2017 was a pretty intense year all around, but there was still time for lots of music. For me personally, it included covering bands that I had never dreamed I'd get to photograph, crossing many entries off from my bucket list of artists to see, and even traveling overseas for several festivals. Choosing the "best" shows from among the numerous ones that I attended and covered for ChunkyGlasses was a daunting task, not least because I'm pretty selective about which shows I'll even do, meaning that I rarely see a bad one. Still, there were several that definitely stood out as being the best of the best. Here are my picks for my top ten shows (and festivals) of this year.
By the time the Friday came along, the Hopscotch Music Festival was in full swing. One of the greatest features of the festival isn’t part of the festival at all – it’s the numerous unofficial day parties that happen throughout town. Some of them feature artists who are also playing evening sets, taking away some of the difficulty in choosing between conflicts. But they also feature many bands who come just to play the daytime shows. We spent Friday afternoon at Kings, at the party hosted jointly by Jamestown, NC-based Three Lobed Records and WXDU, Duke University’s radio station. Featuring such diverse acts as an experimental set by James Toth of Wooden Wand and guitarist Tashi Dorji, the folk-music of duo House and Land, the psychedelic noise of Philly rockers Purling Hiss, and singer-songwriter Rosali, it was a varied afternoon with lots of great music to check out. Finishing off the day was Repressed, a new electronic project by Lambchop singer Kurt Wagner and Superchuck mastermind Mac McCaughan.
On a hot late-summer afternoon on Saturday, a group of Baltimore bands of various genres, both veterans of the scene and relative newcomers, came together at Pier Six Pavilion. Organized to raise money for the Living Classroom Foundation’s Believe in Music program, which supports music education in Baltimore, the Windjammer Festival served as not only a celebration of the city but also as a chance for the musicians to give back to the community and to help enable the next generation to follow after them. The sold-to-capacity venue cheered as Dan Deacon spoke sincerely and eloquently in the middle of his set to the importance of being able to learn music as a means of self-expression, and it was clear throughout the day that the other performers on the bill shared his sentiments.
In this episode Kevin, Adam and Quinn convene in the rawk basement to get drunk and break shit while taking in Old 97’s latest, Most Messed Up…but not before they dive deep into Nikki Nack, the new record from TUNE-YARDS. PLUS! After seeing the tour closer at the 9:30 Club, Kevin commits to converting Adam over to the Future Islands cause. And the Pixies put out a new album last week? Without Kim Deal? What’s the world coming to? Go ahead and waste some time with us to find out!
Photos by Richie Downs www.richiedowns.com
There are shows and then there are SHOWS. Future Islands tour closing set at the sold out 9:30 Club last Thursday was emphatically, and with all its heart, the latter.
Since 2006, the Baltimore mainstays have been hammering away at their weird brand of hyper-emotive synth-rock, and for whatever reason – be it a Letterman performance that went viral, or just the fact that in Singles the band has made their best release to date – it is safe to say that they have, at long last, finally arrived.
In our latest episode the curmudgeon is STRONG with the gang as Kevin and Paul face off over the latest from ultimate-bar-band rawkers The Hold Steady, and Adam lets us all know how he REALY feels about Future Islands and their latest super-sweet-dance-move (or maybe not so) powered record, SINGLES. PLUS! Madelyn weighs in on this year’s SXSW and gives her recommendations for the bands you must see in 2014!