Tag Archives: DC concerts

My li’l Sphere of Influence

This here newsletter/blog/what-have-you has been launching at friends and music-biz acquaintances for many, many years now and, while my bylines in major publications ebb and flow, I’m eternally grateful that musicians and publicists still reach out to me with offers to share music and concert access, as if my words here have some ability to shine light on worthy acts. When you reach out to Close Personal Friend, I listen and so, in the midst of the firehose of online media content, I humble suggest a few droplets of pleasure in the manner of two upcoming DC-area shows:

The Turbos at Seasons & Sessions, September 26

I got an email from Cameron Reck, bassist from this Columbus, Ohio-based rock band offering me an interview in advance of next week’s show. I declined that last bit but said sure to hearing some music. A CD arrived in the mail, labeled 2018 Singles Collection, that contained 13 tracks.

It turns out that the Turbos are a solid alternative rock quartet with two lead voices, “the powerful sultry” (their words) Alex D and “the gritty wailing” Lucas Esterline. It’s not a groundbreaking sound that’ll have you racing to your media player, but this is clearly a band that can get a crowd rocking in a club setting. The Turbos are about to embark on a three-month trek that takes their “dual-vocal rock” through Pennsylvania, all along the north- and south-east coasts, and even into Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and West Virginia, so if you’re out there somewhere (tour dates here), pop in and tell them I sent you. It’ll freak them – and me – out.

The Way Down Wanderers at Jammin Java, September 25

You can’t get much more “heartland” than Illinois, so it’s not surprising that bluegrass is the foundation of this Peoria-based quintet’s sound, but it also offers accents from the players’ varied backgrounds in rock, jazz and classical to create something a bit different in the crowded nu-grass field.

On the band’s latest album, Illusions, the track “All My Words,” for example, shuffles to a reggae/island beat, then adds a mid-song rap and ends with breakneck banjo. The song’s video is unlike any roots/rock clip you’ve seen, with modern dance and sign language integrated within.

not your typical bluegrass video
If further name dropping helps to seal the deal, Illusions was produced by Grammy-winner David Schiffman, whose impressively eclectic credits include Johnny Cash, HAIM, System of a Down and Rage Against the Machine. Much of the electric guitar and keyboard flourish in the studio comes courtesy of guest Roger Manning, a cult legend from his time in Jellyfish and Imperial Drag.
 
I wish this show wasn’t happening the same night that my favorite local cinema, Alamo Drafthouse Loudon, is planning a screening of Quadrophenia so I have to make a tough choice. Life in the DMV can be an embarrassment of riches. Hooray for First World Problems!
Finally, a teaser: heading out tonight to see Saintseneca so there will be photos and a review coming soon.        
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We Get Out – Niall Horan at Fillmore Silver Spring, Nov. 4, 2017

I would like to write a long, chatty post, and catch y’all up on recent musical doings, but I’m preparing for some travel and time is tight. So I’m just dropping in with a link to my latest review – Irish cutie, Niall Horan, once (and, hopefully, again in the future) of One Direction. I took pics and wrote words for AXS.com.

Niall Horan at Fillmore Silver Spring.

At the show, I gave out a few CPF biz cards to a few nice fans, and I want them to see the review if they drop by the site. More soon!

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I Went, I Took Pictures, I Wrote About It

This little into bit here is always the hardest part of having a blog, trying to come up with some pithy way to say hello and fill in the gap from last we met. So I’m going to cut to the chase – I’ve been to some fine shows lately and wrote them up for my examiner.com column, with photo slideshows for all but one (the venue didn’t allow me to shoot). Here’s some links to bring you up to date, with photo samples to, hopefully, tease you into clicking through:

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, with members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, with members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Wolf Trap summer season opener, with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The two Daves - Cousins and Lambert - of Strawbe

The two Daves – Cousins and Lambert – of Strawbs

The Strawbs revisit “Hero and Heroine” (an album that looms large in my personal legend) at AMP by Strathmore

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers with Brett Dennen (8th row seats for an amazing show!) at Eagle Band Arena (formerly the Patriot Center)

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down (she went to high school with Dr. Daughter), plus Saintseneca (a new favorite) at the 9:30 Club

Robyn Hitchcock and Emma Swift (a veteran hero and a bright newcomer) at the Barns of Wolf Trap

Gaz Coombes (from Supergrass) and Piney Gir at Jammin Java

A trio of great local acts at Jammin Java – Sub-Radio, Swell Daze and Belmira

And there’s more coming soon, as I’m editing pics and writing text about another recent fine show – Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats (“S.O.B.”!!)

close gtr

who opened for Lord Huron. See ya soon!

pink smoke

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Where I’ve Been, What I’ve Seen, What I’ve Written

Hey there, CPF people. I’m not sure how many of y’all (as we say in Virginia) follow the articles I write for examiner.com or the postings I make to the Set List Site, WhatchaGonnaPlay, where I share concert photos and actual set lists from shows I’ve seen. (I would love to hear if you do via the comments section or direct email.)

Being busy elsewhere often keeps me from this here blog and I don’t want to be repetitive. But since I can’t assume that you know what I’ve been up to,  I thought I’d do a little catch-up summary here to remind you where else you can find my work…

Over at examiner.com, I write two columns. One is for reviews and previews of DC area concerts. Since my last posting here, the following have run:

Glenn Tilbrook at Jammin Java

Sept. 20 weekend preview – Travis, Virgin FreeFest, Laura Veirs, The Selecter

BOY at the 9:30 Club

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Atlas Genius at Fillmore Silver Spring

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I also have a Digital Music column, where I write about free, legal downloads and review albums and, as in the case of the One Direction movie (which I thoroughly enjoyed. So there!), other music-related stuff:

Freebies from Matt Pond, Army of Me, Wolfcolony,  samplers from the Mountain Oasis EDM fest, and the ATO label

“One Direction: This Is Us” movie review

And then, as I mentioned, there’s Whatcha Gonna Play, the set list site. I’ve been very lucky lately in that I’ve gotten lists from every show l’ve been to in the past month, and I’d love for you to check ’em out:

Glen Tillbrook

BOY

Atlas Genius, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (below) opening

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And here’s a link you won’t find anywhere else yet. While I’m still working on the examiner.com review of this show, you can see the set list and pics from Wednesday night’s 9:30 Club appearance by Noah and the Whale.

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I hope this collection of links offers you something new to see or at least explains my absence from CPF. I’ll try to be better about staying in touch.

Hope you’re well!

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