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, Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: R. Ring @ DC9, 5/15/2012

R. Ring, photo by Jason Coile

We Love DC guest writer Jonathan Druy attended the R. Ring show at DC9 Tuesday night. Read his thoughts on it below! 

Tuesday night started with a fairly sparse DC9 room, but the evening opened with a sharp acoustic/punk set by Marc Ganancias, and then a soulfully beautiful set by Mean Season, who know how to intertwine chick vocals and guitar into a lean indie-rock gift. When Kelley Deal’s new project R.Ring took the stage, the room began to swell with fans of the Breeders guitarist, who got to see a warm set, highlighted by Deal’s sweet vocals and Mike Montgomery’s amplified acoustic interactions, as well as some really funny between-song convos.

 Kelley Deal uses that voice, imprinted on those of us who came of age when the Breeders reigned the alternawaves, as one of the band’s electric instruments, cranking up the reverb, or singing through an effects pedal. It provides a nice touch, so songs like “Fall Out and Fire” and “Hundred Dollar Heat”, which Deal sings from the floor, draw in the audience, resulting in an echo-embellished electric/acoustic lullaby. Deal accompanied Montgomery on guitar for a few numbers, and the electrics came out for their closer, a cover of Shellac’s “Ghost”, on which Montgomery also shared vocals.

 The DC9 crowd grew over the course of the set, so by the end there was no shortage of fans chatting with Deal after the show. Here’s hoping the rest of her tour generates as much goodwill as Tuesday night.

Entertainment, Interviews, Music, People, We Love Music

Q&A with Kelley Deal

photo courtesy of the artist

We Love DC guest writer Jonathan Druy had the chance to interview Kelley Deal. Read his account of it all here!

Breeders guitarist Kelley Deal is touring with her beautiful new acoustic project R.Ring, and they’re stopping by DC9 on Tuesday night, in what may prove to be a truly talent-rich night of acoustic-based indie-folk-rock-thingies, with Mike Ganancias and Mean Season. A new release from Misra Records is on its way.

From Dayton, Ohio, R.Ring is Deal and Mike Montgomery of the band Ampline, performing acoustic, spare, melodic explorations led by Deal’s unique and sometimes distorted vocals, her voice familiar to those who remember the once-ubiquitous Breeders. If you were sentient 20 years ago, you probably owned “Last Splash”, with it’s beautiful singles “Cannonball” and “Divine Hammer”, and its surfy instrumentals, and the sweet chick-rock vocals led by twin sister and Pixie Kim, and harmonized sweetly by Kelley. You probably also loved the “Cannonball” video on early-90s MTV, an unimaginable pre-WWW/Youtube/Smartphone era when the cable network stumbled into post-Cobain indie-land, and played these things called music videos, because it was the only place you could see them, kiddies.

The lead-up to our interview lead me to revisit “Last Splash” and “Pod” and “Safari EP”, and well-up all nostalgic-like with my memories of seeing the Breeders ’92 show at the old 9:30 Club, which almost made me forget that Deal has had plenty to do since then; first with Kelley Deal 6000, then with the reformed and rejuvenated Breeders, first in ’02 then in ’08. And while I did just see a friend of mine sing “Cannonball” at karaoke, fear not, middle-aged geezers, the Breeders haven’t gone away, but the other day Kelley talked to me about her new project and about being among the current crop of veterans that are still doing it and doing it well.

She also got curious about the Ethiopian food I told her about on 9th St. You haven’t lived until you’ve explained Injera to a Breeder…

Jonathan Druy: Are there any memories or feelings about DC you have from past tours?

Kelley Deal: I do remember our ’92 show at the old 9:30 club – DC at the time was considered really hip and really happening, and I just remember being a rube from Dayton, and I didn’t know about any of this stuff and I remember thinking “wow, this is really cool!”. Continue reading