Thursday, December 1, 2005

Calexico, Iron & Wine, Salvador Duran (11.30.05)

the Band: Calexico, Iron & Wine, Salvador Duran
the Date: Wednesday November 30, 2005
the Venue: 9:30 Club (DC)

(Photo credit to Jeanie Forever and her Flickr page:

It was a cold and wet night and I had to stand in a line that snaked around the club to get in, but I couldn’t wait to see (for the first time) one of my favorite bands, Calexico. This was a split/mixed bill of sorts because Calexico and Iron & Wine were both the headliners because they were touring in support of their joint effort album, In the Reins, released earlier this year.

Calexico is a Tucson-based alt-country band with strong mariachi influences. The band consists of Joey Burns (vocals, guitars), John Convertino (drums), Paul Niehaus (steel pedal guitar), Jacob Valenzuela (trumpet), Martin Wenk (trumpet), and Volker Zander (bass). Iron & Wine is a Miami-based folk band consisting mainly of Sam Beam (vocals, guitar), his sister Sarah Beam (fiddle, vocals), and a few additional supporting band members.

The show featured individual performances by Calexico and Iron & Wine as well as one joint set with both bands playing together. There was also a special performance by Tucson, Arizona flamenco guitarist, Salvador Duran. Amazing performances all around.

Calexico played a bunch of new songs that are expected to be on their forthcoming album (I think next year). I can’t wait for that to come because these tunes were amazing. They also played a couple of my favorite tunes, Alone Again Or (from the Convict Pool EP) and Crystal Frontier (from Even My Sure Things Fall Through EP).

Iron & Wine slowed down the pace a bit with setlist that spanned their entire career including their album released last year, Our Endless Numbered Days, and their EP released this year, Woman King. I didn’t know too much about Sam and his crew, but I really enjoyed the tunes Hickory and Cinders and Smoke.

Then, Salvador Duran played while the two main acts took a brief respite. His music is true flamenco. Duran’s strong voice combined with the flair and machismo of his dance made this a memorable performance and valued complement to the other acts. His set was short, but amazing.

Finally, all the performers returned to the stage to play a combined set. The collective sounded magnificent. Sam’s soft vocals meshed beautifully with Calexico’s rhythms. They played songs from In the Reins along with a few covers. My favorite tunes were He Lays in the Reins, A History of Lovers, Wild Horses, and Always On My Mind (when the 9:30 Club lit the disco ball).

This was a night of great music.

A big thank you to NPR for recording this show … this can be found at:

(Photo credit to Jeanie Forever and her Flickr page:

Full setlist for Calexico: Yours and Mine / Panic Open String / Alone Again Or (Love cover) / Deep Down / Bisbee Blue / Crystal Frontier / All Systems Go

Full setlist for Iron & Wine: Hickory / Sodom, South Georgia / Cinder and Smoke / Evening on the Ground (Lilith’s Song) / On Your Wings / An Angry Blade / Woman King / The Trapeze Swinger

Full setlist for Salvador Duran: El Jinete / Barlovento / El Huasteco Enamorado

Full setlist for Calexico w/Iron & Wine: He Lays in the Reins / Red Dust / All Tomorrow’s Parties (Velvet Underground cover) / Prison on Route 41 / A History of Lovers / Always on My Mind (Brenda Lee - Elvis Presley - Willie Nelson cover) / Burn that Broken Bed / ENCORE / Wild Horses (Rolling Stones cover) / Dead Man’s Will

For all of the speed and the strength he gave ...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Nathaniel Mayer, the Black Keys (11.12.05)

the Band: Nathaniel Mayer, the Black Keys
the Date: Saturday November 12, 2005
the Venue: 9:30 Club (DC)

(Photo credit to Betsy Spruill and her Flickr page:

Nathaniel Mayer opened … but I missed him. Sorry, Nate.

The Black Keys were the headliners. Coming from Akron, Ohio, this minimalist rock duo, consisting of Dan Auerbach (vocals, guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums), completely rocked the 9:30 Club with their stripped-down, juke-joint sound.

I had been following these guys for a bit and after I saw their set at Lollapalooza earlier this summer, I was quickly becoming a fan. I had just picked up their DVD, The Black Keys Live, so I was pretty jazzed to see these guys. They absolutely did not disappoint. Patrick was ferocious on the drum kit while Dan tore away on the guitar, making the strings bend and moan to his every whim. Awesome show!

Their set included songs from The Big Come Up, Thickfreakness, and last year’s release, Rubber Factory. I enjoyed every tune, but my favorites of the evening were Girl is On My Mind, 10 A.M. Automatic, and Till I Get My Way (the last song of the encore).

Full setlist (not from this show, but from one around this time … sorry, best I can do): No Trust / Girl Is On My Mind / Thickfreakness / 10 A.M. Automatic / She Said, She Said (Beatles cover) / The Breaks / Busted / Stack Shot Billy / Grown So Ugly (Robert Pete Williams cover) / Everywhere I Go / Set You Free / Hard Row / Have Love Will Travel (Richard Berry cover) / ENCORE / Work Me Baby (Junior Kimbrough cover) / Till I Get My Way

I’ll take your hand and I’ll make you understand ...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Kathleen Edwards, My Morning Jacket (10.10.05)

the Band: Kathleen Edwards, My Morning Jacket
the Date: Monday October 10, 2005
the Venue: 9:30 Club (DC)

(Photo credit to John and his Flickr page:

Kathleen Edwards was great. A little bit of a Southern twang to her … even though I think she’s Canadian. Great start of the night!

The band I really wanted to see was My Morning Jacket. I caught their act down in Houston about a year ago and they blew my socks off. Now, they were here in my neck of the woods at the 9:30 Club and couldn’t be happier.

My Morning Jacket is a Southern rock band out of Kentucky and comprises of Jim James (vocals/guitar), Tom (a.k.a. Two-Tone Tommy) Blankenship (bass), Patrick Hallahan (drums), Carl Broemel (guitar), and Bo Koster (keyboard). My Morning Jacket is truly a powerful band. The combination of Jim James’ howls, big guitars, and the band’s luscious locks provided an amazing demonstration of Southern Rock and Roll!

They were touring in support of their latest album, Z, so the setlist heavily favored those tracks, but they were sure to include some tunes from their previous work as well. My favorite songs of the evening were Wordless Chorus (with which they opened), Gideon, Golden, One Big Holiday (absolutely MUST be heard live and might be my favorite MMJ tune), Run Thru (with which they closed the show, before the encore), Mahgeeta, and Anytime (with which they closed the encore).

Thankfully, NPR recorded the entire show and saved it here:

Full setlist for Kathleen Edwards: Independent Thief / Six O’Clock news / What Are You Waiting For / Good Things / In State / Copied Keys /12 Bellvue / Back to Me

Full setlist for My Morning Jacket: Wordless Chorus / It Beats for You / Gideon / One Big Holiday / The Way that He Sings / Golden (with Kathleen Edwards) / Sooner / What a Wonderful Man / Off the Record / Lay Low / Don Dante / Run Thru / ENCORE / At Dawn / I Think I’m Going to Hell / Northern Sky / Mahgeeta / Anytime

cause anytime’s a good time to move on ...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Leona Naess, Nickel Creek (10.09.05)

the Band: Leona Naess, Nickel Creek
the Date: Sunday October 9, 2005
the Venue: 9:30 Club (DC)

(Photo credit to Bret Salmons and his Flickr page:

Leona Naess opened, but I missed her set. Oops.

Nickel Creek was the headliner. They are a young, twenty-something bluegrass trio consisting of Chris Thile (vocals, mandolin), Sara Watkins (vocals, fiddle), and her brother Sean Watkins (vocals, guitar). I was turned on to these guys a few years ago and this was my first chance to see them live. I couldn’t wait.

They were on tour in support of their latest album, Why Should the Fire Die? Though the setlist focused on that album, fan-favorites from their previous two albums, Nickel Creek and This Side, were included in the mix. They even played a few covers including Radiohead’s Nice Dream and even Britney Spears’ Toxic. Strange but true. The whole show was full of great songs and lots of energy. They were just amazing! And, by the end of the night, I had totally developed a crush on Sara.

My favorite songs of the evening were When You Come Back Down (which might be my favorite Nickel Creek tune), Helena, Best of Luck (where Sara sang absolutely beautifully), Somebody More Like You, Scotch & Chocolate, and an amazing medley of Up on Cripple Creek and the Fox (played during the encore).

Full setlist (not for this show, but for a show around this time … sorry, best I can do): When in Rome / Reasons Why / Smoothie Song / Jealous of the Moon / Best of Luck / Somebody More Like You / In the House of Tom Bombadil / When You Come Back Down / Nice Dream (Radiohead cover) / First and Last Waltz / Helena / Anthony / This Side / Toxic (Britney Spears cover) / Stumptown / Out of the Woods / The Lighthouse’s Tale / Scotch & Chocolate / ENCORE / Up On Cripple Creek > The Fox > Up On Cripple Creek / Why Should the Fire Die?

I’ll keep lookin’ up, awaitin’ your return
My greatest fear will be that you will crash and burn ...

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Pixies (09.30.05)

the Band: Pixies
the Date: Friday September 30, 2005
the Venue: Sonar (Baltimore, MD)

(Photo credit to Frankie Two Thumbs and his Flickr page:

This was the fourth show of the greatest week of Rock n’ Roll of my life. Too bad my buddy, Joe, had already gone back to Indiana. As for me, it was a Friday night in a small club with my favorite band in the entire world, Pixies, and it was AMAZING!

The band consists of Frank Black (a.k.a. Black Francis, a.k.a. Charles Thompson; vocals/guitar), Kim Deal (a.k.a. Mrs. John Murphy; vocals/bass), Joey Santiago (guitar), and David Lovering (drums). I have been a HUGE fan for years. I distinctly remember when I was in high school, being first exposed to the Pixies via MTV’s 120 Minutes … I knew immediately that this was the kind of music I wanted to hear for the rest of my life. My adoration has grown stronger over the years, even during their nearly 12 year hiatus. I’m just glad they reunited and are touring the hell out of the world. I’ve seen them three times in the past year and now in Baltimore, I had yet another date with the Pixies.

Thankfully, I was able to score a ticket from a kind soul on Craigslist … she even sold it to me for face value! I got to the club as early as I could. I went right to the middle section toward the front. There was only one person in front of me! I’ve never been this close to any band before and here I was, so close to my favorite band, Pixies. This show was more intimate than I could have ever dreamed. It was a small club, a stripped down set, none of their lights or anything. Just the basic setup … nothing to distract from the pure sound and fury of the Pixies.

(Photo credit to Frankie Two Thumbs and his Flickr page:

They started slowly with In Heaven and Wave of Mutilation. Then they tore into Ed is Dead and never looked back. They ferociously moved from song to song. It was a blistering and energetic performance. My favorites were Where Is My Mind?, Nimrod’s Son, Vamos, Gouge Away, Isla De Encanta, U-Mass, Caribou, Planet of Sound, Subbacultcha, Debaser, Gigantic, and Into the White (with which they closed the night as the solitary encore tune). After the show, I drove back home to DC grinning all the way knowing that this was the best show I have or will ever see in my life … Goodnight, Kim. Goodnight, Charles. Goodnight, Joey. Goodnight, Dave. Goodnight, Everyone!

Full setlist: In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song) / Wave of Mutilation / Ed Is Dead / Cactus / Where Is My Mind? / Holiday Song / Nimrod’s Son / Winterlong / Is She Weird? / Mr. Grieves / Crackity Jones / Something Against You / Dead / Bone Machine / Vamos / Gouge Away / Broken Face / Isla De Encanta / U-Mass / Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf) / River Euphrates / Caribou / Planet of Sound / Monkey Gone to Heaven / Subbacultcha / Tame / Hey / Debaser / Gigantic / ENCORE / Into the White

Did you hear what I said? ...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mark Gardener, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (09.28.05)

the Band: Mark Gardener, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
the Date: Wednesday September 28, 2005
the Venue: 9:30 Club (DC)

(Photo credit to Black Rebel Motorcyle Club’s website)

This was the third show of the greatest week of Rock n’ Roll of my life. This time we were at DC’s 9:30 Club, one the best venues for live music … and, because he was still in town, I was able to share this continued journey with one of my best friends, Joe.

Mark Garderner was the opening act. He used to be in the band, Ride, the UK band that spearheaded the “shoegazer” movement. He played a 12-string guitar and was backed by another guitarist and female vocalist/keyboardist. They did a great job of setting the stage for the band we were all there to see.

The main act was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (or BRMC), the name of Marlon Brando’s biker gang in The Wild One. Based in Los Angeles, this band consisting of Peter Hayes (guitar, vocals), Robert Been (a.k.a. Robert Turner - bass, vocals), and Nick Jago (drums), combines distorted and acoustic guitars, raspy voices, and pounding drums. Think of The Jesus & Mary Chain and Velvet Underground.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was touring in support of their brand-spanking new release, Howl, but they also played tunes from their previous albums, B.R.M.C. and Take Them On, On Your Own. For the tour, they had a fourth member along for the ride, Spike Keating (guitar). Though I have never seen these guys live, I had always enjoyed their albums. Now, they were here and I couldn’t wait for them to get started.

Peter came out solo for the first couple of tunes from Howl with just an acoustic guitar and harmonica. Then, the rest of the band came out. The set was a great mix of new and old with Peter and Robert trading off the lead vocals role. They were incredible! As the set went on, the band became more and more intense. These boys are indescribable live. Simply put, Black Rebel Motorcycle Show is one band you must see before you die. As I left the club, all I was thinking is that I couldn’t wait to see them again.

(Photo credit to Black Rebel Motorcyle Club’s website)

One highlight of the evening, aside from all of the amazing tunes, was after the show, we were lucky enough to run into Peter Hayes just outside the club. Even though he was probably exhausted, just finishing an amazing performance and all, he was good natured enough to chat with us for a minute and pose for a picture with my buddy, Joe. Cool!

Full setlist (not from this show, but from a show around this time … sorry, best I can do): Complicated Situation / Fault Line / Devil’s Waitin’ / Shuffle Your Feet / Ain’t No Easy Way / Weight of the World / Love Burns / White Palms / Whatever Happened to My Rock n’ Roll (Punk Song) / As Sure As The Sun / Rise or Fall / Howl / Still Suspicion Holds You Tight / US Government / Sympathetic Noose / Promise / ENCORE / Spread Your Love / Stop / The Line / Gospel Song / Open Invitation

Whatever happened to our rock’n’roll? ...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

M. Ward, the Shins, the White Stripes (09.27.05)

the Band: M. Ward, the Shins, the White Stripes
the Date: Tue September 27, 2005
the Venue: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Columbia, MD)

(Photo credit to abearatemyparents and his Flickr page:

This was the second show of the greatest week of Rock and Roll in my life.  This time, we were at a beautiful outdoor venue with amazing seats in the pavilion … my buddy Joe was still in town to boot!  Awesome!

M. Ward and the Shins opened. They were okay, but we were too jazzed up for the main attraction, the White Stripes.

The White Stripes consists of the duo Jack White (vocals, guitar) and Meg White (drums). They were previously married, divorced, and now telling the world they are sister and brother (aren’t we all sisters and brothers after all?). They were on tour to promote their latest release, Get Behind Me Satan, but their setlist included tracks from their previous albums, The White Stripes, De Stijl, White Blood Cells, and Elephant. The show was easily one of the best I have ever seen ... EVER!

The White Stripes hail from Detroit and are all about the minimalist sound (drums + guitar + vocals).  With roots in classic rock, blues, and punk, these two put on a huge performance. Jack was absolutely shredding the guitar while Meg smashed the drum kit. They rocked the stage for over 90 minutes.  I loved every minute of it.  From the opening tune, Blue Orchid, to closing tune, Boll Weevil, the entire show was simply a magical experience!  One of my favorite tunes of the night was their take on the Dolly Parton song, Jolene.  This song must be heard live.

Thankfully, NPR recorded the show and has made it available on the web at

(Photo credit to abearatemyparents and his Flickr page:

Full setlist: Blue Orchid / Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground / I Think I Smell A Rat / Jolene (Dolly Parton cover) / My Doorbell / Cannon > Lafayette Blues / Black Math / Passive Manipulation / Wasting My Time / Death Letter / Hotel Yorba / Rated X / Apple Blossom / The Denial Twist / I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart / Red Rain / Sister Do You Know My Name? / We're Going To Be Friends / Now Mary / In the Cold Cold Night / Little Ghost / Cannon / I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself / Ball and Biscuit / The Nurse / ENCORE / The Hardest Button to Button / St. James Infirmary Blues / Dying Crapshooters Blues / Seven Nation Army / Boll Weevil

It’s quite possible I’m your third man, Girl
But it’s a fact that I’m the seventh son ...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

the Features, Kings of Leon (09.24.05)

the Band: the Features, Kings of Leon
the Date: Saturday September 24, 2005
the Venue: Sonar (Baltimore, MD)

(Photo credit to Robert Fearless and his Flickr page:

This was the first night of what would be one of the best weeks of Rock n’ Roll I would ever experience. One of my best friends, Joe, just flew into town. I picked him up at the airport, dropped his stuff off at my apartment, and then headed straight to Baltimore to catch the Kings of Leon at a small club called Sonar.

The Kings of Leon are a Tennessee band made up of three brothers, Caleb, Jared, and Nathan Followill, and a cousin, Matthew Followill.

I saw this band just about a month ago at the 9:30 Club and they were awesome. I was really amped up to see them in a smaller environment like Sonar. It had been advertised as the “Sin City Tour,” and was sponsored by Camel Cigarettes. The club was full of scantily clad exotic dancers and some pseudo-casino decorations. The opening act was the Features, another Tennessee band. They were pretty good. Between acts, the go-go dancers took the stage, sauntering around in saloon-reminiscent lingerie … guess we needed to be reminded about the sin.

(Photo credit to Robert Fearless and his Flickr page:

Once the Kings of Leon took the stage, they raced from song to song covering both their first and second albums, Youth and Young Manhood, and Aha Shake Heartbreak. These Tennessee boys had the entire crowd dancing, clapping, and singing along. It was a ferocious set! Though I’m not a big fan of Camel Cigarettes, they can bring their Sin City Tour to my neighborhood any time they want.

Full setlist (not from this show, but from a show around this time … sorry, best I can do): Molly’s Chambers / Taper Jean Girl / Pistol of Fire / Wasted Time / Razz / The Bucket / Soft / Milk / Four Kicks / Velvet Snow / King of the Rodeo / California Waiting / Spiral Staircase / Head to Toe / Slow Night, So Long / Trani

Always remember the pact that we made
Too young to die but old is the grave ...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sound Team, M83, Mates of State, the Walkmen (09.22.05)

the Band: Sound Team, M83, Mates of State, the Walkmen
the Date: Thursday September 22, 2005
the Venue: Numbers Night Club (Houston, TX)

I was in Houston for work (again) and had picked up some tickets to what should have been an amazing show. Sound Team, M83, Mates of State, and the Walkmen were all supposed to play at a little club called Numbers. But, Hurricane Rita decided to scare the living bejeezuz out of everyone, making them run for the hills … er the highways at least. Word is that all the bands got stuck in traffic. Show was cancelled.

Damn you, Rita! Damn you!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Helio Sequence, Secret Machines & Kings of Leon (08.11.05)

the Band: Helio Sequence, Secret Machines, Kings of Leon
the Date: Thursday August 11, 2005
the Venue: 9:30 Club (DC)

(Photo credit to Joel Didriksen and his Flickr page:

Helio Sequence opened. Two guys, drums and guitar/harmonica playing to backing tracks. They were pretty good.

Then Secret Machines came on. Made up of brothers, Brandon and Benjamin Curtis, and Josh Garza, they never fail to put on a dazzling live set. They played almost 75-minutes, nailing their hits from last year’s release, Now Here Is Nowhere, as well as an absolutely breathtaking cover of Bob Dylan’s Girl from North Country. They were simply awesome!

(Photo credit to Brian Vetter and his Flickr page:

Kings of Leon were last to come on. This was my first time seeing this band. These Tennessee boys, consisting of brothers Anthony Caleb Followill (vocals/guitar), Ivan Nathan Followill (drums) and Michael Jared Followill (bass), with their cousin Cameron Matthew Followill (guitar), completely rawked! I think they played nearly every song they’ve got from their two albums, Youth and Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak released earlier this year. They put on an amazing show! I really liked all their tunes, but the standouts for me were Molly’s Chambers, Milk, California Waiting, Spiral Staircase, Holy Roller Novocaine and Slow Night, So Long (with which they closed the evening).

Full setlist for Secret Machines: Now Here is Nowhere / Sad and Lonely / Pharaoh’s Daughter / Daddy’s in the Doldrums / Lightning Blue Eyes / Harmonia / De Luxe (Immer Wieder) / I Hate Pretending / Girl From North Country (Bob Dylan cover) / Chains / The Road Leads to Where It’s Led / First Wave Intact

Full setlist for Kings of Leon: Molly’s Chambers / Taper Jean Girl / Pistol of Fire / Wasted Time / Razz / Bucket / Soft / Milk / Rememo / 4 Kicks / Velvet Snow / King of the Rodeo / Where Nobody Knows / California Waiting / Spiral Staircase / Happy Alone / Trani / Holy Roller Novocaine / Head to Toe / Slow Night, So Long

She saw my comb over her hourglass body ...