Looking back, Arctic Monkey‘s rise to prominence with their 2006 fastest-selling debut makes a lot more sense than Susan Boyle’s similar honors. People had just gotten used to finding out about music from the Internet. The Arctic Monkeys were young, irreverent, and most importantly, British. What’s more, the band was enjoyable to people you wouldn’t normally see together at a concert: pop-punkers and indie kids, aging hipsters and tweens, mods and rockers. All in all, 2006 was a pretty great year for them.
The boys from Sheffield have maintained their swagger for the ensuing three, churning out consistently high-quality albums and a slew of exciting EPs in between. Last year’s Humbug was supposedly a bottom-heavy, Americana influenced deviation from the course, although the most apparent difference was in Alex Turner’s longer hair than in any shift in songwriting. They’ve rocked tighter and better than most of their indie-major contemporaries, and although Wednesday was the first time I’d seen them live before, I had heard that their style translated into a fantastic stage show. Read the rest…
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!
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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If you’ve been looking for a way to celebrate Michael Jackson’s life, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one coming up. We’ve got a pair of free tickets to giveaway to Who’s Bad, performing a sizable number of MJ’s hits at Rams Head Live on Jul 8th. BYT covered the 9:30 Club performance and seemed to have a favorable opinion on proceedings.
Entering is simple: comment or email us at auralstates at gmail dot com with your most vivid, moving or hilarious MJ memory. Winner will be chosen on Jul 7th at 5PM.
Photo credit: Mike D’Ariano (not from this show)
MP3: Gogol Bordello – Dying After You (traditional Gypsy song) from NPR’s All Things Considered on April 29, 2006
MP3: Man Man – Van Helsing Boombox from Six Demon Bag (2006)
Fuck if Man Man couldn’t be more awesome. Read the rest…
Photo credit: Flickr user Monica
I have an unabashed, unashamed respect for the Shins, a band who, along with Death Cab for Cutie, have defined what it means to be a successful, popular, and critically-respected indie band.
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All photos: Greg Szeto
Editor’s Note: If you look closely, you’ll see one Victoria Legrand from a little band called Beach House, playing backup dancer for Ms Sharon Jones.
Even though I have read about the history of now defunct Desco Records in the newspaper of record, I had never really heard of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings before. A name like that is like a secret code for soul, and they proved that they’ve got it in spades.
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MP3: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – 100 Days, 100 Nights from 100 Days, 100 Nights (2007)
This is easy as pie. Comment with a reason why you’ve got soul (or you need to find it) and I’ll enter your name for 2 tickets to Sharon Jones (Wiki) @ Rams Head Live next Thursday (May 7). I can personally vouch it’ll be a phenomenal show as I fondly recall being transfixed to the stage by her roaring vocals and the big-n-bold bodied horns of the DAP Kings at Bonnaroo last year.
On May 5th, you can catch a Sharon Jones rarity of sorts, as she covers Bob Marley’s “It Hurts To Be Alone” for Causes 2, the second album in a series from Waxploitation to benefit the work of Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam America (principally their efforts in Darfur). So take the $60 you are saving by winning these tickets, and spend a portion of it on that album.
Photo credit: Courtney Campbell
MP3: Mimicking Birds – Home and somewhere else
MP3: Japanese Motors – Bummin’ Out
MP3: Modest Mouse – Doin’ the Cockroach (Live)
Odds are if you were at Rams Head on Thursday you were there for Modest Mouse (Wiki), who are admittedly one of the best bands of our time. In fact, I was recently debating with a friend whether “Float On” might not be the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” of indie rock–the song that really introduced the genre into the popular consciousness.
But knowing that frontman Isaac Brock previously worked as a talent scout for Sub Pop records and was actually the driving force behind their signing Iron & Wine and The Shins (surprisingly that honor dosen’t belong to Zach Braff) had me wondering what kind of bands the mighty Mouse would tour with. Mimicking Birds and Japanese Motors were both complete unknowns to me prior to this tour, so I went in with an open mind and not much else.
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Photo credit: Greg Szeto
MP3: The Decemberists (Colin Meloy solo) – Night / Rake (Live)
Even the best of us falter.
While some, many in fact, shudder at the notion of enjoying the Decemberists, dismissing them as smarmy smarty-pants who try too hard to make delicately crafted musical arrangements or shallow apers of Neutral Milk Hotel, it is inescapable that they have provided me some of the most enjoyable and memorable live experiences in my not-too-short show-faring life.
I’ve seen them no less than 6 times, in some form or another, including once with the Baltimore Symphony (redefining the word transcendant in my inner dictionary and inspiring me to start writing about my experiences with music), once in a 2-day double-header and once with Colin Meloy going solo.
Each live show I saw was nothing short of beautiful, spectacular and hilarious; they managed to amplify the strongest charms of their music, delivering equal portions of careful almost-winkingly planned choreography and obscure lyrical wordplay, enrapturing and bard-like yarn-weaving, and genuine, good-humored spontaneity and joy of performance. They consistently transported the audience into either epic tales of heroism and ne’er-do-well-erism, or deeply affecting emotions and moodscapes.
Unfortunately at Rams Head, I finally saw a performance that I can only characterize as mediocre. Read the rest…