To Do List

TO DO LIST: Aokify America Tour TONIGHT @ Merriweather Post Pavilion

Turn up! Get lucky! Drop the bass!

Whether beloved or reviled, these three terms have dominated EDM’s mainstream rise in the past five years. Thus, it makes perfect sense that at the apex of the movement’s moment in the son, that Dim Mak Records boss Steve Aoki would pull together notorious bass king Borgore, trap music deity Waka Flocka Flame, America’s favorite hipster Pharrell Williams and a few other friends to tour the country and “Aokify America.”

What exactly does “Aokifying America” mean? Well, until he got the bright idea to combine the best parts of 80s shock comic Gallagher sending projectile bits of food (in Aoki’s case enormous sheet cakes) into a suspecting audience, it was all about Aoki having one of the most progressive - yet somehow right on time - takes on big-room and stadium ready hard house music. If the producer has become a superstar in the last half-decade, he likely has a release or two on Aoki’s Los Angeles-based Dim Mak label, or, he’s remixed a few of his tracks.

TO DO LIST: Flashband Project TOMORROW at The Dunes!

(Pictured above: Caleb Astey, Amanda Kirby, and Neal Humphrey, creators of Flashband Project.)

Want to attend a fun, one-of-a-kind show this weekend? Look no further than Flashband Project's "From Scratch" showcase tomorrow night at The Dunes!

Flashband Project is a DC-based organization started by musicians for musicians. It enriches the District's music scene by encouraging local artists to expand their networks, challenge themselves musically, and produce new material. For each showcase it hosts, the Project opens registration, connects participants at a meet-and-greet jam session, and encourages them to form bands with likeminded musicians. The new bands then write and practice together for about a month before taking the stage for a once-in-a-lifetime show.

Tomorrow night's show is Flashband's eighth since beginning in January 2012. Themes of previous showcases included "British Invasion," "Dance Party," and "Genre Mashup." This time around, Flashband requires all eight bands to perform fifteen-minute sets of original music in any genre. Among the bands performing tomorrow night are Better Than Craigslist, Reginald Broccoli, and The Excessive Machine. 

The Dunes' doors open tomorrow at 7 p.m. and the first Flashband takes the stage at 8 o'clock. Currently, tickets are only $6; the price increases to $8 the day of the show.

Interested in partipating in the next Flashband event? Registration for next month's "Americana Bandstand" is now open. 

TO DO LIST: Kingsley Flood @ Black Cat TONIGHT!

Already have plans tonight? Cancel them. Feeling burnt out from a long workweek? Drink some coffee. There's no excuse for missing DC's own Kingsley Flood headlining Black Cat TONIGHT!

As you probably know by now, we love Kingsley Flood and jump on every opportunity to see them live. As Chunky Kevin says, both on their new record Battles and on stage, Kingsley Flood "has a bigger-than-life rock star personality that leaves the audience feeling like they witnessed a stadium-worthy show instead of a barely-out-of-the-bar-band." But don't just take our word for it. Join us tonight and see for yourself! Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are only $12. Not bad for what you'll be calling "the best Friday night ever." 

Get even more pumped for tonight's show - watch our interview with Kingsley Flood's Naseem Khuri!

TO DO LIST: Heather Maloney @ Jammin' Java TONIGHT!

It’s been a busy year for Heather Maloney. Her third album, Heather Maloney, came out earlier this year on Signature Sounds Records and received a great deal of acclaim (especially from this website). Earlier this summer she embarked on a tour that will take her across most of the country, lasting through the end of the year. Lucky for us, she’ll make a stop at Jammin’ Java on September 12, her first stop in the DC area since playing in drummer Ben Tufts’ 16th Street basement concert space.

It’s easy to describe Maloney as a folk singer, but it’s also lazy. It also does a disservice to say that she adds elements of rock, blues, and jazz into her music, as it makes it sound like an artist trying to do too much. She is, rather, a songwriter who can take simple, beautiful acoustic melodies and turn them into something immense and profound.

Even better, Maloney is incredibly fun and engaging live performer, amping up the playful music of her albums and taking her already pristine vocals to another level. In addition, she does a darn fine job of making sure her band joins in on her mini-dances, scat singing, and other antics. As the venues she plays get bigger, so do her performances.

Opening the show will be folk duo Naked Blue and Americana musician Dean Fields. 

TO DO LIST: Oh So Peligroso @ Velvet Lounge THIS SATURDAY

Colbert beware!  Oh So Peligroso  returns to the stage this Saturday night and they will surely whip the Velvet Lounge into a sweaty frenzy.  For those who are yet to experience the pleasure, Oh So Peligroso put on one of DC's more raucous, engaging live experiences.  Thumping bass complements a frenzied guitar workout and drums that are simultaneously muscular and technical, and to this writer's eye, the heady concoction swirls perfectly around the energy brought to the fore by the band's irrepressible frontman.  This is a band to experience live at every available opportunity!

The bill will be full of locals (and University of Mary Washington alums to boot) as talented folk singer Brittany Jean and rockers The OK Corral will share the stage, so expect to leave with ringing ears and the beginnings of a legendary hangover.  Like every other time you've left the Velvet Lounge, right?  Doors at 8:30.  The show starts at 9.

Below, check out Oh So Peligroso performing "The Mattress" at the Black Cat:

TO DO LIST: 2013 Equifunk Festival

Let’s say, not-so-hypothetically speaking, that you’re running one of the most innovative music festivals in the country. You’re holding this festival in an amazing location – a beautiful, fully functional summer camp in the Pennsylvania Poconos. You’ve got possibly the best business model of any festival out there, in that yours is all-inclusive; as little as $185 buys your guests not just the price of admission, but food, beer, and a place to stay (a bunk in the aforementioned summer camp). You cap your ticket sales at 1,500, so there’s not only a feeling of exclusivity, but the smaller crowds allow the artists you book to mingle freely with festival attendees. And what artists they are; some of the biggest names in funk and R&B have played your festival and they’ve raved about the experience; many have come back for more. In short, you’ve already done everything right. And you’ve been doing it that way for five years, to continually improving reviews and exposure.

So what do you do? Coast on the goodwill you’ve accumulated, continue to put on a good show, but keep it simple? Don’t rock – or funk up, if you will – the boat?

Not if you’re Equifunk. Not even close.

The all-inclusive festival that has thrived – to an incredibly degree – on word-of-mouth and a refreshing DIY philosophy is doing exactly the opposite, kicking it up a notch for their 6th go-round, being held August 16-18.

As always, Equifunk is a veritable who’s-who of funk; bands like JJ Grey and Mofro, Marco Benevento, and the Revivalists are all on board. But this year the lineup is all about collaborations. Which is to say jaw-dropping I-can’t-believe-these-guys-are-playing-together-anywhere-much-less-a-summer-camp collaborations. Jack-of-all-trades blues man Anders Osborne plays a set with John Medeski, one of the greatest jazz keyboardists alive. English funksters New Mastersounds – who at times sound more like the Meters than the Meters – join up with saxophonist (and DC native) James Casey, best known for his recent work with the Trey Anastasio band. Another moon in the Phish orbit, Jon Fishman, will play with his band Pork Tornado, one of only two shows the band currently has scheduled. The always entertaining Soulive, who have done everything from blues to funk to a song-for-song jazz rendition of the Beatles’ Rubber Soul, will play with legendary James Brown and P-Funk saxophonist Maceo Parker. Finally, damn near everyone in the preceding paragraph will play as the M&M’s; Benvento, Medeski, and Parker will join Papa Mali and Stanton Moore (of Galactic, who ripped it up at last year’s Equifunk) for a bring-down-house jam session to close out the festival.

Galactic w/Corey Glover KILLING IT at last Equifunk 2012

TO DO LIST: Sweetlife Festival THIS SATURDAY!!

For local lovers of live music, this weekend marks the kickoff of what is truly the most wonderful time of the year:  FESTIVAL SEASON!  On Saturday, sweetgreen, purveyors of healthy bites in the DC area since 2007, will present Sweetlife:  A Music + Food Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.  The lineup looks delicious!  Whether your auditory taste buds are craving futuristic soul (Solange), the best contemporary blues (Gary Clark, Jr.), indie rock royalty (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), new hip hop classics (Kendrick Lamar), or orchestral pop/rock bliss (Phoenix), Sweetlife has something on the menu for you! 

And that’s just the main stage.  A music festival wouldn’t be complete without great DJs (John Thornley of US Royalty and Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem, to name just two) at the 9:32 DJ Lounge, or a plethora of excellent acts appearing on the Treehouse Stage, which will feature future festival headliners and music magazine cover stars (including Shark Week, MS MR, Youth Lagoon, & Holy Ghost!).  And since sweetgreen knows you’ll work up a thirst and an appetite, there will be great breweries on location as well as food trucks and artisans galore.  So dig out your hula hoops and glow sticks, get your face paint and your finest new tutu, because Sweetlife is the first “can’t miss” event of the season!

TO DO LIST: Sons of Bill @ The State Theater TONIGHT!!

Sometimes a band name doesn’t attempt to be funny, even though it ends up that way. Take Charlottesville’s Sons of Bill, for example. Three of the five members are, in fact, the sons of a guy named Bill. Through three albums and one EP (as well as a new 7” released for last month’s Record Store Day) Sons of Bill have ripped high quality, high energy Son Volt-esque alt-country. Last year’s Sirens, produced by Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven guru David Lowery (who adds his own fantastic drawl here and there), was a glorious amalgamation of old school outlaw country and southern rock but with notable added depth. In short, if there were a band that summed up the intellectual/southern/hippy feel of Charlottesville, Sons of Bill are probably it. They rarely stray outside their comfort zone, but that’s a good thing – any odd asides in the midst of the wonderful Americana they’ve mastered would seem forced.

They’re an amazing live band, honing their talents during a seemingly relentless touring schedule. All five members are extremely talented, and their extended live jams are the stuff of legend. The brothers’ familiarity continually shows as they trade riffs and solos. And the band always seems to kick it up a few notches higher when playing in their home state, so tonight’s show at the State Theater should be a damn good one.

Central Virginia is well represented tonight as the Dericks – also from Charlottesville – will open the show. The Dericks have a more pure country sound and some damn good melodies (think of early Whiskeytown). It’ll be a night of music that will make you want to fire up the barbecue and let summer roll in.

TO DO LIST: Simone Dinnerstein & Tift Merritt TONIGHT @ The Hamilton!!

With no accompaniment at all, Tift Merritt's soulful voice is enough to give goosebumps the chills. That she is a singular, gifted artist with a storied career understates her many talents. Tonight at The Hamilton Live, she will join celebrated classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein for what will surely be a night to remember. Their unique blend of stirring classical music and the very best of North Carolina's rich contemporary folk sound is deftly showcased in the video below for "Colors" from their collaboration Night.

A perfect pairing of artists should be showcased in a perfect venue, and that is an apt description of The Hamilton Live. Visually and sonically extraordinary, intimate and alluring, and luckily for you, not yet sold out! So get tickets here and make sure you're there!

TO DO LIST: David Grisman w/John Sebastian TONIGHT @ The Howard Theater!!

For fans of bluegrass, David Grisman needs no introduction. With a career that spans over 40 years, the renowned mandolinist and composer has been there and back again, and then taken a few more laps just for good measure. Stylistically Grisman’s playing is all over the map, owing as much to jazz as it does to the psychedelic sounds of a late 60’s San Francisco – he even coined the term “Dawg” music to describe the multicultural mish mash. He has collaborated with everyone from greats like Stephane Grapelli to, most famously, hippy luminary Jerry Garcia to produce music that urges the listener to move as much as it asks them to think about what they are hearing.

Joining Grisman on stage to kick of their tour will be friend and fellow music legend John Sebastian. A former founder/member of The Lovin’ Spoonful who delivered hits like “Do You Believe In Magic” and “Daydream,” Beginning with the 2007 album Satisfied , Sebastian has spent the later years of his career exploring the annals of acoustic folk along with Grisman as both musicians seek to produce music that transcends the genres that they pull so much inspiration from.

Tickets are still available HERE, so get off your ass and join us for a remarkable evening of music in the equally remarkable Howard Theater. 

TO DO LIST: Hunters and Bleached TONIGHT @ DC9!!

Thursdays kind of suck.  The weekend is so close you can almost taste it but you know you still have to go into work tomorrow.  So you have a few drinks at happy hour, maybe stay out a little later than usual...and then head home slightly buzzed but unsatisfied (unless you are a college student, in which case every day is the weekend).  

Well, screw that.  This week get your weekend started early (and right) by joining us tonight at DC9 for raucous sets by Hunters and Bleached.

Hailing from Brooklyn, Hunters practice the brand of high energy, lo-fi indie punk that you might expect to hear from your neighbor's garage band...if your neighbor's garage band was really freaking good, had a pair of dynamic lead singers playing off each other, and had gotten Nick Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) to produce its next EP.

Bleached (Jennifer and Jessie Clavin) formed from the ashes of cultishly adored, all-female punk band Mika Miko.  Bleached keeps some of the punk but adds sunnier pop hooks and an updated girl group sound (think early Dum Dum Girls with a grungier sound palate).  In short, these ladies rock hard enough to make you think its already the weekend (and it may be by the time they exit the stage).

Doors open at 8:00.  The first act goes on at 8:30 (first opener, Priests).  Tickets are still available.  Be there.

Hunters - "Deadbeat"

Bleached - "Next Stop"

TO DO LIST: Ivan and Alyosha @ DC9 TONIGHT!!!

The Lone Bellow and Ivan & Alyosha at DC9 tonight! (two shows, doors at 6 and 9, both SOLD OUT)

One of the best double bills possible (and triple bill if you’re catching the late show which includes Twin Forks (Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional)), tonight’s show will feature the kind of guitar and harmonies that will have you irresistibly snapping and clapping along. Both bands performed at SXSW to an ever-increasing roar of praise.

Ivan & Alyosha, with a core of four musicians and occasionally joined by other friends, hail from Seattle. Their debut  album, “All the Times We Had” has garnered praise, and single, “Running for Cover” was featured on the NPR Austin 100. Brooklyn’s The Lone Bellow also features soaring, aching harmonies, on simple, compelling songs, making them a perfect match to Ivan & Alyosha for what will surely be a remarkable evening of music. 

Check out Ivan & Alyosha

and the Lone Bellow

Then do what you need to do to get to the show!


TO DO LIST: Mount Moriah TONIGHT @ DC 9

The last time Mount Moriah played in DC (opening for Mirah at the Rock and Roll Hotel), guitarist/vocalist Heather McEntire couldn’t contain her enthusiasm, telling the sold-out crowd “this is the best show ever.”

A lot has happened to the trio out of Chapel Hill since then, most notably the release of their stellar sophomore album Miracle Temple. McEntire’s voice calls to mind Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris as much as ever, but Miracle Temple is leaps and bounds past the band’s self-titled debut. It’s easy – almost too easy – to label Mount Moriah’s music alt-country, but the term doesn’t do them justice. It is, instead, music of the cloth it’s cut from; McEntire spent her early career with an indie rock outfit called Bellafea, while guitarist Jenks Miller spent his time in the infinitely more psychedelic (and “Southern” sounding) Horseback. When the two met at (where else?) a record store, the worlds collided.

While Mount Moriah is a subtle, brooding record with flashes of beautiful anger (“Lament” is a highlight), Miracle Temple is a crisp, confident burst of energy and twang that’s perfect for throwing the windows open and bopping around the house. Or, in this case, bopping around DC9. It’s the opposite of a sophomore slump, and the songs are wonderful when performed live.

Opening act Blessed Feathers, made up of Donivan Berube and Jacquelyn Beaupre, hails from West Bend, Wisconsin but are already well traveled; their 2012 EP Peaceful Beasts in an Ocean of Weeds is a wonderful five song travelogue. The slow-burning Western Massachusetts anthem “Holyoke/Springfield” may be the highlight (though they likely won’t make any friends in the area they describe as “living in the asshole of a shit castle.”)

Both bands are fresh off numerous well-reviewed shows at SXSW; don’t miss your chance to see them in your own backyard.

TO DO LIST: Craft Brewers Concert Series @ The Hamilton ALL WEEK LONG

For five straight nights this week, three of our favorite things come together in a terrific amalgamation of sudsy awesomeness. The Hamilton is presenting the Craft Brewers Conference Concert Series, combining an up-and-coming band with beer from a U.S.-based microbrewery, many of whom are in town for the 2013 Craft Brewers Conference. Sure, you could spend nearly $1,300 to go to the conference – or save your money and head to one of the best music venues in town and enjoy those same brewers’ wares.

Music, beer, and the Hamilton. Sign us up.

Here’s what’s on tap (see what I did there?):

Monday, 3/25: Elephant Revival/New Belgium Brewing

Colorado’s Elephant Revival is fantastic mishmash of folk, bluegrass, and world music (what the kids these days are calling “transcendental folk”) that incorporates five musicians who collectively play just about every instrument known to man. Their most recent release, 2012’s It’s Alive EP, is their best yet, from quiet, haunting ballads to the electrifying instrumental “Tam Lin Set.”

90 minutes north of Elephant Revival’s homebase of Nederland, Colorado is Ft. Collins, home of New Belgium Brewing (though New Belgium recently opened a second brewery in Asheville, NC). Best known for their Fat Tire line as well as Ranger IPA, New Belgium has been turning out great beer since 1989. Founded by brewer Jeff Lebesch, New Belgium is named for the country where Lebesch found the beer upon which he modeled his own while touring the country by bicycle (thus Fat Tire). It’s the perfect companion to a night of great, eclectic acoustic music.

Tuesday 3/26: The Mother Hips/Sierra Nevada

Northern California’s the Mother Hips have been together in one form or another since the early 90s. Early on their music featured extended Widespread Panic-esque jams. In 1998, however, they released Later Days, which had more in common with Uncle Tupelo than any jam band. Since then, a healthy mix of alt-country, 70s rock, and a fair amount of psychedelia have served them well. Their latest album, Pacific Dust, has a classic rock, hangin’-with-your-friends vibe that will be served very well by the beer of the evening.

Sierra Nevada is familiar even to those who don’t drink a lot of beer. Their Pale Ale is the second highest selling craft beer in the country, selling only slightly less than Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Widely regarded as one of the must influential craft brewers founded during the microbrewery boom of the 80’s, Sierra Nevada hasn’t altered their formula much over the years, they’ve only increased it, currently putting out nearly 500,000 barrels per year (and, like New Belgium, they’ll be opening a new brewery in North Carolina).

While the Pale Ale is the gold standard, their recently introduced Torpedo Extra IPA is a hop lovers delight. The beer incorporates the company’s “Hop Torpedo” technology, essentially integrating hop aroma into the beer without additional bitterness. It’ll go well with the oversized 70s sound of The Mother Hips.

Wednesday 3/27: The Revivalists/Abita Brewing Company

As they often are at the Hamilton, the sounds of New Orleans will be on display on Wednesday as horn-driven New Orleans funk powerhouse the Revivalists take the stage. Citing influences ranging from The Radiators to Galactic to Anders Osborne, the group has garnered amazing reviews since forming in 2007. They truly came into their own last year with the release of their third album, City of Sound, an album the Black Keys may have made if they were from the Big Easy rather than Ohio. The Revivalists represent the next generation of New Orleans music, a jumpy mish-mash of funk and rock that will have you moving.

And of course if you’re going to have New Orleans music, you have to have New Orleans beer. Any smart visitor to the Big Easy knows you occasionally have to eschew hurricanes and mint juleps for a Turbodog, the delicious, chocolaty, dark brown ale made by the Abita Brewing Company. Their Spring IPA is a hop-heavy delight as well, but if you’re listening to the sounds of New Orleans, you gotta get the classic New Orleans beer.


Thursday 3/28: Chris Jacobs Band/Heavy Seas Beer

Baltimore’s own Chris Jacobs Band are up Thursday night. For most of his career Jacobs fronted the criminally unheralded blues jam band The Bridge. (You’ve likely heard them as they were featured on a 2002 episode of The Wire.) After 10 years, Jacobs went solo last year and so far the result has been more than fans could hope for. While the sound doesn’t stray far from the Bridge’s bluesy jams, it comes closer to hitting the raw, dirty feel of their astonishing live shows. Expect a great deal of incredible instrumentation and improvisation, but more than anything, some of the best modern blues you’ve heard.

Like Jacobs, Hugh Sisson is another Baltimore pioneer, both as a beer maker and lobbyist; it’s because of Sisson that brewpubs are legal in the state of Maryland. His original creation Clipper City wasn’t selling enough countrywide, so he created the Heavy Seas brand. While the Clipper City beers still exist, it’s the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon American IPA that’s become their “flagship.” Nicknamed “Hop3” (because it’s hopped three times in the brewing process) it’s got a delicious earthy taste that goes perfect with pulled pork, wings, and the blues tunes of Chris Jacobs.

Friday 3/29: Here We Go Magic/Brooklyn Brewery

Because no week of music and beer would be complete without something from Brooklyn, Friday night brings the lo-fi electro-folk of Here We Go Magic, paired with suds from the Brooklyn Brewery. While their latest album, A Different Ship, had people knocking them as a little too Radiohead, it’s important to remember how insanely fun their first two albums were, especially 2009’s Pigeons. A hugely entertaining hodgepodge of fun grooves and happy synths, the music couldn’t help but make you feel good. (“Collector” may have been the best song released that year.) The important thing to remember about the band – and the best reason to see them live – is no one seems to know what they’ll do next, even them.

Founded in 1987 by Steve Hindy (who learned to brew in – of all places – the Middle East), the Brooklyn Brewery didn’t start producing their own beer until 1996 when they converted a former matzo factory (it’s Brooklyn, remember) to a functional brewery. (So for those of you celebrating Passover, you can say the decidedly non-kosher beer you’re drinking at least has a less-than-six-degrees relationship to matzo.) To this day their highlight remains Brooklyn Lager, a throwback to the 45 breweries that existed in Brooklyn in the late 1800’s, most of which turned out Vienna-style lager. The beer is “dry-hopped,” steeping the beer with hops rather than adding them to the end of a boil, which adds to the aroma. They’ll likely have some of their stellar seasonals along as well.


It’s hard to pick which show – or beer – is the highlight of this lineup. The only way to not miss a great night of music and beer is to get to them all.

To Do List: Little Green Cars @ DC 9 TONIGHT!!!

Last fall’s CMJ Music Festival had 1,436 bands playing 84 venues across New York City, and Little Green Cars rose from the din to make the “15 Artists to Know” in all the Best Of lists.  Similar things went down last week at a little musical Clustercrunch in Austin, Texas (you may have heard about it), and now Ireland’s next big export is boomeranging its way across North America in a mad dash before returning to the British Empire for the summer festival schedule.  Lucky for you D.C. is one of the towns on their list of places to unleash some harmony, and even luckier for you it’s going down tonight at DC9 and tickets are still available

Little Green Cars have been compared to everyone from old school R.E.M. to Arcade Fire to Magic Numbers, and their debut album, Absolute Zero, comes out next week on Glassnote Records (which is also the home of Mumford & Sons and Two Door Cinema Club).  Absolute Zero is a mish mash of vocal harmonies, lush compositions, and pretty clever lyrics all wrapped in a giant American alt-countryish ribbon.  Your future self will thank the hell out of you next year when Little Green Cars are selling out much larger venues, and you can give your current self a high-five for being so effing cool.  Maybe it’s a SXSW hangover effect that makes us want to share things you shouldn’t be missing, but seriously, we can’t believe tickets are still available.  Pounce on ‘em right now if you know what’s good for your ears.

TO DO LIST: Wake Owl @ Jammin' Java TONIGHT!!!

Considering how formidable Colyn Cameron’s songwriting skills are, there’s no question fans of his band, Wake Owl, hope he stays in the music business. But goodness knows the man certainly has a resume to fall back on – the Southern California native studied organic agriculture at Emerson College in Sussex, England, worked on a number of farms in Germany, Chile and Canada, and then traveled the world.

But writing haunting, sweeping acoustic music is where Cameron’s talent clearly lies. The five songs on his magnificent debut EP, Wild Country, are quiet ruminations laced with violins, tremolo guitar, and several layers of Cameron’s soothing tenor. It’s a voice that’s hard to pin a description on – writers have described it as “lonely,” “textured,” “attention grabbing,” “reflective, reedy,” and, “unflashy.” No matter how you describe it, it’s perfect for the world-weary songs he sings. With a number of U.S. dates this Spring and a full length album in the works, Wake Owl is on the cusp of a huge breakout – the chance to see them in an intimate venue like Jammin’ Java is a blessing.

Wake Owl will be joined by Brockway (the stage name of New England-based singer/songwriter Dan Lee) and Andy Shauf.

TO DO LIST: Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds TONIGHT @ The Hamilton

It’s safe to assume that many of the folks who will be in the audience at the Hamilton this evening saw Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds open for Allen Stone at the 9:30 Club in September and, like so many before them, fell under the spell of this musical juggernaut from Brooklyn.  By many accounts, they got the better of the headliner with their raw brand of soul and R&B, which made the goofy looking Stone appear somewhat tame by comparison. As vocalist Arleigh Kincheloe succinctly puts it, “This is not high-class wearing-suits stuff. This is rock and roll.”

The band got started in 2008, when Kincheloe, her harmonica prodigy brother Jackson, and their drummer cousin Bram started playing together. Bram brought along a horn section, bassist, and guitarist. They honed their skills in 2009 during a five-month residency at Brooklyn’s Rockwood Music Hall, and have been tearing up stages ever since. The now eight-piece band will play music from both of their records, 2010’s self-titled album, and 2012’s phenomenal Pound of Dirt. They’ve been consistently working on new material as well, so expect to hear that in the mix.

The band recently paid tribute to their Rockwood days by playing a show there on New Year’s Eve, which, despite not being publicized, managed to sell out before tickets even went on sale. Bad news came at the NYE show as well, when the band announced that original members J.J. Byars, Johnny Butler, and Aidan Carroll were leaving the band. They quickly filled in the blanks by adding baritone sax phenom Brian Graham and bassist Josh Myers. While they’re not easy shoes to fill, it’s unlikely the lineup change will cause them to kick any less ass.

TO DO LIST: Laura Tsagarris @ The Hamilton THIS SATURDAY

Not to take anything away from the Hamilton, which is a wonderful venue, but for Laura Tsaggaris, Saturday’s record release party for her new album Everyman will probably be a bit anti-climactic. After all, the album received a glowing review from this very website. Tsaggaris then had the unique honor of joining us on the podcast (you can download just our interview with Laura from iTunes HERE), where she performed the title track from the new record. After a one-two punch like that, it’s sad to say there is simply nowhere for her seemingly brilliant young career to go but downhill.

Thus, Tsaggaris’ show at the Hamilton – as wonderful as it is certain to be - will only feel like an also-ran. Sure it’s one of the classiest joints in the most powerful city in the world, but it ain’t Andre’s basement in Arlington, the exotic location of our podcast recording sessions. Sure it’s got a fantastic, crystal-clear sound system and Tsaggaris will have her incredibly talented band behind her, but without Chunky writers there to ask half-assed questions, the whole operation will no doubt just seem hollow. And yes, she’s got Chapel Hill’s very well-dressed The Old Ceremony opening for her, whose most recent record, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide is as assured, understated, and pretty as Tsaggaris’ own record; but really, the mock game show announcer voice we use to open the podcast is infinitely more mature.

Granted, there are upsides – the Hamilton has good food and Tsaggaris will probably get a free meal, which we did not offer her. They have a larger beer selection than what’s in Andre’s fridge. She’ll be playing for paying customers, instead of Kevin and Justin. The bottom line is she’s a wonderful musician and performer, not to mention a trooper with a positive attitude – I’m sure that, despite these adverse conditions, she’ll make the most of it. Please join us Saturday night and cheer her on.


TO DO LIST: The Delta Saints @ Jammin Java TONIGHT!

Nashville's The Delta Saints have a message for the world. A sweaty, sinful, bayou infused message steeped in the very essence of rock n roll. Since  forming in 2007 the quintet has toured incessantly, spreading their gospel far and wide, and with the release of their debut full length Death Letter Jubilee they've set their their sights on big time.

Tonight the Saints are making a stop at Vienna's Jammin Java and if history has taught us anything it's that by this time next year, dint be surprised if the band is playing on a bigger, a much bigger stage.

Check out the bands video for “Death Letter Jubilee” below,  be sure to make the trip outside the beltway tonight so you can say you saw The Delta Saints when!


Tickets are available online NOW.

TO DO LIST: Cymbals Eat Guitars @ 9th & Beats THIS SUNDAY!!!

Local favorites Mittenfields is the gooey delicious middle of the Oreo between C'ville's Left & Right and the blowing-up-all-over-the-where Cymbals Eat Guitars in a Sunday night three band show at 9th & Beats.

CEG has been described as "a marriage of classic pop forms and ambient haze that makes for a stark, dusky psychedelia" and their two latest albums were very well reviewed by Pitchfork. Mittenfields is one of the hardest working bands around and delivers THREE guitars for your listening enjoyment, and there's no real danger that the cymbals will actually eat any of them. I don't know a thing about Left & Right, but that's never stopped us from giving a group a good listen, so come on out and join us.

If you're still not convinced, Jana Hunter from Lower Dens will be DJing that night as well.  Hot Dang!

Check out the power of the soft focus:

Tickets are available on Huge Fan here: