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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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Shiny Toy Guns @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 11/4/12

Carah Faye and Jeremy Dawson. Copyright and Courtesy, CJ Lucero.

The Shiny Toy Guns rode into DC Sunday night on soaring symphonic sounds and pulsating waves of light that dazzled a sold-out crowd of very enthusiastic admirers at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

Actually, the Shinys literally rode into town in a tour bus dragging a trailer packed full of supplies for victims of Hurricane Sandy in Hoboken, NJ, where they were headed not only to donate those supplies but offer a cadre of fans a lift across the river to a Monday night show in Manhattan. And that’s part of the appeal of this four-member band, which was celebrating the return of original singer Carah Faye Charnow — they are such genuine folks despite their love of glam glitz and big gothy boots.

Carah Faye does more than sing damn well — she trades off on synths and bass with Jeremy Dawson, keyboardist, bassist and all-around mastermind. Carah was away for the band’s second album but now she’s back for their third, III, and the chemistry between her and the rest of the band was superb. Besides jumping onto the keyboards when Dawson rotated off, she meshed very well with her fellow vocalist Chad Petree, who also mesmerizes on the guitar. Drummer Mikey Martin, of course, ably supported all three of his band mates with delightfully glam percussion.

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Music, The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: Shiny Toy Guns @ Rock and Roll Hotel, 11/4/12

Photo courtesy of manu_el_o_matic!
Shiny Toy Guns
courtesy of manu_el_o_matic!

Shiny Toy Guns, the hard-charging new wave quartet from Los Angeles, return in fine form to DC with a performance at the Rock and Roll Hotel on Sunday, Nov. 4. The show is rescheduled from Oct. 29, when the cusp of Hurricane Sandy smacked the city and shut down everything.

Not only do the Shiny Toy Guns return but they return with Carah Faye Charnow on the heels of a new album, which came out more than a week ago. The new album III is a triumphant return to a good mix of inviting vocals and dramatic synths that marked their first album, We Are Pilots. (This critic found the band’s second album, Season of Poison, a bit of a miss after the hit of the first.)

Shiny Toy Guns are back on the dance floor and they have ambitious plans for the future, as they told We Love DC. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see them at their best.

Shiny Toy Guns w/ MDNR and Colourmusic
Rock and Roll Hotel
Nov. 4
Doors 7pm; show 8pm
All ages

Music, The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: Hurricane Sandy Nixes Shows, 10/29/12

Photo courtesy of TalAtlas
Sandy’s on the way
courtesy of TalAtlas

As the National Weather Service warned Sunday that Hurricane Sandy would likely bring powerful winds and strong rains to DC, major concert venues postponed their scheduled shows for Monday evening.

The 9:30 Club informed fans on its Twitter feed that Monday night’s Grouplove concert would be postponed until further notice. The Black Cat took to Twitter to say that its scheduled concert for Bear in Heaven was completely cancelled.

On its webpage, The Howard Theatre announced that early and late shows of flamenco queen Buika were postponed Monday night to a future date to be announced.

The Rock and Roll Hotel remained silent about its plans early Monday morning, but Shiny Toy Guns announced that the band and MNDR were unlikely to appear on Monday night.

On its Facebook page, Shiny Toy Guns said, “[W]ashington DC show is most likely going to now be on Sunday night, Nov. 4th. [W]e just received this information now. our tour bus is moving quickly through the night to the city of Baltimore, where we will be standing by while Sandy makes landfall in Atlantic City and turns north. So B-more will be our home for a few days while we pray our NYC show isn’t moved around. Baltimore party time!!!!”

The postponement or cancellation of major shows in Washington, DC, came as little surprise after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced it would run no trains or buses on Monday due to Hurricane Sandy.

While waiting for confirmation of the rescheduling of Shiny Toy Guns, read our interview with the band’s founder and keyboardist Jeremy Dawson.

Music, The Features, We Love Music

Q&A with Jeremy Dawson of Shiny Toy Guns

Photo courtesy of Shiny Toy Guns

Shiny Toy Guns have embarked on a tour in support of their new album III, out today (Oct. 23) in the United States. Not only does the album mark the group’s first new record in four years, but it also heralds the return of vocalist Carah Faye Charnow, who was the female singer on the band’s first album, We Are Pilots. (Shiny Toy Guns recorded a second album, Season of Poison, without her.) In returning to Shiny Toy Guns, Charnow has reunited with male vocalist and guitarist Chad Petree, drummer Mikey Martin and of course keyboardist Jeremy Dawson.

Dawson took some time out on the road in New Mexico, where it is illegal to talk on the phone and drive, to chat with We Love DC about getting the band back together and injecting the drama of the ’80s into their music.

Mickey McCarter: How is it going?

Jeremy Dawson: Good! We are slowly creeping across New Mexico. We are moving our equipment to California. We were doing a YouTube thing and soon we will start the tour.

MM: I’ve had a few times to meet you in the past and I’m always struck by how authentic you guys are. I really mean this as a compliment. I saw you in Baltimore for the first time some years ago and my friends were getting pictures with Carah. You walked up and said, “There are beers in the green room. Want to have a beer?”

JD: (chuckles) It gets lonely out there.

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