Tag Archives: Jammin Java

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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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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How’s the summer treating you so far? Been keeping busy myself and, as ever, have fallen way behind in keeping my CPFs informed here. In the most immediate past, I had a great time last night at my “local,” Jammin’ Java, for a three-act bill of MYZICA, Cheerleader and Civil Twilight, a show which I’ll be writing up for my examiner.com column tomorrow (if I’m a good girl). In the meantime, here’s a shot of Civil Twlight, the headliner, who brought U2-style arena rock to the small venue. DSC_0212

In an effort to catch up with the archival element of this blog, here’s a selection of recent articles posted since we last met:

DC Concert Photography column:

Opening of Woo Live! Concert venue (As an addendum to this news, Mei Verba, cited as the new venue’s booker in the story, has since severed her ties with the club and moved most of the shows to new venues, although the club’s web site still has shows scheduled.)

Shots from the crowd at The Earth Day concert

A review of Delta Rae at 9:30 Club

Concert previews – James Murphy, Mat Kearny, et. al

My AXS column includes the following recent posts:

Five underrated bands to see at the Firefly Music Festival

Johnette Napolitano’s new EP and tour

Meet Mikey Wax on his first nationwide headlining tour

Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield sing Elliott Smith

Peter Asher takes about the British Invasion tour

And, finally, the latest from my Digital Music column:

Sonic Boom Records – making vinyl!

Jay Burden at SXSW – When local musician (and CPF) Jay Burden, of the band dedWAX, told me that he was going to SXSW to work at a club there for the duration of the big fest, I asked him to report back with what he saw and heard. That became a four-part series for the column, including a) an introduction to Jay and his music, b) a first-hand report from Jay on his arrival and settling into the scene, c) a Q&A about his time in Texas, and d) his summation of the experience and a podcast he made while at SXSW.

And that’s only what I actually wrote about doing! Having taken care of the “housekeeping,” I’ll try to return soon – and more often – with stuff As It Happens. Stay cool!

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Battle results

Greetings, (close personal) friends!
Not a lot of time today, but last Friday night, I was a judge at the 12th edition of Jammin Java’s Mid-Atlantic Band Battle, and the evening’s host promised from the stage that I would be posting photos and such from the event here at CPF.

To make good on that promise, here is a shot of the winning band, Leesburg, VA’s own Swell Daze, with their oversized prize check and producer Jim Ebert, who will produce for them as part of their booty haul.
SD with Pat
I also wrote up the night for my column at examiner, so you can get many more photos and a bunch o’ words, too, if you click right here.

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Short month, long winter

February is the shortest month and yet it can easily feel like the longest, with the early-setting sun and bitter cold standing between me and spring – and my birthday, on March 1st. (Start planning now!)

At least this February, I have the sweet face of Harry Styles looking over my shoulder as I type, as his 21st birthday (can I buy you a drink, handsome?!) on February 2 makes him my calendar boy of the month.


Yes, my possibly inappropriate 1D fangirl obsession continues, but I was able to make it work with a recent story posted on AXS.com, when respected indie troubadour Martin Sexton covered a 1D song for his daughter, after she found out that Harry was following him on Twitter.

Other recent stories for that site include:

Courtney Barnett’s new single/video and upcoming album. Very excited for this as I loved her album and the show I caught last year, at the Black Cat. She was also very gracious afterwards, meeting fans and signing albums. Here I am with the cool lady. IMG_3992

Sufjan Stevens’ new album and upcoming tour.

Rapper/singer Lizzo gets coveted spot opening for Sleater-Kinney’s tour.

I’ve had a few other items posted recently, so here are some other links for your pleasure:

Jukebox the Ghost and Twin Forks giving away free music and touring together.

A review of The Black Cadillacs, and Knox Hamilton (a new favorite band) at Jammin Java.

A review of (charming Southern boy) Christian Lopez, also at Jammin Java.

To recap, here are places you can find me and links to a whole lotta love:


Examiner.com – National Music news

Examiner.com – DC Concert Photography (reviews, previews and slideshows)

 Whatcha Gonna Play – the set list site

Thanks for dropping by and please come back soon. It won’t all be listicles (a horrible trend in journalism, with an ugly word to match!).

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First bylines of 2015

It’s been awhile since I’ve said hello here, but not for lack of anything to talk about. Au contraire, mes amis (Je suis Charlie), I’ve been busy with fun events both musical and travel-oriented. Still rummaging through pics and such to share, so in the meantime, I give you two links:

1. My first article for the new year, a simple news items about the return of Scottish punk band The Rezillos, who will be releasing their first new studio album since their 1978 debut, Can’t Stand the Rezillos.

Rezillos copy

2.The Village Voice Pazz and Jop Critics Poll was printed/posted online today and yours truly was one of the 1000+ music writers who sent in a ballot of Top Ten albums and singles for the past year. You can see the overall results and my personal ballot.

As usually happens, shortly after I submitted my ballot, I was reminded of a song that I should have included. I was driving with Sirius XM’s alternative station on the radio when I heard a tune called “Work It Out” by a young band from Arkansas named Knox Hamilton. I liked the song so much when I heard it a few other times on Sirius that I Shazam’ed it and bought it from emusic. If I had my list to do over again, I would probably bump Sondre Lerche’s “Bad Law,” from his fine album, Please (which I reviewed for one of my examiner.com columns).

Happily, the band is coming to play this weekend at my favorite local joint, Jammin Java, so I intend to attend and will write up a review to show my interest in (and, one hopes, enjoyment of) the band.

More to come soon, including my first live reports of the year, including my night as judge at the Jammin Java Band Battle and a trip to Florida, where I visited a most wonderful record store.

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Jammin’ Java Band Battle recaps…

Two nights, 13 bands, 2 winners.

The 11th edition of the Jammin’ Java Mid-Atlantic Band Battle held its preliminary competitions last week, and I was judge on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Host Nate Ihara repeatedly touted that I’d be posting photos here, but I wound up writing up each night as stories for examiner.com instead.

And so, if you’ve come here to CPF looking for MABB coverage, please use the following links:

Tuesday night, July 1, the winning band was Skyward.


Wednesday night, July 2, the winning band was Shade Parade.

Shade Win2




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