Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Our Favorite Shows of 2012

photo courtesy of The Faint

It’s the end of a great year, and the music writers of We Love DC- Mickey,  Jonathan & Alexia have pulled together their respective top 10 favorite shows of 2012.

Mickey: This has been a great year for shows! For me, it’s been a return to old favorites. I caught a few acts that I’ve been into for most of my life and a few that became new favorites in the last 10 years. Interestingly, it wasn’t a big year for acts new to me although I did some promising new stuff.

Of my top 10 shows of 2012, I reviewed eight of them for We Love DC. I didn’t review two of them because they were out of town and I was quite busy! Without further ado, here in reverse chronological order then are my top 10 concerts of 2012.


1. The Faint

930 Club, Dec. 5

It’s become all the rage for a band to tour on the strength of a single album and to perform it in its entirety these days. Most of the time, we see that happen with bands celebrating the 20th or 25th anniversary of an album. But although the album is only about 10 years old, The Faint toured earlier this month on a reissue of Danse Macabre, a record that strikes a powerful chord and compels you to dance like crazy. And dance like crazy the audience did at a very full show at the 9:30 Club on Dec. 5. The album sounded as amazing as ever and The Faint even snuck in a new song, suggesting there is more to come from Nebraska’s favorite electronic sons.


2. Shiny Toy Guns

Rock and Roll Hotel, Nov.4

It’s a great feeling when a band justifies your faith in them. And so it goes with Shiny Toy Guns at the Rock and Roll Hotel on Nov. 4. This stellar new wave band recently put out its third and best album, III, bouncing back strong after a temporary split with their female vocalist Carah Faye and a disappointing second album. The sold-out crowd welcomed the band back like old friends. (And Jeremy Dawson gave me the inside scoop on reuniting with Carah Faye.)


3. Saint Etienne

U Street Music Hall, Oct. 25

Few things are more amazing than an intimate show with one of your absolute favorite niche bands. Saint Etienne has captured a Europop sounds so fresh and invigorating that they surprisingly sound timeless and modern all at once. They captivated a large group composed of mostly men who came out to dance and fawn over Sarah Cracknell, the most modest of divas, when they played at U Street Music Hall on Oct. 25. Although I loved the actual show to bits, my experience was bittersweet as the lovely lady who introduced me to the band went to the show with someone else. As Saint Etienne knows, “Only love can break your heart!”

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

Q&A with JosaFeen Wells of E.D. Sedgwick and N’Digo Rose & the Nekkid UndastandN

photo courtesy of E.D. Sedgwick

This Saturday sees the convergence of two types of DC music in one place – longtime DC dance-punk favorite E.D. Sedgwick is playing with longtime DC soul favorites N’Digo Rose & the Nekkid UndastandN, at Ras Restaurant & Lounge on Georgia Avenue.

What seems like two groups from divergent genres actually have something in common.  JosaFeen Wells sings for both, and will be performing with both bands Saturday night.  She is also the one who put together the show, through her company Elliott Entertainment and Consulting Group, LLC, in what she hopes will be the first of many affordable showcases for local music.  She calls this go-around “Enter the Artmosphere Vol. I”.

E.D. Sedgwick is a four-piece band led by Dischord and Touch & Go records veteran Justin Moyer, whose previous band Supersystem helped put DC on the dance-punk map back in the Oughts when that music was a big thing in indie-rock-land, alongside acts like the Rapture, !!! and  LCD Soundsystem.   While Moyer has been performing under the E.D. Sedgwick name for many years now, with several CDs under his belt, his sound only in the last few years has taken its current shape, evolving from Moyer alone in the studio and on-stage (in drag with an iPod), to a four-piece, with jagged guitar bursts, rhythmic percussion rounded out by his unique speak/singing vocals and lyrics, interacting tightly with Wells’ up-front gospel/r&b inflected singing.  The E.D. Sedgwick live show is one of the funnest shows you might see in this city.  And it works on their recordings too, as Moyer is a master engineer – the last one, Love Gets Lovelier Every Day is a fine example of the current sound, and the next one, which is coming out in November on Dischord, should be even better.

N’Digo Rose & the Nekkid UndastandN is led by keyboardist/crooner Tony Hicks, whose 70s-influenced soul/R&B was a mainstay in U Street clubs, back when there were more clubs featuring local soul music, like Kaffa House, State of the Union and Metro Cafe.  Hicks’ vocals invoke a classic 70s style – think Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions – but his production is one of headphone-worthy atmospherics and texture.  Throw in a live show that has three backup singers, including Wells, and the house may come down Saturday with something as heart-felt and authentic as you would want from your local soul.

Hicks is reuniting with JoseFeen Wells and his two other singers from that period, Ginger Bleu and Deborah Bond, who is a well-known soloist in her own right.  Bond will be DJ-ing as well on Saturday.

As the organizer and nexus for a show that should be as diverse at it is funky, JosaFeen Wells is proud of her roster for this Saturday’s show, and proud to be singing in both.  Her roots are in the gospel church-singing of her childhood.  She is also a veteran of DC’s Go-Go scene, having performed with Lil Benny and the Go-Go All-Stars, Potential Groovers and Untouch.  She was also in a three-girl singing group that made it to Showtime at the Apollo, and, as Carla Elliott, she recorded vocals for some dance tracks for Rich Morel‘s “Pink Noise” project, that were unreleased.  While she was working as a singer for N’Digo Rose & Nekkid UndastandN, she met Justin Moyer, who was doing work with them as an engineer, and later joined E.D. Sedgwick. Continue reading