Monday, November 8, 2010

the Black Angels, Black Mountain (11.07.10)

the Band: the Black Angels, Black Mountain
the Date: Sunday November 7, 2010
the Venue: 9:30 Club (DC)

(Photo credit to Steve “FiZ” VanSickle)

This was the Dropout Boogie Tour, split-bill with the Black Angels and Black Mountain. We only watched the Black Angels cuz I’m getting old and I need my sleep … especially on a school night.

The Black Angels is a psychedelic rock band out of Austin, Texas. The current line-up consists of Stephanie Bailey (drums), Christian Bland (guitar, bass), Kyle Hunt (keyboards, bass, guitar), Alex Maas (vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards), and Nate Ryan (bass, guitar). I had seen these guys a few times before and was really looking forward to this show. My brother-in-law, who’s also in a psychedelic rock band, went with me … this was cool.

The setlist had a grand total of 16 songs! The Black Angels pulled songs from all three albums, but slightly favored their new album that was released in September of this year called Phosphene Dream as well as their first album Passover. Every song was beautifully drenched in reverb and distortion providing an excellent psychedelic experience. Stephanie completely destroyed the drum kit while Alex’s vocals were never lost in the mix of fuzzy guitars. The show was amazing, long, and ferocious! Wow.

My favorites of the evening were You on the Run, Bad Vibrations, Black Grease, The First Vietnamese War, and their last tune, Young Men Dead. This was simply an amazing show!

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson)

Full setlist (not from this show, but from one around this time … sorry, best I can do): You on the Run / Bloodhounds on My Trail/ Bad Vibrations / Entrance Song/ Mission District / Manipulation / Yellow Elevator #2 / Black Grease / Science Killer / The First Vietnamese War / Haunting at 1300 McKinley / The Sniper / Better Off Alone / Phosphene Dream / Telephone / Young Men Dead

with a drop of blood
you will take them out, for me …

Thursday, November 4, 2010

White Rabbits, Interpol (11.03.10)

the Band: White Rabbits, Interpol
the Date: Wednesday November 3, 2010
the Venue: DAR Constitution Hall (DC)

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson)

White Rabbits opened. They were amazing. White Rabbits is a six-piece indie rock band based in Brooklyn. The members are Alexander Even (guitar, vocals), Brian Betancourt (bass), Matthew Clark (drums, additional percussion), Jamie Levinson (drums), Gregory Roberts (vocals, guitar), and Stephen Patterson (vocals, piano). They played a lot of tunes from their recent album, It’s Frightening (produced by Spoon’s Britt Daniel - I saw White Rabbits open for Spoon back in 2008). This was a perfect opener for the night … I knew it was going to be a great night of music.

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson)

Interpol was the main event! They were awesome!

Interpol is an indie post-punk rock band out of New York. I’ve seen them a few times before and they’ve always amazed. This time around they were without Carlos D (he left the band earlier this year). The current line-up consisted of Paul Banks (vocals, guitar), Daniel Kessler (guitar, vocals), Sam Fogarino (drums), David Pajo (bass), and Brandon Curtis (keyboard, vocals). I think Brandon Curtis is only a member during the tour … he’s also in the band The Secret Machines, another great band.

The set all four of their studio albums, Turn on the Bright Lights, Antics, Our Love to Admire, and their recent, self-titled release, Interpol. From the very start, Interpol put on a great show with tons of energy, especially Daniel who danced with his guitar the entire night. There were so many great tunes, but my favorites were Say Hello to the Angels, Narc, PDA, Lights, Evil, and the final encore song, Slow Hands. Without question, the highlight of the night was their new song, Lights, which sounded fantastic and Paul’s most powerful performance of the night. Just superb!

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson)

Full setlist: Success / Say Hello to the Angels / Narc / Hands Away / Summer Well / Rest my Chemistry / PDA / C’mere / Untitled / Barricade / Take You on a Cruise / Lights / Evil / Try On / Not Even Jail / ENCORE / The Lighthouse / Length of Love / Slow Hands

you make me want to pick up a guitar
and celebrate the myriad ways that I love you …

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Justin Jones, Guster (10.23.10)

the Band: Justin Jones, Guster
the Date: Saturday October 23, 2010
the Venue: DAR Constitution Hall (DC)

(Photo credit to Elizabeth S and her Flickr page:

Justin Jones opened. He’s a solo, singer/song-writer. We had seen this guy before - back in 2007 when he played at a clothing store in Georgetown (kind of weird, but kind of cool too). He’s got a nice sound. Nice way to start out the night.

Guster was the headliner. They were simply awesome. The band now consists of Ryan Miller (vocals/guitar), Adam Gardner (vocals/guitar), Brian Rosenworcel (drums), Luke Reynolds (bass), and “Scooter” Laubacher (drums). Luke is the recent addition since, Joe Pisapia left the band earlier this year to tour with K.D. Lang with whom he had been writing songs. Luke was great and a welcome addition. The crowd was chanting “Luuuuuuuuke” throughout the night.

I have been a Guster fan for years now and have seen them many times. They never fail to please the crowd. This show did not disappoint. It was a fun, upbeat, and energetic show. We really had a blast.

The setlist consisted of a great mix of good ol’ fan favorites and newer tunes from Easy Wonderful, the band’s recent release. My favorites of the night were Barrel of a Gun (including the Guster fan tradition of counting down with their fingers … 4, 3, 2, 1), This Could All Be Yours, Satellite, Happier, Either Way (this is just a beautiful song), Airport Song (where Guster fans shouted “so dirty” and threw ping pong balls onstage at the appropriate moments), and Hang On.

Before the first encore, they successfully coaxed the audience to get “the wave” going around the concert hall as if we were in a football stadium … while this was happening Luke played an impromptu version of Wipeout. Hilarious!

Guster closed the night by walking out into the middle of the crowd playing an acoustic version of Jesus on the Radio. I heard that following this, they ran around the outside of the venue playing additional songs unplugged while fans chased them around … but we missed this because we just left after JOTR.

(Photo credit to the Aardvark and his Flickr page:

Full setlist: The Captain / Architects & Engineers / Barrel of a Gun / This Could All Be Yours / Demons / Beginning of the End / Satellite / Do You Love Me? / That’s No Way to Get to Heaven / Bad, Bad World / Backyard Play / Come Downstairs and Say Hello / What You Call Love / Amsterdam / Either Way / Happier / G Major / Airport Song / ENCORE 1 / Wipeout (cover) / Careful / Manifest Destiny / Hang On/My Life (cover) / ENCORE 2 / Jesus on the Radio

you were almost kind
you were almost true
don’t let me see that other side of you …

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Spoon, Arcade Fire (08.06.10)

the Band: Spoon, Arcade Fire
the Date: Friday August 6, 2010
the Venue: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Columbia, MD)

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson)

Spoon opened. Now bear in mind, these guys are no mere opening act. The Austin band, composed of Britt Daniels (vocals/guitar), Jim Eno (drums), Rob Pope (bass), and Eric Harvey (keyboard/guitar/percussion), played a full hour-long set of tunes pulled from the band’s expansive career including their most recent release, Transference.  Spoon has always been one of those bands that can back up great albums with a great live show. Britt and the boys did not disappoint. Even though it was still light out these guys absolutely rocked. Some of my favorites were Don’t You Evah, I Turn My Camera On, Don’t Make Me a Target, and You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb. What an amazing start to the night. We love Spoon.

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson)

Arcade Fire was the main event … and the main event was spectacular! The band, based in Montreal, is fronted by the husband and wife duo of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne. Other members include Richard Reed Parry, William Butler, Tim Kingsbury, Sarah Neufeld, and Jeremy Gara. One of the amazing things about Arcade Fire is that they all switch instrumental duties throughout their shows almost giving an illusion of chaos. As my wife likes to describe them, they are the Cirque du Soleil of indie rock.

They were touring in support of their new album just released a few days prior, The Suburbs. Some of the kinks still needed to be worked out with the new songs because the band had to abandon Half Light II (No Celebration) just after the first verse because of a drum machine malfunction. Oops.

Over the course of 95 minutes, Arcade Fire played a great mix of material from all four of their albums. Soaring, emotional, frenzied, and thoroughly enjoyable.  Arcade Fire puts so much energy into their performance. It was an awesome show!

One funny moment towards the end of the night, someone had tossed a bra onto the stage ... Régine left her post, walked to the front of the stage, picked up the bra, and flung it back to the owner saying "This isn't 1987 and we're not Poison!"  My wife loved it!

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson)

Though I thoroughly enjoyed the new songs, my favorites of the evening leaned toward the older tunes like Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), Neighborhood #2 (Laika), No Cars Go, Haiti (we just love Régine and seeing her waive her impovershed and earthquake-stricken country's flag was very moving), Neighborhood #3 (Power Out), Rebellion (Lies), Keep the Car Running, and of course, Wake Up. I have to say that singing Wake Up at the very end of the night alongside thousands of fans at Merriweather was truly a magical moment.

Full setlist for Spoon: The Mystery Zone (acoustic) / Nobody Gets Me But You / Rhythm and Soul / Don’t You Evah / Written in Reverse / Got Nuffin / The Ghost of You Lingers / Modern World (Wolf Parade cover) / I Turn My Camera On / Trouble Comes Running / I Summon You / Don’t Make Me a Target / The Underdog / You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb / Black Like Me

Full setlist for Arcade Fire: Ready to Start / Month of May / Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) / The Well and the Lighthouse / Half Light II (No Celebration) [only the first verse played due to drum machine failure] / Neighborhood #2 (Laika) / No Cars Go / Haiti / Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) / The Suburbs/The Suburbs (Continued) / Modern Man / Rococo / Intervention / We Used to Wait / Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) / Rebellion (Lies) / ENCORE / Keep the Car Running / Wake Up

children wake up
hold your mistake up
before they turn the summer into dust …


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the Morning Benders, the Black Keys (07.26.10)

the Band: the Morning Benders, the Black Keys
the Date: Monday July 26, 2010
the Venue: DAR Constitution Hall (DC)

(Photo credit to Chris Svetlik)

The Morning Benders opened. They were cool. We were surprised they were able to stay out so late on a school night … I mean, these guys seriously have baby faces. They were cool though. I really liked the tune they closed with, Excuses.

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson)

The Black Keys were simply amazing. Dan Auerbach (vocals/guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums) are from Akron, Ohio. The blues-inspired, low-fi, modern-rock duo are one of the BEST live acts around.

Much of the first half of the show focused on the older stuff. Awesome! Then, they were joined by a bassist and keyboardist for the newer tunes off the band’s newest album, Brothers. Double-awesome! These Ohio boys did not hold back. Patrick’s performance was flawless. He absolutely destroyed the drum kit and by the end of the night was completely drenched with sweat. Dan’s gritty guitar playing along with his bluesy howling and wailing were simply amazing. All in all, the show was a great mix of tunes and an impressive display of the band’s expansive talent.

My favorites of the night were Girl Is On My Mind, Stack Shot Billy, Strange Times, Chop and Change, Tighten Up, Your Touch, and Till I Get My Way.

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson)

Full setlist: Thickfreakness / Girl Is on My Mind / 10 A.M. Automatic / The Breaks / Stack Shot Billy / Busted / Everywhere I Go / Strange Times / Same Old Thing / Everlasting Light / Next Girl / Chop and Change / Howlin’ for You / Tighten Up / She’s Long Gone / Ten Cent Pistol / Your Touch / I Got Mine / ENCORE / Too Afraid to Love You / Sinister Kid / Till I Get My Way

Try to ignore, try to unwind
She is on my mind …

Sunday, June 6, 2010

the Whigs, Kings of Leon (06.05.10)

the Band: the Whigs, Kings of Leon
the Date: Saturday June 5, 2010
the Venue: Borgata Hotel and Casino (Atlantic City, NJ)

(Photo credit to the folks at

We were in Atlantic City celebrating our first anniversary … there’s no better way to celebrate one’s first year of marriage than slot machines, a nice dinner, an afternoon at the spa, and a night full of rock’n’roll.

Kings of Leon was just the cherry on top of an amazing weekend. The band, made up of brothers Caleb (vocals/guitar), Jared (bass), and Nathan Followill (drums) and cousin Matthew Followill (guitar), has come far since I first saw them play with Secret Machines nearly five years ago. Despite all the media hype, these guys manage to maintain a humble attitude. What you see is what you get - four boys from Nashville who like to play music. These guys just happen to rock the house while doing it.

Front man, Caleb, not usually one to talk to the crowd very much, offered up his appreciation to the fans who came to help kick off the Summer tour. This show marked the groups’ first after a lengthy break, and while the Kings of Leon seemed more on top of their game than ever, Caleb felt the need to explain himself. “We've decided we're not going to stop playing shows now,” Caleb said in true rock’n’roll fashion, “because it's too hard to remember the fuckin’ songs.”

(Photo credit to the folks at

For a full hour and a half, the Kings of Leon played a great mix of older fan favorites and some brand new tunes we can expect on their upcoming album (I think is supposed to be released this fall). As the band introduced the new songs, like Immortals and Mary, Caleb said to the crowd, “You don’t know these songs, but someday you will.” How right you are, Caleb, how right you are.

My favorites of the night included Taper Jean Girl, Wasted Time, Milk (Love this song), Molly’s Chambers, On Call, Southbound (new song where they brought out the opening band, the Whigs, to play along), Slow Night, So Long, Use Somebody, and Closer.

As far as opening acts go, the Whigs - who are touring with Kings of Leon for only a few select shows - are about as good as they come.  We thoroughly enjoyed their set.

Full setlist: Radioactive / Crawl / My Party / Taper Jean Girl / Wasted Time / Fans / Milk / Mary / Four Kicks / The Bucket / Molly’s Chambers / Immortals / Sex on Fire / Notion / On Call / Southbound (w/the Whigs) / Slow Night, So Long / ENCORE / Knocked Up / Manhattan / Use Somebody / Closer

Rise and shine all you gold digging mothers
Are you too good to tango with the poor, poor boys ...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the Cobbs, Alberta Cross, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (04.05.10)

the Band: the Cobbs, Alberta Cross, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
the Date: Monday April 5, 2010
the Venue: 9:30 Club (DC)

(Photo credit to Marianne Sp and her Flickr page:

The Cobbs opened. We totally missed them. Then, Alberta Cross played. They didn’t do it for us … but, maybe it was because we were too anxious to see the main event, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. BRMC, made up of Peter Hayes (vocals/guitar), Robert Been (vocals/bass), and Leah Shapiro (drums), was touring to promote their new album, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo. What an experience!

I’ve been a big fan of BRMC for years and have been lucky enough to have attended many, many shows in the past. I was a little apprehensive because this was my first BRMC show without Nick Jago on the drums. Nick was replaced with Leah Shapiro (who had played with the Raveonettes).  I had nothing to worry about because Leah completely rocked. This was by far the loudest I have ever seen them … I mean they were LOUD. Assured deafness aside, this was an amazing performance.

Their set pulled fairly equally from all of their albums and they played over twenty songs in about two hours. Awesome! Some of my favorite tunes of the show were Red Eyes and Tears, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, White Palms (rarely played), Ain’t No Easy Way, Whatever Happened to My Rock’n’Roll (Punk Song), Six Barrel Shotgun (thoroughly intense performance), 666 Conducer (played slow and sultry), and the last song of the night, Open Invitation.

(Photo credit to Marianne Sp and her Flickr page:

Full setlist: War Machine / Mama Taught Me Better / Red Eyes and Tears / Bad Blood / Beat the Devil’s Tattoo / Love Burns / Berlin / Weapon of Choice / White Palms / Long Way Down / Aya / Ain’t No Easy Way / Whatever Happened to My Rock’n’Roll (Punk Song) / The Line / Shuffle Your Feet / Conscience Killer / Six Barrel Shotgun / Spread Your Love / American X / ENCORE / 666 Conducer / Rifles / Shadow’s Keeper / Open Invitation

And we may never be here again ...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wilco (03.30.10)

the Band: Wilco
the Date: Tuesday March 30, 2010
the Venue: Music Center at Strathmore (Bethesda, MD)

(Photo credit to Kyle Gustafson and the folks at Click Track)

Wilco played an absolutely amazing 37-song, 3-hour long, non-stop rock show. It was beautiful.

I’ve been a huge fan of Wilco for years. The band, made up of Jeff Tweedy (vocals, guitar), John Stirratt (bass), Nels Cline (guitar), Glenn Kotche (drums), Pat Sansone (multi-instrumentalist), and Mikael Jorgensen (keyboard), is based in Chicago so I guess I kind of look at them as fellow Midwesterners … and for that alone, they ROCK.

Jeff joked midway through the show that “the motto for this tour is ‘Leave Them Wanting Less’ … when you leave here tonight, you will be very full.” No kidding! The show was presented in three mini-sets: an all out electric rock show … to an intimate, almost acoustic set (where the band gathered to the front of the stage which was adorned with throw rugs and floor lamps ... as if they were jamming in someone's living room) … then back to the full-blown rock show.

They played tunes from literally their ENTIRE catalog including some of the newer tunes from the most recent album, Wilco (the album), like Wilco (the song) and Bull Black Nova, as well as some older stuff like Passenger Side, Kamera and A Shot in the Arm. There were tons of highlights, including Via Chicago (where Glenn went nuts), Impossible Germany, Reservations (where Nels went nuts), Ashes of American Flags, Handshake Drugs, Heavy Metal Drummer (where the crowd went nuts), and I’m the Man Who Loves You. There was even a singalong when Jeff asked the crowd to sing Jesus, Etc. to him … we didn’t sound so great, but it was fun.

(photo credit to Jeff and his Flickr page:

My absolute favorite moment in the night was when they played Someday Some Morning Sometime. See, long before the show, Wilco took requests via their website, WilcoWeb. I requested that song noting that it would be an early anniversary present for my wife. We married just about a year ago and used Someday Some Morning Sometime in our wedding video … we just love that sweet, sweet song. Well, when the band played that song, we knew they had heard my request. Thank you, Wilco.

Full setlist: SET 1 / Wilco (the Song) / Bull Black Nova / You Are My Face / I am Trying to Break Your Heart / One Wing / A Shot in the Arm / At Least That’s What You Said / Nothingsevergonnastandinmywayagain / Deeper Down / Via Chicago / Impossible Germany / Poor Places / Reservations / SET 2 / Spiders (Kidsmoke) / When the Roses Bloom Again / Forget the Flowers / California Stars / You and I / Kamera / Someday Some Morning Sometime (at our request!) / Laminated Cat / When You Wake Up Feeling Old / Passenger Side / Airline to Heaven / SET 3 / Ashes of American Flags / Jesus, Etc. (singalong) / You Never Know / Handshake Drugs / Theologians / Heavy Metal Drummer / Hate it Here / Walken / I’m the Man Who Loves You / Thank You Friends (Big Star cover) / ENCORE / Box Full of Letters / Hoodoo Voodoo / I’m a Wheel

I’d like to hold your hand in mine
Someday some morning sometime ...