Archive: Live Last Night

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs: Live last night

Holly Golightly and Lawyer Dave made songs about domestic abuse sound plenty appealing Monday at Iota. By Chris Klimek Just how retro is the strain of handmade country-blues peddled by Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs? During their ramshackle hour-long set at IOTA last night, the guitarist/percussionist/singer Lawyer Dave introduced two...

By David Malitz | December 15, 2009; 01:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chip Taylor: Live last night

Chip Taylor's stories were as memorable as the songs Sunday at the Birchmere. By Juli Thanki Songwriter Chip Taylor comes from strong storytelling stock: his father, a golf pro from Yonkers, had for years convinced his three sons that he was actually an FBI agent. Taylor followed in his dad's...

By David Malitz | December 14, 2009; 01:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Fanfarlo: Live last night

Fanfarlo's Simon Balthazar led his band through a set of stately chamber-pop at a sold-out Iota on Friday night. (By Kyle Gustafson/FTWP) By David Malitz Why were all those folks standing and shivering on the Wilson Boulevard sidewalk Friday night? The realities of Virginia's new indoor smoking ban? Nope, just...

By David Malitz | December 14, 2009; 09:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ralph Stanley: Live last night

Stanley reinforced his status as an American music treasure at the Birchmere Saturday night. By Dave McKenna Ralph Stanley made the supermarket tabloid National Examiner this year for saying in a then-unpublished autobiography that Tim McGraw wouldn't know a country song if it kicked him in, well, his moneymaker. The...

By David Malitz | December 14, 2009; 08:32 AM ET | Comments (2)

A Jazz Piano Christmas: Live last night

Twenty-two year old pianist Eldar provided an unexpected opening at NPR's annual "A Jazz Piano Christmas" Friday at the Kennedy Center. By Mike Joyce The holiday jazz piano summit at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on Friday night was supposed to kick off with Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song." Apparently...

By David Malitz | December 14, 2009; 08:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Arctic Monkeys: Live last night

Arctic Monkeys let their songs do the talking at 9:30 club on Tuesday. By Patrick Foster Three albums do not a career make, but it does seem safe to say that the Arctic Monkeys have survived being one of the decade's most hyped British sensations. And though their third record,...

By David Malitz | December 9, 2009; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (2)

Esperanza Spalding: Live last night

Esperanza Spalding at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. (By Kyle Gustafson/FTWP) By Sarah Godfrey As quickly as 25-year-old Esperanza Spalding was embraced as a promising new jazz talent, there was backlash. Spalding has been attacked for everything from playing the White House twice in one year (give other people a...

By David Malitz | December 7, 2009; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Outpost: Live last night

By Mark Jenkins U Street NW ain't the East Village, but the neighborhood's Velvet Lounge proved a compatible site for Outpost to perform stately electro-rock inspired (says the band's MySpace page) by "Manhattan after dark." The grungy venue and late hour - after midnight as Saturday leaked into Sunday...

By David Malitz | December 7, 2009; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Hot Tuna: Live last night

By Dave McKenna Hot Tuna's casually gorgeous Thursday set at the Birchmere opened with Jimmie Rodgers' 1928 tune, "Waiting on a Train," so Jorma Kaukonen sang about being "a thousand miles from home." Actually, Kaukonen and longtime music-mate Jack Casady, both proto-hippies and jam-band pioneers, grew up a George...

By David Malitz | December 4, 2009; 02:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

El Vez: Live last night

By Chris Klimek Chestnuts roasting. Jack Frost nipping. Yuletide carols being sung by the self-described "Mexican Elvis," and folks dressed up like luchadores - mask-wearing Mexican wrestlers. Isn't that how that one goes? Well, that's how it went at the 9:30 club Thursday night, where Los Straitjackets -- an...

By David Malitz | December 4, 2009; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Brooke Waggoner: Live last night

By Juli Thanki "If at any point this becomes, like, lame piano girl music, you have to tell me. That's not cool." These were 24-year old Brooke Waggoner's mid-show instructions to the Wednesday night Jammin' Java crowd, which, thankfully, never had the need to interject. Nashville-based Waggoner has an...

By Chris Richards | December 3, 2009; 02:31 PM ET | Comments (1)

Elvis Perkins: Live last night

By Patrick Foster Elvis Perkins does not rock. The wiry recording artist -- and son of Anthony "Psycho" Perkins -- and his band played rockabilly, New Orleans swing, rustic folk, gospel, heck, they even played raucously, but at no point during their charming hour-plus set Wednesday night at the...

By Chris Richards | December 3, 2009; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Rosanne Cash: Live last night

By Dave McKenna Rosanne Cash has gotten back to basics. Cash, who appeared Wednesday at the Birchmere backed only by Jon Leventhal on guitar, was a leader of the pack of brainy, new-agey female songwriters (alongside Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin) that attracted large folk, alternative and pop...

By Chris Richards | December 3, 2009; 01:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Last night's banter: Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins blew some serious magic from his saxophone at the Kennedy Center Wednesday night, but the 72-year-old jazz icon earned some of the evening's loudest applause when he approached the microphone to speak. Here's a sampling of what the saxophone colossus had to say once the cheers died...

By Chris Richards | December 3, 2009; 12:25 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Pixies: Live last night

The Pixies in New York in November. (By Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images) By David Malitz The Pixies legacy as the wildly influential band that helped usher in the '90s alternative boom is only half the story now. (OK, maybe four-fifths of the story.) When Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and...

By David Malitz | December 1, 2009; 07:11 PM ET | Comments (3)

Queen Ifrica and Tony Rebel: Live last night

By Sarah Godfrey Roots reggae shows are always a careful mix of entertainment and exploration of social ills, as there are limits to how much purpose can be mixed with partying. While one might be able to groove to heavy lyrics about revolution and spirituality, it is not so...

By David Malitz | November 30, 2009; 03:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Devendra Banhart: Live last night

By Patrick Foster Devendra Banhart is just evolving, y'all. The eccentric Californian has been criticized recently for wandering too far from his folky, freaky beginnings, and while there were a few indulgent interludes at the 9:30 club last night, his 100-minute show revealed an artist steadily evolving from --...

By David Malitz | November 27, 2009; 03:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

R. Kelly: Live last night

R. Kelly toned down the X-rated shock tactics and allowed his historically great songbook to be the focus Tuesday night at Constitution Hall. (Photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP) By Chris Richards Could R. Kelly's freakiest, deakiest days be behind him? So it seemed as the R&B lothario's "Ladies Make Some Noise!"...

By David Malitz | November 25, 2009; 10:37 AM ET | Comments (4)

tobyMac: Live last night

By Mark Jenkins Remember when so-called Bible thumpers considered rock-and-roll the devil's music? That rebuke was inoperative Saturday night at the Patriot Center, where Christian performer tobyMac delighted a sell-out crowd with a different sort of thumping. He calls his style "urban rock," and it blends brisk rapping and...

By David Malitz | November 23, 2009; 02:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Jesus Lizard: Live last night

The Jesus Lizard, in earlier days. The band -- if not the crowd -- brought it just as hard Thursday at 9:30 club. By David Malitz Maybe this current run of concerts by '90s hell-raisers the Jesus Lizard isn't simply the latest in a long-string of alt-rock reunions that have...

By David Malitz | November 20, 2009; 04:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

Daughtry: Live last night

Don't let the mean look fool you; Daughtry's a softy at heart. By Dave McKenna Chris Daughtry tries to play rough. At the Patriot Center on Thursday, the former American Idol contender led a band that bears his surname through a set of hard pop that mostly fell somewhere between...

By David Malitz | November 20, 2009; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Baroness: Live last night

John Dyer Baizley of Baroness roars at Rock and Roll Hotel. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP) By Chris Richards Head-bangers have Georgia on their minds. Two of this year's most exciting rock albums come from Savannah's Baroness and Atlanta's Mastodon, positing the Peach State as the new locus of American heavy...

By David Malitz | November 19, 2009; 07:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Local rappers take it to the stage couch

Local rapper XO, shown here at 9:30 club in September, teams up with other area MCs for the Capitol City Music Tour. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP) The Capitol City Music Tour -- a revue of local rappers that crosses back and forth between the District and Northern Virginia through mid-December...

By Chris Richards | November 18, 2009; 09:53 AM ET | Comments (2)

The xx: Live last night

The xx -- now a trio -- stayed at their own pace at DC9. By David Malitz The xx must be commended for a dogged devotion to aesthetic. The babyfaced, buzzed-about British trio (its members can drink legally back home but not in the U.S.) never strayed from its slow...

By David Malitz | November 16, 2009; 03:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Goodie Mob: Live last night

Reunited Southern hip-hop pioneers Goodie Mob added new twists to old songs on Saturday night. (By Kyle Gustafson/FTWP) By Sarah Godfrey With Gucci Mane, Lil Boosie, Lil Wayne and T.I. all sidelined due to legal troubles, it's kind of hard to put together a Southern rap show these days. Perhaps...

By David Malitz | November 16, 2009; 09:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Stefon Harris: Live last night

By Mike Joyce Jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris and Blackout opened its performance at the Kennedy Center's KC Jazz Club on Saturday night with a variation on George Gershwin's "Gone, Gone, Gone" that could have been re-dubbed "Gone Down U Street." It wasn't newly arranged so much as thoroughly overhauled,...

By David Malitz | November 16, 2009; 07:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Slumberland 20th anniversary: Live last night

Local trio and Slumberland mainstays Lorelei provided the highlight of the label's 20th anniversary show at the Black Cat Friday. (Courtesy Forcefield PR) By Mark Jenkins Slumberland Records, which celebrated its 20th birthday Friday at the Black Cat, was founded in Maryland and is now based in California. But its...

By David Malitz | November 16, 2009; 07:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bob Dylan: Live last night

By Chris Klimek Even Bob Dylan can't be Bob Dylan all the time. The 68-year-old Boy from the North Country born Robert Allen Zimmerman has been trying to break his own myth since the mid-'60s, when he alienated fans of his early folk albums by plugging in and rocking...

By David Malitz | November 12, 2009; 09:11 PM ET | Comments (2)

Kailash Kher: Live last night

By Mark Jenkins Bollywood movie musicals are known for vivid costumes, exuberant dances and musically omnivorous scores. Kailash Kher and Kailasa's Tuesday performance at Lisner Auditorium didn't quite deliver on the first two of those: Kher's five-piece band wore street clothes, although the singer did set off his jeans...

By David Malitz | November 11, 2009; 02:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Swell Season: Live last night

By Chris Klimek They broke up. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, for whom life imitated art imitating life when they fell in love playing lovers in the kinda-sorta-semi-autobiographical sleeper romance "Once" a few years back, are no longer an item. But on the evidence of "Strict Joy," their first...

By David Malitz | November 10, 2009; 01:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lee Ann Womack: Live last night

By Juli Thanki "Do you guys like country music? How 'bout real country music?" Lee Ann Womack shouted to the crowd Saturday at the American Freedom Festival at George Mason University's Patriot Center. She charmed the audience of veterans and families with her wry humor and flawless soprano, sandwiched...

By David Malitz | November 9, 2009; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Le Loup: Live last night

By Dave McKenna Le Loup had a lot going on Saturday at the Black Cat, where the potpourri-rock quintet ended a national tour with a hometown show. Singer and frontman Sam Simkoff alternately strummed an autoharp, sang into two microphones simultaneously and punched buttons on a digital sampler. Members...

By David Malitz | November 9, 2009; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down: Live last night

By Patrick Foster "I am a smoky plume," Thao Nguyen sang during her sold-out show at the Black Cat on Friday night, an apt descriptor for not only her voice, but the shimmery ambiance of her best recordings. The Falls Church native -- backed by her band, the Get...

By David Malitz | November 9, 2009; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kurt Vile: Live last night

By Chris Klimek It's perfectly reasonable to be suspicious of a musician with as mighty a moniker as Kurt Vile. If that was a stage name (it's not) the intimation would be of the most confrontational, petulant punk, but the Philadelphia-based Vile's defiantly primitive, accident-prone songs are lazier and...

By David Malitz | November 6, 2009; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Girls: Live last night

By David Malitz San Francisco indie group Girls (consisting of four guys, of course) came to the Black Cat Tuesday as one of the most hyped bands of the year -- and some of it even has to do with their music! The backstory has simply proven too irresistible....

By David Malitz | November 4, 2009; 01:57 PM ET | Comments (8)

The Very Best: Live last night

By Mark Jenkins The Very Best has fewer members than most African bands have drummers, and the London-based Afro-electro-pop trio didn't even bring its full complement to its sold-out Monday gig at DC9. But singer Esau Mwamwaya and programmer Etienne Tron had no trouble holding the crowd's attention with...

By David Malitz | November 3, 2009; 04:48 PM ET | Comments (1)

Bruce Springsteen: Live last night

Bruce Springsteen brought his usual energy to Verizon Center on Monday night. The audience was up to the task of matching his enthusiasm. (By By Toni L. Sandys/TWP) By Chris Richards When the house lights go up at a rock concert, the illusion of magic evaporates. Show's over. Don't forget...

By David Malitz | November 3, 2009; 07:48 AM ET | Comments (56)

Patty Loveless: Live last night

By Juli Thanki "I want you to feel like you're in my living room," Patty Loveless said to a worshipful Birchmere crowd Sunday night. The giant '30s console radio and table lamps onstage certainly added to the effect as the honey-voiced Loveless delivered two hours of country and bluegrass...

By David Malitz | November 2, 2009; 01:56 PM ET | Comments (3)

Bahman Panahi: Live last night

By Mark Jenkins Iranian musician Bahman Panahi is pursuing a doctorate at the Sorbonne, so it's fitting that his concert Friday evening at the Freer Gallery was instructive. He demonstrated the different tones and moods of the tar and the setar, the long-necked lutes central to West Asian music....

By David Malitz | October 31, 2009; 11:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ricky Skaggs: Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki It's a rare performer who'll quote both the Old Testament and "Slingblade." But when the performer is Ricky Skaggs, who shared a stage with Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, at five years old and turned pro at an age when most are worried about finding...

By David Malitz | October 30, 2009; 02:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Paramore: Live Last Night

Paramore's Hayley Williams -- up, up and away. (By Kyle Gustafson/FWTP) By Chris Richards If there's a line that separates a sugar rush from an adrenaline gush, then Hayley Williams knows how to walk it. She's the 20-year-old singer of Paramore, a Tennessee quintet specializing in brash, hyper-melodic rock-and-roll punk...

By David Malitz | October 26, 2009; 11:43 AM ET | Comments (1)

Dirty Projectors: Live Last Night

By Patrick Foster Just two years ago, about 100 people watched the Dirty Projectors do an impossibly arty interpretation of a classic punk rock album on the Black Cat's Backstage. Thursday night, they sold-out the club's Mainstage. In between, the band took a massive artistic leap forward, recording the...

By David Malitz | October 23, 2009; 03:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Gaslight Anthem: Live Last Night

By Chris Klimek Look, Bruce Springsteen and Joe Strummer didn't invent this stuff, either. The greased hair and leather and the overdriven takes of "Mad Men"-era rock standards already had a blanket of dust on them by the time The Boss and The Clash got around to them. Jersey...

By David Malitz | October 23, 2009; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Jill Sobule and Erin McKeown: Live Last Night

By Dave McKenna Cute is hard in pop music. Touching is harder. Monday at Jammin Java, Jill Sobule was both cute and touching, often in the same song. Even after all the punchlines she threw into "Mexican Wrestler" -- sample lyric: "I can crack all your ribs, but I...

By David Malitz | October 20, 2009; 03:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bill Frisell: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce It's not often that a jazz drummer has the best seat in the house, yet certainly that was the case when the Bill Frisell Trio performed at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater on Friday night. True to form, Kenny Wollesen was perched between -- and a...

By David Malitz | October 19, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

Hope Sandoval: Live Last Night

By David Malitz Siren-song chanteuse Hope Sandoval and her quartet the Warm Inventions were cloaked in near-darkness for Wednesday night's show at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, mere silhouettes on stage. With the band members offering no visual stimulation, the audience was instead treated to video collages projected on...

By David Malitz | October 15, 2009; 07:13 PM ET | Comments (5)

Them Crooked Vultures: Live Last Night

By Chris Klimek As long as John Bonham and Kurt Cobain stay dead, there's probably no more intriguing a musical home for their former bandmates John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl, respectively, than Them Crooked Vultures, newest and superest of the supergroups. At the 9:30 club Wednesday night, rock's...

By David Malitz | October 15, 2009; 01:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

Daniel Johnston: Live Last Night

By David Malitz A Daniel Johnston show is as much a support group as a concert. The 48-year-old cult favorite is known as much for his gleefully deranged outsider pop songs as for his well-publicized battles with personal demons such as bipolar disorder. Both of those aspects were well...

By David Malitz | October 14, 2009; 11:44 PM ET | Comments (1)

Kiss: Live Last Night

Gene Simmons and rock's most famous tongue. (All photos by Richard Lipski/TWP) By Dave McKenna That old saw about selling ice boxes to Eskimos would be no sweat for Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. These guys are still selling concert tickets to the same folks who paid to see Kiss'...

By David Malitz | October 14, 2009; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (4)

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers: Live Last Night

Graham Sharp and Steve Martin -- dueling banjos. (Susan Biddlei/TWP) By Chris Klimek We know what you're thinking: Oh, great, another celebrity banjo album. Actually, yes. "The Crow," the collection of banjo tunes written (save for one) and performed by Steve Martin -- uh-huh, that one -- is truly wonderful....

By David Malitz | October 14, 2009; 04:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Bravery: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Grandiose, energetic and yearning, the Bravery's music is eminently adolescent. So perhaps it shouldn't have come as a surprise, Sunday night at the 9:30 Club, when frontman Sam Endicott revealed that his favorite book is that young-adult classic, S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders.'' Endicott claimed the novel...

By David Malitz | October 12, 2009; 02:37 PM ET | Comments (1)

Kelly Clarkson: Live Last Night

By Dave McKenna Kelly Clarkson, at 27, is a better singer than she's ever been. But she's nowhere near as fun. At a less than half full Patriot Center on Friday, Clarkson offered rockier material than that usually associated with the original American Idol. She held her own on...

By David Malitz | October 12, 2009; 07:17 AM ET | Comments (4)

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki When a band has been together for 43 years, staying creative and relevant -- and continuing to get along with one another -- might be a struggle. Not so for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, whose easy camaraderie, dry humor and considerable musicianship made it all...

By David Malitz | October 12, 2009; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Dinosaur Jr.: Live Last Night

By Patrick Foster At a Dinosaur Jr. show, there's only one thing to shout that's more obvious than "Free Bird": "Turn it up!" Not that guitarist J. Mascis could hear that wisecrack at the 9:30 Club last night, since he was standing in front of approximately 37 Marshall stacks...

By David Malitz | October 9, 2009; 02:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gossip: Live Last Night

By David Malitz Gossip is a party band. No more, no less. And there are few better party starters than Beth Ditto. It's hard to take your eyes off the 28-year-old frontwomman, and not just because she looks like she's infiltrated both the closet and makeup kit of a...

By David Malitz | October 9, 2009; 02:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Os Mutantes: Live Last Night

By Sarah Godfrey The only thing music nerds like more than an emerging experimental group is the resurrection of an old experimental group. So, the appearance of Tropicália pioneers Os Mutantes the State Theatre on Wednesday night (along with De Leon, who perform 15th Century Spanish indie rock), proved...

By David Malitz | October 8, 2009; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Los Lonely Boys: Live Last Night

By Chis Klimek There's no foolproof test for diagnosing musical overconfidence, but hiring Alejandro Escovedo as your opener is a definite risk factor. Ecovedo is a songwriter's songwriter, an alt-punk-country-etc. warrior who nearly had to die of Hepatitis C six years ago to begin to get his due. Among...

By David Malitz | October 6, 2009; 11:54 AM ET | Comments (0)

Tom Russell: Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki Tom Russell played Jammin' Java Saturday night, fresh off his appearance on "Letterman." He taped the same day Dave made his big announcement, which led to an astronomical ratings boost, a fact Russell noted with delight. The singer-songwriter-author-criminologist is on tour celebrating the release of his...

By David Malitz | October 5, 2009; 03:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Christian Scott: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce Christian Scott, the young but seasoned New Orleans trumpeter who performed at the Kennedy Center's KC Jazz Club on Saturday night, invites comparisons with Miles Davis, especially when playing a muted horn in a minor blues or modal setting. But no one ever accused Davis of...

By David Malitz | October 5, 2009; 09:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wisin y Yandel: Live Last Night

By Sarah Godfrey Remember Reggaeton? A few years back, it was an industry sensation -- nowadays, not so much. But just because reggaeton has gone the way of baile funk, Miami bass, and a slew of other genres that have enjoyed temporary periods of crossover appeal, doesn't mean it's...

By David Malitz | October 2, 2009; 04:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wavves: Live Last Night

By David Malitz What makes the songs by Wavves (aka 23-year-old San Diegan Nathan Williams) stand out on record is the abundance of pop hooks that fight through the fuzz of his lo-fi home recordings. But it was an unexpected thrashy punk energy that made Thursday night's show at...

By David Malitz | October 2, 2009; 04:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Regina Spektor: Live Last Night

By Chris Klimek Regina Spektor is a wellspring of quirk, and her Dadaesque lyrics offer metaphorical cover without limit. But the songstress's stripped-down show at Constitution Hall Wednesday night gave her no place to hide. (Read the rest of the review after the jump.)...

By David Malitz | October 1, 2009; 01:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

James McMurtry: Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki Rail thin, with unruly hair and wire-rim glasses, James McMurtry looks like your favorite college professor, or perhaps an extremely literate vagabond. As the spawn of a Pulitzer winner and an English prof, it must be in his genes that he's able to write slice of...

By David Malitz | October 1, 2009; 01:44 PM ET | Comments (1)

Lady Gaga: Live Last Night

Lady Gaga, in her disco ball mini-dress at Constitution Hall. (All photos by Mark Gail/TWP) By David Malitz She's not much of a singer. She's not much of a dancer. Her best songs remind you of better songs by previous chart-toppers. So just how has Lady Gaga become the breakout...

By David Malitz | September 30, 2009; 02:51 PM ET | Comments (5)

BLK JKS: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins BLK JKS won't rock you all night long. That's not because the much-hyped South African quartet, which played Tuesday night at the Black Cat's backstage, lacks the energy; the four Johannesburg musicians were in constant motion during their performance, spinning and stalking about the small riser....

By David Malitz | September 30, 2009; 01:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Claw and Order: U2 Delivers the Hits at FedEx Field

Not even Bono could compete with "The Claw" as the main attraction at Tuesday's U2 show at FedEx Field. (All photos by Ricky Carioti/TWP) By Chris Richards Washington Post Staff Writer After months of anticipation, it finally descended upon FedEx Field: The stage prop to end all stage props....

By Chris Richards | September 30, 2009; 08:19 AM ET | Comments (148)

Pink: Live Last Night

Pink gets her trapeze on at the VMAs earlier this month. By Chris Klimek Never break up with Pink! She'll make an album about it, it'll go platinum, and pretty soon she'll be in the middle of 10,000 people at the Patriot Center, just like she was for two lusty...

By David Malitz | September 29, 2009; 04:31 PM ET | Comments (2)

Marianne Faithfull: Live Last Night

By Dave McKenna Marianne Faithfull's voice during her wonderful late show at the Rams Head in Annapolis on Monday had little in common with the waify warble she used in 1965 on her first hit, "As Tears Go By," as a teenage plaything of the Rolling Stones. She has...

By David Malitz | September 29, 2009; 12:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Faust: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Some people will just never get over the early 1970s. Two of those people, to judge by Faust's self-indulgent performance Sunday night at the Black Cat, are Jean-Herve Peron and Werner "Zappi" Diermaier, founding members of the Hamburg band whose song, "Krautrock," named an entire movement....

By David Malitz | September 28, 2009; 12:17 PM ET | Comments (1)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Live Last Night

Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs performing last month in Paris. By David Malitz In terms of pure kinetic energy, Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O is unrivaled in today's rock-and-roll landscape. She continuously flailed, hopped and lunged her way across the 9:30 club stage Friday night, a water-spewing blur...

By David Malitz | September 28, 2009; 09:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

Polvo: Live Last Night

By Patrick Foster Once upon a time (around 1992), the land of Indie Rock was a different place than it is today: 7" singles were essential currency, fanzines came from a photocopy machine and a pitchfork was something you'd only find on a farm. And a humble quartet from...

By David Malitz | September 28, 2009; 09:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Jandek: Live Last Night

The mysterious Jandek, at a previous performance. By David Malitz So, that was Jandek. But was it really Jandek? The famously reclusive outsider folk musician performed his first ever D.C. concert Saturday night at an overflowing Velvet Lounge, a mere 31 years after he recorded the first of his five...

By David Malitz | September 28, 2009; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

Melissa Walker: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce Long before becoming a seasoned artist in her own right, vocalist Melissa Walker often frequented One Step Down and other Washington jazz clubs to listen to her favorite musicians. So it wasn't surprising to hear a tribute to the late Shirley Horn during Walker's homecoming concert...

By David Malitz | September 28, 2009; 09:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

L. Subramaniam: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Many Indian classical virtuosos have collaborated with Western musicians, but L. Subramaniam is a step closer to the West than sitar or sarod players. The 62-year-old maestro, who performed Thursday evening at Freer Gallery of Art, plays a European instrument: the violin. Subramaniam has written for...

By David Malitz | September 25, 2009; 02:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chris Smither: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce At the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis on Saturday night, veteran singer-songwriter Chris Smither said he's been following his 5-year-old daughter around with pen and pad in hand. Not a bad career move, as it turns out. "I Don't Know," a new song inspired by his...

By David Malitz | September 21, 2009; 11:37 AM ET | Comments (1)

Moby: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Late Friday at the 9:30 club, when Moby dedicated a song to "everyone here who is still a recovering raver," he was including himself. But the maker of such dance-club bangers as "Go" and "Body Rock" actually seemed pretty well recovered. Although the after-midnight show included...

By David Malitz | September 21, 2009; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce "The Harlem Renaissance Revue," presented at the Lincoln Theatre on Friday night, couldn't have ended on a more fitting or evocative note. The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra capped the concert by nimbly conjuring the Duke Ellington Orchestra's landmark Depression-era residency at Harlem's Cotton Club. (Read the...

By David Malitz | September 21, 2009; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Yo La Tengo, Still Got It

Back in college I had a friend/future enemy who would drive hundreds of miles in an unreliable car to see Yo La Tengo on tour. He said the veteran indie-rock trio (yes, they were already veterans by then) was a band he needed to see as often as he...

By David Malitz | September 18, 2009; 06:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

K'Jon: Live Last Night

By Sarah Godfrey Singer K'Jon, whose major label debut, "I Get Around," was released last month, waited years to see his music embraced beyond the boundaries of his native Detroit. Now that he's a headed for the big time, it's the fans' turn to wait. It took a while...

By David Malitz | September 17, 2009; 02:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Son Volt: Live Last Night

By Chris Klimek 'Scuse me, son, but haven't I seen you hanging around with Chrissie Hynde lately? Indeed. The pale, intense young fellow stage right at last night's robust Son Volt gig at the 9:30 club was one James Walbourne, the British guitar prodigy whose serrated-edge leads make the...

By David Malitz | September 16, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (1)

Todd Rundgren: Live Last Night

By Patrick Foster Know why "Almost Famous" isn't a great rock-and-roll movie? Because it never mentions Todd Rundgren. See, Cameron Crowe's flick is set in 1973, and, as everyone knows, that was Todd's year, man. So it was obvious that his recreation of "A Wizard, A True Star," --...

By David Malitz | September 11, 2009; 03:06 PM ET | Comments (1)

Pet Shop Boys: Live Last Night

Pet Shop Boys perform in Toronto earlier this week. By Dave McKenna There was nothing organic about the actual music produced Thursday at Constitution Hall by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, the longtime UK electronic dance giants known as the Pet Shop Boys. Lowe stayed behind a computer screen and...

By David Malitz | September 4, 2009; 11:54 AM ET | Comments (1)

Living Colour: Live Last Night

By Sarah Godfrey A comeback of the hard rock/metal lite band Living Colour makes perfect sense right now, what with the recent resurgence of spandex, neon colors, and other '80s/'90s looks. And yet the group, known for its gaudy outfits, looked pretty tame at its show at the Birchmere...

By David Malitz | September 2, 2009; 05:43 PM ET | Comments (2)

Reflection Eternal: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Mainstream commercial hip-hop has moved away from old-school simplicity, and sometimes has gotten lost in the process. But there are still acts that feature only a rapper (or two) and a DJ (usually supplemented by a laptop). Three such outfits, including Reflection Eternal, performed Monday at...

By David Malitz | September 1, 2009; 12:03 PM ET | Comments (1)

Chuck Brown: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins The crowd that filled the 9:30 Club Saturday night was there for Chuck Brown, but -- as always with go-go audiences -- was entirely capable of making its own music. The "wind me up, Chuck'' chant began before the go-go pioneer had even strapped on his...

By David Malitz | August 24, 2009; 07:47 AM ET | Comments (1)

Judas Priest: Live Last Night

By Dave McKenna The album-themed tour has trickled down to heavy metal. At Merriweather Post on Saturday, Judas Priest played all of "British Steel," 1980 LP that's about as important to the genre as the Book of Genesis is to the Bible. With "British Steel," the quintet that formed...

By David Malitz | August 24, 2009; 07:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Breeders: Live Last Night

By Chris Klimek If The Breeders were thought of as indie rock in 1993, when "Cannonball" was all over MTV and "Last Splash" was speedily going platinum, they're really indie now. They self-released their latest offering, the four-song EP "Fate to Fatal," even posting a video on their Web...

By David Malitz | August 24, 2009; 07:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Keith Urban: Live Last Night

Keith Urban let his inner shredder loose at Verizon Center on Thursday. (Photos by Kyle Gustafson) By Dave McKenna You'd have to go back to Glen Campbell to find a pop-country star whose musical skills are buried any deeper in hit records than Keith Urban's. The guy can really, really...

By David Malitz | August 21, 2009; 02:03 PM ET | Comments (2)

Henry Butler: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce There were times during Henry Butler's performance at Blues Alley on Thursday night when the New Orleans pianist displayed such a punishing attack that he could have been charged with assault and battery on a Steinway. Thundering block chords and hammered pedal tones, resounding vamps and...

By David Malitz | August 21, 2009; 12:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night Power Rankings: Kurt Vile, Two Cow Garage, The Duke & The King, more

A quick roundup and ranking of all the shows I saw in the past week. 1. Kurt Vile, Talking Head (Baltimore), Tuesday Kurt Vile has played exactly one show in D.C. this year. Last Tuesday was the sixth time I've seen him. It doesn't take a math genius to figure...

By David Malitz | August 17, 2009; 05:37 PM ET | Comments (2)

Bonnie Raitt: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce Bonnie Raitt is well known for hand-picking and generously showcasing her tourmates. But she couldn't have been more accommodating at Wolf Trap on Sunday night, when she shared the stage with bluesman Taj Mahal, her friend of 40 plus years and her "favorite artist ever." After...

By David Malitz | August 17, 2009; 03:51 PM ET | Comments (1)

Bat For Lashes: Live Last Night

By David Malitz Before Bat For Lashes took the 9:30 club stage Saturday night a giant backdrop was revealed. It featured a wolf howling in front of a full moon. A similar tapestry, the kind you might find at a store that sold incense and books about the Goddess,...

By David Malitz | August 17, 2009; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jason Isbell: Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki Friday night saw D.C. music lovers struggling with a rock-and-roll dilemma. As if the decision between The Pretenders with Cat Power and Crosby, Stills and Nash wasn't hard enough, roots-rockers Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit were thrown into the mix as well, with the bonus...

By David Malitz | August 17, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kevin Eubanks: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce Freed from the constraints of late-night television, guitarist and former "Tonight Show" bandleader Kevin Eubanks returned to his jazz roots at the Rams Head Tavern on Thursday night in ways that seemed both liberating and exhausting. "Where's a commercial when you need one?" he quipped, after...

By David Malitz | August 14, 2009; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

De La Soul: Live Last Night

By Sarah Godfrey De La Soul didn't have to formally recognize the 20th anniversary of its 1989 debut "3 Feet High and Rising." The group could've ignored the milestone, so as not to draw attention to its advanced age. But when a group looks, sounds and moves just as...

By David Malitz | August 12, 2009; 01:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki From the days of Kitty Wells and Red Foley to the more recent efforts of Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell, duets have been a vital part of the country music tradition. The newest link in the chain is Australian husband-and-wife team Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson,...

By David Malitz | August 12, 2009; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Fiery Furnaces: Live Last Night

By David Malitz The world doesn't need more bands like the Fiery Furnaces. The original will more than suffice. That's not an insult; it's just that one sister/brother-fronted band that plays wordy, inscrutable, schizophrenic songs that endlessly zig and zag in every possible direction is enough, and that in...

By David Malitz | August 10, 2009; 07:12 AM ET | Comments (1)

Erykah Badu: Live Last Night

By Sarah Godfrey For some artists, a summertime show offers the chance to perform breezy, feel-good hits to a friendly crowd fortified by booze and sunshine. For Erykah Badu, a summer concert is an opportunity to don a vinyl catsuit, rail about the government, and freak a guy playing...

By David Malitz | August 9, 2009; 07:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

Van Morrison: Live Last Night

By Dave McKenna The Van Morrison who showed up at Constitution Hall on Thursday clearly views himself as an artist, not an entertainer. So anybody wanting to hear Van Morrison smash hits would have had more success finding a good jukebox or hitting an open mike night at the...

By David Malitz | August 7, 2009; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (17)

Tinted Windows: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Two unusually unironic sounds were heard Wednesday night at the Black Cat: 1970s-style power-pop and the screams of young female fans. Both were the responsibility of Tinted Windows, a group fronted by onetime 'tween idol Taylor Hanson. Twelve years after "MMMBop,'' Hanson has allied with alt-rock...

By David Malitz | August 6, 2009; 12:48 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Veils: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Veils frontman Finn Andrews is the sort of performer who'd clearly prefer not be called "fresh-faced." Saturday night at the Rock & Roll Hotel, the New Zealander wore a porkpie hat and a few days of stubble as he led his London-based quartet through an hour...

By David Malitz | August 3, 2009; 02:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

M. Ward: Live Last Night

By Chris Klimek There's an Old Navy's worth of sartorial similes in which one could dress the songs of Portland, Ore., retro-elegist M. Ward. But the one that fits best is to liken them to jeans or T-shirts "distressed" to look and feel older and more lived-in than they...

By David Malitz | August 3, 2009; 02:18 AM ET | Comments (2)

Tool: Live Last Night

By Dave McKenna The set list for Tool's Thursday show at the Patriot Center was real close to the one the Southern California-spawned art-metal quartet delivered during its last D.C. appearance, in the fall of 2006 at the Verizon Center, a much bigger building. And Maynard James Keenan, the...

By David Malitz | July 31, 2009; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (1)

Green Day: Live Last Night

Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini) By Chris Klimek Do-It-Yourself is forever cited as the governing mantra of punk , and it inspired Green Day leader Billie Joe Armstrong to put his own band together 20-plus years ago. But on the evidence of the sturdy Bay Area trio's...

By David Malitz | July 30, 2009; 03:54 PM ET | Comments (6)

Depeche Mode: Live Last Night

Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan at the band's North American tour opener in Toronto last week. (Photo by Malcolm Taylor/Getty Images) By Mark Jenkins Roughly rendered, Depeche Mode means "fast fashion,'' a phrase that seemed increasingly inappropriate as the British band lumbered through a two-hour concert Tuesday night at Nissan Pavilion....

By David Malitz | July 29, 2009; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (23)

XX Merge: The Definitive List of 20 Things to Know

Lambchop, stealing the show at XX Merge. (Photo by Brad Searles, Bradley's Almanac) Wish you could have made it down to North Carolina to celebrate 20 years of Merge Records? Did you make it down there but had so much to drink that you can't really remember too much? Well,...

By David Malitz | July 28, 2009; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (13)

Earl Klugh: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce Relying on a nylon string acoustic guitar and a nimble fingerstyle technique, Earl Klugh has delighted smooth jazz fans since the mid-70s, wooing them softly with his sparkling tone and melodic tunes--a combination that made for a thoroughly crowd-pleasing concert at the Rams Head Tavern on...

By David Malitz | July 27, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Trouble Funk: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins After D.C. go-go bands such as Trouble Funk failed to achieve the national success widely predicted for them, some observers concluded that the problem was the audience: Go-go just couldn't work without a packed house of shouting, grooving local fans. But the reunited Trouble Funk did...

By David Malitz | July 27, 2009; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

XX Merge Halftime Report

XX Merge isn't your typical festival. It's not a big outdoor event with multiple stages. It's not a city-wide thing with simultaneous shows all over town. It's based at one club (the Cat's Cradle), with a bunch of bands that by no means all sound the same, but are similar...

By David Malitz | July 24, 2009; 08:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Future of the Left: Live Last Night

(All photos by Milica Wren) By Patrick Foster "We don't want anything spindly," said Future of the Left guitarist Andy Falkous during the offhand soundcheck before his band's gig at DC9 last night. It was a bit of a wisecrack, since few soundmen on the planet could reduce the gut-punch...

By David Malitz | July 20, 2009; 04:20 PM ET | Comments (1)

Tortoise: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Like portrait painters who continue after the invention of photography, the members of Tortoise prevail at a craft that isn't strictly necessary. The eclectic Chicago instrumental-rock quintet, which performed Sunday night at the Black Cat, emulates various genres of machine-generated music. Yet the band produces nearly...

By David Malitz | July 20, 2009; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (1)

Bill Kirchen: Live Last Night

By Mike Joyce Hearing Bob Dylan at two New port Folk Festivals in the mid-'60's "ruined me for normal work," confessed singer, songwriter and guitarist Bill Kirchen at the Birchmere on Saturday night, in between overhauling two Dylan classics: a sleek, harmonically embellished rendition of "It Takes a Lot...

By David Malitz | July 19, 2009; 08:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Occidental Brothers: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Horns are less prominent in African pop than they once were, but they rule Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, which performed an engaging set Thursday night at DC9. The quintet's percussive timbres -- including the bell-like guitar typical of West African music -- provided a bustling...

By David Malitz | July 17, 2009; 03:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Abe Vigoda: Live Last Night

By Patrick Foster At age 88, Abe Vigoda probably doesn't think of himself as having much connection with rock and roll. But from scads of kids who picked up the bass to learn the opening riff of the "Barney Miller" theme song (Vigoda played Detective Fish on the 70's...

By David Malitz | July 15, 2009; 11:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Jonas Brothers: Live Last Night

(Photo by Michael Temchine/FWTP) By David Malitz A year is a long time in the Land of Tween Idols. Last August the Jonas Brothers came to D.C. as the single hottest musical act in the country. Joe, Kevin and Nick packed 25,000 capacity Nissan Pavilion, the trio's album "A Little...

By David Malitz | July 14, 2009; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (6)

The Dead Weather: Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins Jack White's latest band, the Dead Weather, isn't Jack White's band -- at least not the way the White Stripes are. When the quartet made its D.C. debut Monday night at a sold-out 9:30 Club, the singer-guitarist stayed behind the drum kit for all but one...

By David Malitz | July 14, 2009; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Rock the Bells: Live Last Night

(Photo by Kyle Gustafson) By Sarah Godfrey, all photos by Kyle Gustafson The annual Rock the Bells hip-hop festival stopped at Merriweather Post Pavillion on Sunday, with its usual line-up of golden era hip-hop acts and emerging artists that sound like golden era hip-hop acts. The day held plenty of...

By David Malitz | July 13, 2009; 01:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

LeAnn Rimes: Live Last Night

(Photo by By Andrew Propp) By Dave McKenna LeAnn Rimes put out her first and best record when she was just 13. Appearing on Thursday for the first time at Wolf Trap after years of tabloid press had foisted a train wreck aura upon her, Rimes showed she still loves...

By David Malitz | July 10, 2009; 04:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Les Nubians: Live Last Night

By Sarah Godfrey Back in the '90s, whenever hip-hop and soul artists wanted to add a little French flavor to their tracks, they called on sisters Helene and Celia Faussart, better known as Les Nubians. Although everyone from Guru to Talib Kweli has enlisted the duo for guest spots,...

By David Malitz | July 9, 2009; 10:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wilco: Live Last Night

(Photo by Andi Kling) By David Malitz The formula behind Wilco's twin ascent to being both one of the best and most popular American rock bands was on full display during its wholly satisfying performance Wednesday night at a sold-out Wolf Trap. At many points during the band's 15-year career...

By David Malitz | July 9, 2009; 02:16 PM ET | Comments (5)

Those Darlins: Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki If you didn't lock up your sons and your liquor cabinet Tuesday night, you're probably regretting it today: country-punk girl group Those Darlins were in town for the opening gig of their album release tour. Sporting miniskirts, battered cowboy boots, and tattoos, Kelley, Jessi, and Nikki...

By David Malitz | July 8, 2009; 03:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sonic Youth: Live Last Night

By David Malitz Over the past few years it's become en vogue for rock bands to perform a "classic" album from start to finish. Sonic Youth has taken part in this phenomenon ("Daydream Nation" a couple years ago) but has spent most of the past decade giving the same...

By David Malitz | July 7, 2009; 05:02 PM ET | Comments (1)

Jay Reatard: Live Last Night

By Patrick Foster Rumor has it that Jay Reatard's forthcoming Matador debut album ("Watch Me Fall," due August 18) is a pure pop masterwork. At the Black Cat Backstage last night, though, any pop that was in the room was obliterated by buzzsaw guitar and a punk rhythm section...

By David Malitz | July 6, 2009; 01:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

Chuck Mead: Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki Unless you've got pyrotechnics at your disposal, playing D.C. on the Fourth of July is kind of a bad idea. At Chuck Mead's IOTA gig, barstools outnumbered patrons even though the show's start time was pushed back an hour to accommodate fireworks watchers. However, the 20...

By David Malitz | July 5, 2009; 02:12 PM ET | Comments (2)

Tony Bennett: Live Last Night

By Chris Klimek We'll just get this out of the way, music lovers: Tony Bennett is, er, classic. As in: He was discovered by one Bob Hope. He's got more years onstage than all the guys in Animal Collective put together. His guest appearance on "The Simpsons" was way...

By David Malitz | July 4, 2009; 07:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hank III: Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki In 1949, country music legends Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams toured together, bringing honky tonk to the masses. Sixty years later, their kinfolk are stepping up to fill some pretty big cowboy boots. Shelton Hank Williams III could be his grandfather's doppelganger if it weren't for...

By David Malitz | July 1, 2009; 01:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Tiny Vipers: Live Last Night

Before Jesy Fortino, the Seattle singer-songwriter who goes by Tiny Vipers, even started her set Sunday night at the Red and the Black, people were already sitting on the club's floor. It made sense. Fortino herself performed sitting in a chair and her winding, longform, ethereal acoustic ruminations can...

By David Malitz | June 29, 2009; 03:01 PM ET | Comments (1)

Pat Martino: Live Last Night

Long before he became a world renowned jazz virtuoso, guitarist Pat Martino was a sideman in small combos that prominently featured the Hammond B-3 organ. He's never lost his affection for that particular group dynamic, nor his quiet flair for moving back and forth between the roles of supporting...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 28, 2009; 05:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Telepathe: Live Last Night

Undoubtedly, many bands dedicated their shows last night to Michael Jackson. But from whatever realm the King of Pop entered yesterday, it was unlikely that he paid much attention to the icy, self-absorbed set that Brooklyn duo Telepathe sent out to him from the Rock and Roll Hotel. (Read...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 26, 2009; 03:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Patterson Hood: Live Last Night

Patterson Hood loves to play. The Drive-By-Truckers, the band of road warriors he founded in the mid-1990s, is taking a rare break. So Hood put together a bunch of Southern rock friends, dubbed 'em the Screwtopians and booked a tour of his own. Several times during his show last...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 26, 2009; 03:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Beyoncé: Live Last Night

Beyoncé works it, owns it. (Marcus Yam/The Washington Post) Sasha Fierce had a tough act to follow at the Verizon Center last night: her own. 'Twas mere months ago she came to serenade the new President, albeit in her more modest alter ego of plain old platinum-selling Beyoncé Knowles from...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 25, 2009; 08:42 AM ET | Comments (2)

REO Speedwagon/Styx: Live Last Night

Hey, the late-'70s just phoned! They said they want somebody to show some respect for the era's rock-and-roll! The folks who packed Merriweather Post Pavillion last night to see REO Speedwagon and Styx would take that call. Proving yet again that nostalgia is an all-powerful force in the rock...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 24, 2009; 03:10 PM ET | Comments (2)

Gary Burton Quartet: Live Last Night

"The 6:30 start time is working good for you," Gary Burton joked to a dinner crowd at the Rams Head Tavern last night. The room was packed with boomers old enough to recall when the vibraphonist formed his acclaimed quartet in the mid-'60s. But the current edition of the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 24, 2009; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (1)

Camera Obscura: Live Last Night

"I don't want to be sad again." That's what Tracyanne Campbell sang -- in her delightfully melancholy voice, with her usual steely-eyed determination -- during the first song Scottish sextet Camera Obscura played Sunday night at the 9:30 club. Maybe she's telling the truth. But if that were the...

By David Malitz | June 22, 2009; 07:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Phoenix: Live Last Night

Long disdained by Anglophones, French rock has a reputation for being kind of lame. Rather than fight that perception, such contemporary French outfits as Phoenix embrace it. The Paris band, which performed last night at the Rock & Roll Hotel, plays pop-rock that's unapologetically synthetic and thoroughly sanitized. (Read...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 22, 2009; 03:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

New York Dolls: Live Last Night

When he fronted the proto-punk New York Dolls in the early 1970s, David Johansen was an undiscriminating thrift-store shopper: He took as much from the women's aisles as the men's. Friday night at the 9:30 club, leading the band's latest incarnation, Johansen wore black-rimmed glasses, white polo shirt and...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 21, 2009; 09:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mandrill: Live Last Night

Although the clothing is less outrageous and its lineup of players has shifted over the years, '70s funk outfit Mandrill hasn't changed all that much. At the group's show at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre on Saturday night, there were crisp vocal harmonies, plenty of multi-genre grooves built on a...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 21, 2009; 09:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Celebrating Ellis Marsalis: Live Last Night

It wasn't easy, but New Orleans jazz pianist and patriarch Ellis Marsalis managed to cram a few words in edgewise as the annual Duke Ellington Jazz Festival drew to an exuberant close at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall last night. Dubbed "Celebrating a Jazz Master," the sold-out concert found...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 16, 2009; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (4)

Bill Callahan's Cold-Blooded Clarity

(Photo by Milica Wren) Back when I was a little, little kid one of my favorite songs was "Talkin' Baseball," otherwise known as "Willie, Mickey and the Duke." It's sort of like "We Didn't Start the Fire," except only about baseball and not excruciatingly awful. Willie, Mickey and the Duke...

By David Malitz | June 15, 2009; 03:01 PM ET | Comments (2)

No Doubt: Live Last Night

The band had seasoned its bright FM pop with just enough reggae to make it seem mildly exotic. It won them the world, then they retreated at the height of their fame. Their comeback roadshow dispensed with the usual, dreary half-dozen new songs (they hadn't written any), instead having...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 15, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (4)

Amy Speace: Live Last Night

Jersey City folk singer Amy Speace is excited for the release of her latest disc, "The Killer In Me," out June 30 -- but the project isn't exactly new. "It's nice the album is coming out, but I recorded it a year and a half ago," she told the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 15, 2009; 11:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton: Live Last Night

Geezer rock doesn't get any more dignified than the set Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood delivered Saturday at Verizon Center. Their first notable collaboration, in 1969 as the super-group Blind Faith, was fueled by a gimmick -- the cover of their one and only LP, featuring a topless preteen...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 14, 2009; 08:52 PM ET | Comments (28)

Bowen McCauley Dance/'Lucy's Playlist': Live Last Night

What's on a choreographer's iPod? A mix of punk rock B-sides, indie pop songs and a 1980s one-hit wonder. That's a typical shuffle mix for Lucy Bowen McCauley, a Northern Virginia-based choreographer who spent her younger years "Rockin' Around in N.Y.C." clubs. That Marshall Crenshaw song, plus 11 other...

By David Malitz | June 12, 2009; 09:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Elvis Costello: Live Last Night

(Photo by Andi King) No matter how many Will Ferrell flicks or Stephen Colbert Christmas specials Elvis Costello turns up in, the circa 1978 image of him as the logorheic and self-immolating Angry Young Man endures. But in the latter two-thirds of his wildly eclectic career, he's evolved into something...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 12, 2009; 11:54 AM ET | Comments (8)

A.A. Bondy: Live Last Night

"If there's one thing this country loves, " A.A. Bondy said before he played "Vice Rag" at Iota last night, "it's drugs and the Bible." And even though that's actually two things, the small crowd cheered, because they were on Bondy's side and wanted him to keep singing his...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 12, 2009; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Dave Brubeck: Live Last Night

Before he played a note last night at the Warner Theatre, Dave Brubeck received a standing ovation. "I never expected to see a lot of you again," he said, referring to an April concert that was postponed when he was hospitalized with a severe infection. Ever the trooper at...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 12, 2009; 11:37 AM ET | Comments (1)

Amadou and Mariam: Live Last Night

"Welcome to Mali,'' announced Amadou and Mariam's opening number last night at the Birchmere, and the music did feature West African pop's trademarks: chiming guitar, chattering polyrhythms and call-and-response vocals. But the married couple's style has been augmented considerably since its early recordings, and not all the changes are...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 11, 2009; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jane's Addiction/Nine Inch Nails: Live Last Night

Perry Farrell is fun. Fronting the reunited Jane's Addiction at Merriweather Post last night, Farrell filled the big room and lawn with laughs and worked the stage with poses borrowed from Jim Morrison and Jerry Lewis. "Let's kill some pain!" Farrell told the crowd early in the set, hugging...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 10, 2009; 03:05 PM ET | Comments (6)

Passion Pit: Live Last Night

Sometime in 2007, like a chemist messing around in the lab, Michael Angelakos created a mini-explosion by combining junky disco beats, gallons of squiggly 80's synth lines and a whooping, unrestrained falsetto that sounds like your roommate singing Prince's "Dirty Mind" in the shower. When the smoke cleared, Passion...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 10, 2009; 01:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

TV on the Radio: Live Last Night

TV on the Radio is one of today's great rock-and-roll bands. TV on the Radio is also one of today's many mediocre art-rock bands. But the former is starting to overpower the latter and the best moments of the Brooklyn group's sold-out show at the 9:30 club Monday night...

By David Malitz | June 9, 2009; 03:16 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Decemberists: Live Last Night

So, have you heard this new Decemberists record, "The Hazards of Love"? Dude. It's an hour-long fantasy rock opera about a young squire who once suffered a vexing enchantment by a vengeful sprite of the wood, and whose lady faire -- hey, where are you going? Come back! It's...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 9, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (5)

Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey: Live Last Night

Harmonizing into a single microphone last night at Iota, Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey looked a little and sounded a lot like the Everly Brothers. The resemblance was not coincidental. The veteran North Carolina pop-rockers included two Everlys tunes, "The Lord of the Manor'' and "Let It Be Me,''...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 9, 2009; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Little Richard: Live Last Night

If the Alexandria sky shone a little brighter last night, there was a perfectly logical explanation: Little Richard was in town. Clad entirely in sequins and rhinestones, the rock-and-roller announced his presence before the sold-out Birchmere crowd by saying: "Hello, I'm the beautiful Little Richard." With an introduction like...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 9, 2009; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (2)

Phil Vassar: Live Last Night

In case you didn't hear it the dozen or so times he announced it during his set, Phil Vassar was glad to be back in his home state of Virginia. The Lynchburg native delighted the crowd at Celebrate Fairfax yesterday with his collection of chart-toppers -- some written for...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 8, 2009; 02:48 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Sway Machinery: Live Last Night

If Howlin' Wolf had been a refugee from an Eastern European shtetl who started a New York alt-rock band, circa 2006 -- well, that doesn't make any sense, does it? Yet that fusion seemed entirely plausible last night at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, where the Sway Machinery exuberantly...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 8, 2009; 02:43 PM ET | Comments (1)

Todd Snider: Live Last Night

The Birchmere's "quiet please" policy was rendered completely and totally irrelevant the second Todd Snider opened the floor up to requests Friday night. At that moment, the rabid fans -- and that would be most of them -- of the impossibly charismatic, barefoot, 42-year-old folkie bombarded him with titles...

By David Malitz | June 7, 2009; 03:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

David Byrne: Live Last Night

We know Ted Leonsis is D.C.'s best sports owner, but now we know something else: He's a David Byrne fan. At Byrne's show at Wolf Trap last night, Leonsis took a seat around sixth row center during DeVotchka's opening set. The savvy Caps owner sat politely through the Denver...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 7, 2009; 03:30 PM ET | Comments (4)

X: Live Last Night

The big, sad news out of Camp X last week -- the great Los Angeles punkabilly band X, that is -- was that singer Exene Cervenka, 53, has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. But there was neither sign nor mention of infirmity at the quartet's typically rocket-powered set at...

By J. Freedom du Lac | June 7, 2009; 03:10 PM ET | Comments (1)

White Rabbits: Live Last Night

There was a simple lesson to be learned from Tuesday night's White Rabbits show at the Rock and Roll Hotel: A little extra percussion goes a long way. Almost every song the Brooklyn six-piece indie-rock band played during its sharp, succinct 50-minute set featured a little extra banging, whether...

By David Malitz | June 3, 2009; 02:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Grizzly Bear: I Turn My Camera On

Grizzly Bear played to a sold-out 9:30 club last night. Kyle Gustafson was there with his camera. He did not get one of those cupcakes that Ed Droste handed out. But he did get some nice photos. You can see them below. Commentary provided by Tweeters. The verdict? "Amazing." tr1cky...

By David Malitz | June 2, 2009; 03:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wayne Hancock: Live Last Night

"How much did it cost you to come here? Fifteen bucks? I'll make sure you get your money's worth." These were near the first words out of Wayne Hancock's mouth Tuesday night at IOTA. And considering that $15 bought greasers and geezers alike over two hours of "juke joint...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 27, 2009; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (1)

Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Live Last Night

It's a given that the Dirty Dozen Brass Band is America's premier New Orleans brass-soul-funk-carnival party band, but over the past few years, the group has been quietly expanding its already broad horizons. A splendid 2006 interpretation of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" album, explorations of jam band motifs...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 25, 2009; 05:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

The National: I Turn My Camera On

Chamber-rock superstars the National were in town this holiday weekend for three (!) sold-out shows at the 9:30 club. Kyle Gustafson was there. The photographic proof is below. When J. Freedom saw the band back in 2007 he didn't exactly love it. Kyle offered up the following notes about the...

By David Malitz | May 25, 2009; 03:29 PM ET | Comments (2)

Bonnie "Prince" Billy: Live Last Night

It's not that Will Oldham is a scary looking dude. He's just an odd looking fellow. He has the face and, especially, beard of someone whose portrait would have been painted on a battlefield somewhere in 1862. Yet he still wore a hint of eye shadow, like he was...

By David Malitz | May 25, 2009; 12:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Juan Maclean: Live Last Night

Being able to synthesize any sound you can imagine is convenient, but also a little boring. That must be why the Juan MacLean and the Field, on a "co-headlining" tour that visited the Black Cat Tuesday night, used some live instruments. Yet the machines still generated most of the...

By David Malitz | May 24, 2009; 06:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

St. Vincent: Live Last Night

The Black Cat crowd was so noisy as St. Vincent -- aka 26-year-old ingenue Annie Clark -- performed a hushed, solo version of "Oh My God" that you'd think she was a basketball player on the road team shooting a free throw at the end of a big game....

By David Malitz | May 23, 2009; 11:52 PM ET | Comments (3)

Anvil: Live Last Night

(By Kyle Gustafson) Heavy metal isn't for the sentimental. But it was impossible to watch Anvil's odd live show at the E Street Cinema on Wednesday without getting a little weepy about all the can-miss Canadian band has been through for rock and roll. Singer Steve "Lips" Kudlow and...

By David Malitz | May 21, 2009; 02:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bruce Springsteen's Salvation: Live Last Night

(All photos by Linda Davidson/TWP) Bruce Springsteen wasn't about to shuffle quietly into the night. Having already spent nearly three sweaty hours striving for rock-and-roll deliverance Monday at the Verizon Center, Springsteen thundered one last time down that familiar redemptive road. As the E Street Band roared through an...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 19, 2009; 08:23 AM ET | Comments (42)

Dan Deacon: I Turn My Camera On

Dan Deacon must have been as sick of his one-man show as I was. There's only so much you can get out of a live performance that consists of one dude pressing a few buttons and singing through a Woody Woodpecker vocal filter. So the man at the center...

By David Malitz | May 18, 2009; 04:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Etta James: Live Last Night

Sasha Fierce, keep your distance. "Y'all know where Beyoncé is?" Etta James demanded on Saturday night at the Birchmere. The septuagenarian sexpot is still cranky that the 27-year-old one-namer who portrayed her in the film "Cadillac Records" got to sing "At Last" for the president and the first lady...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 17, 2009; 08:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Maria Schneider Orchestra at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival: Live Last Night

How is it possible that the Maria Schneider Orchestra hasn't performed at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival since 1997? No doubt that question occurred to a lot of listeners at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on Saturday night, when the ensemble brought the 14th edition of...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 17, 2009; 08:48 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Soul of John Black: Live Last Night

John Bigham, the frontman and alter ego of the Soul of John Black, covers a lot of territory with a minimum of fuss. Friday night at the State Theatre, Bigham updated such venerable African American forms as blues, soul, funk and gospel, garnishing them with hints of jazz and...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 17, 2009; 08:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sweet Honey in the Rock: Live Last Night

Sweet Honey in the Rock wrapped up its 2008-09 concert season at the Birchmere on Friday night, and the women of the a capella group declared one of the best in memory. "Barack was elected this season, Barack moved into the White House this season, and Sweet Honey in...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 17, 2009; 08:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival: Live Last Night

Usually when a young musician galvanizes the audience at the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival it marks a career breakthrough. But the standing ovation accorded bassist-vocalist Esperanza Spalding at the Terrace Theater on Thursday night was pretty much a foregone conclusion. With a best-selling debut...

By David Malitz | May 15, 2009; 05:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

Jamey Johnson: Live Last Night

(By Richard A. Lipski) With his mountain man beard and Charlie Manson stare, country singer Jamey Johnson looks like the kind of guy who is mandated by law to stay at least 100 yards away from Carrie Underwood. Come to think of it, Johnson's music maintains an equivalent metaphorical...

By David Malitz | May 15, 2009; 01:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest - Unwigged and Unplugged: Live Last Night

The folks behind the most tuneful mockumentaries of our time shared the Warner Theatre stage on Wednesday. Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest presented "Unwigged and Unplugged," a music/comedy tour that has the actors in street clothes presenting the songbooks of their semi-fictional bands Spinal Tap and the...

By David Malitz | May 15, 2009; 01:16 PM ET | Comments (1)

The War on Drugs: Live Last Night

The War on Drugs made one of 2008's best albums, "Wagonwheel Blues," a cloudy roadtrip record that succeeded in large part thanks to a low-key, home-recording vibe. But "cloudy" and "home-recording vibe" don't always translate well to a live setting, so the Philadelphia trio went with the always-reliable Plan...

By David Malitz | May 14, 2009; 04:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Thermals: Live Last Night

One punk-rock subset has always cultivated a decadent vibe, but the scene that produced Sid and Nancy has also yielded unassuming bands like the Thermals, who played Wednesday night at the Black Cat. If this Portland trio owes more to the Ramones than Pete Seeger, its ditties have an...

By David Malitz | May 14, 2009; 12:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mastodon: I Turn My Camera On

Atlanta metal monsters Mastodon turned up to 11 at the 9:30 club last night. Our man Kyle Gustafson was there to get pictures. His current G-chat status message reads: "Mastodon is the metal version of My Morning Jacket." I take it he means both in terms of hair and bombast....

By David Malitz | May 13, 2009; 04:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Halloween, Alaska: Live Last Night

"Songs for California are catching up with you" whispered Halloween, Alaska vocalist James Diers at Iota last night, sending another aching melody into another eddy of keyboards, moody guitar lines and pulsing electronic drums. And while the Arlington venue hardly provides the perfect milieu for a band that relies...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 13, 2009; 03:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Leonard Cohen: Live Last Night

Ladies and Gentlemen, opening for the serene and poetical Mr. Leonard Cohen this evening: the brilliant and genteel Mr. Leonard Cohen. At Merriweather Monday night, under skies that might be called "Coheneque" -- cold, rainy, despairing, but not without a solitary beauty -- the spry 74-year-old songwriter's songwriter glided...

By David Malitz | May 12, 2009; 01:03 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Ghost

The Summer of Love came late to Japan, whose late 1960s were marked by violent protests. Once psychedelia arrived, however, it settled in. Ghost, the Tokyo sextet that performed Sunday night at the Velvet Lounge, has been playing acid-washed music for 25 years, with no signs of burnout. On...

By David Malitz | May 11, 2009; 05:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Animal Collective: Live Last Night

BALTIMORE -- A cappella will never be hip. But if any group could make it happen, it would be Animal Collective. The white-hot indie trio, whose album "Merriweather Post Pavilion" is a lock to finish near the top of countless year-end best-of lists, incorporates all sorts of blippy, bleepy,...

By David Malitz | May 11, 2009; 01:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

John Doe and the Sadies: Live Last Night

The great Los Angeles punkabilly quartet known as X had already made its best albums by 1985, when three-fourths of its lineup joined guitarist Dave Alvin to form the country and western spin-off the Knitters. That band took 20 years to brew a follow-up, but X/Knitters co-frontman John Doe's...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 10, 2009; 08:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Teena Marie: Live Last Night

Teena Marie hasn't lost any of her attitude or octaves. Or fans. At a crowded and raucous Constitution Hall on Friday, she brought back the heyday of pop-funk. (Read the rest of the review after the jump.)...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 10, 2009; 08:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Eilen Jewell: Live Last Night

If Neko Case, Madeleine Peyroux and Billie Holiday had a baby girl who grew up to front a rockabilly band, she'd probably sound a lot like Eilen Jewell. Jewell (her first name rhymes with "feelin'") and her three piece band captivated the Saturday night crowd at Iota with selections...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 10, 2009; 08:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt: Live Last Night

Most virtuosos are closely identified with their instruments, but Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is an unusual case: His instrument is actually named for him. The Indian master, who performed Thursday evening at George Washington University's Jack Morton Auditorium, plays the 20-string Mohan veena, a guitar he modified to resemble a...

By David Malitz | May 8, 2009; 01:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Junior Boys: Live Last Night

Think of Junior Boys as a sort the 21st century model of Hall and Oates. The Canadian duo of Jeremy Greenspan (Hall) and Matt Didemus (Oates) -- with touring drummer Dave Foster in, uh, the role of the drummer in the "Private Eyes" video -- plays sometimes-sappy but usually-irresistible...

By David Malitz | May 6, 2009; 02:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ben Harper and the Relentless 7: Live Last Night

Ben Harper fooled everybody. Before he'd hit a note for his show last night at the 9:30 club, Harper sat down on a chair and rested a lap steel guitar on his legs. He's not a large man, so for a big portion of the sold out crowd he...

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 5, 2009; 01:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gavin Rossdale: Live Last Night

Gavin Rossdale only makes the tabloids these days when he steps out with his wife, No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani, or those young kids of theirs with the attention-grabbing names (Kingston and Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale). But Rossdale is hardly the lesser half in a Britney/KFed pairing. At an...

By David Malitz | May 4, 2009; 03:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

John and Gerald Clayton: Live Last Night

As co-leader of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, bassist John Clayton has often performed at the Kennedy Center in a vibrantly expansive setting. Saturday night at the KC Jazz Club, however, the mood was defined by an intimate pairing of bass and piano, father and son. Gerald Clayton, a 24-year-old...

By David Malitz | May 4, 2009; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Kills: Live Last Night

The Kills look like a rock band. Singer Alison Mossheart walked out onto the 9:30 club stage in a leather jacket and restlessly paced in circles in the moments before the music started. She has black bangs that cover her eyes, a perfect sneer and she even -- gasp!...

By David Malitz | May 1, 2009; 12:29 PM ET | Comments (3)

Tale of the Tape: Psychedelic Horse-Swift

OK, hands raised if you saw both Taylor Swift and Psychedelic Horse[expletive] concerts yesterday. Yeah, that's what I thought. It's always fun to do a tale of the tape when PH is involved -- perhaps you remember last summer when J. Freedom saw Aaron Neville at the Birchmere while...

By David Malitz | April 29, 2009; 05:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Spoon: Untouchable For Life

Spoon played at George Washington University's annual spring concert on Saturday. It was a students-only affair but there was no way I was going to miss it. So I put my mad Photoshop skills to work, made myself a fake student ID, got it all laminated, even shaved to...

By David Malitz | April 27, 2009; 03:07 PM ET | Comments (6)

Ponytail: Live Last Night

--> There's no real middle ground when it comes to Ponytail. You're either going to think the Baltimore quartet is the absolute worst thing since Somali pirates or one of the most uniquely entertaining bands around. It all depends on your tolerance for schizophrenic, slashing art-punk songs that stop on...

By David Malitz | April 24, 2009; 04:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Fonseca: Live Last Night

Seven musicians backed Fonseca last night at the Black Cat, but the Colombian singer's style was defined primarily by two instruments: accordion and electric bass. The room-rattling bass drove Fonseca's forays into the globalized sounds of trip-hop and electro-funk, also represented by the pulsating LEDs behind the stage. The...

By David Malitz | April 23, 2009; 03:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ximena Sariñana: Live Last Night-ish

Although she didn't release her first album until 2008, Ximena Sariñana has been in show biz for more than half of her 23 years. The Mexican singer, who appeared before a small crowd Tuesday night at the 9:30 club, played her first film role at 9, and began appearing...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 23, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Headlights: Live Last Night

Bands who rely on the dynamics of recording -- velvety echo, perfect silence, clean edges -- often fail as live acts because they get caught halfway between recreating their discs and kicking out their jams. There were no such quandaries for Headlights at Iota last night: The band plugged...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 22, 2009; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Flaming Lips: Live Last Night

Wayne Coyne: Surfin' U.S.A. (Photo by Katherine Frey) (Also see: Earth Day Concert's Stage Becomes a Soapbox on the Mall by J. Freedom du Lac; re-live yesterday's events in real time over at Post Rock's Twitter account. Become a follower while you're at it.) The Flaming Lips headlining a concert...

By David Malitz | April 20, 2009; 06:47 AM ET | Comments (1)

Lily Allen: Live Last Night

Lily Allen was full of cigs and giggles at the 9:30 club on Friday night. When the English pop star wasn't singing, she lavished the crowd with her girlish laughter and second-hand smoke, and also pranced around in a tiny romper and demurely called out drink orders. "Would it...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 19, 2009; 09:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Pat Green: Live Last Night

It's been said there's something in the water in West Texas that makes men write songs and sing 'em. From his party boy persona, you'd think water's just a chaser for Pat Green, a country rocker who got his career started in Lubbock. But he somehow got enough H2O...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 19, 2009; 09:27 PM ET | Comments (7)

Ratatat: Live Last Night

In terms of an appropriate onomatopoeia band name, THUMPBOOMSHRIEK -- absolutely in all caps -- would work better than Ratatat, the name the electro-rock duo of Mike Stroud and Evan Mast went with. Ratatat implies some sort of understated, simple percussion. But there was nothing remotely understated about the...

By David Malitz | April 17, 2009; 04:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Flatlanders: Live Last Night

"Hills and Valleys," the new Flatlanders album, has the perfect title. Watching the trio open a two-night stand at the Birchmere last night, one only wondered why it took them so long to use it. Entering something like their 37th year of existence, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 17, 2009; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (1)

Habib Koite and Dobet Gnahore: Live Last Night

The two West African musicians who performed at Lisner Auditorium last night, Habib Koite and Dobet Gnahore, also appeared together on a 2006 sampler, "Acoustic Africa." That title suggests the style of both performers: easygoing folk-rock, emphasizing finger-picked guitar and embellished by indigenous African instruments. At Lisner, Koite seemed...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 17, 2009; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

An Horse: Live Last Night

There are more important things in the world than the end of one young couple's affair, but it might not seem so when listening to An Horse's debut album, "Rearrange Beds." The Australian duo, which played a short and vigorous set last night at DC9, focuses tightly on singer-guitarist...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 15, 2009; 01:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Benny Goodman Salute: Live Last Night

They held a Benny Goodman centennial salute at the National Museum of American History's Carmichael Auditorium last night, and a comedy roast broke out. (Read the rest of the review after the jump.)...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 15, 2009; 01:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Flight of the Conchords: I Turn My Camera On

Everyone's favorite New Zealand acoustic-comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords, came to Constitution Hall last night. Kyle Gustafson was there to take some pictures. You can some below, along with my idea on how the evening went. (Note: I've seen 1.5 episodes ever.) Jemaine says, "Oh, right, there are two...

By David Malitz | April 14, 2009; 03:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

Beirut: Live Last Night

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue would seem like the perfect venue to see a band like Beirut, whose amalgam of Eastern European swing, marching band, indie folk, Serge Gainsbourg (and recently, Mexican funeral music) relies on an otherworldly mystique. And while Saturday night's show was more like an ordinary,...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 13, 2009; 07:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bajofondo: Live Last Night

Although they inspire rather different moves, tango and techno are both dance music, so it was inevitable that someone would combine the two. Soundtrack composer Gustavo Santaolalla did just that with Bajofondo, which performed at the 9:30 club on Saturday night. The group melded electronica's global thump with the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 13, 2009; 07:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Neko Case: Live Last Night

Neko Case's once-in-a-generation set of pipes seems to strike audiences dumb. At her enjoyable if schizophrenic gig at the 9:30 club last night, the capacity crowd was on its best behavior -- you've never heard the place so silent as when Case sparked off the relative oldie "I Wish...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 9, 2009; 05:28 PM ET | Comments (3)

Comet Gain: Live Last Night

Nobody does charismatically disheveled indie-pop like the British, and Comet Gain has been doing it -- singer-guitarist David Charlie Christian Feck announced last night at the Black Cat -- for 45 years. A giddy if disorganized mix of bookish irony and scruffy rock, the band's set was charming, cheering...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 9, 2009; 02:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lissy Trullie: Live Last Night

On her debut EP, "Self-Taught Learner," Lissie Trullie sounds pouty, moody and little spoiled. When the New York-based, D.C.-bred singer walked on stage at the Rock and Roll Hotel last night with her all-male backing trio, it seemed she might act that way, too. But the fetching Trullie --...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 9, 2009; 01:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mary Mary: Live Last Night

You know the world domination of AutoTune is complete when even gospel artists start sounding like T-Pain. On their latest album, "The Sound," the gospel duo Mary Mary break out the digital voice distortion for "God in Me," a song that mixes a bounce track and lyrics about nice...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 9, 2009; 01:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bob Mould: Live Last Night

Bob Mould's resume shows him to be a Da Vinci of the fringes. "Blowoff" -- a gay-centric series of dance parties he started in D.C., where he now lives -- has become a touring enterprise. Mould also spent time in the 1990s writing scripts for the least socially acceptable...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 8, 2009; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Title Tracks: Live Last Night

Gradually, John Davis is becoming D.C.'s preeminent pop classicist. His command of power pop first surfaced during his time as half of the gloriously bittersweet (and much missed) Georgie James; over the past year, as host of the "1-2-3-4 More More More" radio show (now on WOXY.com), he's added...

By David Malitz | April 8, 2009; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chris Cornell: Live Last Night

Chris Cornell has always been a popular pick for lead singer of a supergroup -- hello, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave! -- and with good reason. The former Soundgarden frontman, now in mid-40s, has an ideal rock-and-roll voice: He comes from the Robert Plant school of vocalists, more...

By David Malitz | April 6, 2009; 02:18 PM ET | Comments (3)

The Blue Note 7: Live Last Night

By the time the Blue Note 7 arrived at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater last night, it was a seasoned, tight-knit ensemble, with a recording and extensive tour under its belt. So instead of encountering an ad hoc group of all-stars saluting the 70th anniversary of the storied Blue...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 6, 2009; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Partying Like It's 1959: Live Last Night

The year 1959 wasn't a very good one in jazz -- it was phenomenal one. No surprise, then, to find an overflow crowd at Baird Auditorium on Saturday night, eager to hear six members of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra revisit landmark recordings of Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, John...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 6, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Aterciopelados: Live Last Night

Nature and environmental themes dominate "Rio,'' the latest album by eclectic Colombian band Aterciopelados. So it was fitting that the first few numbers the quintet played Thursday night at the State Theater just rippled pleasantly. Then singer-guitarist Andrea Echeverri shed her bulky white jacket, and the mood became livelier....

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 3, 2009; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars: Live Last Night

After the Afro-Cuban All Stars performed an introductory number last night, leader Juan de Marcos Gonzalez offered his standard greeting: "Welcome to Cuba!" Actually, the audience was at the Music Center at Strathmore, and the 14-piece group onstage was, technically, not from Cuba. Although Gonzalez and his latest lineup...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 1, 2009; 10:48 AM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Joe Bonamassa

Just like a football coach's son who ends up on the gridiron, Joe Bonamassa, whose dad owned a music store, was reared to rock. Bonamassa chose to concentrate his fretwork in bluesy genres, and last year's death of Jeff Healey left him as the unchallenged champ of blues guitar's...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 31, 2009; 01:07 PM ET | Comments (4)

Live Last Night: Gomez

Gomez trusts its audience. The veteran but still cultish British pop band spent much of its Sunday set at the 9:30 club ignoring its sure things, and instead offered up several songs from its sixth CD, "A New Tide," a record that won't even be released in the U.S....

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 30, 2009; 11:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Primal Scream

Primal Scream has been around for so long that a band that named itself after one of its songs (Velocity Girl) has already been broken up for a decade and done the reunion thing. The sound-shifting Scottish rockers don't at all resemble their first incarnation as a gentle indie-pop...

By David Malitz | March 30, 2009; 07:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Rene Marie

"Voice of My Beautiful Country," a new program performed by jazz vocalist Rene Marie at the Kennedy Center KC Jazz Club on Saturday night, held a few surprises. Prime example: Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" sandwiched in between recitals of "Shenandoah" and "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing." Yet all the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 29, 2009; 11:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Idan Raichel Project

Striking a range of musical, cultural and implicitly political notes, the Idan Raichel Project combines music from Israel, Ethiopia and other countries in that vicinity. Last night at Lisner Auditorium, the 10-piece group also sometimes ventured into rap, Afro-pop and Celtic jigs. Under it all, though, was a cinematic...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 26, 2009; 03:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

I Turn My Camera On: Britney Spears

Britney Spears brought her Circus tour to Verizon last night, and We At The Washington Post rather enjoyed it. Click here for the review. And look below for photos by TWP's Linda Davidson. Post your own reviews -- plus any photo captions that come to mind (well, the ones that...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 25, 2009; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Raphael Saadiq

Unless you're a country crooner, Charlie Ray Wiggins is a tough moniker to hang a career on. You can see why the Tony! Toni! Tone! vocalist/bassist-turned-producer-and-solo-soul man would trade it in for the rhymes-with-sleek Raphael Saadiq. But if his stage name has a modern sheen, his latest LP, last...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 25, 2009; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Cut Copy (Two-Word Review)

Blue Monday! (Extended club-remix version: Don't You Want Me!) Full review and photo gallery coming later....

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 24, 2009; 10:37 AM ET | Comments (4)

Live Last Night: The Ting Tings

With just two members and only two great songs, the Ting Tings might seem under-equipped to handle a sold-out 9:30 club audience. But the British duo did just fine Friday night, holding the crowd's attention -- and affection -- during a barely-45-minute set. Singer-guitarist Katie White and drummer-programmer Jules...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 22, 2009; 11:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: A.C. Newman

Writing for the New Pornographers, the redbearded Canadian pop-tometrist Carl "A.C." Newman tends toward freshly glazed melodies, choruses within choruses and kaleidoscopic arrangements. On the records bearing his own name, he does pretty much the same thing. The idea of the New Pornographer-in-Chief attempting solo renditions of his overstuffed...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 19, 2009; 02:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Doc Watson

Renowned guitar picker Doc Watson is so closely associated with traditional folk and string-band music that it's easy to overlook the years he spent playing a Les Paul axe in a rock-and-roll band. He recalled that career episode at the Birchmere last night night, albeit while playing an acoustic...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 19, 2009; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The Pogues

The terrible beauty that is Shane MacGowan was born 51 years ago. But the brilliant and blatantly tragic Pogues frontman has given his body, or at least his liver and teeth, to his craft. MacGowan looked at least three times his actual age when he came to the 9:30...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 18, 2009; 01:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performance at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall last night wasn't devoted to extended works. Instead the program delighted listeners with a series of multifaceted, multi-hued, mood-shifting orchestrations, old and new, inspired in part by the 70th anniversary of the renowned Blue Note Records...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 17, 2009; 05:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Estelle (Three-Word Review)

Lauryn Hill, replaced. (Alternate version: She covered Coldplay!) Full review in tomorrow's Style section....

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 16, 2009; 12:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Morrissey

(All photos by Kyle Gustafson.) The Warner Theatre was the site of a unique phenomenon on Saturday night. No, not the scores of Morrissey fans who lunged their arms toward the stage with the hope that the iconic singer would simply reach down and touch them. It wasn't even the...

By David Malitz | March 16, 2009; 08:18 AM ET | Comments (4)

Live Last Night: Modest Mouse

"Float On," the winsome single that dragged long-time cult act Modest Mouse into the mainstream in 2004, was a danceable confection with a chorus that sticks in your brain like a computer virus. It was, in other words, an outlier in the catalogue of a band better known for...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 15, 2009; 04:07 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Tom Rush

From Arlo Guthrie to Tom Paxton, several prominent singer-songwriters who came up in the '60s are well known for provoking almost as much laughter as applause in concert. Tom Rush, however, isn't one of them. Yet as the 68-year-old tunesmith proved at the Rams Head Tavern on Friday, Rush...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 15, 2009; 03:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: 'Tradition/E-Novation'

Some electronic music is pretty and delicate, but much of it is intentionally harsh. So it made sonic sense that "Tradition/E-Novation," a program of new Japanese e-music Friday evening at the Freer Gallery of Art, began with the shamisen. This three-stringed instrument, a Japanese cousin of the banjo, has a...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 15, 2009; 03:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Common

After Common's latest LP, "Universal Mind Control," was widely dismissed as an overly commercial, hyperactive mess, everyone wondered if the rapper had yet again lost his senses. The album, which dropped in December, could be Common's most puzzlingly bad effort to date -- at least his 2002 experimental flop...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 12, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Fleetwood Mac

Tuesday night at the Verizon Center, Fleetwood Mac surveyed 40 years of its turbulent career, including material written by members past and present. But the concert was dominated by singer-guitarist Lindsay Buckingham, whether the quartet was excavating its origins as a late-'60s blues band or playing hits from "Rumours,''...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 11, 2009; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (12)

Live Last Night: Mi Ami

During its turbulent three year existence, D.C.'s Black Eyes evolved into one of the city's most inventive and explosive bands; twisted, pummeling rhythms and a scabrous attitude that was a little like a musical version of getting your face clawed. By the group's 2004 dissolution, it seemed to be...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 11, 2009; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Bettye LaVette

For a soul diva as brilliant as Bettye LaVette, toiling in obscurity for about 42 out of her 47 years in showbiz is a tragedy worth getting worked up about. But some dryness in her vocal cords at a half-full 9:30 club? Ain't no thing. (Read the rest of...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 10, 2009; 12:08 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Ashford and Simpson

Royalty checks are sweet, but there's no substitute for applause. At the Birchmere on Sunday, husband and wife hit machine Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson soaked in their fans' love live while reclaiming some of the finest pop-soul tunes ever written. (Read the rest of the review after the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 9, 2009; 01:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Hoba Hoba Spirit

A mere 27 years after the Clash scored a fluke U.S. hit with "Rock the Casbah,'' the Casbah returned the favor Sunday evening at the Eisenhower Theater. As part of the Kennedy Center's "Arabesque" festival, Casablanca quintet Hoba Hoba Spirit played a short but exuberant set of what one...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 9, 2009; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Hall & Oates

Hall & Oates don't have to maintain an image. In fact, the blue-eyed soul duo -- which dominated commercial radio throughout the '80s -- is in many ways immune to the anxieties that vex successful pop musicians. This is because Hall & Oates are not cool. When Daryl Hall...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 8, 2009; 10:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The Foreign Exchange

When an MC hits the stage wearing a bow-tie, it's a good sign that an interesting show is about to take place. For the Foreign Exchange's sold-out date at the Black Cat on Friday, singer/rapper Phonte broke out what he called his "finest haberdashery," but even though he was...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 8, 2009; 05:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The Bird and the Bee

If you came of musical age during the '80's (especially if you went on to work as a rock critic) and are still paying attention to musical trends (or getting paid to), then listening to current bands that recombine elements from that decade can be great fun. Or greatly...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 5, 2009; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Justin Townes Earle

Lest anyone think that renowned singer-songwriter Steve Earle is his sole genetic parent, Justin Townes Earle performed "Mama's Eyes" at the Birchmere Bandstand last night. Leaning into a microphone that looked as if it were set up for someone a foot shorter, the lanky tunesmith moved from cutting verse...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 5, 2009; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Lucinda Williams

On "Come On," a primal howl of a parting shot, alt-country dowager Lucinda Williams dresses down a soon-to-be-ex-lover who never even made her -- well, the fellow was simply unsatisfactory, poor old sport. So often in these matters, the culprit is timing. And based on how she sequenced her...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 4, 2009; 01:24 PM ET | Comments (4)

Tom Jones and a Tiny Desk

NPR's Bob Boilen, the one-and-only Tom Jones, with Brian Monroney in the background. (©2009 NPR/Christopher Toothman) To spend all day on the Internet is to quite often mumble to yourself, "Man, I wish I thought of that." But NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts elicits more than a mumble; it gets a...

By David Malitz | March 2, 2009; 03:02 PM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Jason Isbell

So this is why Jason Isbell didn't want to stick with the Drive-By Truckers, feeling like Joe Walsh: Because he's as confident and magnetic a frontman as he is prolific and able a songwriter. We already knew Isbell could pair a pithy lyric to an indelible hook and sell...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 2, 2009; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Kris Kristofferson

Some 40 years have passed since Kris Kristofferson helped bring the sentiments of the '60s to Nashville, but he's still a rebel. His hair has turned silver, his bones have gotten a little stiff, and his voice has gone from gruff to, well, positively gravely, but his politics haven't...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 04:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: K'Naan

Strolling onto the Millennium Stage on Friday night in a black fedora, black jacket and oversized scarf, K'Naan suggested an African Justin Timberlake --and the cheers from the overflow crowd proved he has that sort of mainstream appeal. But the Toronto-based rapper is originally from Somalia, "the hardest place...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 02:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Marcia Ball

Marcia Ball spent Friday evening at the State Theatre sitting with her long legs crossed behind an electric keyboard. Dressed almost entirely in black and with her hair quite short, Ball's ensemble wouldn't be out of place in a nunnery. Well, except for those leopard skin pumps that bottomed...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Kurt Elling with Ernie Watts

"John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman," the classic 1963 collection of romantic ballads, is so beloved by jazz and pop fans alike that a concert salute to the recording is an easy sell. The hard part comes in creating a performance that sounds worthy of Coltrane and Hartman's inspired and...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 02:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: David Bromberg

Multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg worked two shifts at the Birchmere on Friday night, nimbly accompanying the Angel Band during the opening set, then delighting the capacity crowd with his quartet's performances of modulating fiddle tunes, overhauled pop songs and the drollest of blues. During one heartsick lament that evoked the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 12:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Marah

The Remains, Big Star, The Fleshtones, Tommy Keene, High Back Chairs. Every rock-n-roll obsessive has their personal list of bands who shoulda-coulda-woulda been as big as the Beatles. For those whose list includes Marah -- if pressed, Americana-soaked guitar rock with a wickedly beautiful poetic twist works as a...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 28, 2009; 04:53 PM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Ledisi

Oakland singer Ledisi is a truth-teller, and she warned her audience at the Birchmere on Thursday to brace themselves for a night of sobering reality checks. Making good on that promise, Ledisi served up straight talk all night long--refusing to ease up even when she made her fans squirm...

By David Malitz | February 27, 2009; 12:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead

Big-noise boys from the Lone Star state, the founders of ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead began their career by wrapping brisk little songs in sheets of clamor. The Austin band still does that, but Trail of Dead's latest album -- emphasized at its Thursday...

By David Malitz | February 27, 2009; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Tom Jones

(Helayne Seidman for TWP/File) Here's one sure way for a veteran pop star to deflate an eager audience: by announcing that he's going to perform most of his new album. That's what Tom Jones did Wednesday night at the 9:30 club, promising he'd highlight material from his underwhelming new album,...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 26, 2009; 01:32 PM ET | Comments (8)

Live Last Night: Cross Canadian Ragweed

Cross Canadian Ragweed, a leader of the guitar-based regional rock clique known as Red Dirt bands, doesn't get commercial radio airplay. If any of the veteran Oklahoma quartet's romantic or druggie anthems makes the playlist of a college station in College Station, that's good enough for CCR. It's all...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 26, 2009; 01:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Chabab Al Andalous Rabat Orchestra

The 10 performers took their seats on the Millennium Stage and began to play a jaunty dance, its rhythm set by a derbouka, a traditional drum. The spiraling melody and flatted notes -- like the troupe's flowing white robes and red fezes -- indicated that this was Arabic music. Yet...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 26, 2009; 01:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Stevie Wonder. (Yes, Him Again)

POTUS in Wonderland: President Obama presents Stevie Wonder with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in the East Room. (Reuters) "Stevie Wonderful!" exclaimed Tony Bennett. An overjoyed Stevie Wonder beamed, the Motown music legend having just jumped onstage to provide an ad-libbed coda to Bennett's rendition of...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 26, 2009; 12:42 AM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Jimmy Eat World

Emo would seemingly be the genre worst suited for the current performing-a-"classic"-album-in-its-entirety trend. After all, wouldn't it be too painful to dredge up all that heartbreak, not to mention all those embarrassing lyrics? But Jimmy Eat World successfully stared down its past at a sold-out 9:30 club on Tuesday...

By David Malitz | February 25, 2009; 03:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live (Very, Very Late) Last Night: Mos Def

There are very few hip-hop shows that would be well worth a two-and-a-half hour wait: maybe a reunion of the surviving members of N.W.A. or a posthumous Tupac/Biggie double-bill. But standing around for that long to see Mos Def, which is what fans of the rapper did at the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 24, 2009; 12:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder knows from classics. Classical, too, as it turns out. At the Library of Congress last night, the Motown legend spoke of a longtime "love for classical music" -- of listening to Stravinsky, Bach and Beethoven. And then Wonder ambled onstage at the library's Coolidge Auditorium and gave...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 24, 2009; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night*: Drive-By Truckers (* Two Nights, Two Reviews!)

Status ain't Patterson Hood: The frontman for the DBTs (he's the scruffy guy in the middle) was a DNP at the band's two 9:30 club concerts. "Just 'cause I don't run my mouth don't mean I got nothin' to say," goes the line in the Drive-By Truckers song, "Marry Me."...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 22, 2009; 01:57 PM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: M. Ward

"Faith in God is happiness" read an inscription on the wall behind M. Ward at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue last night, words that would have provided a fitting backdrop to the transcendental songs on "Hold Time," his just-released album. But Ward didn't focus too much on his...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 22, 2009; 01:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

The delight was in the details when the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra unveiled "The New Jazz Standards" at the National Museum of Natural History's Baird Auditorium on Saturday night. The concert was, at first blush, a celebration of the works of numerous NEA Jazz Masters, each of whom was represented...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 22, 2009; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Fountains of Wayne

A singer can have perfect pitch. So can a band have perfect pop? If so, Fountains of Wayne would undoubtedly be that band. The veteran quartet's acoustic show at a sold-out Birchmere last night may have been short on guitar fuzz and crackling drums, but that only served to...

By David Malitz | February 20, 2009; 03:12 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Fujiya and Miyagi

A British band with a Japanese name and a German beat, Fujiya and Miyagi is well-outfitted with absurdity. Yet the quartet's sense of humor is hard to locate. Thursday night at the 9:30 club, singer-guitarist David Best and his cohorts maintained a deadpan air as they delivered silly lyrics...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 20, 2009; 03:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The Points

Ever since guitar strings were amplified, raw power has been in style. The Points know this, because they're historians. Or least they sounded like it on the Black Cat Backstage last night. The D.C. band ran an extension cord back to the moldy basements and crumbling garages of yesteryear,...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 20, 2009; 03:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Photo-Caption Contest: Ne-Yo

Ne-Yo did his thing at Constitution Hall last night -- his thing being melody-rich, well-mannered R&B delivered in an elegant, super-suave style. He also brought a bit of sexy back to the stage, with the help of girdle-clad dancers -- one of whom kinda looked like Margaret Cho, the most...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 19, 2009; 02:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Ruthie Foster, Robben Ford, Jorma Kaukonen

The phenomenal Ruthie Foster, speaker of the truth. Commercially speaking, blues music has been in a nosedive since Stevie Ray Vaughan's 1990 helicopter crash. The fall toward mainstream irrelevance was helped by the economic boom the country enjoyed for most of the rest of that decade: When everybody's making money,...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 19, 2009; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The Wammies

Multiple award winner Jon Carroll had plenty to sing about at the 23rd annual Wammies. Of all the awards ever devised to honor the purveyors of musical excellence, the Wammies are without question the most local, not to mention the most recent. Last night at the State Theatre in Falls...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 16, 2009; 04:31 PM ET | Comments (7)

Live Last Night: Patricia Barber

Jazz pianist and singer-songwriter Patricia Barber often brings a certain physicality and willfulness to her performances, and that certainly was the case at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on Friday night. (Read the rest of the review after the jump.)...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 15, 2009; 08:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Jerry Butler

"Sing the song!" shouted an exuberant fan as Jerry Butler began to perform "Let It Be Me" at Blues Alley on Thursday night. "I'm doing the best I can," responded the 69 year-old R&B legend, whose best is still awfully good. The exchange drew a big laugh from the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 13, 2009; 11:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Rokia Traoré

"I can't say what style I am," Rokia Traoré explains in a press release for last year's "Tchamantché," an album that finds the Mali singer/ songwriter weaving slippery West African grooves into blues structures on top of mournful, meditative laments. But at the Barns of Wolf Trap on Thursday...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 13, 2009; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Lambchop

Kurt Wagner is not a sock puppet. Ever listened to someone talk and heard the saliva in their mouth? Kurt Wagner has made a career out of that sound with Lambchop, an ever-rotating outfit that has been purveying a startlingly original brand of something you might call Mumble Rock for...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 12, 2009; 12:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Mark Olson and Gary Louris

The All-Americana duo: Just don't call 'em the Jayhawks. Roots music is all about basicness. So, to compare Mark Olson and Gary Louris to sandwich spreads, let's go no further than peanut butter and jelly. Pretty darn good on their own, but most sublime when thrown together. A Birchmere crowd...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 11, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: The Perfection of a 30-Minute Set

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: Long band name, short set. (By Annie Powers) Consider this to be the opposite of our Rules of the Road series. On Monday night cumbersomely named New York indie-pop up-and-comers the Pains of Being Pure at Heart came to the Black Cat's backstage....

By David Malitz | February 10, 2009; 05:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Mambo Sauce

Mambo Sauce has played nearly every music venue, festival, and cultural event in the D.C. area. The go-go fusion band has a Billboard charting single in "Welcome to D.C.," and an enthusiastic fan base throughout the area -- and beyond. The one thing Mambo Sauce doesn't have just yet? An...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 8, 2009; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Little Big Town/Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown, "Chicken Fried" country star. (C. Taylor Crothers) There's something paradoxical about screaming the lyrics of a Buffet-esque ode to taking it easy. But don't tell that the 1,200 or so fans who packed the 9:30 club Wednesday night to declaim the chorus of "Toes" ("Toes in the water,...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 5, 2009; 03:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Passion Pit

Passion Pit: And don't the kids just love it. There's a reason baseball players spend at least a couple years in the minor leagues before making it to The Show. They need time for seasoning and to hone their skills. The same holds true for bands. You don't become a...

By David Malitz | February 4, 2009; 05:08 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Three Girls and Their Buddy

Musician's-musician Buddy Miller reclaimed his "Wide River to Cross" from Levon Helm, for whom it helped to win a Grammy. Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, and Emmylou Harris joined their crystalline, haunting voices on the Depression-era gospel of "We Shall All Be Reunited." Colvin covered Miller's cover of Richard Thompson's "Keep...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 4, 2009; 01:28 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Andrew Bird

About the time of "Weather Systems," listening to Andrew Bird records became akin to eating a pile of steamed crabs: a lot of work for intermittent moments of deliriously succulent pleasure. But in the car, on earphones or even via webcast, the work of picking through his craggy violins,...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 4, 2009; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Antony and the Johnsons

The essential tension in the music of Antony and the Johnsons is between the precise chamber-rock arrangements and Antony Hegarty's precarious falsetto. When the septet performed Tuesday night at the 6th and I Historic Synagogue, there was another notable contrast: between Antony's cryptic, evocative lyrics and his rambling, garrulous remarks....

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 4, 2009; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: The Pretenders

Last year's "Break Up the Concrete" is only the second Pretenders album of the 21st century, and it's more country than New Wave, but Pretender-in-Chief Chrissie Hynde has plenty of confidence in it. At the band's sweaty, sold out 9:30 show Monday, six of the gig's first nine songs were...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 3, 2009; 12:41 PM ET | Comments (3)

Live Last Night: Ryan Cabrera

Ryan Cabrera was roundly booed during his set at College Park's Santa Fe Café on Friday night, but, unbelievably, it had nothing to do with his music. (More after the jump.)...

By J. Freedom du Lac | February 1, 2009; 05:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Roy Ayers

"This band is ridiculous!" said veteran jazz and R&B vibraphonist Roy Ayers at Blues Alley on Thursday night, long before some of the most ridiculously playful funk surfaced -- and there was no shortage of that. Drummer Lee Pearson feverishly soloed with a towel draped over his face, splintering the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 30, 2009; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The Killers

How did it end up like this? It was only a kiss. (Torey Mundkowsky) Let's have a hand, please, for the stage-crasher who seized his 15 seconds of fame during "Bones." It's a dull song from the Killers' worst album, and while the invader, dressed like a solider in the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 29, 2009; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (6)

Live Last Night: Thievery Corporation

Based on its late-'90s assemblages of samba, lounge jazz and soundtrack music, Thievery Corporation is still known as a "downtempo'' act. But the formerly studio-bound duo's music has intensified as its onstage lineup -- and popularity -- has expanded. Tuesday at the 9:30 Club, on the first of five...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 28, 2009; 10:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Benny Golson

Between his two performances at the Kennedy Center on Saturday night, Bill Cosby dropped by the venue's Eisenhower Theater long enough to fashion a comically discordant, ham-fisted piano improvisation during NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson's 80th birthday bash. Standing a few feet away, Golson appeared to be both touched and...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 25, 2009; 05:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Chicha Libre

Reviving a half-forgotten late-1960s Peruvian musical craze might seem an awfully, well, *specific* thing to do. But the advantage of a folk-meets-rock style like chicha (named for a traditional corn liquor) is that it's so adaptable. On its 2008 debut album, "Sonido Amazonico!,'' Chicha Libre mated the genre's clip-clop rhythm...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 22, 2009; 08:51 AM ET | Comments (2)

(Not) Live Last Night: Rihanna

Leave it to the always-bumbling Recording Industry Association of America to mess things up. To quote the internets, last night's RIAA/Feeding America Ball at Ibiza can be described thusly: EPIC FAIL. It shouldn't have been that way. With the official balls requiring a certain amount of pomp and circumstance,...

By David Malitz | January 21, 2009; 02:23 PM ET | Comments (4)

Live Last Night: Wale

Making it in the most opinionated city you can make it in. (By Jahi Chikwendiu/TWP) Rap fans bummed to see the Jay-Zs, Kaynes and T.I.s leave town after an inaugural bacchanal of historic proportions, fret not. Washington finally has a rap star to call its very own. His name is...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 21, 2009; 12:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Backyard Band

As the seemingly never ending inaugural weekend rolled into its fourth night of after-hours revelry, the city's go-go scene hardly blinked. As with any holiday weekend, go-go concerts dotted the city's grid and the surrounding suburbs, including a Martin Luther King Day performance by the esteemed Backyard Band at Club...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 20, 2009; 05:10 PM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Jay-Z

Jay-Z and some special guests made it a memorable night at the Warner Theatre. (Frank Micelotta/Getty Images/MTV) The 8 p.m. start time printed on the ($500) tickets for Jay-Z's inauguration eve concert at the Warner Theatre was clearly advisory: At that hour, there was only a sprinkling of people inside...

By David Malitz | January 20, 2009; 12:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Beastie Boys

Pop history's most influential novelty act, the Beastie Boys, brought the noise and the chuckles to the 9:30 club on Monday. The Beasties' early material, which was both plagiarized and mimicked, remains its most beloved. Fans showed off their diminished vertical leaps during a club-wide hop-fest on "No Sleep till...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 20, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Big Shoulders Ball

From Chicago they came, nearly a dozen indie-music acts, to present the "Big Shoulders Ball'' at the Black Cat Monday night. The occasion, of course, was the inauguration of Chicago's own Barack Obama. Yet the man of the hour -- six hours, actually -- was Welsh-born country-punker Jon Langford, who...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 20, 2009; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: A Celebration of America

At the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater last night, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin introduced "A Celebration of America," a salute to Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama's inauguration, as "a chemistry experiment gone right." An apt description, as it turns out. For starters, there was the evening's most unlikely...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 20, 2009; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Latino Inaugural Gala

Too bad Daddy Yankee was such a vocal John McCain supporter. Perhaps if the reggaeton artist had backed the other guy, he would've performed alongside his fellow superstars of Latin music at the Latino Inaugural Gala at Union Station on Sunday night. The entertainment at the event incorporated multiple styles--mariachi...

By David Malitz | January 19, 2009; 12:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Lissen

As the Bonos, Bruces and Beyonces descended upon Washington for inaugural weekend, Washington's go-go community welcomed the arrival of America's first black president with an indigenous party soundtrack that still goes relatively unheard outside of the Beltway. Sure, most area go-go clubs weren't graced with star-studded guest appearances, but they...

By David Malitz | January 19, 2009; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Carlene Carter

Most folks at Carlene Carter's Barns at Wolf Trap show on Saturday surely left feeling lucky they didn't grow up in a show biz family. Well, her family, anyway. The gifted granddaughter of Maybelle Carter, daughter of June Carter and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash told the audience that "a lot...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 18, 2009; 08:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Songs for Presidents

Over the next few days, plenty of tunes will be sung to, for, or about almost-president Barack Obama. But what about Millard Fillmore, Martin Van Buren or William Howard Taft? Actually, those three didn't make the cut Saturday night at the 6th & I Historic Synagogue, where J. Matthew Gerken,...

By J. Freedom du Lac | January 18, 2009; 05:02 PM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Metallica

"Obey your master!" (Photos by Tracy A. Woodward/TWP) The members of Metallica learned this week they'll be in this year's class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. No act this heavy has ever received that honor. On durability and CD sales alone, the honor is deserved. Metallica is...

By David Malitz | January 16, 2009; 12:58 PM ET | Comments (5)

Live Last Night: James Hunter and Ryan Shaw

The existence of souls is a question for philosophers and theologians, but for anybody who caught the perfectly-paired lineup of James Hunter and Ryan Shaw at the Birchmere last night, the existence of soul is an empirical fact. Soul -- the music, and the grit and fire it takes to...

By David Malitz | January 14, 2009; 02:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Camper Van Beethoven

Camper Van Beethoven's songs never sounded dated or forced. (Sana Olsson) Once you get past fretting about Camper Van Beethoven's place in rock history, the group quickly become an enjoyable, off-kilter garage band. Or competent eastern European punk-folkies. Or slightly annoying prog- rockers. Or, well . . . you get...

By David Malitz | January 9, 2009; 11:53 AM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Wu-Tang Clan

At some concerts, a set list can go a long way to determining the quality of the show. The Wu-Tang Clan equivalent is which members of the sprawling rap crew show up on a given night. The Clan has been without its most bizarre and entertaining member, the late Ol'...

By David Malitz | January 2, 2009; 07:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night One-Word Review: T-Pain

Midgets....

By David Malitz | December 31, 2008; 07:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Look Back in Love at Oasis

It's the holiday season and we're in good spirits. So we let our hardworking photographer Kyle "Leafblower" Gustafson check out Saturday's Oasis show, take a few pictures of his favorite band and tell us how great it all was. With no word limit! For a review by someone who...

By David Malitz | December 22, 2008; 04:58 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night (Two Nights Ago): Vampire Weekend

(All pictures, as always, by Kyle "Leafblower" Gustafson. Go Rondo!) Some people really love Vampire Weekend, as evidenced by the fact that the Brooklyn band's two sold-out shows at the 9:30 club sold out within minutes of going on sale. Some people really despise Vampire Weekend, calling them preppy-indie...

By David Malitz | December 4, 2008; 07:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Tina Turner

Tina Turner's raw power still resonates. (Marvin Joseph/TWP) Tina Turner was hovering over the Verizon Center crowd, singing her fiery 1973 song "Nutbush City Limits" from a cherry picker during a Sunday-night encore, when she decided to go hot-stepping across the hydraulic lifting arm that connected the aerial platform to...

By David Malitz | November 24, 2008; 01:15 PM ET | Comments (8)

The Wisdom -- and Weirdness -- of Robyn Hitchcock

Before I saw Little Joy at the Black Cat on Tuesday night I saw Robyn Hitchcock at the Birchmere. I very well may have been the youngest person at one show and the oldest person at the other one. I wish I recorded Hitchcock's show. Not necessarily for the performance,...

By David Malitz | November 20, 2008; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Little Joy

Little Joy: Out there having fun. I've never been to Los Angeles, but I imagine being there is a bit like being at the Black Cat's backstage last night. It was a cold and blustery D.C. evening; the half a block walk from my car to the club was daunting....

By David Malitz | November 19, 2008; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Smashing Pumpkins

Freak U.S.A. (All Photos by Kyle "Leafblower" Gustafson) It's without any exaggeration at all that I say that last July's Smashing Pumpkins performance at the 9:30 club was one of the worst concerts I've ever seen. So I went into last night's show at Constitution Hall with decidedly low expectations,...

By David Malitz | November 12, 2008; 04:42 PM ET | Comments (10)

CMAs: Taylor Swift's Big Night Out

Shock and awwwwww: A self-portrait of Tuesday's big BMI Awards winner. (Taylor Swift for TWP) NASHVILLE -- Taylor Swift had a minor crisis midway through her meal at last night's BMI Awards: Her Shirley Temple was served in a lowball glass that might have given people the impression that the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | November 12, 2008; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (1)

Phrases You Will Not See in Tomorrow's Jay Reatard Review

"The marathon set went long into the night" "His between song banter proved to be a highlight of the evening" "Things quieted down considerably when Reatard switched from his trademark Flying V to an acoustic guitar" "The haircuts sported by the three young men on stage would make any military...

By David Malitz | October 29, 2008; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Phrases You Will Not See in Tomorrow's Magnetic Fields Review

"Stephin Merritt is a natural frontman" "Merritt seemed to be having a great time up on stage" "Merritt graciously soaked up the applause after each song" "Merritt had no problem opening a plastic wrapper containing a lozenge, and didn't have to give it to cellist Sam Davol to open for...

By David Malitz | October 27, 2008; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night Weekend Report: Woven Hand, Pierced Arrows, Vivian Girls and The Band With a Naughty Name

It's CMJ leftovers season in D.C., so I was busy this weekend. A quick rundown... Friday Woven Hand is just about the most perfect God-fearing apocalyptic rustic-folk band you could hope for. The trio, led by former 16 Horsepower frontman David Eugene Edwards, came to Iota on Friday night and...

By David Malitz | October 20, 2008; 02:48 PM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Janet Jackson

'What have I done for you lately?'(Marvin Joseph/TWP) Another Janet concert, another no-show. Only this time, it was opening act LL Cool J who was inexplicably absent. Don't call it a comeback? Okay, LL, I won't. Last night at Verizon Center, Janet returned to the stage for the first time...

By J. Freedom du Lac | October 16, 2008; 09:17 AM ET | Comments (71)

Live Last Night (A Few Nights Ago): The Wedding Present

The Wedding Present takes a refreshingly no-nonsense approach to its shows. The reconstituted (as opposed to re-formed) Brit-rock icons led by David Gedge come armed with the sense of purpose you'd expect from a band that once released a single every month for an entire year. The set list is...

By David Malitz | October 14, 2008; 05:16 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Future of the Left/Ted Leo/Against Me!

I wish there were more shows like last night's triple bill at the Black Cat. Three decent-to-very-good bands, with my interest in said bands being inverse to headlining status. That way I can get close for the band I'm interested in, while the crowd is still filling in, and treat...

By David Malitz | October 9, 2008; 05:41 PM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

While part of me is tempted to write some really mean things about Nick Cave because the mustachioed-sicko canceled his interview with me on less than 12 hours notice (I demand the same respect as a doctor; what I'm doing is at least 1/587th important), I just can't. His two-night...

By David Malitz | October 7, 2008; 02:36 PM ET | Comments (4)

Live Last Night: Robert Pollard's Boston Spaceships

That should last Pollard about 30 minutes. (By Kyle Gustafson) Alternate Title: Stuff White People Like - Robert Pollard Specifically late-30s/early-40s beer-swilling, devil-horn-throwing dudes. But that makes sense since Pollard himself, the indie rock icon who fronted lo-fi legends Guided By Voices for more than 20 years, is himself a...

By David Malitz | September 29, 2008; 04:11 PM ET | Comments (5)

Don't Go There: Rules Of The Road Vol. 5

A few words in defense of my concert. (Or not.) The latest additions to our list of things artists should never, ever do in concert were passed along by a Very Special Guest Contributor: Randy Newman. During his terrific concert last night at the Music Center at Strathmore (Klimek review...

By J. Freedom du Lac | September 25, 2008; 07:57 AM ET | Comments (1)

Don't Go There: Rules Of The Road Vol. 4

Hold on hold out ... for the new stuff. Another entry on our list of things artists should never, ever do on a concert stage. 6. Do not make a big deal about inserting new songs into a set list heavy on old, familiar fare. (And especially avoid asking permission...

By J. Freedom du Lac | September 16, 2008; 09:05 AM ET | Comments (8)

Live Last Night: Thank You (a haiku)

Lurching keys -- Glurg! Beep! Rumbling, vicious drumming -- Crash! Guitars go -- Screech! Screeeeeeeeech! (Thank You on MySpace)...

By David Malitz | September 12, 2008; 12:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Silver Jews

This won't be a real review; Patrick Foster will have that for you in tomorrow's paper, and he'll say it better than and more succinctly than I ever could. This will be a little more "bloggy" than usual, but since Freedom is unable to post due to being in a...

By David Malitz | September 11, 2008; 05:34 PM ET | Comments (2)

I Turn My Camera On: The Hold Steady, Thao Nguyen and more

There were at least half a dozen worthwhile shows in and around D.C. last night. I made it to a pair and our intrepid photographer, Kyle Gustafson, managed make it to four. He snapped away so you can see what you missed, or maybe relive what you saw. The Hold...

By David Malitz | August 15, 2008; 04:27 PM ET | Comments (4)

Live Last Night: Vivian Girls + Crystal Stilts

Vivian Girls: Just gimme shambolic indie pop!. There's nothing wrong with some "genre rock" and and, in fact, Wednesday night's show at DC9 was a case of there being a lot right with "genre rock." A couple of upstart bands from Brooklyn, Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts, came to...

By David Malitz | August 15, 2008; 03:06 AM ET | Comments (1)

Show Going Quandary: To Sing Along or Not?

After spending nearly 24 hours on the grounds of Pimlico Race Course over the weekend I decided that the best way to spend Monday night would be to put myself in danger of being swept up in a violent circle pit at Rancid's sold-out 9:30 club show. I stayed out...

By David Malitz | August 12, 2008; 05:26 PM ET | Comments (13)

Whartscape Wrap-Up: I Think I Might Be Getting Too Old For This

That's the conclusion I reached after a weekend spent in Baltimore for Whartscape. (Read my review of Saturday's show here.) It's very much an "It's not you, it's me" situation. I just don't have the energy or enthusiasm to match what those Charm City kids bring to the table. But...

By David Malitz | July 23, 2008; 05:47 PM ET | Comments (4)

Don't Go There: Rules of the Road Vol. 2

For those about to rock ... we re-tune our guitars! Continuing Post Rock's laundry list of things artists should never, ever do at a concert, a couple of rules came to mind during last night's Fleet Foxes show at the Black Cat. (NPR has the audio archive here.) 3. Do...

By J. Freedom du Lac | July 8, 2008; 10:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Week: I Go To Too Many Shows

Oxford Collapse, Black Cat, June 30 - This is a band I had been meaning to check out for a while, mainly because they have one fantastic song and WaPo reviewer Patrick Foster made them sound extra great in one of my favorite reviews that's run in the paper over...

By David Malitz | July 8, 2008; 09:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Tale Of The Tape

David and I went to two decidedly different shows last night and decided to compare notes afterwards - though my afterwards actually began before David had even left for his concert. Here's how the concerts stacked up.... My show: The Neville Brothers = NoLa's first family of funk David's show:...

By J. Freedom du Lac | July 2, 2008; 04:35 PM ET | Comments (4)

Live Last Night: Pearl Jam, Song-By-Song

Eddie Vedder (shown here at Bonnaroo) led Pearl Jam through a nearly three-hour, 31-song show. I won't waste time with pleasantries because Pearl Jam played a whopping 31 songs last night and it's my job to say something about all of them. It was a very good show, with...

By David Malitz | June 23, 2008; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (50)

Live Last Night: The Muslims

The Muslims, much more than just an attention-getting name. The Muslims want attention. Er, lemme try that again. Seeing the Muslims gave me flashbacks to 2001. Damn, strike two. A San Diego group called the Muslims (four white dudes, natch) played 40 minutes of brash, swaggering rock-and-roll at DC9...

By David Malitz | June 19, 2008; 02:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

Live Two Nights Ago: Clinic/BBQ

The world needs more bands like Clinic. Or maybe it doesn't. If there actually were more bands like the Liverpool quartet, which played a fantastic show at the Black Cat on Wednesday night, perhaps we wouldn't be able to fully appreciate what a great little act they are. Clinic's easy...

By David Malitz | May 30, 2008; 04:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The Roots (Haiku Remix)

Funky urgency Hendrix, go-go, Curtis, Biz Rap's rangiest band....

By J. Freedom du Lac | May 15, 2008; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night Weekend Report: Urban Verbs and Old Haunts, the anti-Nissan

While J. Freedom spent the weekend with about 50,000 of his closest friends at Nissan "Never Again" Pavilion, I kept it much more low-key. As always. There are probably more people in Kanye's stage crew than were at the pair of shows I attended. First up was the Urban Verbs...

By David Malitz | May 13, 2008; 04:32 PM ET | Comments (4)

Radiohead Visits D.C., Mother Nature Disapproves

You can't even call it a coincidence anymore. It's a fact -- the weather gods of the D.C. area react in strong and violent ways when Radiohead comes to town. No meteorological training is necessary to predict massive storms when the band visits. By all accounts (including J. Freedom's in...

By David Malitz | May 12, 2008; 10:44 AM ET | Comments (11)

Parton The Interruption

'And, of course, my name is Barbara Mandrell!' Went to a comedy show last night, and a Dolly Parton concert broke out! Or is it the other way around? Whatevs: While Dolly is a brilliant songwriter and a superlative vocal stylist, she's also one of country music's great all-time...

By J. Freedom du Lac | April 29, 2008; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night Weekend Report, Part 2: Child Ballads Bomb

Stewart Lupton, more unfulfilled promise. On Friday night the kids were alright, but on Saturday night Stewart Lupton most certainly was not. A decade or so ago Lupton was a star in the making, lead singer of consensus Next Big Thing Jonathan Fire*Eater. They were the Strokes before the...

By David Malitz | April 22, 2008; 03:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night Weekend Report, Part 1: Double Dagger Delivers

Baltimore's Double Dagger: Three dudes, two instruments, one great band. Friday night I saw Steve Buckhantz's favorite art-punk trio, Double Dagger. The band is on my "don't miss" list, and since they are from Baltimore, well, it means I see a lot of Double Dagger. According to my trusty...

By David Malitz | April 22, 2008; 12:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The New Pornographers

Neko Case = Gilbert Arenas. Just stick with me for a minute, OK? After an illness rendered rock's most fawned-over backup singer a last-second no-show for the New Pornographers' Monday night engagement at the 9:30 club, all anyone could talk about yesterday was whether or not she'd take the...

By David Malitz | April 16, 2008; 05:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Monotonix and Dark Meat

Yes, that's fire. No, that's not Borat. I learned my lesson during the second song: There is no "safe" spot during a Monotonix show, especially in a club as tiny as the Red & the Black. I thought I would be out of harm's way hiding next to the...

By David Malitz | April 14, 2008; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The Coathangers

The Coathangers, probably not coming back to D.C. anytime soon. Sometimes I feel this weird obligation to go to certain shows. Last night was one of those instances. The Coathangers, a fun, all-girl punk band from Atlanta, were at the Red & the Black. There was no local support...

By David Malitz | March 7, 2008; 05:23 PM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Atlas Sound

Bradford Cox (back center) and Atlas Sound kept it mellow, man, at the Black Cat. "I swear, all the kids got stoned before they came out tonight." That's what the woman working the door of the Black Cat's backstage said to a friend of hers as she stamped my...

By David Malitz | February 22, 2008; 06:03 PM ET | Comments (3)

Week Late Review: Yeasayer

Brooklyn's Yeasayer, the latest blog sensations. A week ago I went down to the Black Cat to review the very sold out Yeasayer show. You didn't see the review in the paper because it never made it to the paper. Casualty of limited space, at least that's what the...

By David Malitz | January 23, 2008; 12:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: The Hold Steady/Art Brut/1990s

My review of last night's Hold Steady gig at the sold-out 9:30 club? Right here. It was pretty much the same show as last year's - almost identical setlist, same speech at the end, my same complaints about singer Craig Finn missing the timing on some of his best lines...

By David Malitz | November 21, 2007; 03:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

 

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