Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Interviewed in DC on July 29th 2013

This interviewer is indebted to the assistance from Kim, who interpreted from French, as English is one of the lesser of eight languages that Mali native, Vieux Farka Toure has in his arsenal. Although as the world knows, he speaks most eloquently through the guitar. He is in town to show off his skills with an all-star line-up of some of the finest area musicians in local African and world music based bands. It takes place at the Liv Nightclub at U Street and 11th this Wednesday at 8pm. And as you will see, this is an important charitable fund raiser as well. And of course thanks to Mr. Toure for giving me a few minutes after being up nearly a whole day while flying through Europe and crossing the Atlantic to DC.

David Hintz - This is a very special show here Wednesday night at the Liv Nightclub. Although you have been to DC many times, this is not just you and your band, but an all-star type of band, so you could you tell us about it.

Vieux Farka Toure - OK, it is a very special show, not like coming to a club for a show. It is with friends and brothers. We are trying to get an organization started called Amahrec-Sahel .

DH - And this is a charitable organization you are starting?

VFT - Yes, I am starting everything, although Massama (Dogo of DC band Elikeh) is also getting involved as we have known each other quite awhile and in effect we have become brothers. It is not often good to do things alone. This is a humanitarian project.

DH - Is it focused on Mali or broader regions?

VFT - For the moment, we are focused on Mali since that is where I am based and I have seen the problems that have gone on in Mali, that is where we will focus first. Although for example, Massama is from Togo and if there were problems and things to happen in Togo in the future, then they could work to get donations and base some projects in Togo. They will start by taking a little bit for Mali and then everything will eventually be for Africa. The whole goal for it is to be African. And if there are other organizations that have the need for finances and if there is money available, then we will be able to help those organizations. Musicians are more easily able to get funding and use their marketing. I wanted to start off with the fundraiser in DC with all my friends here.

DH - Great, are there any other fundraisers planned?

VFT - There are no planned fundraisers at present, but during my concerts I will ask people for donations. Then if other NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) ask for money, it is available. And right now we are looking for other people to help because we obviously can't do everything by ourselves. And if there are foundations able to help, that would be great. For example, the foundation of Ali Farka Toure will also participate.

DH - Ah ok (Ali Farka Toure is is Vieux's late father who was a world famous guitarist).

VFT - There are two separate foundations, although in time they may be combined together.

DH - How much time are you able to spend in Mali since you tour a lot?

VFT - Not much time.

DH - Do you tour everywhere like Asia, Australia?

VFT - Yes, Australia, Israel, and now I'm just coming from London, Espana, Africa…

DH - Yes, I was curious about Africa. Obviously with your roots and name being so big in Africa, is there an infrastructure there to allow you to tour through a lot of cities?

VFT - Last year, I toured Africa and toured 24 African countries. It is easy now with the infrastructure to travel between countries in Africa, but it is hard to have the concerts. It is more difficult with that, not like here.

DH - Yes, I remember seeing a tape of a Thomas Mapfumo concert which was great with people dancing and having a great time, yet looking like it was in a tiny bingo room.

VFT - Yeah, it is difficult to find a good place.

DH - Back to Mali, I just read a Washington Post article discussing the upcoming election. Is there optimism with this or is there still a long way to go?

VFT - I am a little bit fearful because there are people with bad intentions who are starting to ruin some things in opposition. It is just a way to create chaos. Malians are not people that really like to cause problems. Maybe a little bit will happen, but after that everything is fine with the Malians themselves. They are saying these are the best elections in a very long time, so we will see what happens after. You never know what is going to happen. I don't want to go to Mali right now. I will stay here for a while and see.

DH - The music of Mali is quite famous, in large part due to your father and yourself, but has music always been a big part of Mali and your father helped bring it to the world? Did we find out what was always there or are more younger people getting into music there as a result?

VFT - Yes, actually the older generation of musicians paved the way for the younger generation. Mali has the most international artists in all of Africa… there are so many to name. It has the most culture and Mali holds on to its culture.

DH - That is the curiosity I had whether it was like an Austin or Nashville or New York… as it has seem to have exploded over the years. But the older generation was important.

VFT - They were the ones that really worked hard to get everyone aware of Malian music. So the next generation finds that it is good and they are just continuing to push the music even further.

DH - Great. Why did you start in percussion rather than guitar?

VFT - Oh… (laughter)

DH - And you did so with formal school.

VFT - I was playing first calabash, congas in 1994 with many friends. But I started to learn guitar in 2001.

DH - (directed toward Elikeh's drummer, Aaron Gibian, who was in the room) Like all drummers, you just had to play guitar (laughter).

Kim - But you (Aaron) stick to drums because you are so good at them and don't need to play another instrument.

DH - And I think bass players may be worse, actually.

Aaron Gibian - The rhythm is so important that it is a great place to start. Frank Zappa started there, too. The Van Halen brothers switched instruments because they felt more comfortable on each others instrument. You just go with what works for you.

DH - Definitely… Now in Malian music, I was at one of your shows and a guy sitting with me was trying to explain the difference between north and west and tribal this and that, so I am curious if you formally studied the regional differences or not?

VFT - Now in Mali it is not really strictly split up into regions as everyone tends to pick up the music from all of the regions. It is all mixed together because you will get a group of musicians and they will all have different ethnicities, so they will bring it all in together. But yes, I did specifically learn the northern style of music first, but then because I played with Toumani Diabate, I learned the music of the south from him. He is the most famous kora player not only in Africa, but in the world.

DH - And you have recently collaborated with an Israeli musician that you met while hanging around an airport as I've heard the story go.

VFT - Yeah.

DH - And is that how you go forward with surprising musical encounters or do you try to plan out specific projects?

VFT - Sometimes it will be that you try playing together and find that it just mixes well and goes together so we'll continue and do something with it. There has been something with Dave Matthews and even with Massama (Elikeh singer and guitarist) because we've collaborated now.

DH - And you are just in from Europe (after some long flights) and you are only playing here.

VFT - Yes, as this is very special here for the fundraising. It is very good here with Massama.

AG - And the political situation in Mali right now is especially of warranting of support for people willing to align themselves with this extremely worthy cause. There been other countries that have had problems with recent coups and recent elections and I was listening to NPR who didn't have results, but they were saying turnout was not especially impressive. But hopefully some sort of coalition of interested governance comes to be rather than the abdication, etc.

DH - And Mali had been a very stable country for many, many years.

Kim - In March it was when the generals and the army ended the coup in the North…[See the NY Times index for more] But the Liv venue Wednesday night will be a great place for this event.

DH - I will certainly be looking forward to the show, so I will see you all there.

And later that night after an evening of hard rock in the Velvet Lounge I caught up with Elikeh's singer Serge Massama Dogo to get his local input regarding Wednesday night's show…

DH - This show looks pretty exciting. It is not just your band members, but people from several different DC area bands along with Vieux Farka Toure.

Massama Dogo - What we did here was that DC is actually a small place to try to promote the show to help a good cause. We worked together for a cause to come up with a line-up that really is the first time something like that has happened in this city. And it shows how people from different bands can work together and hopefully it is something we can do more of.

DH - It is certainly great from a musical perspective as it should be just as much fun for you on stage as it is for the audience, and I am also struck that you and Vieux Farka Toure are focusing on the present Mali situation, but your native Togo has had problems as well in recent years.

MD - Yes.

DH - I think there is a connection there for you, but also for many of us in DC who would want to join in and help these causes.

MD - I know and that is the thing. The people who love African music love the culture as well and are interested in where the music is coming from. With what is happening in Mali is very difficult and with the election, people want to jump in and help the situation. With Togo, it is a different situation, there is no war yet, although there has been crazy stuff happening. It may not be as urgent as Mali right now.

DH - And hopefully Mali's previous stability is something that can be quickly restored. Hopefully the African music fans here will come out and support the show for this cause as there will be some interesting music.

MD - Yes and it will not just be a jam session. There are teams where I put the musicians in teams where with Team One for example you have Michael Shereikis of Chopteeth and you have Will Rast of Funkart and me on percussion (with one other player), so you Team One has people with different bands and there will be a mic open so somebody who feels it can come join in and play. That person will be from the core of musicians we have and not the audience (laughter)

DH - Right!

MD - So it won't be a straight up jam session, but we do want to just go up and have fun. So we want to make sure the music is good. The jam will be on the soloing on the songs.

DH - That sounds logical. So what is new with your band, Elikeh.

MD - We will be playing the Kennedy Center on August the 12th and we will be opening for the Wailers at the Howard Theatre on August 18th and then we have some shows out of town in Baltimore, Asheville, and Raleigh. We have played out a lot this year, but wanted to make sure we started from the roots which is downtown DC and our goal is to move further in the regions to the south. We have played north like Boston, Pittsburgh, New York and now our goal is to go south.

DH - That is exciting (as we discussed the fact that there are two Wailers touring, one family based and other with the original bassist, while this is far from the first time this has happened). One last comment on Vieux Farka Toure… did you first meet at a show I was at four years ago?

MD - Yes, it was at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel where we opened for him.

DH - Right, and you have played with him again at shows I have been at and you have gotten to know him very well. In fact earlier today, he said you were his brother.

MD - I know, he is a really good person. He is not just a great guitarist, but he is a really good person. We just became friends right at the show at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel. We regularly call each other, send emails, and every time he comes through on tour, we will connect on much more than music, like two friends talking about everything. We are like brothers. So when he came up with this idea here, I knew that there would be plenty of people here that would like the music and want to help Mali. He was like ok, so we went ahead.

DH - Well, I will see you there this Wednesday at the Liv Nightclub.

Black Dog Prowl - Clockwork Kids - Chute -- Velvet Lounge - Jul 29 2013

Chute - Where has this local band been hiding from me? If I did not pay attention, their brand of straight ahead heavy rock could easily slip into the background, but that would be a mistake. Although they draw from good hard rock roots that were established over 40 years ago and will be played long after I'm gone 40 years from now, Chute has great command over their sound and delivers personal and rock solid heavy music. They have two guitars with the rhythm guy offering vocals that are very Matt Bellamy. It is as if the Muse singer were fronting the veteran blues rockers of Black Cat Bones or Savoy Brown and taking heavy old school hard rock to fresher terrain. They also make me think this is what Green Day may have sounded like if they tried to mimic Blue Cheer rather than the Buzzcocks. They did a cover of "Break on Through" which had a nice bounce to it, giving it a personal spin as good covers require. The two dozen people in the crowd were into this set, and if you like classic rock moves, there was nothing not to like as these guys locked in and played.

Clockwork Kids - This is the second Chapel Hill band I have seen in the past three days, but unlike the veterans Love Language, these five guys are playing for the first time outside their home state. It took about 30 seconds before I began wondering why it had taken so long. Yet, they were likely wise to stay home and work together to come up with this incredible sound before allowing us outsiders in on the fun. The first thing to note, unlike a few other bands I have seen recently and not to mention the post-Skynyrd brand of southern rock bands, these three guitarists immediately move all around the fretboard with their own patterns that some how magically come together. The bass player is also quite nimble, even as he handles the lead vocal duties, while the drummer bangs out powerful quick beats. They have a certain MC5 swagger with some of the psychedelics of a Mighty Baby mixed in. It can work well enough on any indie rock bill, although they will be pushing the envelope much further than most. This is a crowded field, but music like this will find its place over time and hopefully this first east coast tour will get the ball rolling for this fine band.
Black Dog Prowl - This local quartet has been a mainstay in the DC area for some time now and are a welcome add-on to any bill. I'm not sure if all of the members are the same as when last I saw them, but their heavy rock sounds remain along with clean melodic vocals out front [and I have learned they had two replacements who work with one guy in other bands, so it was a unique line-up, but people who know each other well]. I recently heard that a third-rate heavy rock band from the 1970s called Starz was playing out some. I checked Youtube to see if there was anything redeeming that I may have missed. And no, there was not, but I was amazed at how the commenters throught they were so brilliant and so heavy. And that had me wondering why these old folks do not spend more time in clubs like this seeing bands that can really bring it, unlike those big label mediocrities that never rose above opening band on the hockey arena circuit in 1975. Black Dog Prowl, as well as the openers, delivered the type of music that hard rock fans were always looking for, but only found with the very best back in the day. But tonight, the Velvet Lounge provided great examples of what is out there if you get down to the clubs and seek it out.

Quote of the Night - From Chute's rhythm guitarist while tuning after the first song... "Maybe I should tune my guitar before the set starts--that'd be a real fucking smart thing to do."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Love Language - Eternal Summers - Paperhaus -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Jul 27 2013

Paperhaus - It was high time I caught up with one of my favorite local bands after their massive and successful North American tour a few months back. They started with some songs from their recent EP, which although was far poppier than their more psyche-indie older songs, still retained the inventive guitar interplay that these guys are famous for. The newer material that followed (some I have heard in months past) was even more eclectic as these guys comfortably move around numerous genres, focusing on strong rhythms and those tricky guitar moves. Vocals are solid, but the musicianship and perhaps the added comfort that comes after soooo many gigs are making these guys better than ever. I believe they are living up to their krautrock inspired name by doing what the best krautrock bands did--play inventive rock music that doesn't fit a genre and combines a mix of hooks and improv which stakes out its own territory. This is a newer more conscious brand of that, which should have indie rock fans coming on board and digging into some great music while exploring far broader terrain, whether they are aware of it or not.

Eternal Summers - This was my first experience with this Roanake trio and it was a good one. They start out with songs that sounded like dream pop LPs that you would mistakenly play at 45rpm on your turntable (reminding me of my infamous moment of playing Wire's 154 at the wrong speed and not figuring out until the second song, although the vocal did strike me as a bit odd, but it was Wire). Basically, the rhythm section just churned out crisp powerful beats to allow the guitarist to add her strong hooks through the riffs and vocals. Early on, I heard a bit of that classic Pacific Northwest style pop-rock such as something between the Posies and the Wipers. It was bright and the vocals were cute. Interestingly, they went into some newer songs which were significantly darker. It wasn't exactly Joy Division, but the vocals were chillier, although the music still had plenty of pace and hooked you in. I liked both styles, but I think reversing the set list may have made for a more dramatic presentation. That is a minor criticism as this is one excellent band that I hope to see again some time.
Love Language - This was also my first time seeing this fine Chapel Hill band, making feel guilty that again I am coming on board this crowded train a little too late. But as long as you make it on board, it all works out for the best as this was a highly pleasurable journey. Start with a dreamy singer/guitarist who leads a full band with lead guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums into a slick presentation of fully engaging music. They marry shoegaze sounds with jangly guitar and play it all with passion where the rhythm section pushes everyone to stay with them. It is kind of a post-paisley Dandy Warhols kind of sound, but they move to their own beat. I really enjoy the mix to where you can hear subtle keyboard and guitar moves underneath the main melody while the vocals strongly stay on top of the sound. The crowd had slowly built up to a more than half filled club and they thoroughly enjoyed this band tonight, as well they should. Love Language capped off a strong bill of three modern rocks band that all manage to sound fresh in their own distinct style, while pulling great elements of past bands and scenes into their songs. It is why Saturday night in a rock club is still the best place to be.

Quote of the Night: Courtesy of Football365. com as they uncovered this gem from English footballer, Michael Dawson... "All you can do is concentrate individually as a team."

Friday, July 26, 2013


This Brooklyn quartet stakes out moderately familiar ground, but in a rather striking manner. There are familiar indie elements with mannered post-punk guitar, moody psychedelic inspired keyboard, and expressive female vocals that wear several depths of moods. Somehow they combine these elements in a deeply satisfying manner with great skill and heart. They remind me a lot of an LA band called Midnight Movies or many of the other bands that look to the psychedelic days of old with a nod to post punk and modern electronic sounds. If you are a Lenorable fan here in DC, you would certainly like this as the vibe is similar, although there is more going on with well produced full band arrangements. They have six songs hearer making this a long EP or short album, but they manage to bring in different sounds, paces, and atmosphere in a manner that keeps you listening. The drum work is especially creative, but every member creates unique space and sound. They have played a great set in DC previously and I hope they make it down here some more. This album will give me plenty of happy listening until then.

Songs to try out first:

Garden - Lots of space between the intense guitar, floating keyboards and the vocals that marry the two, with the rhythm section keeping it rocking.

Somebody Found Out - A moody psychedelic ballad that could have played the AM band of Haight-Ashbury Radio.

The Real You - Brisk staccato guitar notes surround inventive drumming while the vocals and keys create a lovely melody--unique and intriguing.


There are a lot of bands trying to combine electronica with more rock and post-punk moves in a pop structure. If they have the hooks and creativity, they are well worth a listen. Barbarossa displays much of this and can occasionally nail down a classic pop hook in between the dreamier songs. What is striking is that this is the project of James Mathe, who plays in acoustic troubadour Jose Gonzalez's band. Yet here, there are many electronic shifts between light and heavy, leaning more to light. Everything is bright and fresh and there is even some David Lynchian mysteriousness in "Savious Self". While it may be a bit much for some, the eclectic style shifts suited me well. They lose just a smidgen of energy toward the end of these ten songs, but the dreamy finish is a nice way to fade out. I will likely go back to my favorite songs to hear this band at its best.

Songs to try out first:

Turbine - Just when you think it will be modern instrumental electronic pop, a chilly female vocal sends it soaring.

Pagliaccio - I like the stretching of the vocals here with some dense electronics providing the thick foundation.

Battles - This is a rather delicate dream pop numb with enough quiet percussion to keep you in REM sleep mode.


Jawbox fans take notice--Drummer Zach Boracas has teamed up with J. Robbins who produces and plays bass along with a few other guys (including Robbins' Office of Future Plans cellist Gordon Withers) to create these seven instrumental modern progressive jammers. Oh, I suppose you could call it math rock, but unless you title your songs in the manner that Anthony Braxton and Clark-Hutchinson occasionally employed, I really do not care for that term. Yet there is an architectural precision to this music, that like good structures, that is able to evoke some emotions as well as being true to the importance of providing a comfortable and efficient foundation. They have a breezy style that the DC band Buildings employs with the basic sharp guitar lines and pumped up rhythm section. The strings on "Apostatic" is a strong touch bringing to mind some of the better fusion jazz work of a Jean Luc-Ponty. "Shrift" has some deep passages of dark psychedelia before the guitar rings in the light. There is enough power in the playing and melodic shifts to hold interest. It still sounds like it would be even more fun live and on stage(like I've never said that before), but if you like this sort of music, Bells delivers plenty of fine music on this release.

Come see them live at the Paperhaus on September 7th.


This local band has some sort of hybrid old and new styling in its music. You can hear classic rock balladry with a gutsy sound merged with just enough indie rock feeling to place it properly in this day and age. The sound is rocking throughout the eight cuts, with just enough tempo reductions and acoustic moves to spice things up. They even have some post punk moves that operate outside the basic rock patterns. The vocals are intense in that later 80s Dischord sort of manner, and the musicians keep everyone pushing hard to keep up. They have all the pieces, althoughI think it still make some time to come fully together to be a fully realized sound. More gigging will help and the continued challenge of songwriting will be the real hurdle. But for now, this is a fine start in representing their sound and giving good evidence of a likely fiery live show.

Songs to try out first:

Only Son - Slower rock with only a touch of blues and a forlorn vocal.

Stories - Spacier guitar sounds give a little more air to this song which broadens the themes as well as the music.

Shelter - Post-punk guitars slash away at everything in their path to start the song, and then alternate with slightly more settled rock moments--slightly.


It is evident right from the start, that this is a young local band finding its footing, although they have some experience in other bands. And these two have combined to dive right in and head to the studio with some early songs that they want to get down. In this case, it sounds more like a home studio (although telling the difference anymore is quite difficult). Most importantly, they keep things simple with guitars, drums, and vocals and not a whole lot of trickery. I find this album fun when it works, but more of a good way of finding out what these guys are capable of, as opposed to something that is to be treasured for all times. I have often thought that these two-person bands are merely good starting points unless the two are blow-away brilliant or doing something bizarre and twisted. So I hope these guys keep moving forward, as they are off to a good start with these songs, as they show some understanding of creating appealing rock music. And perhaps like Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion, they may end up headlining the 9:30 Club some day.

Songs to try out first:

Mind Control - This is an excellent example of of a young band finding some psychedelic magic when they harness the right sound and combine it with a heartfelt approach.

I'm Your Villain - A little bit of funk and R&B mixed into the formula, but it still rocks.

Record Store Days - Good rocker about the comeback of vinyl (as I listened to the MP3 on Reverbnation).


This is one appropriately named band. Yes, it is fairly evident that you will get some sort of heartland Americana music here, and you do. It is the ghostly choir of the back-up vocals and distant sounds in the arrangements that add the supernatural flair taking this beyond the sandy soil of the American west. "Drifter" conjures up the mysteries of "High Plains Drifter" with the hot sun mirages creating ghostly apparitions riding onward. There are some lighter moments, which although do not work up quite the same magic, at least allow for some contrasts that most records need to keep the interest high. I am not sure I can tell in these six songs, if this band has a full command of a style that I want to dig into for future listens, but they have tickled my fancy and I would like to see a live show or hear some more recordings down the road. The highlights are big and allow me to suggest that you give this record a try and see where this band fits within your netherworld. I am hoping for a tour into the more prosaic environs of DC.


This is quietly striking five-song EP that could easily have you wondering what decade this was made in. The vocals instantly command attention with their quivering intensity somewhere in between Pavlov’s Dog and Fuchsia. Musically, this carefully moves between light psychedelic rock and folk with a sense of adventure more gentile than that of the Incredible String Band. There are intricate tasty combinations of seemingly incongruous elements, not the least of which is the serious sound of a song entitled “Marry in Haste, Repent at Leisure”.  This is one of the more magical modern day psychedelic folk offerings since Espers or Faun Fables. I hope the future allows me to hear a lot more than five songs from this Poughkeepsie, New York collective. I hope they make it down to DC soon, as transportive psyche-folk music like this does not come around every week. This band is the real deal, as I do not get fooled when it comes down to the best of psychedelic folk music.


The first song is gothic and chilling and has me reminiscing of Bauhaus, which only takes me a few seconds. They work in modern electronics into the chilling vocals and icy landscapes. The remaining five song all have more of a modern feel, but are every bit as dark and intense. The vocals are reminiscent to those of either Suicide's Alan Vega or Pere Ubu's David Thomas (as seen on Side 2 of The Modern Dance LP). The mood becomes more positive song by song and even the vocal intensity becomes more dreamily optimistic. This is a little short for me to know where they fit into my world, but they are clearly a band I would make way down to the clubs to see as well as listen to future releases.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Lighthouse and the Whaler - Neulore - Silent Old Mtns. -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Jul 21 2013

Silent Old Mtns. - Again, the good folks at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel are amused by the amount of time I am spending in their club, this being the third straight night. And this Frederick, Maryland collective is not quite as familiar to me, but I hear much I recognize in this, the second time I have seen them. The one oddball member who percusses, sings backup, and hacks away at a few notes at a banjo is most familiar, as he engages in the same oddball banter that I have heard before. I am not sure of his value here, but it may be akin to  the guy with the washboard in the Brian Jonestown Massacre from the movie "Dig". If this guy is the glue for the other guitarists, bass, and drums, then they may not want to mess with a good thing, as they have a solid presence in the crowded Americana field. Basically, they rock quite hard with full on energy somewhat similar to O'Death. They control the dynamics well between the crazy rock and the quieter passages, as well as engaging in plenty of vocal harmony. With some nuance, they could be the Low Anthem, but without, they will rock your rural world.

Neulore - These upstarts from Nashville have hit the ground running with this powerful debut tonight. They have a far more universal sound than most things out of Nashville and even the US, with a European flair that I hear in a lot of 'heartland' releases from German and the British Isles. I am also hearing some Big Country style hooks and singing style that is welcome to my ears, along with excellent guitar work, active keyboards and a solid rhythm section. I also hear a bit of Soul Asylum although perhaps a bit beyond their 'Loud Fast Rules' days (which most people didn't know anyway). Their choice of covers gave a good clue of who they like, as they did a respectable take on Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago". Aside from an ending which is becoming too much of a cliche for me since I saw Lost in the Trees employ it a second time many years ago (and have seen a few bands since), this band did it everything right and with spirit and enthusiasm (see below for the cliche). I am quite sure they will be back with most of the decent Sunday night crowd back to see them again.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler - I see on their facebook page they describe themselves as playing 'indie-folk-pop' but that genre doesn't tell you anything you need to know about a band. Well in that case, they play death metal. I think what they should mean is that genres are mere starting points. All three bands tonight are a good fit, yet have distinct styles and talents. This band is as talented as any of them, but I was struggling to get into their material as easily as I had previously. I thought their pop-rock was a bit cloying as they offered up catchy songs in the manner of a Band of Horses or Fleet Foxes (less the harmonies). Eventually, the violin and mandolin combination produced some flowing patterns that had me involved as the rhythm section kept it rocking. This Cleveland band has plenty of talent and a decent fan base, and probably will get bigger than I think they should, but with a little sharpening of arrangements and vocal patterns, folks like me would come along for the ride. No matter as far as tonight was concerned, as the crowd enjoyed it as much as they had all of the music tonight.

Quote of the Night: From Neulore... "What if we end our set by coming down in the middle of the room and you can all crowd around us."

How about not, unless you have a campfire near by. The stick of incense was nice, but not the same.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Highballers - The Hello Strangers -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Jul20 2013

The Hello Strangers - From the rural terrain of Pennsylvania located between Hagerstown, MD and as state park dedicated to one of the worst US Presidents, James Buchanan, comes this sister act complete with rhythm section and lead guitar. The two sisters harmonize like sisters should with one adding some acoustic guitar and the other focusing on vocals with a touch of percussion and button accordion. And they all play Country and Western music the way I like to hear it, with this focus on the Western featuring those scrumptious harmonies along with honkytonk rhythms and crisp lead guitar. They rock out at times, pull back on others while smoothly transitioning betwen the more quiet and the more raucous songs of their catalog. The quieter songs struggled to stay above the din of a typically loud Saturday night crowd and they may have adjusted their set a bit more to alleviate this. But aside from that, they did everything right and easily won this large crowd over, at least those listening.

The Highballers - Most DC music buffs should be familiar with this band by now, as they have made a recognizable name for themselves now both here and even some other areas that they have toured through. That is evident enough with the strong crowd here tonight ready to kick back and enjoy this brand of old rock'n'roll/western swing/various roots music style delivered by this quintet. They have the songs that can pull in a crowd, whether they lean toward ballads or push the rock'n'roll forward. The vocals are smooth and surprisingly understated, but rippling with feeling. The guitars and bass playing snap off various runs to really liven things up, while the drummer accurately punctuates these musical sentences as needed. Everything is crisp and flowing tonight, as these guys have their class and form at their highest level to date. And I review a lot of albums by bands like this and these guys do it better than all but the best of this field. So it is no surprise they pull in the crowds they do. And although they are losing their bass player to what sounds like a fun adventure to Ecuador (where he can hopefully connect with some fascinating musicians down there), the Highballers will continue. So good luck Michael, and may continued success find the Highballers.

Quote of the Night: Paraphrased from the Highballers singer who tells a long story of playing long sets and trying to explain how they are careful on choosing cover songs and not butchering the classics... "We actually played 'Folsom Prison Blues' when requested. At first, were like: nah, we carefully select our covers and then someone yells 'Here's $140'--Hello I'm Johnny Cash!!!  Yeah, we're prostitutes."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Borracho - Lo-Pan - Weed is Weed - Kingsnake -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Jul19 2013

Kingsnake - This Philadelphia quarter features a couple of guitars with one of them handling all vocals. This is pure gritty blues rock delivered hard and true. It is where Point Blank meets Foghat but pushed much more into today's hard rock world. These guys are not tough as leather, but tough as nails. I mean you wouldn't want Judas Priest fixing your roof now. Whereas these guys may be able to build your whole house. The architecture will not be fancy, but that foundation will be strong and it will last. Oh yes, this rocks.

Weed is Weed - More hard rocking fun on hand from Maryland, as this band goes with a full time vocalist on top of three, count 'em, three guitarists. The crowd has been here early rocking hard with both of these bands, which is refreshing to see in lieu of trendy latecomers or people that stay only for their friends' band. The crowd wants to rock and this second band delivered as well. There is a bit more touch in the rhythm section here, particularly in the varied drum beats. That helped quite a bit as there was not quite as much as I expected from three guitars (but I've seen much worse). Some of the more Sabbathy riffs resonated best, as this proved a fine band to add to this powerhouse bill.

Lo-Pan - As I mentioned in March 2012 where I saw these guys at the Velvet Lounge, where the hell were bands like this when I lived in Columbus? If anyone can put that over-sized cowtown on the musical map, it might be Lo-Pan as they sound even more amazing than last time. Just one guitar, bass, drums, and vocals is all they need to cook up a maelstrom of metallic hard rock. This is the most fluid band of the night thus far and it appears that years of playing and roadwork have paid big time dividends. On a minor note, I thought their look was cool with the singer standing on the drum riser behind the drummer, which I have only seen from one other band in all my years of doing this. They really are as good as the big club metal and hard rock bands and hopefully even more riff loving, volume seeking crazed music fans will find these guys. 27 minutes of sheer bliss tonight.
Borracho - Although Lo-Pan is a tough act to follow, I had every bit of confidence that this area trio would be up to the challenge. And they were. Their style combines all of the proceeding hard rock to metal, old school to new school, with the requisite power and precision to elevate the songs beyond the garage. They were muscular throughout yet often could lock into a deep groove. I heard the Blue Cheer on steroids influence again particularly in the long solo passages. The crowd was less worried with comparisons and dug right in with plenty of energy despite the long night of adrenaline filled volume blasts. This was about as well executed as a night you would want with everything connecting on all levels. Borracho's brand new record is out now and well worth going out of your way for. And they are on the road, so that the minions of rock nuts can uncover this band's power. Hopefully, the smart and enthusiastic hard rock/metal crowd around here will continue supporting these shows like they did tonight. If so, the clubs will likely keep churning them out.

Quote of the Night: Lyrics from the opening number from Weed is Weed, just in case you couldn't figure out their philosophy.... "Weed is Weed, Plant the Seed, Oh yes Indeed."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wire - Bear in Heaven -- Black Cat - Jul14 2013

Bear in Heaven - This is my first viewing and listening of this Brooklyn trio, who have been around about ten years. And after one song, I was thinking that they might be a bit too preciously arty with their gutsy dance music. But after a few more songs, I was reminded of why I often quickly reverse myself of my first impressions. They quickly thickened the rhythm section sound and the vocalist songwriter laid down some powerhouse keyboard noise that he somehow stayed atop of. The bass player went to guitar for more sonic fun and they also went rock power trio with some keyboard parts worked into the background. They had the songs, but the post punk rock groove was developed with a deep psychedelic feeling imbued therein. So it was far from dance music, although that did not some from dancing as you could easily get into this rhythm if you let yourself go. They really proved to be a great fit with Wire by the end of their excellent 45 minute set. This band could have played it safe, but they went for it and nailed it.
Wire - There was a good sized crowd tonight for a band that has long been important to DC and lovers of deep, creative music world wide. They are as interesting as ever in recent years with fine new records and solid live sets that cover their history with a leaning to the newer material. Even the older material sounds unique and more a part of this older and wiser Wire. They opened with "Marooned" which was as dreamy and evocative as ever. After that, volumes and pace varied with the incongruous hooks worked in to more classic rock moves. The equations are not overly complex, just worked with different mathematical reference points (or rather map references). Before I talk myself into a corner, let us just say that this 90 minutes had all that these serious Wire fans wanted (aside from a few requests they have forgotten how to play). They did two encore combinations and banged out the usual "Pink Flag" which is more of a ferocious anti-march than ever, before they created a noisy improv to finish the night. New guitarist Matthew Simms is fully settled in and did a masterful job of working his pedals into creating some unique guitar sounds and contrasts for Colin Newman's guitar, even if Simms looked like he got on the wrong bus when they parked next to Iron Maiden. These guys look and sound fit as ever, and again as virtually everyone is saying, it is amazing that they have come out with a couple of great records that fit in with their early masterworks. So the 'It's Beginning To and Back Again' concept is still a path they should continue to follow. They firmly occupy a place among the elite bands for me and I am thrilled I can be reminded of that on the Black Cat stage every few years.

Quote of the Night (actually some 36 years ago)... from Robert Christgau's initial review of Wire's "Pink Flag" LP... "The simultaneous rawness and detachment of this debut LP returns rock and roll irony to the (native) land of Mick Jagger, where it belongs."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Harris Face + the Restoration - Norman Rockwell - Amber Dutton - Jason Mendelson -- The Dunes - Jul 13 2013

Jason Mendelson - I have heard of Jason Mendelson, but this is the first time I have caught him live. He plays an electric 12-string Rickenbacker, which immediately conjures up Roger McGuinn with that signature folk-rock hybrid sound. But the reason I have heard of him is his clever and audacious idea of writing songs to the many Metro stations of DC. This gives him interesting names and locations to riff off into historical issues or timeless emotions. His guitar playing is solid and his singing expressive, a bit ragged but stretching into the crazed territory of Brandon Ables a couple of times. Great ideas executed with enough style to elevate the substance.

Amber Dutton - This local folkie uses the time old tradition of acoustic guitar and voice to bring out her original songs. It is easy to see her subtle skills on guitar as she moves from a throbbing effect to delicate strumming to finger picking with ease and grace. She has a fine voice that also moves comfortably between delicate and resonate. And although much of this was thoughtful quiet folk music, which thankfully the audience of 35 was respectful of, she did have some fun at the end. Asking the audience to provide whistles evoking bird calls for her song "Little Bird" was a hit and endeared her all the further with the crowd. Clearly, this is someone welcome on any folk bill in town.

Norman  Rockwell - This area quartet lives up to their name with that classic relaxed brand of Americana made famous in their namesake's paintings. They have a couple guitars going in front of a rhythm section, although a banjo is effectively used a few times. They have fine harmonies and their style reminds me of a band that used to do this well, Stripmall Ballads. They do not quite go for the sort of dense moments that the WeatherVanes or Wes Tucker hit, but they control their atmosphere quite well. I wish I could say the same for the club atmosphere, as the larger crowd now had far too many people paying their $10 cover to come in and have loud liquored up conversations. Otherwise, the Dunes is a nice club with no stage, but a big comfortable roominess. The band is better able to drown everyone out when they went double electric guitar for the last few songs and added more rock to the folk-rock in the manner of a Tom Petty, perhaps. They are a nice fit in this field for DC and play enough that they warrant a listen some time. Perhaps their Friday show at the Velvet Lounge may suit you?
Harris Face and the Restoration - Harris Face is the face of this band, as he does the expected songwriting, singing, acoustic guitar playing and harmonica wielding combination up front, center stage (or floor). The band is rock solid with the usual instruments and a steel guitar, which is thankfully blended delicately into the sound and not overly prominent. The breezy style comes from Face and the band easily adds nimble passages while keeping a great flow to the entire set. The singing is different as it has a breathy clipped style which adds just enough edge to the easy going songs. It is a subtle contrast, but the kind of which helps separate bands in this crowded Americana folk-rock genre. The crowd was digging the sounds and the personality here and it was a successful set. There is a lot of great music in DC that keeps me busier and busier and I have found more of it tonight. All the musicians created a positive atmosphere tonight.

Quote of the Night: Crowd interruption of Jason Mendelson's description of the history behind his song "West Hyattsville"...
"It was in the War of 1812 where the British were burning..."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hi-Life Wedding - Pleasure Curses - Gezus Kake - Mothersday -- Velvet Lounge - Jul 11 2013

Mothersday - The first of two Baltimore bands gets things rolling on an overbooked Thursday night at the Velvet Lounge. This trio plays a myriad of guitars, basses, computer screens, drums, and microphones. They play their version of folktronica with a style that varies between dream pop and David Lynchian nightmare pop. There is just a smidgen of Spiritualized in the vocals, but the music is well short of that complexity. It does not lack for charm and intrigue and they kind of remind me of what I remember or Tunng, who I have not heard in a while. The last number through a real curveball which was quite exciting as it had crazed percussion and rocking bass guitar. The only thing I felt off was the never ending switching of instruments with slow transitions. A little tightening there and additional valleys to go with these peaks and these guys are truly on to something personal and fun.

Gezus Kake - This twin guitar Baltimore quartet has nary a synthesizer or computer in sight and instead just blasts away with rock fury and volume that was a bit excessive. The singing was rather straight forward but there was a nice undercurrent of post punk skronk at times which elevated this set. The drummer had not toms and not even a floor tom, but in spite of me trying to find something lacking, his skills were up to the task of providing a big beat with some creative flourish. Ultimately, they don't have the songs to match the sound, at least for a full set. Oh, and when you are told one more song, don't try to cram in two as your 30-minute set cramped the next two bands. Although the soundman taking his time earlier and forgetting to mic an amp lead to this band getting a late start.

Pleasure Curses - I have seen this band once before and was drawn to Morrisey comparisons, which did not dominate as much tonight. That may be due my focusing more on the music which was strong and vibrant, even though there were just two of them playing an array of keyboards, guitars, basses, and an electronic drum pad. They had some projections, half of which were on a guy's shirt which actually was a positive as it was white unlike the dark curtains behind the stage. The music flowed well and definitely had Mancunian touches, so I guess that connection is still there, but seemed even more broad-based tonight. This is a duo that is easy to enjoy and can fit well on a number of bills around here. I recommend them for anyone who likes thoughtful pop music and for the dance crowd that wants to challenge themselves to something beyond the DJ scene.
Hi-Life Wedding - What do you get when a woman from Missouri meats a man from Australia in Taiwan? Why, a very interesting electronica duo, of course. I do not see any computer screens among the tables of synthesizers and electronic boxes and they do spend more of their time creating music than watching it come out of a computer. They both sing, he with a twisting edgy style and she with a smooth comforting tone that moves from cool to warm without pushing to the extremes. It makes for an effective combination above the rhythms and melodies of their electronica style. She adds some bass guitar to many of the tracks which is always a good addition in my mind. I also liked the sequencer runs as the sense of movement and flow worked very well in this engaging set. It was a shame that over a dozen people had left due to the late hour, as the Velvet Lounge did the bands a disservice by trying to cram four bands into weeknight hours. Still those of us remained enjoyed Hi-Life Wedding and much of what happened earlier, so it was a good early start to the weekend. And hopefully they will return as it seems that they enjoy navigating many ends of this earth.

Quote of the Night: From Pleasure Curses and a listener...
"This one's called 'Out of Way'"
"Out of Way, not Uruguay"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mood Rings - Fall Seattle -- DC9 - Jul 9 2013

Fall Seattle - This young area quartet brings it on strong with some creative moves that seem to combine shoegaze and indie rock in a pleasing balance. Their second song had a dark riffing pattern that was a gutsy change and reminded me of the Pixies when they were in a bad mood (which was pretty much every day after 1987). Musically this band was solid throughout their set, aside from a few too casual-Sebadoh moments which weren't as fitting as their more assertive work. But their inane stage patter drove me crazy whether it was their attempted Steely Danesque humor or their Cheech and Chong bit involving asparagus and weed. And did they do an 'original' song called 'Summertime'? Can't wait until the next show when they debut 'White Christmas' or 'Satisfaction'. The music was good and the small crowd was nice, but I kind of missed the guy yelling "shut up and play!"
Mood Rings - Yet another Atlanta band as the state of Georgia seems to be overflowing with high quality touring rock bands these days. This band may have a lush dream pop/psyche pop style, but they lay it down nice and thick. They have two or three guitars working with one guy adding full keyboards several times. I particularly liked the rhythm section with the drums quick and offering a more understated version of a mototik beat and the bass player laying down a bold and flowing line. The pillowy vocals floated along with it all as it reminded me a bit of Hush Arbors or lighter MV & EE. They slowed it down at times while emphasizing more psyche-pop moves and almost lost me, but added just enough jagged edges to keep my interest up. There are other bands from California mostly that play this style these days, but Mood Rings has enough personality and core strength to carve out their own space in this world. They have a lot of tools and they have a good handle on how to use them. I suspect that next time through will be even more impressive than this fine set.

Quote of the Night: From the opener... "This next song will be called 'City Nights' and it will be a song."

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cayucas - Brazos - Midnight Faces -- DC9 - Jul 7 2013

Midnight Faces - This DC duo is augmented by a couple other guys and comes out as a quartet with keys and guitar aside the rhythm section. The bass player handles the vocals well and they start off on a strong note. The sound is shimmering with pop moves that push into shoegaze volume at times. However, things let off as the set wears on before returning to a strong closer. So the basic formula of starting and finishing with the louder, faster numbers is used here, yet again. The band is solid and has a certain appeal, but they did not pull me in as much as I would have liked during the pop/light rock middle of the set. And I was not alone as the couple in front of me first arm wrestled and then thumb wrestled. I didn't see them later on in the evening as they were probably off in search of a 'squared circle' to settle it once and for all.

Brazos - This trio started off modestly enough with a quirky pop tune, but then went into some sort of lounge pop offering which I liked a whole lot more. It reminded me of some of the later day Donovan Leitch and showed some skill and confidence in pushing songwriting into interesting locales. The guitarist handled the vocals with a mix of upper register crooning and quirky diversions which kept the attention level up. The bassist moved to keyboards for a few songs where he did bass lines as well as some lighter notes. This was modern pop music with personality and flair and somewhat surprised me as it pulled me in. This is pop music for people that want a few more challenges. And I think most people thought Brazos met those challenges tonight.
Cayucas - This Calfornia outfit is fairly new to the scene and has a nice album out on the Secretly Canadian label, which they are touring into previously uncharted territories, including the DC9. Yet people were ready as the club sold out well in advance and made for a crowded, but festive atmosphere for a Sunday night. Cayucas completed this night of pop music, and like the 180 degrees opposite of the previous night for me, they had a unique style that stood apart from the other bands yet made for a sensible grouping. The vocals were warm and the singer put down his acoustic guitar after a couple of songs and focused on delivering his soft melodies. The band may not have been overly demonstrative, but they added some interesting African melodies and dub bass lines in various songs. Some of the music sounded like stretched out reggae where the percussive sounds were pulled into simpler pop melodies. "Deep Sea" even submerged into psychedelic territory. The crowd seemed full of smiles and it was great to see that such understated yet bright music can resonate in the clubs. Cayucas has some unique abilities for the offering.

Quote of the Night: After a long conversation which I was ignoring at my table, I looked up and a woman looked at my note book and said "Are you writing down everything we said?" Hah, normally I would be eavesdropping in search of a 'quote of the night', but I'll have to leave it at that... unless I use the follow-up to me from the guy who remained after she left.  "Guess I am not going to get lucky tonight."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Caustic Casanova - Technicians - Murder Troy - Helgamite -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Jul 6 2013

Helgamite - This Virginia quartet lines up with drums, guitar, bass, and vocalist with some electronic equipment for the singer would prove essential as the half hour set wore on. This is a night of metal, although it is the kind of metal I go out of my way for... something with an adjective in front of it such as alt, nu, progressive, psyche, etc. The first of the four area bands that fit into this expanded metal universe took the heaviest approach tonight with a lot of death metal moves, but added many intriguing twists. First, the vocal treatments through the electronics added a lot of depth and intrigue to the heavy sounds. Instrumentally, they are sound although I found the compositions somewhat lacking at times. Their command of a heavy sound still won the day as they have a lot of moves that will interest a wide variety of metal fans. I particularly enjoyed some of the nearly jazz moves that the drummer was employing in lieu of simply pounding away. This is an intriguing band that got things off to a rousing start.

Murder Troy - Still one of the newer area bands, they have accomplished plenty in a short time. They are not quite Mogwai, but they employ many of those same powerful and soaring instrumental moves. One guitarist does plenty of shredding, while the other creates intriguing and controlled riffs. The rhythm section is heavy, but with touch. The keyboards are interesting but were a bit lost in the loud mix tonight. That is something they hopefully will work with more. They create some powerful mid-tempo drones and never have me clock watching as there is always a lot going on and a clear inviting vibe to dig into to. They even slipped in some Boris amidst their songs. This band has it together and will only get better as they keep writing and gigging.

Technicians - Well, it took 18 months but I am finally getting a repeat performance from a band I like that had a sound that mystified me last time out. Tonight, this twin-guitar quartet had a flowing set that started heavy, steadily backed off before revving up to the point at which they started. Along the way they took their Crystal Antlers meets Hawkwind brand of space rock and headed into more of a post rock territory. They do not seem to be doing a lot, but plenty is going on as these songs have a straight forward intensity. There is far less metal here, but the power and precision they possess fits right in with the creative heavy fest tonight. The moderate sized crowd was spirited all night making for a great atmosphere, and no less so for this set. Next time out, I will spend less time trying to fit this band into a slot and just let loose into their sound.
Caustic Casanova - I am too lazy to look back at the number of reviews I have written on this local favorite of mine, so feel free to roam the archives. There has been a significant growth over this time, much of which due to the guitarist change some months back, so there is always plenty to look closely at while enjoying their sound. The good news is that the guitarist integration is pretty well complete and the band seems as comfortable as ever. They blend their songs with noisy transitions and play off each other well. Even the few times they seemed a little lost in between songs, they never veered from the formula. And that formula is to create intelligent and interesting alt-metal with plenty of psychedelic touches and rhythmic flourish. The songs are powerful with lots of personal twists that set them apart from the pack. It is best just to dive in and experience for yourself. And the good news is that from coast to coast, many cities will be getting that experience beginning next week. It is scary to think how much more together they may get when they return with a long tour's worth of shows under their belt.

Ticket Stub of the Night: Courtesy of my Dayton friends who tell me this was the second ever concert at Hara Arena. Note the time... I wonder if they had to get the ice ready for a Dayton Gems hockey game thereafter.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Mantles - Title Tracks - Sick Sick Birds - Juan Wauters -- Comet Ping Pong - Jul 5 2013

Juan Wauters - This had me thinking of Flamencos Rosados, and there was a small connection with the kitschy living room stage design for this Uruguayan guitarist singer. He is a member of a NYC band, the Beets, and is accompanied by a woman on light percussion and vocals. They do a twisted folk, that stays well in control along the lines of Bolan and Took in Tyrannosaurus Rex (not T.Rex). The songs are not quite that audacious, but they are lively and veer well into the outsider camp. I like how they cycle all the songs together with no breaks similar to what Bread, Love & Dreams does in Amaryllis. Although here, it sounds more like Sebadoh trying to cover that. The thought-out set with odd flashing white lights added just enough of a setting to add to the enchantment created with guitar and voice. It is not for everybody, but I like this style when they know how to do it well, as they accomplished here tonight.

Sick Sick Birds - This Baltimore trio has a gutsy, energetic pop punk style that slashes away at the pop hooks harder than most. They remind me a bid of hard edged pop punk outfits the Undead (post-Misfits Bobby Steele band) and Denver's Happy World. There is also a Dangerhouse feeling, as this band sounds like they would be welcomed on that early LA punk record label. I was not sure how this was going to work as it has always been a style that is rather tricky for me to grab hold of. But by the third song, I was enjoying the approach this band had as they had just enough edge and striking ability to liven the music up enough to sink in.

Title Tracks - I have seen this local trio before and I knew I liked them well enough, but if I had any doubts, I can now say that they have fully won me over tonight. The clean bright catchy vocals stay atop a fuzzy, tight power pop punk style that is a nice marriage of Sloan and the Buzzcocks. And these songs are almost as catchy as the Buzzcocks, yet it is that fuzzy roar underneath it all that makes these guys the real deal and not just another good band. They are not only welcome on any area stage, but worth going out of your way for.
The Mantles - This SF Bay area quintet immediately sounds like they would be a great fit for that certain Paisley-psychedelic scene some thirty years back in the big city to their south. Their guitars jangle throughout the pleasant psychedelic pop with warm, nasal vocals that that are consistnatly comforting. I particularly appreciated the drumming as there was power when needed, but good sharp accenting was used more to really keep the bounce in these songs. This is very engaging music and even though the usual lateness of the evening in this club left a slightly smaller crowd than what the previous bands had, those present were swaying and dancing with smiles all around. I was slightly surprised that they didn't use more harmonies, as that seemed so natural, but they accomplished a warm, yet rocking set that was true 'feel-good' music.

Quote of the Night: From the Mantles... "Thanks to... (the usual bands, etc.), but I won't thank this weather as we are not used to this."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Previews of upcoming shows in early July

Here are some previews of bands coming to a club near you. Check them out and find a show or two of your own and tell me about it. There is always a lot going in on this town.

Mantles plays the Comet Ping Pong on Friday, July 5th.
Caustic Casanova and Murder Troy are joined by a couple other bands in what will be a great showcase for local metal bands that feature style and intellect amidst the sonic roar.
Cayucas plays the DC9 on Sunday, July 7th.
Pretty & Nice are at the Iota on Sunday, July 7th.
Mood Rings hits the DC9 on Tuesday, July 9th.
Check out Firehorse at the Iota on Thursday, July 11t.
or stay in the U Street area (like me) and try out Hi Life Wedding at the Velvet Lounge on Thursday, July 11th.
But if you are feeling adventurous, go out to Wolf Trap and check out She & Him also on Thursday, July 11th
And go old-school modern with OMD (who I remember as Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark) who come to the 9:30 Club on Saturday, July 13th.
But if you want an old-school band that sounds as brilliant as ever with a couple of recent albums that nearly equal their almighty trinity of Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, and 154, then do not miss Wire at the Black Cat, on Saturday, July 14th.