Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Morrison Brothers Band

Pictured (L to R): Kevin Nolan, Matt Nolan, Willie Morrison, Dave Benson, and Truman Morrison.

Pictured (L to R): Kevin Nolan, Matt Nolan, Willie Morrison, Dave Benson, and Truman Morrison.

Washington, D.C. is a city internationally known as being the hub of American politics as opposed to it being the home of Country music but the home-grown Morrison Brothers Band has made D.C. their Nashville. Seven years ago, the current lineup of D.C.’s own Southern Rock band was set and now they’re headlining the 9:30 Club for the second time on Friday, July 11.

As their moniker points out, The Morrison Brothers Band does actually consist of two sets of brothers from D.C. including lead vocalist Willie Morrison and his older brother/guitar player Truman as well as drummer Matt Nolan and his younger brother/multi-instrumentalist Kevin Nolan. Then, to round out the group, there’s multi-instrumentalist Dave Benson and vocals from Alyson Gilbert.

Willie and Truman were college students away from home in Los Angeles at the same time when they originally started the band. They even ended up playing the group’s first show at the infamous Roxy. Upon graduation, Truman moved back to D.C. and started the migration of the band from California to its current D.C. home. During that summer, Willie and his big brother were introduced to drummer Matt Nolan (who was attending school in New Orleans) out of necessity and he seemingly passed the audition to fill a much needed void before casually mentioning that he knew a bass player and would bring him next time. That bass player ended up being Matt’s 12-year-old brother Kevin.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Kaiser Chiefs @ 9:30 Club — 6/18/14; Firefly Music Festival — 6/20/14

Kaiser Chiefs (courtesy Press Here)

Kaiser Chiefs (courtesy Press Here)

At one point in the latter half of the sold-out performance of the Kaiser Chiefs at the 9:30 Club, singer Ricky Wilson swung from the stage to the stage left bar, where he promptly reviewed his drink options and ordered a shot of Jameson.

Before consuming said shot (while still standing on the bar), Wilson reminisced on how he did a similar thing in his last visit to the 9:30 Club two years ago, when he swung to the bar to pull himself a beer from the taps.

The audience, of course, ate it up. Wilson and the Kaiser Chiefs delivered exactly what they sought in both antics and music — a lot of energy, a big dash of rowdiness and the occasional cheeky flourish.

The band opened its set with “The Factory Gates” from its cool new album, Education, Education, Education and War, revisiting a familiar theme in their songs — perhaps there is more to life than being a drone or “part of the crowd.” Indeed, many of the new songs were really strong songs, sitting atop the best of the Kaisers’ catalog, in my opinion. New songs “Coming Home” and “Meanwhile Up in Heaven” offer some slower moments of reflection while “Ruffians on Parade” and “Misery Company” provide fuel for frenetic sing-alongs and dancefloor stomping, laughing (literally in the case of “Misery Company”) in the face of danger with a devil-may-care flair.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: La Roux @ 9:30 Club — 6/8/14

La Roux, Coachella 2013 -- Indio, CA

Elly Jackson, with her fair skin, fiery hair and slight frame, seems like a mythical creature who could disappear in a puff of pixie dust if you looked at her sideways.

And disappear she did for a few years while working on the second album for La Roux.

But thankfully, La Roux and her lovely soprano vocals made a welcome return to the 9:30 Club late Sunday night in a sold-out performance that included some strong new songs in addition to first-album favorites.

Jackson opened the set with new song “Let Me Down Gently,” a wonderfully lovelorn, mature recognition that love may not be going your way. Thematically, the song is a bit of a departure from most of the songs on the self-titled first La Roux album, which dealt largely with romance largely from a capacity of being unavailable, whether due to suffering heartbreak (“Bulletproof”), gaining wisdom (“I’m Not Your Toy”) or just being too awesome (“In for the Kill”).

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Comedy in DC, Night Life, The Features

Comedy in DC: Michael Ian Black’s 9:30 Club Twitter Takeover! @ 3pm, 5/23/14

MIBTwitter_D1

Comedian Michael Ian Black takes over the 9:30 Club Twitter account to answer questions on Friday, May 23 at 3pm before visiting town for his show at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, May 27. (You may remember him from Wet Hot American Summer, Ed, The State and many other appearances.)

Be there! Both times!

Twitter Takeover!
Michael Ian Black
@930Club
3pm
Friday, May 23
All ages

Concert Round Up, Entertainment, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Get Out & About, Music, The District

May 2014 Concert Round Up

As usual there’s tons of stellar music in our fair city this month, so Mickey and I have pulled together recommendations that span venues and music genres. Enjoy!

The 1975
Monday, May 12
9:30 Club
SOLD OUT

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You’ve likely heard The 1975′s “Chocolate” all over the radio, but they’re so much more than what the corporate DJs of the world would have you hear. Heralding from Manchester, UK, the quartet’s songs focus on sex, love, drugs, hope, death, and fear – you know all the stuff that’s on a millennials mind. Definitely going to be an energy filled way to kick off the week. — Rebecca

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Boy George @ 9:30 Club — 4/21/14

As Boy George covered a song by Yoko Ono, “Death of Samantha,” in the first song of his encore Monday night at the 9:30 Club, two gents broke out in dramatic dance in front of the coffee bar upstairs. They, like much of the audience at the sold-out show, had giddily enjoyed the entertainment and could no longer hide it. So they seized what opportunity they could to throw themselves into it.

Similar sentiments broke out around the club as Boy George received a hero’s welcome from a diverse crowd of young and old, gay and straight, black and white. Concert-goers expressed their enthusiasm in generally raucous cheer, happy to receive the maverick performer who clearly had been missing from the United States for far too long.

George, for his part, was a professional and gracious performer. At a point about two-thirds through the main set, he attempted to engage audience enthusiasm for an acoustic cover of “It Ain’t Me Babe” by Bob Dylan. After realizing that the dance-hungry crowd wasn’t going to focus enough for the quiet hush of the song, George merely used it as an interlude to segue into other songs from his new album, This Is What I Do, and the new material was very well received by those looking for more of what they expected from the former Culture Club frontman.

That’s not to say Boy George has become a one-trick pony at this point in his career. He wasn’t afraid to go glam or even country from song to song. His voice these days has a husky sweetness that suits the older George, a little weathered, a little wiser. And he used it well in the reggae-flavored dance tunes that dominated most of his set.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: London Grammar w/Haerts @ 9:30 Club — 4/14/14

A booming sad voice fills the air from the very first song.

“Hey now, letters burning by my bed for you.”

Melancholy yet so very strong, the voice of Hannah Reid of London Grammar is so powerful an instrument that you are forced to wonder if she could simply tour as an a cappella act and be tremendously successful solo.

But no. Given a bit of time at Monday night’s sold-out performance by London Grammar at the 9:30 Club, the gentle guitar of Dan Rothman and playful keyboards and drums from Dot Major swell under the vocals and provide each song with a full sound, as with the opener, “Hey Now.”

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Pat Green @ 9:30 Club, 4/16/14

patgreenCountry singer Pat Green released a second album of covers, Songs We Wish We’d Written II, in 2012. With his cover series, the Texas country artist explores more of the influences in his nearly 20-year career with songs like Joe Ely’s “All Just to Get to You.” But he also surprises by reaching outside of his genre with a song like “Even the Losers” by Tom Petty, to which he adds his affable demeanor and mellow croon.

Green is probably best known for his song “Wave on Wave,” which hit #3 on the U.S. Country chart in 2003. He makes his mark with his easygoing, laidback style, which serves as hallmark to that song and others. Tomorrow, Green performs at the 9:30 Club, which may not be a traditional venue for country artists. But after selling out shows by Loretta Lynn, why shouldn’t the 9:30 Club host some country folks who can work D.C.’s best space? Pat Green might just fit that bill.

Pat Green
w/ Cory Morrow
9:30 Club
Wednesday, April 16
Doors @7pm
$35
All ages

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Sounds @ 9:30 Club — 4/12/14

Maja sings at Jesper in Philadelphia

Maja sings at Jesper in Philadelphia

The Sounds brought plenty of shake-shake-shake to the 9:30 Club Saturday.

In a very nearly totally sold-out room, the Swedish quintet kicked off the night with “Emperor,” a song from their new album. If some in the audience didn’t know it that well, the band got their attention with better-known “Song with a Mission” from their popular second album, Dying to Say This to You, and kept the crowd jumping and squealing in delight for the rest of the night.

All members of The Sounds performed with a furious energy. Vocalist Maja Ivarsson was in good form, singing huskily through selections from all five of the band’s albums as she writhed, hopped and slinked across the floor. Ivarsson however did not perform too many of her trademark kicks Saturday. I caught The Sounds earlier in the week at the Union Transfer in Philadelphia, and Ivarsson was striking out with her legs in dramatic fashion as she pranced along the stage in heels with some disregard as to how much of her underwear she showed off. Still, Ivarsson stomped and vamped through the set — at one point during the end of the show, she even slid down on her belly to sing seductively into a microphone that had fallen on the ground.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: All That Remains @ 9:30 Club, 4/9/14

All That Remains (Photo by P.R. Brown)

All That Remains (Photo by P.R. Brown)

DC has been enjoying an interest in all things metal lately, particularly with the spectacular Spirits in Black monthly at various locations and Monday Heavy Metal nights at Satellite Room.

So it’s a perfect time to get out tomorrow and catch All That Remains as they hit the 9:30 Club Wednesday as they prepare to release their seventh studio album in the near future. Meanwhile, the band recently released a video for their song “What If I Was Nothing” from their last album, 2012′s A War You Cannot Win.

Sonically, A War You Cannot Win covers a lot of ground! Songs like the opening track “Down Through the Ages” and “You Can’t Fill My Shadow” are prime examples of the “metalcore” for which the band is known–howling hardcore choruses over thumping metal guitar riffs. Watching the video above, however, you would accurately conclude that the band is not without its sensitive side, capable of breaking out sweeping ballads to express wistful reflections of sorrow. Metalheads can be sensitive too!

Clearly, these guys have some tricks up their sleeve. Come out and see what other surprises they have in store for us!

All That Remains
w/ Darkest Hour, Wilson, Wings Denied
9:30 Club
Wednesday, April 9
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Kraftwerk @9:30 Club—4/4/14 (By Christine Hall)

Kraftwerk graphics (Photo by Christine Hall)

Kraftwerk graphics (Photo by Christine Hall)

(Editor’s note: Long-time Kraftwerk aficionado Christine Hall was kind enough to report on last week’s Kraftwerk concert — a very important show indeed — as yours truly was out of town.)

Robots! Space travel! The Autobahn! For those who yearn for what was once “the future,” Kraftwerk’s sold-out, two-show, 3D spectacular at the 9:30 Club on Friday, April 4, was wondrous.

The best part was the man in the machine.

The artistic concept is impressive: four man-machines in matching neoprene uniform-jumpsuits (in an irregular, phosphorescent grid), expressionless and stationary before (luminescent-trimmed) cuboid synthesizers, making robot-music, accompanied by retro-3D animation (and some black-and-white film sequences).

Versions or elements of the show were previously presented at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, London’s Tate Modern and Munich’s Lenbachhaus. Visually, the 3D animation, ca. 1980s/early CGI, is thrilling to behold (through good old-fashioned 3D glasses), especially when a flying saucer bears down on you with unsettling urgency (see: Spacelab) or a giant man-machine head peers around and speaks at you rather eerily.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

The Winning Ticket: Galantis @ 9:30 Club, 4/24/14

GalantisFAs a way to say thanks to our loyal readers, We Love DC will be giving away a pair of tickets to a 9:30 Club concert to one lucky reader periodically. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to find out what tickets we’re giving away, and leave a comment for your chance to be the lucky winner!

Today, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see Galantis at the 9:30 Club on Thursday, April 24.

For your chance to win these tickets, simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between 10am and 5pm today. Feel free to leave any comment, but perhaps share your favorite song by Galantis (or one of their related projects)! One entry per email address, please. Tickets for this show are also available through Ticketfly.

Galantis! They came to dance! Galantis is Christian Karlsson of Miike Snow and Linus Eklöw aka Style of Eye. They are making their live debut at Coachella on April 12 then embarking on a brief tour that ends at the 9:30 Club on April 24. They will bring with them their self-titled debut EP, which includes dance tracks such as “Smile” and “Revolution.” Lest you wonder what these gents know about dance (I mean, other than the Miike Snow thing), Karlsson has co-produced tracks such as “Toxic” for Britney Spears and Eklöw produced “I Love It” for Icona Pop. So there you go.

For the rules of this giveaway…

Comments will be closed at 5pm and a winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email within 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner.

Tickets will be available to the winner at the 9:30 Club Guest List window one hour before doors open on the night of the concert. The tickets must be claimed with a valid ID. The winner must be old enough to attend the specific concert or must have a parent’s permission to enter if he/she is under 18 years old.

Galantis
9:30 Club
Thursday, April 24
doors @10pm
$30
All ages

Concert Round Up, Entertainment, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital

April 2014 Concert Round Up

This chick knows exactly how I feel about the shows going on in DC this month. KA-POW! Our music scene is always strong, but this month it’s on steroids or GHG or whatever Lance Armstrong was doping with. Yeh, some shows are sold out, but don’t be disheartened because there are a ton of options still out there and Mickey, Rachel and I have got your covered. And BTW, if a show you want to see is sold out, don’t be defeated. Nothing worth having ever came easy ;).

After the jump: The Sounds, TRUST, Boy George, The Dreamscapes Project, I Break Horses, and LOADS more. Continue reading

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: White Lies w/ Frankie Rose @ 9:30 Club — 2/22/14

whiteliesShortly after the halfway point in their show at the 9:30 Club on Saturday, White Lies played “Unfinished Business,” their very first single, which was released nearly five years ago now.

The very full club listened respectively and bobbed along in place to the catchy melodies of the song as lead singer Harry McVeigh sang plaintively to the crowd. “You’ve got blood on your hands/And I now it’s mine/I just need more time/So get off your low/let’s dance like we used to.”

That first song serves as a blueprint for the post-punk trio, who perform as a quintet. In a very real way, by sticking to their formula of uplifting melodies but darkly reflective lyrics, White Lies have grown their name recognition and their audiences in the United States tremendously on their latest tour, heralding last year’s album Big TV.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

The Winning Ticket: Galactic @ 9:30 Club, 2/13/14

galactic930As a way to say thanks to our loyal readers, We Love DC will be giving away a pair of tickets to a 9:30 Club concert to one lucky reader periodically. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to find out what tickets we’re giving away, and leave a comment for your chance to be the lucky winner!

Today, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see Galactic at the 9:30 Club on Thursday, Feb. 13.

It must be funk week here at We Love DC, what with our talk of Black Joe Lewis yesterday. But this is Galactic — the New Orleans sextet whose long career has seen them undergo stylistic changes to cast a wide net over various music genres. The core instrumental band brings in guest vocalists for many songs like their new song, Dolla Diva, which they released just last week.

This jazzy jam band may be just the thing to put you in the mood for Mardi Gras a few weeks early.

For your chance to win these tickets, simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between 10am and 5pm today. Feel free to leave any comment, but perhaps share your favorite song by Galactic! One entry per email address, please. Tickets for this show are also available through Ticketfly.

For the rules of this giveaway…

Comments will be closed at 5pm and a winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email within 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner.

Tickets will be available to the winner at the 9:30 Club Guest List window one hour before doors open on the night of the concert. The tickets must be claimed with a valid ID. The winner must be old enough to attend the specific concert or must have a parent’s permission to enter if he/she is under 18 years old.

Galactic
w/ Ryan Montbleau
9:30 Club
Thursday, Feb. 13
doors @7pm
$30
All ages

Music, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Black Joe Lewis @ 9:30 Club, 2/18/14

blackjoelewispressHailing from Austin, Texas, Black Joe Lewis has emerged as a funk dynamo since grabbing national attention with his band’s performance at the SXSW Festival in 2009. Last year, he released a new album, Electric Slave, which maintains Black Joe Lewis’ reputation as a funk and soul innovator. To my ear, the title track sounds like it also indulges in a whole lot of psychedelia.

Lots of folks cite James Brown when they talk about Black Joe Lewis but perhaps it’s time to cite Jimi Hendrix as well?

You be the judge! Catch Black Joe Lewis at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Black Joe Lewis
w/ Pickwick
9:30 Club
Tuesday, Feb. 18
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages

Entertainment, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, The District

We Love Music: Phosphorescent @930 Club – 01/22/14

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 1.47.30 PM
Last night, playing in front of a sold out crowd at the 930 Club, Phosphorescent laid down a poignant, vibrant, and captivating show.

Matthew Houck, the sole member of Phosphorsecent, donned a cream white, eagle crested bolero jacket paired with a straw cowboy hat and glistened in front of the stage’s shimmering floor to ceiling metallic curtains. Backed by a seven person band, Houck pulled from his six albums to lay down a serious jam session set along the lines of the Allman Brother’s Jessica and Led Zeppelin’s Kashmirone seriously got lost in the wonderous, free-flowing sounds Houck and his band created.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

The Winning Ticket: Cowboy Mouth @ 9:30 Club, 1/24/14

cowboymouthAs a way to say thanks to our loyal readers, We Love DC will be giving away a pair of tickets to a 9:30 Club concert to one lucky reader periodically. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to find out what tickets we’re giving away, and leave a comment for your chance to be the lucky winner!

Today, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see Cowboy Mouth at the 9:30 Club on Friday, Jan. 24.

Cowboy Mouth! Well, I saw them once, opening for Barenaked Ladies at American University’s Bender Arena when I was a grad student in the late ’90s and some old friends were in town to see the bands. Good times!

For your chance to win these tickets, simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between 10am and 5pm today. Feel free to leave any comment, but perhaps share your favorite song by Cowboy Mouth! One entry per email address, please. Tickets for this show are also available through Ticketfly.

For the rules of this giveaway…

Comments will be closed at 5pm and a winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email within 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner.

Tickets will be available to the winner at the 9:30 Club Guest List window one hour before doors open on the night of the concert. The tickets must be claimed with a valid ID. The winner must be old enough to attend the specific concert or must have a parent’s permission to enter if he/she is under 18 years old.

Cowboy Mouth
w/ Fifth on the Floor
9:30 Club
Friday, Jan. 24
doors @6pm
$25
All ages

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker @ 9:30 Club — 1/11/14

David Lowery brought both of his bands, Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, to the 9:30 Club Saturday night for a mellow night of clever wordplay and occasional social jabs that form the crux of the music in the two outfits.

Billed as the “Come Down the Coast” tour, Lowery’s double bill came very close to selling out the 9:30 Club, which was comfortably full of high-spirited concert-goers, nodding their heads along to very full sets of alt-country ruminations and reflections. Camper Van Beethoven played 18 songs, beginning with the oddly titled instrumental “ZZ Top Goes to Egypt.” It was a good way to set the tone actually, introducing the audience to quirky titles and various musical textures that go into Camper Van Beethoven compositions

As Lowery sang and strummed along softly, drummer Frank Funaro added some punk-flavored kick, and violinist Jonathan Segel filled out many of the songs with classical flourishes. Funaro, who also is in Cracker, was the only person in the five-member Camper Van Beethoven who was not in the original lineup. Nevertheless, Camper Van Beethoven classics like “Take the Skinheads Bowling” now have less of a jangly sound to them when performed live these days and more layers and sophistication instrumentally.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Cracker w/ Camper Van Beethoven @ 9:30 Club, 1/11/14

crackerWhen I was an undergrad, “Low” by Cracker was absolutely inescapable on college radio. As a concert newbie, I ended up seeing one of my first shows off-campus during a visit to Salisbury, Md., where some friends and I caught a bill that included Cracker, Gin Blossoms and Spin Doctors (hey, I was young).

But my musical tastes always have run to being a bit more subversive in general. And so I was surprised to learn lately that Cracker’s lead singer founded another, perhaps more subversive, band–Camper Van Beethoven. Vocalist and guitarist David Lowery (who also is a mathematician!) fronts Camper Van Beethoven, as he did before, after and now while also singing in Cracker. And this Saturday at the 9:30 Club, he has the luxury of opening for himself as Camper Van Beethoven takes the stage before Cracker!

In 2013, Camper van Beethoven released a new album, La Costa Perdida, and they are sure to perform new songs like the title track or “Northern California Girls”–an allusion to Cracker’s home as well as the Beach Boys–and some of their classics, like “Take the Skinheads Bowling.” Cracker released their last album, Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey, in 2009, but the band also has been working on new songs. Join me and hear it all in one spot!

Cracker
w/ Camper Van Beethoven
9:30 Club
Saturday, Jan. 11
Doors @6pm
$25
All ages