered the all-ages hardcore scene of Minor Threat, Government Issue and Fugazi will soon sell pairs of $140 Café Capri pants in geranium lace. I don't see the big deal. But I worry about the smell." [NY Times]
The 9:30 Club is currently located at 815 V ST. N.W., WASHINGTON DC.

Upcoming shows there include Miike Snow (who just played three nights in NYC), Willie Nelson (who recently got a statue in Austin), Andrew Bird, who just played Coachella and has two shows coming up at Beacon Theater & ASAP Rocky (who just played Coachella and whose upcoming Chicago opener L.E.P. Bogus Boys was reportedly kicked off the bill by the police).

by Andrew Sacher

"Circle takes the square and pg 99 were a once in a lifetime experience, black cat wasn't ready" - Alec Simke


In 2004, the experimental post-hardcore quartet Circle Takes The Square released one of the decade's most interesting records, As the Roots Undo. Covering more ground in one song than many bands do in an entire career, they frantically tore through different genres as male/female vocals screamed, spoke, whispered, sang and did just about anything else you could think of. After seven years and a few lineup changes, the band are finally set to release the much-anticipated follow-up which started to seem like it would never see the light of day. Vocalist/guitarist Drew Speziale and vocalist/bassist Kathy Coppola are now joined by Caleb Collins of Mare and David Rabitor and plan to unveil their second LP, titled Decompositions Volume 1, this November on their own Gatepost Recordings. The album was produced by Anthony Stubelek who also produced As the Roots Undo.

The band released Chapter 1 of Decompositions Vol. 1, a four song EP titled Rites of Initiation, last week. You can stream the entire thing at their bandcamp and download it for $8. The tracklist and artwork are below. The EP isn't quite as schizophrenic as As the Roots Undo, but it sounds great and is getting me pretty excited for the full length.

CTTS played their first show in over three years at Black Cat in DC this past Saturday to a sold out crowd with the recently reunited pg.99, who they released a split 7" with in 2002, and Thou (who have two upcoming NYC shows with Wolves in the Throne Room). You can stream CTTS's entire set at NPR (and pg.99's set too!) (and Thou). No other dates have been announced yet, but hopefully more to come soon.

Album art, tracklist & DC show setlist below...

Continue reading "Circle Takes The Square are back w/ a new EP (listen), played Black Cat in DC w/ pg. 99 & Thou (listen!)"

The Dismemberment Plan @ Galaxy Hut, Virginia - Jan 15, 2011 (by Jeffrey Martin)
Dismemberment Plan

Michael Jackson would have to rise from the grave and release a new album as good as "Off the Wall" for another music story to generate as much breathless hype around these parts as the reunion of the Dismemberment Plan, the beloved, wildly inventive D.C. indie art-punk-funk quartet...

No one wept with joy that I saw, and a few 30-somethings groused that standing at concerts hurts more than it used to. But from the moment frontman Travis Morrison spoke the Plan's friendly battle cry - "We're the Dismemberment Plan, and we're from Washington, D.C." - the crowd seemed to ripple as one organism for the whole of the loose, 110-minute set. Pleading the flu, bassist Eric Axelson spent a good chunk of the show sitting down, but rallied to his feet for "Do the Standing Still," an indictment of too-cool-for-school, arms-folded show watchers. -[The Washington Post]

The Dismemberment Plan reunion tour is underway! After playing a small private show at Galaxy Hut in Arlignton, VA on 1/15 (pictured above), the band made an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon followed by three hometown DC shows: first at the smaller Black Cat on Friday (1/21) followed by two at 9:30 Club (1/22, 1/23).

Last night the band played Philly. Tonight they're in Boston, and the band will make their NYC return on Saturday and Sunday with two sold-out shows at Webster Hall (UPDATE: back on sale).

All remaining tour dates, video of the two songs they played on Fallon, videos from DC including one that shows the stage PACKED with dancing crowd members for the encore, the Philly setlist and more below...

Continue reading "The Dismemberment Plan reunion is underway -- Philly setlist, DC & Fallon videos, updated dates (NYC this weekend)"

by BBG

National Christmas Tree
National Christmas Tree

The countdown is on until the lighting of the National Christmas tree!

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James will have the honor of performing at the 2010 National Christmas Tree Lighting. The event will be held [today] December 9th at 5pm EST on the Ellipse at President's Park in Washington DC. He will be joined by fellow performers B.B. King, Sara Bareilles, Maroon 5, and Jackie Evancho, and the evening will be hosted by rapper/actor Common. You can watch the ceremony live at www.thenationaltree.org or on public television throughout December. My Morning Jacket is currently recording a new full-length album, which will be released in 2011.
Aside from the news on the tree-lighting, there's a few interesting things in the above statement: Jim James is playing for the President and is recording a new LP with MMJ, former battle-rhymer Common is non-threatening enough to be a TV show host on PBS, and BB King, despite numerous facebook and twitter hoaxes, is alive.

As a matter of fact, BB King, who did not have a stroke, will begin another tour of the United States on New Years Eve in Atlantic City. The tour stretches into the end of April, and he tags Wellmont Theater on 1/6 along the way. Full tour dates for (not zombified) BB King are below, along with some videos...

Continue reading "Jim James singing @ the National Christmas Tree lighting (today online), B.B. King is touring (and alive) (dates)"


Henry Rollins, whose only upcoming 2010 show is a sort of live radio-but-not-radio KCRW show at the Echoplex in LA on December 9th, is turning 50 on February 13th, 2011. And to celebrate he'll be going out on spoken word tour entitled "50". All dates aren't announced yet, but they will include a special 50th birthday event in Henry's native Washington, DC on February 13, sandwiched between multiple-night runs at Joe's Pub in New York (February 8-12) and Largo in Los Angeles (February 16-19).

$35 tickets for the five NYC shows go on sale Friday, December 3rd, at noon - online and at the box office (or at 212-967-7555). "Hipster elite" beware.

In related stuff, check out part one of our interview w/ Keith Morris & Dimitri Coats. Part two is on the way.

photos by Jason House

Agnostic Front @ Santos Party House
Agnostic Front

Agnostic Front headlined Santos on 10/16 as part of their Victim In Pain anniversary tour, the same occasion that brought them to The Bell House in late February. Inhuman, Mother of Mercy, Product of Waste, and Our Gang supported the NYHC legends, and along with the standard post-stage-dive bruising, pit scarring, and hurt feelings, the show went off without a hitch. Unlike the DC9 show in Washington DC just days earlier:

Hardcore punk band Agnostic Front played at nightclub DC9 on October 14 as part of their "Victim in Pain Tour." The title of their tour would take on dark irony at about 2:30 a.m., when, following their performance, police found Ali Ahmed Mohammed splayed on the sidewalk just down the street. Five men who work at DC9 are accused of putting him there, after Mohammed threw a brick through one of DC9's windows. Metropolitan Police chief Cathy Lanier called the alleged violence "savage" and "vigilante justice."

...[Skip Coburn of the D.C. Nightlife Association is] careful to say everyone will have to wait for the facts to emerge, but Coburn repeats some of the rumors that have circulated within the pro-DC9 crowd: That the five men who chased Mohammed--Spieler and employees Darryl Carter, Reginald Phillips, Evan Preller, and Arthur Zaloga--after he shattered the club's window in retaliation for not being let in had merely tackled him. That they let him go after, and Mohammed walked away unharmed. That police arrived on the scene to arrest a conscious and alert Mohammed who somehow, later on, died in police custody. And, most importantly, that a recording of a 911 call placed to police that night would exonerate the defendants. The defendants' attorneys also say their clients are innocent of the charges the police originally made, and that once the facts are out, that'll be clear to everyone.

But a police source involved in the investigation into Mohammed's death says those rumors are likely wishful thoughts on the part of DC9 fans. (The source spoke on condition of anonymity because he's not authorized to talk publicly about the case.) He says it's unlikely that Mohammed died merely of a tackle, and that he would bet that a least one of the five arrested will face murder charges. He also claims, as do recently filed charging documents, that the first officer on the scene began administering CPR to Mohammed... -[Washington City Paper]

Shitty. More details on the investigation as they arise. More pictures from the NYC Show are below...

Continue reading "Agnostic Front played Santos (pics) --- man murdered in DC?"

photos by Justina Villanueva


A Swans concert is not a democracy.

During its Wednesday night performance at the Black Cat, the New York City-based sextet -- newly re-christened after a 15-year hiatus -- tried to wrest control of the audience's senses. Swans wanted the air-conditioning off, the house lights on, and the volume maxed-out. Song requests were not taken. Even the line for the merchandise table was straight and orderly with a sign decreeing which credit cards were acceptable. If noise-rock has a political hierarchy, Swans would be the generalissimo.

...In concert, the band stuck to unflinching intensity. For more than an hour Swans performed at jet-engine volume, drawing out songs from the most savage reaches of its back catalog, like "Your Property" from 1984's "Cop." "You deform me/ you own me/I worship your authority," bellowed Gira. He stalked the stage, slapped himself in the face, and clutched tightly to an electric guitar.

But Gira has a tender side, too. Each CD that Swans sell on tour comes autographed by the singer at no extra charge. It's personal touch from Gira, available to all of his fans -- washed or unwashed, hip or unhip, on credit or debit. -[Washington Post]

As noted yesterday with a video from their first reunion show in Philly, Swans are back and on the road. The show last night at The Black Cat in Washington DC was their second reunion show. Tonight in Boston will be their third, Pop Montreal is coming soon, and eventually two shows will happen in NYC too (both now sold out).

More pictures and a video from The Black Cat show, and two more videos from the Troc, below...

Continue reading "Swans played the Black Cat in DC (pics & video) "

photos by Brook Bobbins

Lauryn Hill

Okay, so everyone advertised did perform. But it sure was a nail-biter. Lauryn Hill, the eccentric erstwhile Fugee who has mostly stayed out of sight since her lone solo album, 1998's still-scintillating R&B masterpiece "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," was clearly the lineup's chief curiosity. When it comes to her behavior over the past decade there's been no rumor too bizarre to believe. Sunday's rumor was a doozy, and it was true -- she really was three hours late to the stage because she was getting a manicure-pedicure. Suddenly, the attempt by her former band mate Wyclef Jean to become president of Haiti doesn't seem quite so self-centered.

As her 4:30 start time approached, the elaborate stage plot was ready to go. And then . . . nothing. A 10-minute wait became a half-hour, which became a full hour. Scattered heckles became heavy boos as the stage was broken down at 5:30... Her toenails apparently dry, Lauryn Hill [finally performed later], but she probably shouldn't have bothered. The performance was a messy rush through highlights from "Miseducation," but they were hardly recognizable due to her hoarse voice, speedy delivery and clunky, overstuffed arrangements. Hill wasn't lacking for energy, just focus. The feedback on her microphone was ear-splitting; special guest Nas came out for a 45-second cameo, and his microphone wasn't working for half of it. After 20 minutes she departed to an equal mix of cheers and boos, seemingly oblivious as to why anyone might be upset.

...As headliner Snoop Dogg's stage props were assembled -- that would be a large video screen and a park bench covered in 40s in brown paper bags -- and the clock began ticking toward the venue's 11 p.m. curfew, the chatter started again. As a general rule of thumb, chatter at hip-hop shows is not a good thing. Where's Snoop? He was in New York performing at a Michael Jackson tribute show earlier in the day and at 10:45 p.m. was nowhere to be seen. Boos, again.

He did finally emerge, wearing what seemed to be your grandmother's old kitchen tablecloth and performed a truncated version of his iconic gangsta rap album "Doggystyle."... He mostly stayed true to character, never smiling -- maybe he was too focused reading his lyrics off teleprompters -- but his listless performance gave off the vibe that he'd rather be somewhere else. Like, New York. Snoop drawled over the atomic G-funk of "What's My Name?" as the house lights went on -- the venue's not-so-subtle way of saying, "It's time for you to go now." It's hard to think Snoop minded too much. -[Washington Post]

I was wondering if Snoop's afternoon appearance in Prospect Park was really a good idea. There were significantly less complaints from the Rock the Bells show that happened one day earlier on Governors Island in NYC. Lauryn was only 30 minutes late.

Pictures from Rock the Bells NYC HERE, HERE, and a third set continued (we don't have pictures from DC), below...

Continue reading "Rock the Bells DC didn't go so smooth ++ more pics from NYC"

by BBG

Government Issue

Government Issue was an American hardcore punk band from Washington, D.C. active from 1980 to 1989. The band experienced many changes in membership during its nine-year existence, with singer John Stabb as the only consistent member in an ever-fluctuating lineup that at various times included notable musicians Brian Baker, Mike Fellows, Steve Hansgen, J. Robbins, and Peter Moffett. Government Issue originated from the Washington, D.C. hardcore scene but added elements of heavy metal, New Wave, and psychedelic rock on later records. Though this has caused the band to be sometimes overlooked in relation to other Washington, D.C. hardcore acts, their stylistic diversity made them influential to later punk rock groups. -[Wiki]
Government Issue will reunite for a single show in DC at The Black Cat on December 11th with The Goons and Set To Explode, their first show in 21 years. The band, which will feature John Stabb, J. Robbins, Tom Lyle, and Pete Moffett, will play the venue as part of a benefit for DJ Stereo Faith (aka Steven McPherson of the defunct DC band Brace), a local DJ who is recovering from removal of a tumor from his auditory canal. Tickets are on sale. If you can't make it to the show, you can paypal donations for Steven McPherson to keepingthestereofaith (AT) gmail DOT com.

words and photos by BBG

"Preparing to lose my shit, find it, lose it again for Scream, harDCore legends, tonight at Knitting Factory..." - krucoff

Scream's Pete Stahl (also Goatsnake, Wool) on stage @ Knitting Factory

Scream played an NYC reunion show on Friday (July 2) alongside Lionize (mem Clutch), Dykstra, and Chron Turbine. The show was Scream's first in the NYC area in 20+ years, but the band was definitely able to pull off their fastest hardcore jams, easily my favorite moments of the night/material, with precision. Having been at Faith No More earlier in the night, I unfortunately missed all openers.

Scream reunited in the tail end of last year and played landmark DC club 9:30's 30th anniversary celebration where, unlike in NYC, they were joined by a special guest ...

"Fans in the house on Monday probably won't forget Dave Grohl's surprise set anytime soon. He took the stage solo to perform the Foo Fighters' hit "Everlong" before being joined by his bandmates from Scream - the Washington punk troupe Grohl played with before he joined Nirvana.

"It might be a club and there might be a music scene that revolves around it," Grohl said backstage after his set. "But honestly, tonight is really like family. I'm seeing people I haven't seen for 15 years that I used to spend every weekend with." - [Washington Post]

Congrats to 9:30. As an ex-DC resident, I must say I miss that putrid, foul, old place.

Scream played DC again on July 4th (two days after the Brooklyn show) as part of the 41st Annual Smoke In. More pics from Brooklyn below....

Continue reading "Scream played DC & Knitting Factory in Brooklyn (pics)"

by BBG

Magma in 1979

Led by classically trained drummer Christian Vander, the Paris-based Magma have been, in their way, perhaps the ultimate progressive rock group; while other artists have achieved greater commercial success and critical acclaim, Magma have typified the many ambitions and excesses of the genre that won them as many detractors as fans, even going so far as to invent their own lyrical and musical language in order to bring their unique vision to life...

As outlined on the group's eponymous 1970 double-album debut, Vander's tale -- projected to be told over the course of ten LPs -- pitted Earth against a rival planet named Kobaia. Over the course of 1971's 1,001 Centigrade and 1973's Mekanïk Destructïw Kommandoh (recorded with a choir), the story -- much of it told in native Kobaian -- unfolded to depict an Earth so uninhabitable that its citizens must flee to the nearby planet, where years of conflict culminated in the achievement of cosmic harmony and a reconciliation with the deity Ptäh. Chart success was not forthcoming, and after a few early tours of the U.S. and Britain Magma spent the middle years of the decade almost exclusively in France, where they launched records including 1974's Kohntarkosz and the next year's Live. After the commercial failure of 1976's Üdü Wüdü and 1977's Inédits, Magma essentially disbanded, although the group lived on in various forms, as alumni founded a number of loosely affiliated splinter groups to carry on Vander's work... -[allmusic]

The proggy purveyors of zeuhl, Magma, reformed in the 90s and will play Highline Ballroom in NYC on September 20th. Tickets are on sale. The NYC show is one of two US dates scheduled thus far. The other happens in Washington DC two days earlier as part of the The Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music...
The Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music was initiated by the American Composers Forum (ACF) in 2001 to provide DC's music and art communities with the opportunity to sample experimental and avant-garde electronic music, with an emphasis on improvisation and artistic use of new technologies.

Now celebrating its tenth year, Sonic Circuits programs music year round and presents the best in electro-acoustic compositions, free jazz, improv, noise rock, electronic drone and experimental folk, as well as live video and film programs, from DC area artists and from around the world.

The full festival schedule, which also includes Fennesz, Univers Zero, Miriodor, The Muffins, Merzbow and many others, is below.

Magma is touring on the backs of their second LP since their return to the stage, Ëmëhntëtt-Ré, out now via Seventh Records. Stream three songs at the Seventh Records site. All tour dates and some video below...

Continue reading "French prog band Magma are coming to the US (dates), playing NYC (tix on sale) & Sonic Circuits in DC (full lineup)"

by BBG


Scream was formed in Northern Virginia in 1981 by singer Peter Stahl, his brother Franz Stahl on guitar, bassist Skeeter Thompson and drummer Kent Stax. They are considered one of the benchmark bands in the history of the Washington, D.C. hardcore music movement. Along with bands such as Minor Threat and Government Issue, Scream ultimately merged the attributes of the movement, which were blinding speed, heavy political and social connotations in the lyrics, unpretentiousness of attitude, and shunning of commercialism...

For their second album Scream added another guitarist to their line-up, Robert Lee "Harley" Davidson, (a veteran of the local heavy metal band Tyrant, who later became know as Saint Vitus), to thicken up the sound in the studio and in their live performances.

After the 3rd album Banging the Drum, Kent Stax left the band for personal reasons and was replaced by local drummer Dave Grohl, who then played on Scream's 4th album No More Censorship... Scream then recorded their 5th and final studio album Fumble, (which was much later released in 1993 on Dischord Records) and then called it quits in late 1990. Pete and Franz moved to North Hollywood and gave rock a major-label shot with the band Wool, while Grohl joined Nirvana... In 1997, Franz Stahl joined Dave Grohl's newly formed group, the commercially successful Foo Fighters, for a two year stint. During this time Pete Stahl [continued] to record albums with several bands, including the Earthings? and Goatsnake.

Goatsnake reunited at Roadburn. Scream reunited late last year for a DC show at Black Cat (co-owned by Dave Grohl), and will be in NYC to play the Knitting Factory on July 2nd with Lionize (mem Clutch). Tickets are on sale.

Two days later, on Independence Day, Scream will take part in the 41st Annual Smoke In at the National Mall in Washington DC. The flyer for that, with Some videos from the Scream reunion (with Brian Baker of Minor Threat/Dag Nasty/Bad Religion) at Black Cat are below...

Continue reading "reunited Scream playing NYC & the 4th of July DC Smoke-In "

words by Andrew Frisicano, photos by Tim Griffin

Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon, wearing an arm sling because of a dislocated shoulder, played three shows in NYC over the weekend (3/16 & 3/17). The first was a performance at 979 Broadway Backyard, an open lot in Bushwick, Brooklyn under the M train. The spacious spot was a mixture of rocky terrain, freshly cut grass and refuse-laced rubble. Amazingly, even with stage diving through most of the show and Dan Deacon's constant dancing instructions that sent people running across the space, there weren't any (more) major injuries (that I know of) from falling on the dark, uneven ground.

Acoustically, Deacon and the band sounded much better than at their Brooklyn Masonic Temple performance last December (didn't see NYU in April). "The ensemble," as Deacon referred to his band throughout the night, played clearly, with a sound that added nuance to Deacon's usual overblown-synth sound.

Dan Deacon stood on stage all set and filled the space between songs with instructions for dancing, rants about elves, warnings about stavediving (particularly after someone knocked his gear on to the front row) and appreciation to the neighborhood. The heavy crowd participation (singing, making people-bridges, dancing in a circle) came off as genuine and matched the spirit of the ad hoc venue (which I'm sure took a lot of cooperation to get together), its summer-fest vibe and the energetic crowd.

Teeth Mountain and Future Islands opened the show. One commenter writes that "homosexuals were an unannounced special guest, right at 6:15."

The second and third Dan Deacon shows of the weekend were at the Bowery Ballroom on Saturday, March 16th. How were they? On Sunday he played the 9:30 Club in DC, and like they did for Animal Collective, NPR recorded and is streaming the whole show.

More pictures from the Friday show with all tour dates from Dan Deacon's upcoming European tour, below...

Continue reading "Dan Deacon played Broadway Backyard in Bushwick (pics), Bowery Ballroom & the 9:30 Club (NPR stream) "

photo by C. Taylor Crothers
Flaming Lips

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips surfing the crowd on the Mall in his giant bubble.

The Earth Day On The National Mall event was emceed by Chevy Chase. Other prominent speakers included actor Matthew Modine and actress Joy Bryant, Kathleen Rogers, President of the Earth Day Network, Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor and others. Performers included The Flaming Lips, Los Lobos, moe., and DJ Spooky.

A larger version of the photo can be seen HERE. Videos from Sunday's event (4/19), below...

Continue reading "The Flaming Lips played The National Mall in DC - pic, videos"

The Flaming Lips @ Webster Hall '06
The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips are playing a free show on Sunday, April 19th in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Earth Day Network/Green Apple Fest show also has moe., Los Lobos, DJ Spooky and others on the bill. Chevy Chase is acting as emcee, and the entire event will be streamed online, from 1-6pm that day, via EarthDayTV.net

Other cities, including New York, will also be hosting Green Apple Earth Day weekend events on April 17th - 19th. So far, the only official NYC concert planned is an Earth-Day-volunteer-only "thank you" show with Deep Banana Blackout at the Bowery Ballroom on Sunday, April 19th.

Green Apple Fest brought acts like Islands and Ghostface to different NYC venues on Earth Day weekend in 2006. Last year the Fest with the Earth Day Network coordinated concerts in eight different cities. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder and Big Head Todd and the Monsters played the New York one.

Also this summer, the Flaming Lips will be playing the Pitchfork Festival on Sunday, July 19. The band is also co-curating and headlining a night of ATP NY in September.

All upcoming Flaming Lips dates, with the full Earth Day fest press release, below...

Continue reading "The Flaming Lips playing Earth Day in DC & streaming online"

Yo Yo Ma

Millions of viewers heard a recording of the dulcet tones played by a celebrated quartet of musicians at President Barack Obama's inauguration rather than the notes the group actually played.

Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, says the weather was too cold for the instruments to stay in tune. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Izhak Perlman, pianist Gabriella Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill made the decision on Inauguration Day Tuesday to use an audio tape of their performance that they had laid down two days earlier.

Florman says the musicians "very insistant on playing live until it became clear that it would be too cold," making it impossible for the instruments to hold tune. People sitting near them could hear the musicians play, but their instruments were not amplified. [AP]

That may also explain why Yo Yo was using his normal cello instead of the high-tech, carbon-fiber one the NY Times reported he would be using.

Video of the "performance" below...

Continue reading "Yo Yo Ma didn't actually kill it - Izhak Perlman & friends played the Inauguration to taped music"

words & photos by Bao Nguyen

Arcade Fire and Obama
Arcade Fire and Obama

...this was the Obama Staff Ball - the final official event put on by the Presidential Inauguration Committee. Arcade Fire and Jay-Z preformed. The actor Kal Penn, who everyone in the crowd knew as 'Kumar' took the stage. He was a surrogate for the campaign so he spent his time on stage outing by name all the staffers who 'tried to kill him' by texting while driving through snowbanks.

Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife Jill made an appearance and then President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage. The new president said something to the effect of,"You guys are great." To which someone next to us said,"Hire me!" Hm. Seems to be a theme developing. Free beer dude. [Mediabistro]

The culmination of my past six months of work on the Obama campaign resulted in an amazing night. The Obama Staff Ball, which was also the last official Inaugural event, was held last night (1/21) at the DC Armory. The crowd of about 4,000 people included Obama staff and their lucky 'plus ones'. There was an inspiring speech by President Obama and musical performances by both Arcade Fire and Jay-Z. Frankly, I could not ask for a better ending to my campaign experience. It was especially humbling to hear Win Butler constantly thank us for all the hard work we put into the campaign, telling us they were especially honored to have been asked to play this event. I will not bore you with the details of my life on the campaign, but suffice to say it has been the most memorable experience of my life. It's an experience that cannot be matched and we are reminded that we are in a sort of limbo everyday now that it's all over. As Win humorously remarked in the middle of the concert, "This is the funnest party I've been to for people who have all just lost their jobs".

By the time Jay-Z came on, I was mostly too busy having fun to remember I had a camera, so he's not in many pictures. Check out all of them, and Arcade Fire's setlist, below...

Continue reading "Arcade Fire, Jay-Z & President Obama @ the Obama Staff Ball (pictures & text by Bao Nguyen) (and the setlist)"

Arcade Fire

So how lucky it is to be one of the staffers working for President Barack Obama over these past two years?

Forget the fact that you worked for a presidential candidate who won (most don't). Or that you probably got tickets to join 1.5 million people at the Inauguration. Or that you got a 50 percent discount on $150 Inaugural Ball tickets. Or that you might have moved into a desk in the West Wing of the White House today.

It gets even better. Word out today is that Arcade Fire, the super-popular Indie rock group, has come to Washington to play a private party for Mr. Obama's staff members at The Armory. (Yep, hard to believe, there's going to be ANOTHER party celebrating Mr. Obama's election). Jay-Z is also performing. [NY Times]

Stay tuned for full coverage of this event from our very own Obama/BV staffer Bao Nguyen (now you know why there haven't been many pictures taken by Bao on this website over the past year). A few minutes ago Bao texted that Arcade Fire was covering their friend Bruce Springsteen's song "Born in the USA".

Bruce performed at a more-public Obama bash on Sunday, and his new new album is now streaming at NPR.

Ted Leo likes to cover Bruce too, and he performed in DC on Monday night.

Tonight is at least the third time Jay-Z performed during his visit to DC for Obama.

Kanye West also managed to get in on the festivities.

Arcade Fire's new DVD/movie Miroir Noir is available now. Art from that above, and below...

Continue reading "Arcade Fire playing for Obama staff as we speak (and Jay-Z), Bruce Springsteen's new album streaming @ NPR"

Itzahk Perlman, left, talks with cellist Yo-Yo Ma @ rehearsal
Yo Yo Ma

When the cellist Yo-Yo Ma takes to the inaugural stage on Tuesday [he is on that stage as I type this], the instrument he will have may take music enthusiasts by surprise. Black, with a single-piece body, neck and peg box, and with no scroll at the top, the cello is a high-tech carbon-fiber instrument designed to withstand the cold.

Created by Luis Leguia and his Massachusetts-based company, Luis and Clark, the cello is unaffected by temperature and humidity, which can crack or split the delicate antique instruments that professionals usually use. Mr. Ma plans to play his Luis and Clark cello if the weather warrants, said his manager, Mary Pat Buerkle. His other cello, a 1733 Montagnana from Venice, is worth more than $2 million. Mr. Ma will be playing a score by John Williams with Itzhak Perlman on violin, Gabriela Montero on piano and Anthony McGill on clarinet. Mr. Perlman could not be reached for comment. [NY Times]

UPDATE: It appears he didn't need to use the new cello.

Obama is now the president.

Ted Leo @ the Big Shoulders Ball @ the Black Cat in DC - Jan 19, 2009 (sara.h)
Ted Leo

"Last night I went to the Big Shoulders Ball at the Black Cat. The show was tons of fun and without all the pomp and cheese cubes. The ball was "thrift store formal." And it was a benefit too. Highlights: Ted Leo covering Pete Seeger and Curtis Mayfield. Andrew Bird's wondrous violin plucking that he looped and looped. Tortoise finding a rhythm and sticking to it. Ken Vandermark's tribute to Sun Ra. And Honeyboy Edwards showing how the blues used to be played." [Washington City Paper]
In addition to being Obama's Inauguration, today is also the release day for Andrew Bird's new album. All Andrew Bird dates HERE.

Ted Leo also recently played a bunch of covers at Market Hotel, and at Studio B.

Other shows that happened in DC last night were Frightened Rabbit at Rock and Roll Hotel, Jay-Z at Warner Theatre, and the Beastie Boys at 9:30 Club.

Obama is scheduled to take his oath of office at noon today (though they just said on TV that they might be running a little late). Aretha Franklin will sing "My Country Tis of Thee" shortly.

A recent video of Ted Leo playing Bruce Sprinsteen's "Dancing In The Dark" below...

Continue reading "Ted Leo, Andrew Bird, Tortoise & others played the Big Shoulders Ball in Washington DC last night"