There are fires burning thousand of acres of land down south in Colorado. The smoke has crept up to Denver and it caused an eerie haze over the city streets yesterday.
The fires are amplified by high winds and high 90′s temperatures. The heat has also thrown a wrench into my sleep–in that, it’s taking me forever to fall sleep because it’s so hot. And when I do fall asleep, I’m having this recurring dream. It’s a dream about a girl–a girl that I’ve known for awhile and never have thought of in this context. I’ve known her for the majority of my time here and we share some similar passions and frustrations, but we’ve got very different outlooks on many things. It wouldn’t be too far off to say that we’re like bread and Legos.
Nevertheless, on these past couple heat-stricken nights, when I close my eyes, I have a rendezvous with my subconscious and I think about her. It’s odd to me, but intoxicating still. I doubt that when we wake up and look at the same smoky Denver streets tomorrow that we have the same dreams.
It’s hazy when I’m awake, but I now associate this song with her.
If we were lovers then you take it back
Then we stayed till the fire died down
Then we let it go
I’ve come a long way
So if you wanna wait now
I’ll probably stay
Just tell me who you wanna be
I promise I’ll take you
But I’ll struggle with me
So baby come down with me tonight
Just lay it all down upon the line
We Were Lovers is the song. I was sent it as one of a couple different songs from the Washington DC-based band The Analog Affair and I think that this one fits the story and its chilled out aura is worth a listen with or without personal anecdotes. It’s been far too long since this site has featured a chillwave track.
I know the fires and the heat will eventually die down. With them, the dreams of when we were lovers will go, too.
I discovered the Kalob Griffin Band at Penn State playing rock and roll music at Cafe 210 West on a random night out and left with a copy of The Kalob Griffin Band EP. The KGB, as their fans call them, relocated to Philadelphia and continued to release new music and tour. “Whiskey My Love” came on shuffle one day and a subsequent Google search showed a free show in DC on Memorial Day weekend – so I decided to check them out again.
Hill Country is a BBQ Joint south of Chinatown in DC with a small stage in the basement. The bar features a set of bullhorns on top and a permanent smell of pork BBQ permeates the entire building. The KGB brought great energy over the course of their two plus hour set. It’s a significant feat to keep a crowd interested for such a long time – but the dance floor was full of folks enjoying the show.
The setlist included a collection of songs from their latest full length, June Found a Gun, as well as a few from their first EP. They also mixed in a few un-released songs and covers to keep the crowd moving – notably a great take on “Folsom Prison Blues”. The band manages to be a whole different animal live than their recorded material would lead you to believe. Dueling guitar and piano solos seem to extend some of my favorites from their released material and Kalob Griffin seems to walk the line from Tom Petty to Neil Young in a way that seems to mesmerize folks that hear him for the first time.
I haven’t written in quite some time and with this review, I break my silence.
The past two months have been a huge whirlwind of changes. I’m sure many can relate to the sentiment of change – whether it’s something as natural as the changing of seasons and growing ages, or something that you work so hard for and finally achieve. Either way, the past two months have been filled with change, the nice positive kind. And with such changes, I tend to reflect back from time to time.
The first concert I ever went to was in Charlotte, North Carolina. I went to see Usher. Who opened for him? Oh you know – John Legend, Christina Milian, and Kanye West. Why am I mentioning this? Wednesday night, I ventured out to DC’s U Street Music Hall to see Youngblood Hawke. Through most of the show, I kept comparing the Usher to show to what I was witnessing in front of me. Sounds like a strange comparison but it wasn’t to me. I looked around the room a few times, and each time I realized that the people around me were having so much more fun than the people that were around me at that Usher concert in 2005.
In case you’re unaware, Youngblood Hawke is a six-piece indie pop outfit from Los Angeles. Their debut single We Come Running has been featured on countless television shows and commercials. I promise if you hear the introduction to the song, 95% of you will be saying “oh yeah, I’ve heard this song before.”
Youngblood Hawke’s music has this energetically contagious feel to it. So much so that I have yet to find a person that doesn’t like their music.
This morning I received a text message from my friend who accompanied me to the show. The message read “I’ve got a Youngblood Hawke song stuck in my head. I think I am a fan.” Said friend had never heard of or listened to Youngblood Hawke prior to Wednesday night.
The set started with an energetic drum sequence where the whole crowd went crazy in anticipation of what was yet to come. From there it was a lively and spirited experience of Youngblood Hawke’s music from their new studio album Wake Up, as well as their thrilling 2012 self-titled EP. I could go on and on about how great the band’s music is – but for that you can go out and buy their music and judge it yourself (see what I did there?). Instead, I’ll tell you that it was a show of many spectacular moments. Some of said moments include Omar hanging onto the ceiling speakers while getting the crowd pumped, and Alice jumping down onto the floor and singing with some kids that were at the front and center of the crowd (I use the term “kids” in the literal meaning – these two girls couldn’t have been older than twelve). This was probably the only show I’ve ever been to where the audience was pumped up even during the slower tempo songs. Can you really say you’ve seen that happen many times before? I certainly cannot.
So basically what I’m trying to say is this: Youngblood Hawke makes the perfect music for this sunshine season. They’re kicking off their West Coast tour in a few days and if you’ve got the chance – be sure to go see them play.
Unbeknownst to all of us in the 9:30 club, a violent thunderstorm had just begun to wreak havoc on the district as Jukebox the Ghost launched into the first few lines of “Adulthood”. Large gusts of wind caused downed branches and uprooted trees to strike power lines, leaving thousands without electricity across the DMV. (As I write this, I sit in the dark surrounded by tea candles with my phone tethered to my laptop.)
As the storm wailed outside, Jukebox the Ghost rifled through a collection of songs from all three of their albums. Led by two vocalists, Ben Thornewill and Tommy Siegel, Jukebox thrives on high energy piano rock. Drummer Jesse Kristin completes the trio, which despite it’s size, has a very full sound thanks to layered synths and vocal harmonies. Thornwell and Siegel trade lead vocals song-for-song, giving their records a unique feel as songs seem to sway in different directions depending on their primary driver.
This show had a homecoming feel, as Jukebox got their start as students at George Washington University in DC, and it showed, as the 9:30 club was quite packed. The crowd enjoyed as they mixed earlier fan favorites, including “Schizophrenia”, “Empire” and “Hold it In”, with newer songs, and even a cover of “I Just Want to Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. A late audible during their encore led to crowd pleaser “Lighting Myself on Fire”, and finally they concluded with “Good Day”. I wish I had a more full setlist to post, but unfortunately, it seems as everyone there was having too much fun to write it down (Setlist.fm still sits blank for this show – get to it DC).
In Short: Don’t let their pop hooks scare you away, as they really do differentiate themselves with an incredible live show. Thornewill steals the show with his piano riffs and soaring vocal performances, while Siegel has begun to come into his own, especially on songs like “Half Crazy” and “Say When”, where his energy and stage presence get the crowd moving. Fans of Ben Folds and Jack’s Mannequin will find themselves feeling at home here. Try them on for size – “At Last” is from their latest album, Safe Travels.
Vandaveer is the project of Mark Charles Heidinger, currently based out of Washington, DC. Vandaveer started as a solo side project but nearly a year in, Rose Guerin joined and added harmonies to the folk Americana sound. Both Mark and Rose were members of DC’s Federal Reserve collective; they started informally collaborating each month and then eventually moved on to a full time musical partnership.
Together since 2008, they have released three albums. The third full length, Dig Down Deep, was released this April. Above is the music video for the title track. Check it out and enjoy.
I don’t think anyone is going to top Bon Iver this year. At least, for me. It’s the record I keep going back to, time and again. As someone that isn’t as smitten with albums as others, it’s the one I can point to and understand why people love albums. Justin Vernon and Company gave us one that is a lush and complete listen (one that requires repeated listens in my opinion).
They’ve been touring in support of the new album but they won’t be coming to a city near me. So the closest I can get (for now) is the concert stream that NPR provided from the 9:30 Club in DC. One of the highlights (again, in my opinion) was Beth/Rest. It was part of the encore.
Okay, so the title may need some work. About two months ago, I was joking around about the concept of me posting something every Monday, just for the sake of alliteration. Ian took me seriously and is holding me accountable. After putting it off for the past five Mondays, I present to you the debut of a new segment at 1146 miles. As long as I’ve got something to write about, and don’t suck too terribly at it, you’ll be hearing from me every Monday.
So today’s topic? I’ll start this bit off with talking about the show I went to on Saturday.
So after being an avid listener of Bright Eyes for the past six years of my life, I finally saw them live. They played at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA (a suburb of DC). Let me start out by saying that the atmosphere made the show at least 5 times better than it would have been at any other venue. It was an outdoor venue with the main infrastructure being made of wood, surrounded by a bunch of trees. Neat, right?
Okay, so on to the show. Over the years, I’ve learned to have low expectations when seeing anyone live. Conor Oberst and company demolished any doubts that I may have had as soon as I got to my seat on Saturday. Every track sounded 10 times better than it did when it was recorded. Other than covering all the greats in their discography, Oberst had more stage presence and personality during the show than I would have ever imagined.
Words can’t describe how great this show was so my attempt at describing will now end. I suppose you’ll just have to check them out yourself.
Until next Monday, I leave you with a track from the band’s latest release, The People’s Key.
PS – The encore had me wanting to drive 4 hours last night to see them again. Unfortunately, I didn’t get off work in time to make that happen. However, I will see them again as soon as the stars align.