Sunday, October 20, 2013

Savor the Kill - Darkest Hour & Killswitch Engage at the Fillmore

Hey all.

Well to say that life has gotten a bit crazy would be an understatement. I won't bore you with the details, but I have been buried. I even recruited a cohort, who I have not introduced to you yet (it's coming), and he just moved so HE's been nuts, too.

Well, as a result of all this I am catching up on some stuff I shot this summer. And to be totally honest, I have not shot much since Josh Burdette's death. It hit me harder than I thought, and the motivation just hasn't been there. I still have not been to the 9:30 since then and not sure how I'll feel when I do.

Enough with the depressing stuff. I finally went to the Fillmore this summer to check out Darkest Hour and Killswitch Engage. If you want to see and hear some metal, this was a good show. Can't say I love the corporate feel and regimented security at the Fillmore (don't get me started on live nation), but it is a nice space, the sound was good, and most importantly the bands killed.

Darkest Hour was actually a last minute replacement on this tour (due to the odd events involving Tim Labesis of As I Lay Dying), and it provided a chance for them to debut their new rhythm section for the hometown crowd here in DC. They added Aaron Deal on bass and Travis Orbin on drums. Both are EXCELLENT additions to the band. And I think Travis plays the biggest drumsticks I've ever seen. But as usual they put on a great show, and made the hometown crowd happy. We even managed to get a quick band photo in with the new line up that quickly hit the streets promoting everything DH. Since they wrapped up the tour they have been very busy in the studio. Look for a new album from them sometime in the next year. You can see the pics from the show here.

If you are a metal fan, if you have not seen Killswitch Engage, then you are missing out. Those guys are super high energy, and they put on a hell of a show. They didn't disappoint here, and the crowd let them know it. Fast, loud and angry - just the way you like it. When I was backstage, I could hear them literally rattling the pipes. You can see these pics here.

Ok, that's it for now. I'll have more soon. honest.

Till then - see you in the pit.

pete The List......

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

DC's Heart is Heavy

We learned yesterday about the untimely passing of Josh Burdette.

Josh, as has been mentioned in several stories already, a DC landmark, icon, legend. When you can be referred to as "That Guy from the 9:30 club" and everyone immediately knows who you're talking about, I think it is safe to say you are a recognizable figure.

He was not, as he was quick to tell you, a bouncer. Yes, he was big, and yes he cut an imposing presence, and yes he COULD move you if he had to, but it was the last thing he wanted to do. He was much more of a host at the club and he wanted you to have a good time, and leave that night with good memories of that show. I saw give people that "look" (if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about), and a potential situation was diffused. To be clear, that look wasn't one of intimidation so much, as one of "think about that before you do that". The message was usually received.

As a frequent photographer of bands in clubs, I love shooting there, if for no other reason than Josh made it a great place to work. He set the rules upfront clearly (no flash - 3 songs and you're out), but was super accommodating to those of us running around the stage, and actually looked out for us - making sure we didn't get clocked by an errant crowd surfer or particularly rowdy show goer. He didn't see us as a nuisance, but rather another patron who he wanted to make sure had a good time.

Through a few mutual friends, I was lucky enough to get to know Josh a little bit more in the last few years. If I was photographing a show, attending one as a patron, or ran into him somewhere else, we would usually end up just talking for while. About most anything - music, friends, family, life in general. They were always great conversations, friendly, and left me in a great mood. He had that ability to make you feel calm in a storm, and show you a positive side of a story.

 As anyone who knew him will testify, to know Josh was to love him. He was the living embodiment of "Gentle Giant"- The only thing bigger than his physical self was his heart. He was quick to help out a friend in need anyway he could. There are countless stories being shared on facebook, twitter, and face to face amongst friends of Josh's about how he had a very positive and personal impact on their lives. Whether it was being an ear, a shoulder, a baby sitter, helping to build a swing set, you name it, he was there. He was also Uncle Josh to a lot of kids.

One story I'll share that was typical of how good a guy he was: I was shooting The Gaslight Anthem at the 9:30 last December. I was waiting by stage left to go into the photo pit whenever the band took the stage. Next to me were a father and son from Texas who were huge Gaslight Anthem fans. They had been a bunch of shows on this tour. Josh noticed this kid, who was probably 9 or 10, and noticed that he did not have earplugs. Josh goes and grabs some new plugs for the kid, and his own personal ear protection, and offers both to the kid, with a little explanation about how he needs to protect his hearing and that he could use either the plugs or Josh's earmuff style ear protection, but he really should wear something. The kid took the earplugs, and thanked Josh and gave him a smile -which of course caused Josh to flash his own big smile. He had 100 other things he needed to do, but he made the time to help this kid out. It was perfect. Made me smile for the rest of the night.

My sincerest thoughts to his family, the 9:30 family, and all those who held him close.

Rest In Peace. I am going to miss the hell out of you, Josh. I already do.


ps - Special thanks to Erica Bruce for the use of the image of Josh. The List......

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I'm Living a Better Fiction - Daria at the Black Cat

So Daria is a band that I had only heard of because the guys from Office of Future Plans talked about them after they played with them on the bill for the Sant Feliu Fest last year in Spain. Well they are a band from France that I REALLY enjoyed. They came to the states to do a mini 3 city tour with OOFP and Kepone, to support a split 7" they did together (OOFP and Daria - that is). The show was fantastic, and not nearly enough people were there. Seriously, I do get bummed when really good bands (All 3 in this case) don't get the crowds they should. If you are not familiar with any of these 3 check them out now.

The split 7" features original songs, plus OOFP and Daria each covered a song from the other. In this case OOFP covered "The English Cloud" from Daria's catalog, and Daria covered OOFP's "Dumb It Down." It is available on Lovitt Records . Go get it. I also picked up Daria's record "RedRed" which I can highly recommend. You can find that record (among others) here.

Well, things have been harried here at HQ. I am hoping to catch up on past show photos in the next few weeks. I have a few more to get up. 

You can see the rest of my pics here.

until then - see you in the pit.

The List......

Monday, April 8, 2013

Arm In Arm and On Our Way - The Evens at the Bike Doctor

The Evens is the project currently occupying the lives of DC music stalwarts Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina that was formed after Fugazi started their indefinite hiatus. For those who were big Fugazi fans (or the rest of Ian's sizable music career), The Evens provided a bit of departure. Still impassioned heartfelt music, but the delivery is decidedly more mellow. Rather than the buzz-saw of two guitars, bass, drums and two vocalists pushing their vocal chords to the edge, The Evens bring a baritone guitar, drums and vocal harmony.

They certainly keep the lyrical chops up, and Ian will unleash his trademark voice once in a while. Also, Amy's drumming is absolutely fascinating. Not overpowering or flashy, but just right and providing a great back beat with the perfect accents where needed.

Not surprisingly, they have released their music on Dischord Records. They now have 3 albums and a 7" available, which are all worth picking up. That said, their latest effort "The Odds" (see what they did there) is something to behold. I enjoyed the previous material, but everything came together on this record. I think they have really figured each other out musically, and it has led to some really strong song writing.

They have also kept up their penchant for playing alternative venues. This particular show was played at a bike shop up in Frederick, MD (the Bike Doctor). The shop literally rented a uhaul truck to store all their bikes for the show so they could open up the floor for those of us who attended. Totally worth is, as they sounded great and the shop was filled with folks to see the show. If you get a chance to see them live, I highly suggest you do so. I know they are headed to the west cost from April 10th-20th (including Cochella).

You can see my pics here.

I actually took some film shots at this show. I have yet to go through them, but if there is anything worth adding later, I'll do so.

till next time. see you in the pit.


The List......

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Load Up Your Questions Like a Shotgun - Quicksand at the Black Cat

Quicksand, for those who don't know, was part of the so called "post hardcore" movement of the early 90's. (I find labels fairly tiresome, but I get that it helps people to do so. C'est le guerre). They burned hot and fast and were basically done by 1995 - the old "internal tensions." Subsequent reunions came and went but always ended with another split.
I was a huge fan of the band but missed them entirely before. Fast forward to January, and they made a stop at the Black Cat, which I was not going to miss. While I find many of these reunion tours a bit dubious, I was glad I went to this show. They were REALLY tight and performed just about every song from their catalog (including their cover of "How Soon is Now?"). Maybe they hate each other, I don't know, but they seemed to be having fun. They got together this last time for the first of the Revelation Records 25th Anniversary shows, and I guess they decided it was fun.
First thing I noticed was that this show was packed. I figured that I would have to get up front early in order to get a decent shooting angle. I didn't mind though, as the opening act was Cymbals Eat Guitars, The Staten Island, NY band that is always fun. Somehow I ended up dead center in the front, which made things interesting once the pit started during Quicksand's set. Fortunately, There were a couple of folks behind me looking out for me (strangers - no one I knew). Helped to keep the masses from crushing me. Ok, I had a couple of good souls who helped restore my faith in humanity to keep a few of the meathead, drunk-ass, frat boys who kept screaming at Walter off me ("Where were you during my prom? You missed my whole life!" - really? wow.)

Oh, and lasers. Quicksand had lasers.

Well, I think I am done with 90's reunion shows for a while. I saw Battery, Worlds Collide, Quicksand and Texas is the Reason. They were all fun, but the upcoming shows I have to edit are all current bands.

In any case, here are my pics.

Till next time - see you in the pit. pete The List......

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I Got my Heart up in a Beautiful Mess - Hot Water Music at the 9:30 Club

So, I am a late comer to the Hot Water Music party. They were a band that I had heard of but never really listened to, for no real reason. I have such a large swath of music that I like, that there are inevitably bands or artists that I would like that simply fall through the cracks. A perfect example of this would be the Screaming Blue Messiahs; until a friend mine introduced them to me, I had never heard them. Great band that I found out about 20+ years after the fact. Point is it happens.
Anyway, I finally picked up a Hot Water Music album a few years back and was instantly hooked. Really hooked. I now love this band, and their most recent album "Exister" is great - I highly recommend it. They also put out a live album recorded at the Metro in Chicago, coupled with a live DVD of the concert. I guess they took a page from the Smoking Popes on that one (It's the old take-a- hiatus, then-do-a-reunion-show-at-the-metro-and-release-it-as-an-album-and-live-DVD trick). Well, it's a formula that works, so why not. It's a available on 3 X LP or 2 XCD and DVD at No Idea Records, and also quite good.
Through one of my previously mentioned back door channels I was able to get a photo pass to the show. Here are my pictures. The List......

Friday, February 15, 2013

I Need You Around - The Smoking Popes at Red Palace

So, here is a show that I forgot to add. Totally forgot I had it until I was watching the "Smoking Popes Live at The Metro" DVD the other night. Shooting bands is a passion of mine - but such a side gig for me that sometimes these things fall through the cracks. And why sometimes it takes me weeks between posts. Sorry about that.
Anyway, this was from October of 2012 when the Popes were out on tour to support the reissue of their seminal album "Born to Quit" on Side One Dummy Records, which they played in its entirety. If you don't have this album, or the aforementioned "Live at the Metro," I would highly recommend them.
The Smoking Popes have been a favorite of mine ever since I picked up a copy of "Born to Quit" back in college. I once had them described to me as "The Ramones with Morrissey on vocals."-. I have found that to be pretty spot on. They take a punk rock sound - and add the crooner voice of Josh Caterer, and it works in a wonderful way.
Oddly enough, Josh Caterer has a side project band called Duvall. I had the chance to talk with him for a few minutes after the show, and I asked him where he got the name. He told me from the actor Robert Duvall. I told him that I was curious as it also happened to be my last name - and that Robert was a (VERY) distant cousin. This led to the odd circumstance where someone wants to take their picture with ME. He said "as long as it was ok with me"- to which I told him that "I just spent the last hour photographing the band. So yeah, I think that's fair." It was odd though, as no one ever wants to take my picture.

I guess that'll be my 15 minutes of fame. Who knows.

Here are my pics from the show.

Anyway, till next time. See you in the pit.


ps - I actually got a video of "Pretty Pathetic.". Not the best quality (hey, I'm not a videographer) - but it turned out pretty well.

The List......

Friday, February 8, 2013

Red Dress Red Nails - forgetters at DC9

So, the forgetters, for those who do not know, is the latest project from Blake Schwarzenbach, who is most known for his work in the bands Jawbreaker, and Jets to Brazil. To me, they sound a bit more of a return to the more punk sounding Jawbreaker days. Which is not a bad thing. 
I have been a fan of of Blake's songwriting for years, and have always found his lyrics to be some of the most well thought out, and articulate out there. Well, as I understand it, he does have degrees in English literature and creative writing, so that helps.
Jawbreaker has often been cited as a major influence on a lot of people. The combination of power punk music with really well developed lyrics, often baring one's soul or insecurities to the audience was very contagious. But if I am being honest, while I really liked Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil was my favorite of Blake's bands. Orange Rhyming Dictionary, and Perfecting Loneliness are brilliant records. The forgetters full length "Too Small to Fail", available at Midheaven Records, brought Blake back together with old friend, and indie super producer J Robbins. Recorded at J's Magpie Cage Studio in Baltimore (J also recorded/produced all the JTB records). In fact, forgetters was in the midst of a line up change, and in need of a bass player. So, J filled those shoes for the record.
I picked up the 7" they released earlier, and enjoyed that. I got the full length at the show, and have been listening to it a bit. I haven't found it to be the instant grabber that some of his previous work has been, but more of a "grower". The more I listen, the more I like it. Sort of absorbing it, and letting it bounce around a bit. 
The show itself? Right. That's what I usually talk about. It was very good. Good performance by the forgetters and the opening acts. One thing that was impressive to me, was the crowd that they pulled for it being January 2nd. That's a tough date. Day after new years, dead of winter, typically fickle DC crowd. But it was a pretty full house, and they were appreciative of the show.

Till next time, see you in the pit.

The List......

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bringing Your Heart back from the Dead - The Life & Times at the Black Cat

Another quick hit post. This is an old set that I am posting, as part of my catching up with the blog a bit.
The Life and Times is easily one of my favorite bands of the moment, period. The album they released last year on Hawthorne Street Records called "No One Loves You Like I Do" is definitely one of my favorites. It might be my favorite overall. I just hate lists. I just know that I never tire of listening to it.

They are a band that I don't think gets the credit or run that they should. I have been a fan ever since my buddy Kim gave me their first record that she put out on DeSoto Records called "Suburban Hymns". TLAT was formed by Allen Epley after Shiner called it quits. Since Shiner had a nice run on DeSoto Records, it was only natural that TLAT would go there as well. Kim then put the label in semi-mothballs (back catalog is available, but nothing new) she helped them find a new home. In any case, I highly recommend all their records. Pick them up. you won't be sorry. (Oh, and the Shiner stuff is really good as well. Get all that as well. )

Plus, they have a lot of fun making quirky videos. You can see them here.

After several years of missing them play in town, I finally caught them at the Black Cat back in March. Here is my photographic proof.

Never have I see anyone rock the back room at the cat that hard. great show. Can't wait to see them again.

till next time.


The List......

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Gentle Reminder - The Jealous Sound @ Rock n' Roll Hotel

Hey all-
The Jealous Sound is a band that I have followed ever since my friend Kelly introduced me to their first EP on Better Looking Records. I was hooked. Then they released their first full length "Kill Them with Kindness", that was originally supposed to be the major label debut of the band. After a too often told story of a mess of things with the major label, it ended up being released on Better Looking again. Still one of my favorite albums of all time. I saw them on that tour at, the now defunct, Fletcher's in Baltimore. It was a great show, but then they sort of vanished. Then they suddenly show up with a new EP ("Got Friends") and as the opening act for Sunny Day Real Estate on the "Diary" re-issue tour. Buzz started to arise about new material.
Fast forward a few years, then they announce that they are recording, gonna tour, and have a new record. I don't know all the back story as the the goings on (or lack there of) of the band, and at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. I was just glad they were back on tour, had a new record, and I was going to get a chance to see them and photograph them. One of my photo regrets was that I didn't get to photograph them at the Fletcher's show years ago. The venue was crowded, and I figured I would never get close enough to shoot them, so I put my camera back in my car. I ended up with the perfect angle. Poop.

Well, I got the chance. Twice, as it turns out.

They played the Rock and Roll Hotel twice last year. Once in February, and again in October. So, I have two sets of images.

The February show.

The October show.

That's all for now. I have some more stuff coming up. Hopefully soon.

see you in the pit,

The List......