Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jammin Java Mid-Atlantic Band Battle VIII

Although I have moved the CPF "headquarters" to a new site, I thought I'd post the link to my slideshow of photos from Tuesday night's Band Battle here as well, since it's the place where most people will land first if they follow host Nate Ihara's suggestion to visit

I wrote an article about the evening as well, but the Content Management System at my column was acting up today and it got lost in the ether. Hope to have it back up asap.

And, since I'm judging again tonight (Thursday), there will be more local music news coming soon.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A (web) Door Closes, a (web) Window Opens

Happy New Year, my truly Close Personal Friends.
Hope you've had a marvelous holiday season and are perched at the beginning of a terrific 2013.

In the spirit of new beginnings, CPF is undergoing a reboot. and will now be handled as a WordPress blog. Please visit me at the new site and follow along!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

We Get Out - Wallflowers, Sixpence None the Richer, Easy Star All-Stars

Since we last met on here at CPF HQ, I’ve been out and about, enjoying live music. C’mon along!

First, The Wallflowers, launched their fine new album, “Glad All Over,” with a cozy show at the Black Cat. I summarized that show with a photo gallery for, and you can see it here.

The soundboard guy was nice enough to give me his set list, so there are a few new pages around that, plus a shout back to a rare show theband did at Alcatraz prison, at Whatcha Gonna

The weekend after, I was at my lovely little local, Jammin Java, to see Sixpence None the Richer, best known, of course, for the sweet little ditty, “Kiss Me.” Singer Leigh Nash’s voice is the touchstone for that band, so it was a bit alarming when the first part of the performance showed her having vocal problems. If she had been an “American Idol” contestant, it would have been a case of “you’re a bit pitchy, dawg.”

Luckily, she was able to pull it together by the time, late in the set, when “Kiss Me” came up and so, the night ended on an up note. 
Perhaps Nash's issues wouldn’t have been so noticeable if it weren’t for the fact that the opener, Elenowen, had such beautiful harmonies in a short set that drew from two EPs and included a cover of Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.”

And then, to complete a trio of nights out, Hubby and I went to the impeccably restored Howard Theatre for our first visit to see a night of reggae with The Easy Star All-Stars. (I had mentioned the show in a preview piece for
Openers The Aggrolites (see them below) did an enjoyable set, including a bouncy cover of The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down.” (God bless the Fabs, they sound good in so many different styles.) Trouble was, the group started late and seemed to run long and it became apparent that, for whatever reason, the All-Stars were slow in getting to the club. (Hubby said he saw one of them walk across the back of the stage near the end of the Aggrolites’ set, as if to say, “Okay, you can wrap it up now.”)

And so, much as we enjoyed the All-Stars’ take on songs by Michael Jackson (“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” was an early burner), Pink Floyd and Radiohead (I’m particularly taken by their version of “Karma Police”), we were burned out before the end of the show and didn’t hear what I imagine would be a rousing late-set performance of “Thrillah.” We left about an hour into the set, during a version of "Beat It" which, to my mind, suffers from being slowed down to a reggae riddim.

 Still, a good night out - and proof that we ain’t dead yet.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

More Amanda

Just a quick update. I set up the set list page for Amanda Palmer.
and wrote a review, with photos of her DC show for

Told you I'd tell you when they were ready.
They are and I did.

Here comes Monday - have a great week.

Friday, September 14, 2012

We Get Out - Amanda Palmer at 9:30 Club

I have, as usual, some catching up to do.
For those of you who might care to see some of the recent "pro" work (considering what I'm paid, that's hard to type without a fit of laughter), here are the last two concert preview pieces for
Last week, with Sondre Lerche, Bob Mould, Mission of Burma, etc.
This week, with Richard Thompson, Amanda Palmer and DeVotchKa

Alas, I didn't get out to any of last week's shows, but was able to catch two this week.
The first, on Wednesday night, was Amanda Palmer whom I've seen before but who exceeded my expectations with some thrilling bits of stage craft and a crackin' band.

I'm preparing an examiner review and photo gallery for that show, as well as a WhatchaGonnaPlay page, thanks to the lovely female roadie/assistant who passed me AFP's own set list. Those will go up as soon as I've prepared the photos and written the text, but here's a teaser...

The other show I saw was last night - DeVotchKa, plus Clare and the Reasons at Sixth & I Synagogue. I was invited to attend by Clare's people and knew I probably wouldn't be able to see the headliner's full set since I needed to meet up with Hubby in the 9-to-10 hour.

 I didn't have the SLR with me, so I popped off some shots with my point-and-shoot, a task made difficult by the shadow-heavy mood lighting for Clare and the Reasons' set. The band had a nice sound for the sacred space - lots of harmony oohs and ahhhs and gentle, mid-tempo rhythms. There wasn't as much variety to the sound as I would have liked and the pretty sometime bordered on precious. At one point, the keyboard player hit a riff that had some distortion to it and I thought, "ah, that's better" and then, a few moments later, at the same point in the verse, it was gone and I realized the riff was a technical glitch. The band could have used more of that frisson.

As for DeVotchKa, I would have liked to have heard more than the half dozen songs I was able to catch. Band leader Nick Urata is obviously an ambitious musical thinker, taking the stage with a full string section and, occasionally, a sousaphone (I thought it was a tuba, but was corrected by a smart friend).
 Urata cuts a cool, romantic figure on stage, looking a bit like a mid-European George Clooney, and was in full emotive voice.
One thing was missing for me, however,  at least in the portion of the show I saw. The last time I saw DeVotchKa perform, three summers ago, the band opened for David Byrne and was more of a band, with a bit of a rag-tag spirit as the members jumped around and traded instruments with a gypsy punk spirit. Here, tethered to his string charts, Urata worked on some big dramatic moments, but that anything-might-happen element was gone.
 (when I popped into the stairwell to check on Hubby, I was in the storage space for instruments)
                (like cowbell, you can't have too much sousaphone, so here's another angle)
So, having to leave at a point that I'm guessing was less than halfway through the show (I snapped the above photo on the way out), I'd like to think that there was a point where Urata thanked the fine string section and sent them on their way so that he could get down and playful with the band.

Excuse me now, I need to get back to those Amanda Palmer photos. I got some that I'm very happy with, so please check into the set list site over the weekend. Hope it's a happy one!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mid-Atlantic Band Battle VII recap

This is Nate Ihara, singer/songwriter of We Were Kings, and host for last Friday's Band Battle, held at Jammin Java.
During the show, where I served as a judge, Nate mentioned a number of times that I would be posting pics from the show here at the blog. If that's why you've bothered to stop by, thanks!

Rather than post the pics here, I used them to create a review for my column about DC concerts. You can see it here. So, if you'd like to see pics of Lightspeed Rescue, Western Affairs, Flux180 and/or Dale and the ZDubs, that's the place to go.

More anon.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back into Battle (of the Bands)

Tonight will be the final of the Jammin Java Mid-Atlantic Band Battle VII and I will, once again, be at the judges table to help pick the winner. It's always fun, a great chance to hear new music and a challenge to pick one winner when the talent is generally at a very high mark.

The club posted info about the event on its web site, and made me sound kinda cool, which is a little embarrassing but also most appreciated. Not adverse to reciprocal back-scratching, especially if it gives me a chance to promote local music, I mentioned the show in "This Weekend in DC concerts," the preview column I write for

The event is hosted, as ever, by local musician and charmer Nate Ihara, frontman for We Were Kings, who directs people to this blog for pictures and comments on the event. So, if that's how you got here, welcome and thanks for dropping by. The photos will go up ASAP.

In the meantime, here's a fun little video to kick off Friday night...
Have a great weekend!