Canadian rock trio Rush are performing at Jiffy Lube Live (formerly Nissan Pavilion) on Sunday, September 9th, and ShowlistDC is giving away a pair of tickets before you can buy them! That’s right, tickets go on sale via ticketmaster.com this Friday, May 4th at 10 AM, but we’re giving away a pair of tickets before then! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me what song you’d most want to hear Rush play live, and I’ll pick a winner at random (using random.org) on Thursday, 3 May at 5 PM Eastern. Be sure to use a valid email address when you enter, so I can contact you if you win (and don’t worry: your email address won’t be posted publicly when you comment on this entry). Note that the tickets we’re giving away are seats inside the pavilion, not lawn seats– this is an awesome deal for Rush fans to see the band up close!
Rush formed in Toronto in 1968, and over the decades since then, the influential prog-rock trio has become known for the stratospheric vocals of bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee, the powerhouse drumming of lyricist Neil Peart, and the guitar riffs of Alex Lifeson. Their last show in the area was in September of 2010, where they played their classic 1981 album Moving Pictures (the one with hits like “Tom Sawyer”, “YYZ”, and “Limelight”) in its entirety, as well as a bunch of other songs spanning their career (I was lucky enough to get to review the concert for the Washington Post’s Express; you can read my review– which includes the show’s set list– here). This time around, though, they’ll be touring in support of their new album, Clockwork Angels, which is due to come out on June 12th, so they’re almost certain to play a lot of new songs in addition to their old hits. You can listen to their latest single from the album, “Headlong Flight”, in the youtube video below, to get a flavor of what their new material will sound like. Rush is touring without an opener (that seems to be standard for them of late), so we’re expecting that they’ll play two long sets of music.
• Does the DC music scene suck? The Washington Post published a letter this weekend from Sean Roussy of Arlington with the headline The Rant: D.C. must face the music. We had some serious problems with the link to the article last night (it kept coming up as “Page Not Found”– seems to be working better now via this link), so we’re reprinting the whole thing here:
The Washington music scene is just awful. Do not get me wrong. There are many fine local bands across various genres in the District, and a plethora of legendary acts for audiophiles in 31 flavors. It is not the music; it is the scene. I specifically mean all of you. Including myself. The reason I know this is that it is something I see myself and that people and bands from other towns tell me, because I have seen many bands in many towns since I was sneaking out to punk matinees at the age of 13. I also watch tour schedules, and there are plenty of awesome acts that skip this town. This is the Imperial Capital. One would think that this would be an important place to showcase talent. However, time and again I end up driving to Baltimore, Richmond or Philadelphia for music. The reason is, simply, that people do not come out on school nights.
The District works too hard and rocks too little. The transient population of this town is comprised of 50 states worth of former safety patrol captains and class presidents who all came here to conquer, and the suburbs are littered with the descendants of a couple generations of their offspring. These are not the kids who made high school fun by hosting all-day jam sessions in their garages. These are the kids who were busy with their eagle Scout badges and their Key club, whatever that is. This particular population of Washington of which I write works too hard to close the club on a school night and show back up for work at 7 a.m. with three hours of sleep. They have their careers to think about and their brains to use. However, I would posit to all of the readers for whom I may have touched a nerve that the world might be a better place if the music scene of Washington visited the music of D.C. once in a while on a school night. Whether you work the hall or scream at the wall, music is the language of the soul. If the pinnacle of power cannot converse at that level, I am afraid the whole American experiment is in trouble.
• What happens to old punk clubs when they vacate the building? Apparently they become J.Crew stores– or, at least, that’s what’s happening to the former 9:30 Club at 930 F St NW [Washington CityPaper].
• Interview: Valerie Paschall chats with Trophy Wife [DCist].
Last night, I went to the Black Cat and saw British twee band Allo Darlin’. I wouldn’t ordinarily identify as a fan of twee, but I do really dig the Field Mice and Camera Obscura, and I find Allo Darlin’ to be very much in line with those two bands. (Also, I recently reviewed the band’s latest album, Europe, for the Washington Post). I was pleasantly surprised to see that the show was packed (and packed with people who knew a lot of the band’s lyrics, too!). Live, the band really captures that “just exuberant enough to be slightly off-kilter” brand of indie-pop; I don’t think the bassist stopped jumping up and down for the band’s entire ~45-minute set. Another pleasant surprise: frontwoman Elizabeth Morris’s solo ukulele song “Tallulah” during the encore was performed to….complete silence! So great to hear DC crowds keeping quiet after a whole slew of chatty shows.
An unrelated story from last night’s show: I got an iPhone a few weeks ago, and I’m still warming up to it– sure, some of the apps are cool, but I’m not a fan of its email functionality, and that’s what I want a smartphone for, more than gadgets and doodads. Anyway, last night at the show, one of those apps came in handy: a flashlight app I’d recently installed helped a woman find her contact lens on the floor of the Black Cat. I kind of wanted to ask if she actually planned on putting it back in her eye– no amount of rinsing could possibly get nightclub grime off of that thing.
• Interview: Metal Chris talks to Evan Harting, co-founder of Maryland DeathFest [DCHeavyMetal.com]. You can either listen to the interview via MP3 (~20 minutes) or read its entire transcript (or both!). Metal Chris talks both about festival logistics (parking, food) as well as the merits of downloading (Metal Chris rightly points out that many of the bands on the DeathFest schedule wouldn’t be known enough to come to the U.S. if not for the availability of their music online). Teaser from this cool interview: I think having at least some of your music available online for free is great and it gets your word out there. If you’re in metal to make money then you’re doing something wrong anyway.
• Local band profile: Stephanie Williams on Heavy Breathing [DC Music Download].
• Watch out for disco balls! In April 2010, a woman was allegedly hit by a falling disco ball at the Franconia Moose Lodge in Alexandria. Now she’s suing [Washington Post]. The horrific incident happened in April 2010 at a Sweet Sixteen dance, according to Robert M. Somer, the lawyer who filed the suit. He said the victim, Ana Guevara Blanco, suffered a concussion, a fractured nose and facial bones, was hospitalized, and ran up about $15,000 in hospital bills. After some plastic surgery, her nose still doesn’t look the way it once did, Somer said.
Wednesdays are always the quietest days for Music Notes; Mondays are full of weekend news, Tuesdays feature new releases, and Thursdays and Fridays start gearing up for the weekend. Wednesdays are a sort of no man’s land: not a lot of articles, very few live reviews (just look at today’s: not a single one! Now’s the time to start blogs, people, and write about stuff!).
So I feel like I should have a lot of words about the show I went to last night Chicago progressive metal trio Czar at Old Firestation #3 in Fairfax. They were seriously awesome! Unfortunately, though, an increased workload at my day job meant that I couldn’t stay for any of the other bands (Gradius and Lucid Dream played after Czar; Free Hand Arson opened the show), and for the same reason, I’ve got to wrap up this blog without a longer description of their show.
• Catch up with Louis Armstrong: Matt Schudel writes this lengthy article about the re-release of Armstrong’s National Press Club Performance [Washington Post]. The original album, “Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours: Satchmo at the National Press Club,” had a limited pressing of 300 vinyl LPs. The new release, from the Smithsonian Institution’s Folkways recording label, will be available as a compact disc, on iTunes, and from other digital sources. It marks one of Armstrong’s final performances on trumpet.
Last night, I went to the Arlington Temple in Rosslyn to see the San Francisco vocal band the House Jacks, who have been around since 1991 but are more recently known for their work on the NBC a cappella competition show The Sing-Off. The quintet did not disappoint, performing a ton of original songs and a few selected covers; they always do a selection of audience requests, and it’s pretty amazing to me how little it takes to make for a convincing cover of a pop song (the guys did just fine with Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and Maroon 5′s “This Love” with just the lead and percussion– sure, some of the other guys were tossing in some harmonies or other auxiliary parts, but they really weren’t necessary). Better was the guys’ take on audience requests they didn’t know; Deke Sharon provided a particularly hilarious guess of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. (Notably, my request for their version of the Monday Night Football theme was not indulged– the House Jacks actually performed the song with Hank Williams Jr. last season, but the theme stopped being aired after a few weeks when Williams made a Hitler comment.) The show overall was great, though; I captured a few tunes on video: early in the show, Nick Girard soloed on a cover of Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy”, and for the encore, Deke Sharon invited openers Euphonism on stage to sing Bob Marley‘s “Three Little Birds”.
On Friday night, I went to see Trampled By Turtles at the 9:30 Club. My friend Tom Herbers runs their sound (and recorded their most recent album Stars & Satellites). There were a couple of all-star jams with openers These United States, including a booming cover of The Band‘s “The Weight”. Overall, I thought they sounded great (definitely better than the last time I saw them), but the one thing that continues to be frustrating is the number of people who talk and talk and talk during the band’s slower, quieter songs. I guess the crowd made up for it during the louder ones (there was a moment where everyone was jumping in unison so fiercely that I thought the entire 9:30 club building was going to levitate).
• Interview/profile: Jonathan L Fischer celebrates the blog All Our Noise and shares some of the blog’s favorite live videos over its 4 year history [Washington CityPaper].
• The Washington Post has a column called “She The People: Women Writing on Politics and Culture”. This week, Suzi Parker muses on What American women could learn from Pussy Riot, a Russian punk rock girl band. Three of its members have been in police custody since March for overtaking the pulpit of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in February and chanting “Mother Mary, drive Putin away.” Their crime: hooliganism.
Last night was a concert double-header for me. I started out at the Hamilton in Penn Quarter– it was my first time there, and that place is seriously cool. The obvious comparison is that it’s most similar to the Birchmere, because both venues are seated with tables and you can order food. The Hamilton is wider, though, and the stage is curved so the tables all come out like rays instead of being perpendicular or parallel to it. There’s an entire restaurant attached to the venue, but the venue is downstairs, so there’s no interference between the two. I was also surprised that the menu was different in the venue than it was in the restaurant– you can see the venue menu here and the restaurant menu here. There’s some overlap between the two, but I was disappointed that the venue menu didn’t have the falafel sandwich that the restaurant menu had, as I generally tend to keep vegan when I can, and there didn’t seem to be any vegan options at the venue. I had the wild mushroom pizza instead, which was also quite good. (Note that the venue charges for refills of things like lemonade!). The sound was good and the stage was really pro– there was quite the lighting display during the bands. Opening the show was Baltimore’s Cris Jacobs Band, who mentioned that they’d just finished recording a new CD, so that should be out “in a few weeks”(!), they said. The headliners were Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, a 9-piece funk/soul band from Brooklyn that features siblings Arleigh Kincheloe (voice) and Jackson Kincheloe (harmonica) alongside a 4-piece horn section. They were a lot of fun– you could tell that the crowd really wanted to dance, but there wasn’t a lot of space for that.
Then, since that show got out early (10:30), I hopped in my car and headed out to Fat Tuesday’s in Fairfax where there was a metal show going on. There was a ton of traffic because the Caps game got out at the same time– plus the inevitable construction on 66– but I got there in time to see stoner metal band Caltrop who were great live. Bizarre to see them playing in that New Orleans themed dive bar, but with the Corpse Fortress gone now, there are fewer DIY spaces for metal bands like that to play. You can download a free song on their Facebook page if you’d like to hear what they sound like.
• Announced: Sonic Circuits has revealed its 2012 lineup, including the Glenn Branca Ensemble, Lydia Lunch, and David Thomas (from Rocket from the Tombs and Pere Ubu). Complete schedule will be posted soon.