Photos: Whartscape 2010 Days 3 & 4 @ Current Space (2010.07.24-25)

Photos by Shantel Mitchell

I have to admit, this was my first year attending Whartscape.  It’s been one of those events that I’ve always wanted to attend, but ended up never making it out.  This year, I vowed that I would go, even if it ended up being 100+ degrees outside!  Saturday was HOT.  There was no other word to describe the day.  However, I left Whartscape  thinking, “Wow, that was really fun!” even though I don’t handle heat well.  I was able to see Double Dagger, Dan Deacon, and Arab on Radar.

I always enjoy Dan Deacon.  His sets are awesome fun, and I LOVE the crowd interaction.  Double Dagger was in the heat of the afternoon, but it didn’t seem to bother the crowd.  One fan after another literally dove from the stage to enjoy crowd surfing atop a very energetic audience.  After the sun went down and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, Arab on Radar took the stage.  I was up front for this one, but had NO idea how crazy and insane this would be!  Needless to say, I lasted two songs before taking a safer position to the side of the stage.  Although there was a night show planned, I decided to call it a night since I was returning for the day on Sunday.

The next day, I was most anticipating Wye Oak, as I love to see them any chance I can get.  I got there a bit early in time to catch Little Howlin’ Wolf, an improv jazz-style band.  It was a very interesting performance; I appreciated the energy of this band, as well as photographing them.  Just after their set, when Wye Oak began to set up, a huge gust of wind came along and tore up the tarp they had covering the stage.  Spectators rushed to grab it and hold it down, knowing that the black clouds in the sky meant rain was only seconds away.  As the rain began to come down, the mad dash began to cover and protect the equipment.  Some of the crowd hovered under the tarp coverings while others enjoyed the rain until the lightning came and drove anyone remaining inside.  The event was later rescheduled inside Sonar, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it back downtown to catch Wye Oak.  I had a great time despite the heat and unexpected rain and I’m glad that I went, even though I caught Whartscape on it’s last year!  Enjoy the photos!

Preview: Counting Crows @ Pier Six Pavilion (2010.07.12)

Do you know what I love about Baltimore?  We have our own water-front concert pavilion right in the middle of the harbor.  It is the perfect place to see a show, and there is plenty to do before or after you hit the venue.  This Monday night, you can catch Counting Crows performing with Augustana and NOTAR for The Traveling Circus & Medicine Show.

This is promised to be a special night because, unlike traditional shows, there is no “opening act.”  All acts perform throughout the whole entire evening, sometimes playing alone or with members from the other bands (similar to the famed Round Robin series).  Get there on time and enjoy a fun night with the Counting Crows at Baltimore’s Pier Six Pavilion THIS Monday evening July 12th!

To buy tickets, click here.

To read more about their tour, click here.

Photos / Live Review: English Beat, Fishbone @ Rams Head Live (2010.02.24)

Flickrshow will appear here!

Photo credit: Shantel Mitchell

I knew about this show for awhile and I had every intention on going, but the day of the show I was exhausted.  All I wanted to do was curl up on my sofa in my pajamas and watch a movie or something.  However, I grabbed my camera and headed downtown despite my reluctance.  I arrived just shortly before Fishbone was scheduled to go on and was surprised to see an empty Rams Head!  I was shocked for I had heard that the DC show this past Monday was packed!  I grabbed a seat and had a drink at the bar and reflected on the first time I saw Fishbone.  I was in college and remember getting to the 9:30 Club a bit late.  Fishbone was already playing and the place was packed, but even from the back of the club trying to see over heads and arms, I had an awesome time.  English Beat play frequently in the area, but surprisingly I have never seen them perform live, so knowing my Fishbone experience and the fact that English Beat are classic I was anticipating a great evening.

Fishbone took the stage and played for an hour – at least!  I really lost track of time because their performance was dynamic.  Watching these guys play and perform after so many years is just exciting!  I had so much fun during their set that I forgot I was tired and even hesitated going to the show in the first place.  Their set included a great list of classics including “Ma and Pa,” “Cholly,” and “Party at Ground Zero.” We were even treated to a special guest appearance by HR from Bad Brains!  After their set, most of them made their way out to socialize with the fans which was completely awesome.

English Beat was headlining for the evening and took the stage just after 11 PM.  Fishbone had a very relaxed photo policy (I basically shot the whole show from the front), but English Beat had first two and last two songs.  After such an energetic Fishbone set, I must admit I was a bit bored with English Beat.  I really love their music and enjoy listening to them from time to time, but their live performance fell a bit flat and I rolled after about the 4th song.  I did get to hear “Tears of a Clown,” though!  So, whether you are a Fishbone fan, an English Beat fan, or love them both – enjoy the pictures from the show!

Live Review / Photos: The Dutchess and the Duke, Medication, Nerve City, Toy Soldiers @ the Ottobar (2010.01.17)

Flickrshow will appear here.

All photos: Shantel Mitchell

All words: Shawn Breen

Have you ever seen that ONE band before, that you just totally love and you want to keep them to yourself forever? That feeling of not wanting others to embrace them for fear of losing them to the masses? I feel that way about The Dutchess And The Duke. It’s a love affair, I’ll admit it. This was one of those shows that you go to where there’s 3 openers you’ve never heard of and one headlining act that you love a whole lot and can’t wait to see. In fact, I considered for half a second not even going for selfish reasons but in the end my love of The Dutchess And Duke motivated me. Sometimes you just don’t want to sit through three bands for the payoff. That’s not to slag openers but let’s face it, don’t you ever wish you could just go to a show only to see that ONE band?

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Photos / Live Review: The Cranberries @ Rams Head Live (2009.11.12)

What a pleasure it was to be able to see Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries perform for the first time in six years at Rams Head Live!  I was shocked to see that they were reuniting for a tour, and even more shocked to see that they were starting their tour in Baltimore!  The band played a 17 song set, ending with a 4 song encore that closed the show with classic single, “Dreams.”  Their performance and sound were both amazing; Dolores herself even commented that they had only rehearsed for a week prior to starting the tour.  Throughout the set, Delores interacted with several grateful fans, even accepting a few bouquets of flowers.  The evening was perfect!  Enjoy the photos!

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Photos / Live Review: Old 97′s, Rhett Miller, Murry Hammond @ the Recher (2009.06.27)

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MP3: Old 97′s – I Will Remain

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MP3: Old 97′s – Color Of A Lonely Heart Is Blue

The Old 97′s played a sold out show at the Recher this past Saturday night.  This show was a special night for those fans of Old 97′s because on this tour, Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond (both members of Old 97′s) opened with solo acoustic performances.  The Recher filled early with fans eager to hear the openers as well as the main act.  Murry started the evening playing either guitar or harmonium with his very quiet and haunting, old style country melodies.  Rhett took the stage next playing many new songs from his latest release, Rhett Miller,  as well as some great classics.  Old 97′s played a lengthy set to close the evening.  For Rhett Miller fans: he will be playing the Black Cat in DC on September 17th.  Tickets for this go on sale THIS Friday (July 3rd).

Enjoy the photos from the evening.

Old 97′s

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Photos / Live Review: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Zaza, Deleted Scenes, Secret Mountains @ the Talking Head (2009.05.05)

All photos: Shantel Mitchell

All words: Greg Szeto

Secret Mountains started off a bit unsteady, but really grew into a precious and nicely textured bit folk pop; in particular, lead-singer Kelly Laughlin’s vocals grew really warm and full (despite having a nasty cough between songs).  I’ll be on the look-out for their future work.

DC’s Deleted Scenes’ much-ballyhooed debut, Birdseed Shirt, didn’t really leave a lasting impression on me, or Alexa.  But as I suspected, things really opened up for their sound live, where I got the full sense of their grand range and the broad textures used in their sound.  In particular, the track “Ithaca” that I felt languished on the album, really expanded live into an appropriately grand gesture that swept you away.  I really got a better sense of their refined arrangements, and the myriad small touches that make them much greater and more diverse than the average guitar-bass-synths-drums rock outfit.  Add in their excellent stage energy, and I was duly impressed.

Deleted Scenes perform “Ithaca,” Live @ the Talking Head

Zaza cut the lights and seduced me like no other group on the bill.  The slinky bass grooves were motivating, and played well with the crushing weight of guitar.  A mere three-piece, they made effective use of loops, effects and a drum machine to amplify their sound to epic proportions, sounding more like an army than any 3 people should have a right to.  While their theatrics and music may have felt a bit over the top at times, their meticulous attention to atmospherics and every seeming detail of performance right down to the sultry, swaying bassist completely absorbed you in their performance.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart were almost exactly what I expected: good kids having a good time playing good tunes.  Their perfectly-pop compositions rang true, sugar-y and bouncey, hitting all the right nerves.  For all their shoegaze-y aspirations, I thought they were a bit timid and reserved, especially in contrast to the preceding lusciousness that was Zaza, and their precious and affected vocals turned just a bit too much out-of-tune, but overall, a respectable and satisfying set.

Thanks to Shawn Breen for catching the audio, and the band for being so kind as to grant us permission to post it.  You can find excerpts from the set here.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

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Photos / Live Review: Morrissey @ the Warner Theatre (2009.03.14)

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MP3: The Smiths – This Charming Man

With recent shows cancelled due to illness, I was relieved that Morrissey’s show at Warner Theatre actually took place!   Two years ago I saw him at Rams Head (on Halloween night in fact), and was so pleased with his set list!   Therefore, I was anticipating this show for months.  

As Morrissey took the stage to “This Charming Man,” the mood was electrifying.  Fans rushed the stage with hands desperately reached out to touch his as Morrissey greeted his fans gratefully.   I was star struck, I must admit.  Throughout the night, however, my energy slowly declined.  I was pleased with the beginning of the set, but as the night progressed, I became slightly bored.  

Morrissey’s performance was top notch.  His stage production was beautiful and sound quality was excellent, but I left a bit disappointed with the lack of  classics that I heard.  It was clear that Morrissey was supporting his new album, Years of Refusal, but it would have still been nice to enjoy some old-time favorites as well.  The worst part of the night for me came when Morrissey spouted out, “There’s always someone with a big nose who knows” just prior to breaking into song.  I became very excited anticipating “Cemetery Gates,: but that is not what I heard.  

I was bummed!  

After only one encore consisting of one song, I was shocked to find that the show was over.  It was surprisingly short and I’m sure some would blame that on his recent “illness;” however, I guess I should be grateful for the opportunity to see him again.  My love of Morrissey stems from The Smiths and that is where my devotion lies, I suppose.  Anyway, if you were at the show you may have a different opinion but regardless, I’m sure we can agree that Morrissey is nothing short of perfect.  

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Aural States Fest 2009: Photos (Shantel)

Wye Oak is already posted, and over the next 11 days we’ll be posting the rest of the live audio and tons more coverage from our first annual Aural States Fest! Thanks for coming out!

All photos: Shantel Mitchell

OK, I am sure I am not alone in thinking that this was one of the best shows that I’ve been to in awhile. Not only did this show run so smoothly with both stages in action at all times, but it was also a night filled with some of the best bands from Baltimore and DC. I mean, 12 bands on two club stages over a period of about 6 hours – for only $10 bucks: who could want for more? Well, there was also free coffee (thanks to Zeke’s Coffee in Parkville) and door gifts for those who came early – filled with vinyl, CDs, books, and other goodies (thanks to Soundgarden, Atomic Books and a slew of record labels).

This was the perfect event. If you were there, I am sure you are agreeing with me and if you weren’t, well then you missed an awesome show! Here are my photos from the evening. I was able to get all of the bands but two: Title Tracks and Hollywood (so sorry!). I picked out a few from each band. If you want to check out everything, you can see them here.

Andy Abelow

Andy Abelow, a solo artist who also performs in Small Sur started the evening, featuring accompaniment by Austin and Bob from Small Sur, Caleb Stine, John Varrone and Bethany Dinsick.

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Photos: Los Campesinos! @ the Ottobar (2008.01.15)

Los Campesinos! kicked off their tour in Baltimore this past Thursday at the Ottobar. This seven-piece band from Wales managed to pack the Ottobar with a crowd who was very excited to see this band play.  

Unfortunately, violinist Harriet Campesinos! was unable to travel due to illness; yet playing as a 6-piece, they still surprised the audience with a song sung from the floor, a climb up the side wall towards the balcony and an end to their set with some crowd surfing from stage.  

It was no surprise that the audience demanded an encore!  

Titus Andronicus from New Jersey is touring with Los Campesinos! and is certainly an opener worth catching.  They were every bit as energetic as the main act, so if you plan to catch this show along the tour, make sure you come early to catch this band as well!

Los Campesinos!

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