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!