Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

The Ten Best Concerts In And Around DC For 2011

“The Foo Fighters” by Andrew Markowitz

Time once again to calculate and list the ten best musical performances I saw in the past year in and around Washington DC.* This ‘best of’ article is one of my favorite activities as a music writer because it embodies the very essence of why I take the time out of my increasingly busy schedule to attend so many concerts and write about them. Simply put, I am a fan of great live music and when someone or a group of someones delivers a really special performance I want to tell as many people as I can about it. There is real magic happening during a great musical performance that is unlike anything else I have ever experienced; if I manage to share just a fraction of that magic with my readers by exposing them to a band they might not otherwise have heard then my job as a music writer is done.

In the last six months, positive events in my personal life have greatly affected my ability to cover as many concerts as I’d like too with the quality of writing that I feel they deserve. Because of this I have been writing much less than usual and I predict that this trend will continue for most of 2012. I know from reader feedback and from conversations with some of the great people I’ve met at shows over the years that my writing about music has had an impact on their musical world. Knowing this enables me to walk away from music writing fulfilled.

2011 was kind of a weird year for live music. The entire year felt like an odd hang-over from 2010 (one of the greatest years of live music ever). In recent conversations I think I have been undervaluing 2011’s shows, because now as I revisit all of the sets I saw, I realize that there were plenty of great performances, they were just obscured by a lot more mediocre ones than I have seen in recent years. Once I dusted away the humdrum and the disappointing, I was left with about 35 really great sets to choose from for my top ten list this year.
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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Ex @ Black Cat, 3/12/11

all photos by author.

On Saturday night at the Black Cat, legendary Dutch post-punk group The Ex treated DC fans to an energetic run through of most of the songs off their latest album, “Catch My Shoe”, a Hungarian folk song they used to do with Tom Cora, and a cover of the Konono No.1 song “Huriyet”. The Ex have been a band for over thirty years and while their line-up has changed many times over the years (most recently with a change of lead singers) the band has always maintained core values of improvisation, collaboration, and blistering guitar action. It was this third value that was most prominently on display Saturday night.

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Entertainment, Interviews, Music, We Love Music

Q&A with Andy Moor of The Ex

courtesy of PMA PR.

Andy Moor, guitarist in The Ex since 1990, lives in the Netherlands; his adopted home ever since he accepted the invitiation from The Ex to join their ever-changing ranks. I have been a fan of The Ex since high school, which means I have been a fan of theirs for (ahem) quite some time. The Ex are playing at the Black Cat tomorrow night and I thought it would be a fine opportunity to interview Andy about one of my favorite bands.

The first time I tried to call Andy, he was sleeping off jetlag having just returned from Addis Ababa. The second time I tried to reach him, he was out for a bike ride. The third time, he was on a boat ride with visiting family. I guess that’s what I get for expecting a so-called “anarchist” to stick to a schedule! Andy and I finally connected via Skype on the fourth try and we proceeded to have an epic conversation about some of Andy’s side projects, The Ex’s rich history of collaboration, the recent departure of G.W. Sok (the group’s lead singer for 30 years), the band’s excellent new album “Catch My Shoe”, and that pesky “anarcho-punk” label that follows The Ex everywhere, much to their chagrin.

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