Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Ought @ DC9 –10/16/14

Ought (Photo courtesy Constellation Records)

Ought (Photo courtesy Constellation Records)

Tim Beeler is on your stage, and he has something he wants to say to you.

Guitar in hand, sometimes he sings it to you, but just as often it seems, he speaks over the snappy art punk beats of his band, Ought.

And Beeler wants to talk about being in the moment, being in love, putting things together — but all in a perspective from “every man.” In that way perhaps, the lanky vocalist is extremely reminiscent of David Byrne or Lou Reed in his delivery.

Thursday night at DC9, Ought opened with “Today More Than Any Other Day,” an amazing tribute really to living one’s life. It’s a bit like lyrics by Byrne superimposed over melodies that could have come from Television. Musically, Ought could have sprung straight from 1977 via New York City.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Amber Bursik of DC9

Amber Bursik of DC9

Amber Bursik of DC9

We’re revisiting our Capital Chefs feature with a series by music reporter Mickey McCarter. A lot has been happening recently in kitchens in D.C. restaurants, and Mickey takes a look into them from his usual seat at the bar in this series, which runs weekly on Thursdays.

When you hang out with a crowd that goes to see a lot of concerts, as I do, you are occasionally going to find yourself eating in a concert hall.

You might do so in the moment, and you might not expect the food to be too good. So you may find it refreshing when the food at your favorite venue is really consistently great.

Things make sense once you look behind the curtain at DC9, however, and find Amber Bursik in the kitchen. After finishing culinary school, Bursik worked at Georgetown fish house Hook for several years and then popular Mediterranean restaurant Palena for several more before going to work at DC9 a few years ago.

“When I came in here, there was a menu in the place and I had to work within the parameters of the menu in place and the size and capabilities of the kitchen,” Bursik told me. “Because of that, I was told I had to have the burgers on the menu. I could change the burgers, but we had to have burgers.”

In her last five months at the now-shuttered Palena, Bursik was working the grill station, where she was responsible for cooking what many called the best burger in DC.

“It was fun and interesting but at the same time, you are working at this fine dining restaurant and you’re cooking burgers!” Bursik said. “So it was funny to come here and cook burgers again. But we have a great burger because of it.”

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Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Filligar @ DC9 — 7/26/14

Filligar Live at DC9 - 7/26/14

Filligar Live at DC9 – 7/26/14

When you’ve watched a band evolve over the span of a decade or more, it’s easy to be blinded by your own personal biases. But when it comes to Filligar, I often like to take a step back and remember the story from the beginning.

It’s only fair that I open this story with the fact that I’ve known Filligar – which is comprised of the Mathias brothers Johnny, Pete, and Ted and their life-long friend Casey Gibson – since I was a freshman at the Latin School of Chicago. It was the Fall of 2004 and I had recently started classes when I made friends with the guys who would become the band Filligar.

My first true introduction to them as a rock band was when we shared a billing at a battle of the bands in November 2004. I’ll never forget that day. It was the day George Harrison passed away. We all hung out in our school theater’s green room before the show talking about music and whatever else freshmen in high school talk about (though Johnny was in the 7th grade at the time). They went by the name Flipside back then and I’m pretty sure I have their first disc somewhere in my CD collection stored safely in a Chicago attic. But nostalgia aside, these guys have come a long way since the early days of the band.

Their live show is what makes them standout in an over-saturated music market and, on Saturday July 26, they showed the crowd at DC9 exactly that. Not only did the packed house demand Filligar play one more song before they agreed to a one-song encore but when they ended the show for the night, their devoted fans continued to chant for more music.

Never have I felt the floors of DC9 shake as they did that night. I worried for a moment that the ground beneath my feet was about to collapse while Filligar played their staple set-ending tune “Trepador,” which they’ve recorded a couple times between 2008 and 2013. But the floors didn’t collapse and the show ended on a high note. The sheer amount of energy they expel while performing live is infectious and that’s what the room was left with — energy.

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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: Dates (a.k.a. DeenaOH & Co. @ DC9 – 1/16/14)

cabmicrophoneLet me quickly point out that DeenaOH’s experimental cabaret seems to be settling into a band to be called Dates, so be sure to be on the lookout for the new name.

DeenaOH herself is Deena Odelle Hyatt, a bluesy chanteuse who makes a living curating and supporting art around DC. She was opening as DeenaOH & Co. for folk singer Marian McLaughlin’s debut album release last week to a crowded room at DC9. The experimental nature of DeenaOH’s collective became clear when I counted nine musicians, including Ms. McLaughlin, contributing various vocals or instruments to the short set of songs, leaping on and off stage as required.

The songs hung together well in the amber of Ms. Hyatt’s bluesy, forlorn voice. The romantic “Moon Song” called for unconditional love over a calypso beat. Hyatt has a pleasing range, and she rolls through “Moon Song” with the cute trick of echoing herself in words extended like with “together, …together, …together.” Like all unrequited love affairs, the song ends abruptly! But the room fell into a hushed silence simply at the sound of her voice.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Priests and Potty Mouth @ DC9 — 1/08/14

Okay, Priests, I’m in love with you guys.

I went to DC9 Wednesday night initially to check out Potty Mouth, the four-woman band from central Massachusetts, in a sold-out show as they passed through promoting their first album, Hellbent. Local post-hardcore punks Priests opened for the Potty Mouth ladies, and I was completely blown away.

Let’s start with singer Katie Alice Greer, a young blonde bombshell wrapped in blue velvet. The frontwoman jumped, rolled and screamed her way through 20 minutes of furious condemnations of television, consumerism and relationships. She balanced some tough lyrics with being playful and chatty with the audience. Offstage, she’s composed and curious, making her onstage transformation to a screaming punk banshee all that more startling.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Potty Mouth @ DC9, 1/8/14

Potty Mouth (photo courtesy of Big Hassle)

Potty Mouth (photo courtesy of Big Hassle)

Hailing from North Hampton, Mass., punk quartet Potty Mouth visits DC to perform at DC9 on Wednesday, Jan. 8. The young band of women includes Abby Weems on vocals and rhythm guitar, Ally Einbinder on bass, Phoebe Harris on lead guitar and Victoria Mandanas on drums.

The ladies took a few minutes out of their touring schedule to answer a few questions for We Love DC via email.

Mickey: There have been a rush of young bands today embracing psychedelic or folk tendencies. Against this backdrop, Potty Mouth seems pretty refreshing with its guitar-driven punk melodies. Do you feel like you’re doing something different than your peers in your style of music?

Abby: I don’t think we’re doing anything that different than our peers. We were conceived out of an area with a lot of musical background, especially with punk elements, that it feels natural to be playing the way we do.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Holograms @ DC9, 12/4/13

Holograms (Photo courtesy Captured Tracks)

Holograms (Photo courtesy Captured Tracks)

Holograms, a post-punk quartet from Sweden, kick off a three-week tour of the United States starting in DC tomorrow at DC9. Yesterday, they unveiled a video for their energetic single “Luminous” from their second album, Forever, released a few short months ago.

As you can hear from the song, Holograms are a bit of a cousin to Sweden’s Iceage. They share a similar appreciation for hardcore punk without completely giving themselves over to it. The young twenty-something band members — Andreas Lagerström (vocals/bass), Anton Strandberg (drums), Anton Spetze (vocals/guitar) and Filip Spetze (synths) — bring a strong synth presence to the songs, however, giving them a more melodic post-punk edge — albeit one with a lot of frenetic shouting. It’s dystopian rock with a beat, and you can dance to it.

TV Ghost, hailing from Indiana, open, promising some gothy sounds by way of The Cure.

w/ TV Ghost
Wednesday, Dec. 4
Doors @8pm
$10 advance/$12 door
All ages

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Temples @ DC9 — 11/27/13

Temples (Photo by Ed Miles)

Temples (Photo by Ed Miles)

A time-tested strategy for independent bands to gain buzz and build an audience: releasing a few singles, playing a lot of shows, becoming the toast of many reviews.

Temples, the UK quartet from the English Midlands, find this strategy paying off for them with the release of a full album not yet due until the second week of February. But unlike many bands who follow the independent band strategy, Temples are well worth the hype, as they demonstrated in an extraordinary eight-song set at DC9 on Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Listening to Temples’ SoundCloud page in preparation for the show, as I did, prepares you for a band with rolling melodies and a lush full sound. For example, their latest single, “Keep in the Dark,” offers some great melodies among band members and some really pleasing psychedelic guitar riffs. So it’s no surprise that it’s a good song—one apparently a catchy acknowledgement of the comforts of staying up late as well as perhaps remaining unenlightened. But the live show simply takes it to another level.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Temples @ DC9, 11/27/13

Temples (courtesy Pitch Perfect PR)

Temples (courtesy Pitch Perfect PR)

Pysch-pop outfit Temples seem to be one of those bands that broke into UK public consciousness faster than the band could keep up with it! Not due to release their premiere LP Sun Structures until February, they already have opened for the likes of Suede and Kasabian. Now they are making their first solo tour in the United States, and they are hitting very accessible venues like DC9 this Wednesday, Nov. 27.

James Baghaw (vocals, guitar) and Tom Warmsley (bass) only formed the band in Kettering, England, in 2012, enlisted Sam Toms (drums) and Adam Smith (keyboards) and promptly started releasing singles on Heavenly Recordings in the same year.

As you can see in the band’s latest video above, for the song “Keep in the Dark,” they have a flair for classic psychedelic sounds and looks with modern theatrics and visuals. They might get too big to ever see them at a venue as intimate as DC9 again, so don’t miss out on this opportunity–particularly since the next day is a holiday!

Local shoegazers Myrrh Myrrh open.

w/ Myrrh Myrrh
Wednesday, Nov. 27
Doors @8pm
All ages

Concert Round Up, Concert Roundup, Entertainment, Essential DC, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, The District

November 2013 Concert Round Up

Heeeyyyyyyyyyyy kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiddddz! It’s time for Mickey, Rachel and I to give you our thoughts and recommendations for the DC shows you should check out this month. I have to admit that October was a killer month in the DC music scene. But we think November can hold its own as there are WAY too many solid acts and they all seem to be coming back-to-back. So, get your daytime naps in, get your proper nutrition and hydrate well because you’re going to need to be in peak concert going form.

After the jump, Albert Hammond Jr., The Limosines, Kate Nash, Steven Kellogg with St. John, Minor Alps, Tiffany Thompsen, and many, many more.

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Concert Roundup, Entertainment, Essential DC, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, The District

The Winning Ticket: San Fermin @ DC9, 10/24/13


Today we have a pair of tickets to give away for tomorrow night’s San Fermin show at DC9.

San Fermin, pronounced [SAN fur-MEEN], and their self-titled, debut album is the brainchild of Brooklyn music composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone who wrote the album in the Canadian Rocky Mountains over the course of six weeks. Tracks on the album alternate between female and male lead vocals allowing Leone’s concept for the album – a dialogue between an earnest, unhappy man and a cynical, elusive woman – to come to life. The inspiration for this concept was Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises which explains the album’s title, the bull-theme photos and the Spanish song titles.

Not surprisingly love anchors the issues explored in the album, but there is also a strong Biblical tie, in particular to forgiveness, hopelessness, lamentation and pilgrimage. These themes are acutely emphasized by the musical deftness of the eight-member group composed of Allen Tate and Rae Cassidy on lead vocals, Rebekah Durham on vocals/violin, Stephen Chen on saxophone, John Brandon on trumpet, Mike Hanf on drums, Tyler McDiarmid on guitar and Ellis Ludwig-Leone on keyboard. Whew. Hope I covered everyone there. Continue reading

Music, The Features, We Love Music

Q&A: Dave Hartley of Nightlands (@DC9, 5/30/13)

Dave Hartley of Nightlands (photo courtesy of Nightlands)

Dave Hartley of Nightlands (photo courtesy of Nightlands)

The band Nightlands is the brainchild of Philadelphian Dave Hartley, who actually grew up nearby in Frederick, Md. The band last came through DC in June 2011 after the release of their first album, supporting Sondre Lerche at the 9:30 Club in June 2011.

With second album Oak Island released in January, Nightlands is returning to DC to play at DC9 on Thursday, May 30. Tracks like “Born to Love” suggest lush progressive rock of the 70s, with the tone set by buoyant vocals instead of guitar solos.

Hartley talked to We Love DC about growing to love touring and being a perfectionist in his songwriting.

Mickey: You’re going on the road to support a new album! Can you tell us about it?

Dave Hartley: The tour starts Wednesday in New York. This will be our second tour, supporting Oak Island, which is the second record from Nightlands.

It’s a record that came out in January. We went on tour for a month. This is a shorter tour; it’s like a week and a half. DC is the second stop. We are looking forward to playing there!

We will have my four-piece band. We’ll be singing some beautiful harmonies and playing the songs from the record and some older songs and some new stuff I’ve been writing.

I’m really proud of the band and the way we are playing together right now. I think we are really good. It makes me look forward to the tour.

I didn’t always look forward to tours. Sometimes I make these records and they are very complex recordings, and I didn’t know how to play them live. I would get real stressed out about it. But we’ve gotten to the point now where the band is really good.

I’m really proud of the way it sounds, and I get excited about the tour. I never thought I would be excited to tour.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Orwells @ DC9 — 3/3/13

Photo courtesy of The Orwells

Photo courtesy of The Orwells

Chicago quintet The Orwells perform a cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” in concert.

Sadly, they didn’t play it when they rolled through DC Sunday night with a late show at DC9. The fact that the cover is in their repertoire, however, tells you a lot of what you need to know about these up and coming guys. They like to rock and roll.

Mostly everything about The Orwells suggests early garage and punk bands of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Lead singer Mario Cuomo (clearly not the former governor of New York) is a long-haired rocker, literally throwing himself into his songs, shaking his head and body to the beat of the band.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Spinto Band @ DC9 — 2/19/13

photo courtesy The Spinto Band

photo courtesy The Spinto Band

The Spinto Band may have taken a few years off, but the time off appears to have reenergized the quintet, who are definitely providing proof they weren’t simply a flash in the pan. Certainly, they have proven their work ethic, bouncing back with two albums in the past two years.

Having lived in Delaware for seven years, I can attest very little breaks out of the state and captures artistic attention on a trans-Atlantic scale. That’s why it seemed unusual to me the very first time I caught The Spinto Band opening for the Arctic Monkeys in Philadelphia in 2006. How was it that a band still living in Delaware might open for NME’s UK post-punk darlings?

The Spinto Band seemed like another example of an American band poised to be generally loved more by Europeans than Americans. And they probably were for a while. But now their appeal and sonic palette seems broader. To demonstrate this, The Spinto Band put the tunes from their latest album, Cool Cocoon, on display in concert at DC9 Tuesday night, bringing a happy, chirpy bunch of songs to a very appreciative if small audience.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Last Liberation Dance Party — 1/18/13

I was sad to learn recently that DC9 will end its weekly Liberation Dance Party, the premiere indie pop dancehall experience in DC, on Friday, Jan. 18.

Not only has Liberation kept up with the best mix of britpop, glam, new wave, post-punk, dreampop, shoegaze, house, nu disco, hip hop, grime, sheer guilty pleasures, and more since its inception in 2004, it has done so as a video party. For me, the resulting effect has been very similar to a modern equivalent of taking mid-1980s MTV, cutting any of the soft rock crap, and making a party out of it in your favorite third space.

I’m not instantly comfortably anywhere, but I was always at home at Liberation Dance Party, cloaked in the sounds of Franz Ferdinand, the Kaiser Chiefs, Hot Chip, The Sounds, The Killers, and some occasional New Order. I was introduced to new favorites like Dragonette and Goldfrapp. I learned to love Kylie almost as much as Bill Spieler, the host with the most. (Thank you, Bill, for bringing the party for so many years.) VJ Matt Dunn dependably brought David Bowie with him every time and VJ Shannon Stewart played Lady Gaga until Bill got sick of her and banned her from the club (Gaga, that is, not Shannon!).

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Sky Ferreira @ DC9 — 11/30/12

Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira, she of slight frame and smoldering voice, took to stage backed by a three-piece band at DC9 Friday night, presenting a short set of occasionally melancholy but consistently wonderful songs.

Her latest EP, Ghost, turns out to be a collection of five wistful songs full of longing and daydreams. Ferreira sang them plaintively but earnestly to a packed room that seemed pretty impressed with the 20-year-old’s range. “Sad Dream” was full of regret for a lost love while “Ghost” consigns another love to the past with a recognition that the relationship must end.

At the other end of the spectrum, “Lost in My Bedroom” is a catchy reprieve, basking in the joy of being tucked away in your own private space.

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Music, The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: Sky Ferreira @ DC9, 11/30/12

Photo courtesy of David Boyle
Sky Ferreira
courtesy of David Boyle

Sky Ferreira last month released Ghost, an EP with a set of songs that sound so diverse that you have to wonder if she’s ready to take on the world or just too easily distracted.

But Liberation Dance Party put the video for “Everything Is Embarrassing” into rotation these last few months — and it’s got a great DIY new wave vibe for a slow dance. The song certainly offers echoes of Ferreira’s reported heroes, Nico and Debbie Harry. Her husky voice captivates. By the time the song is over, it seemed way too short (and it kind of wisely is, clocking less than 3 minutes).

Ferreira’s debut album is due to drop very soon — after clashes with label EMI last year over the direction they expected of her as The Next Big Thing.  But the 20-year-old Ferreira wanted to be more “indie” than “mainstream.” Interestingly, instead of breaking off the relationship, EMI chose to nurture her.

So what’s she really all about? I’m curious to find out when she performs this Friday, Nov. 30, as part of Liberation Dance Party at DC9. (All I truly know about her is that she really can’t wait for the release of The Hobbit.) Doors for Liberation usually open at 9pm and bands generally start up around 11pm. In the meantime, watch videos and dance dance dance the night away.

Sky Ferreira
Nov. 30

Entertainment, Interviews, Music, People, The Features, We Love Music

Q&A with Dark Dark Dark


photo courtesy of Dark Dark Dark

Dark Dark Dark hail from Minneapolis, Minnesota, but spend much of their time on the road. Their sound blends moody piano and clarion female vocals with understated percussion and layers of cello, accordion and horns to create a dark, dramatic and beautiful melange. Dark Dark Dark is currently on tour in support of their new album Who Needs Who, and you can see them play tonight, Monday, October 15th at DC9. We Love DC’s Alexia Kauffman got to have a little chat with Nona Marie from Dark Dark Dark recently, and here’s how it went.

Alexia: So how did you first start playing music, and singing?

Nona: Well there was a piano in the house, and we always just played.

Alexia: In your family house?

Nona: Yeah, in my family house, when I was a kid.

Alexia: And how did you start singing?

Nona: My mom sang a lot around the house just listening to the radio and, I don’t know, singing in the car.

Alexia: Are there any singers past or present that really inspire you?

Nona: I mean yeah, every singer inspires me. It’s my favorite thing.

Alexia: Are there any artists or albums that first made you fall in love with music?

Nona: Yeah, I guess I really loved listening to that Joni Mitchell Blue record- that was a good one.

Alexia: How did Dark Dark Dark come together?

Nona: We just, Marshall and I just started playing together in Minneapolis, um and then just started traveling around and meeting people and playing with different people, and sort of over time it became what it is. Continue reading

Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Laetitia Sadier @ DC9, 9/25/2012

photo by author

French-born singer Laetitia Sadier and her band played a beautiful, uplifting, fun set at DC9 Tuesday night. Sadier, currently on US tour, is the former front-woman of the UK-based experimental-indie-lounge-pop group Stereolab. She released her first solo album, The Trip, in 2010 after Sterolab went on hiatus, and released her sophomore record, Silencio, this year. Earlier this month I had the pleasure of interviewing Sadier, and you can check that out here.

Tuesday night brought Sadier and her trio (drummer James Elkington, and bassist Julien Gasc) to the small stage of DC9, where they were surrounded by adoring, attentive fans. Sadier’s presence onstage was graceful, happy, and quietly engaging. The group started off their set with the quiet, contemplative “The Rule of the Game,” which set the mood for the evening- introspective, melodic, lovely, serene. At times the group broke out with more spastic rock moments, or in the case of the song “Between Earth and Heaven” they took a turn towards samba. Though DC has a reputation for not dancing at shows, my friends and I couldn’t contain our glee, and wiggled and shook our way through the samba-infused number. Sadier rewarded us by thanking “the dancers” afterwards and smiling.  

While many of the songs on her latest album Silencio have strong political themes, and Sadier did speak a bit about her thoughts on the sad state of democracy today, it never felt heavy or preachy. For the most part she let the music speak for itself, and it rang out. Sadier’s presence, her smiles, and commentary to the audience added charm to what was a soulful, stimulating, soothing and ultimately satisfying performance.