2016 is here! It took me a week, but I finally went to a show. And thank goodness I did; I was actually planning on staying home that day, and then decided to go out a few hours before. The bill was stacked (from both what I already knew, and what I had heard from the unknown groups’ Bandcamp pages). I hopped into my car and headed north.
I got to the Crown 15 minutes late, but that was no issue as the first artist was just getting ready to perform. First up was musician extraordinaire; Andrew Bernstein. I was already familiar with his work, he is in one of my favorite bands, Horse Lords. This was my first time to see him solo, and he did not disappoint. He wailed on his sax for around 20 minutes in an impressive display of skill. He was accompanied by a laptop, but the sound was so loud that I could really only hear the sax; which was fine, the sax playing was amazing. It was also an appropriate set to sit in a chair and zone out. Check out Andrew’s solo music at Bandcamp.
Next up was extremely new to me band, Beverly Tender. I guess they make indie rock. Whatever it is called, it was pleasant and fun and I really dug the vocalists style, both live and on record. I would definitely go see them again.
The third band of the night was Lunch Cult. This was the band’s sixth ever show. I could not tell that from their performance. Their playing was extremely tight. They also switch instruments, and singing duties throughout their set and they all seem to be capable song writers, lyricists, drummers, bassists, and guitar players (though one dude did not drum and one did not play the bass). All in all they had a fun energy and I grabbed a copy of their excellent tape.
The last of the night was Princess Reason. I was expecting maybe a solo acoustic set, but was instead treated to a full band experience. It was reminiscent of the loud soft dynamics of grunge, with chorus and verses and parts where the Big Muff was stomped. I am not sure if it is the permanent band, but the group featured members of Boy Spit and Romantic States.
All images by me and from my Instagram account
And the rest of my favorite albums! This one is kinda random and is whatever else what leftover.
SPORTS – All of Something
Colleen Green – I want to Grow Up
Chastity Belt – Time to Go Home
Shannon And The Clams – Gone by the Dawn
Placebo – MTV Unplugged
Justin Bieber – Purpose
Low – Ones and Sixes
Royal Headache – High
Faith No More – Sol Invictus
Killing Joke – Pylon
SPORTS – Get Bummed Out
Colleen Green – TV
Chastity Belt – Joke
Shannon And The Clams – Corvette
Placebo – Post Blue (MTV Unplugged)
Justin Bieber – I’ll Show You
Low – Lies
Royal Headache – Carolina
Faith No More – Cone of Shame
Killing Joke – New Cold War
photo of Chastity Belt by me
The end is near… Of 2015! And my top 30 favorite sets of 2015. Here are the last 10.
This show is on the list for a few reasons. This was probably my 14th or 15th time seeing this Baltimore group since their formation several years ago, and this was to be my (and everyone’s) last time to see them. Their UN Fest (an excellent festival in Baltimore) set was advertised as their last, and I was able to experience the loudness and wild crowd, one last time.
The second set on this list was Pleasure Leftists opening for Chameleons VOX, at Metro Gallery. I have been a fan of this Midwest post-punk group for a while, and it was nice to finally see them live. I loved the singer’s dance moves.
The next one was something random for me, Sun Ra Arkestra at the Ottobar. I was hooked on their weirdo jazz, and loved every minute. The pissed off looking dude was my favorite performer of their raucous set.
This was one of the Wildhoney sets I saw. This noisy group gets better and better. This was their first set with a new guitar player.
Expert Alterations are some nice dudes and local indie pop heroes. This was their debut album release show. I made it there just in time to see them (performing with a member of Wildhoney as a quartet) give an inspired and impassioned performance.
I saw the Polyphonic Spree for a third time. This time I had a front table seat at a sit down venue. The Spree tore it up for two sets; one being their first album in it’s entirety, the second a greatest hits and covers and rarities set. I love the Spree and this performance further cemented my love.
I have seen Wolf Eyes a few times now. This was the weirdest of all of the sets. Which is saying a lot for the mavens of Trip Metal. This was almost a jazz set, and I think it was mostly improv. I could be wrong, but it didn’t sound like their new LP.
Wing Dam is one of my favorite bands. They always rock. They played Cocoon which is my favorite song by them and one I think they had not played the last couple times I saw them. They also had the best shirts (Miley Cyrus ones that can be seen in the picture below) and I added one to my collection.
At number 9 is DC band Paint Branch. This show was in a library basement. They are another band I have been into for a few years and finally saw. I think they are the new America (the band) with their harmonies and interplay (guitar and vocals).
The last of my favorite sets was actually tonight. And no I am not just throwing them on here. I felt like i might really dig it so I saved a slot, just in case. Good thing I did because the unseasonable heat and a packed basement in DC with one of my favorite singers belting out her old and new songs was too excellent. I had heard they were gonna break up, now it seems like they wont. Good, I want to see them again…
Until 2016 (and the one last show I have this year, or maybe two) my friends!
All images in all show pictures by me
There were 20 more albums that I really wanted to highlight (well, loads more, but I had to limit it). These were all pretty noisy numbers, with shoegaze and noise rock making appearances.
Dilly Dally – Sore
Helen – The Original Faces
Pinkshinyultrablast – Everything Else Matters
Swervedriver – I Wasn’t Born to Lose You
Potty Mouth – Potty Mouth EP
Pleasure Leftists – the woods of heaven
METZ – II
Static Daydream – Static Daydream
Tamaryn – Cranekiss
American Wrestlers – American Wrestlers
Dilly Dally – Ballin Chain
Helen – Allison
Pinkshinyultrablast – Land’s End
Swervedriver – Last Rites
Potty Mouth – The Bomb
Pleasure Leftists – Burning Down
METZ – Nervous System
Static Daydream – Another Rainy Night Without You
Tamaryn – Softcore
American Wrestlers – Holy
Photo of Pleasure Leftists by me
Here is part 2 of my top 30 favorite musical moments of 2015.
Next up is Dinosaur Jr. This was another date show, and the two of us had both been long time fans and were first time seeing them live. Even the shitty sound system at Black Cat couldn’t ruin the night.
Yvette at Metro Gallery was inspiring to me to see how the frontman manipulated noise and sound and played his pedals like an instrument.
This was Faith no More. I had been a casual fan since the early 90s, and got a ticket for cheap off of Stubhub and had a blast rocking out to their classics, and new material. This was the show of the year for me.
Next up was another 90s favorite, Hum. The highlights for me were Suicide Machine and I Hate it Too.
Birth (defects) is my next choice. I am friends with the singer and this was my first time seeing them. Their noise-rock was right up my alley and I would describe it as killer.
Pill, was one we decided to randomly catch after another show. This was the NYC band’s first out of town gig, and they are the SECOND sax mention on my list. I wish I would have also did the Psychedelic Furs…
I am so glad Locrian include Baltimore when they do these short tours, as this was my second time to see them. The new album is worth grabbing.
Thrushes are back. This was one of the two shows of theirs that I saw this year (for the release of their excellent new album, which is on my Best of Baltimore list).
The last one of this bunch was Celebration at Bombadillo Festival. Celebration has long been one of my favorite bands, and this performance gave me what I needed.
I go to a lot of live music. Here were my thirty favorite sets, a quick sentence or two about each, and a picture. They are in chronological order. I wont be posting dates for each one though.
First up, Crimson Wave at Sidebar. It was their second to last ever show, and I included this over their last because while this was sad.. It was not as sad as the last one was.
This was from War on Women’s record release show. It was a great time with a diverse lineup, and War on Women slayed and made me a lifetime fan (I already loved the EP before this).
Downtown Boys at Windup Space. They made me even more of a fan of the sax.
The Body at CCAS! (RIP CCAS). This was one of the few times that I went to Charm City Art Space. This was a matinee show and the Body slayed like it was midnight. It was the loudest thing I heard all night.
I saw Prince on a date with my fiancee (she does not go to many shows so each one I consider a special event). Plus, motherfucking Prince yo.
This is Lightning Bolt right before they destroyed Floristree. I did not know that the crowd would be so crazy and I spent most of the show in the back of this DIY spot.
Scapescape is one of my favorite festivals. With a lineup focusing on local talent, there is always something playing that I would want to see. This was my first time seeing Blacksage (though not my last, I ended up seeing them two other times in 2015) and they did not disappoint. They should be huge.
This is another Scapescape performance, by Adbu Ali. His confrontational, emotional style of hip-hop was a thing of beauty and he had me dancing his whole set.
Chastity Belt was a band who I immediately loved when I first heard them this year. They did not let me down at their Metro Gallery show. Plus the lead singer plays the same guitar as me. I do not see tons of guitarists using it. Also props to Metro Gallery, my favorite venue. Venue of 2015!
Number ten and last of this bunch is Romantic States at the Crown. Their music is perfect pop songs with loud and soft dynamics. I saw them a couple other times this year, but this was my favorite.
Baltimore again proved to be a treasure trove of amazing art. A few of the albums I loved. I also had more that were included on my other lists, like the amazing Noisem or Black Sheep DZ…
Romantic States – Romantic States
Sweepstakes – Tongues Out
Holy Ghost Party – Bayou Music
Blacksage – Basement Vows
Expert Alterations – You Can’t Always Be Liked
Natural Velvet – She Is Me
Wildhoney – Sleep Through It
Thrushes – Exposing Seas
War on Women – War On Women
Dope Body – Kunk
Romantic States – Broken Clothes
Sweepstakes – Hands In The Air
Holy Ghost Party – Squiq
Blacksage – Casualty
Expert Alterations – Well Good For You
Natural Velvet – Perfect Roleplay
Wildhoney – Sleep Through It
Thrushes – Joan Of Arc
War on Women – Meathead
Dope Body – Goon Line
photo of wildhoney by me