Category Archives: Concert Review

Concert Review: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros @ 9:30 Club

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros,  9:30 Club, Live, Concert

It was a night for dreamers. If you were there, you’re going to remember this show for the rest of your life (especially me, but more on that later). The crowd slowly trickled in to fill the sold out 9:30 club to the rafters. In the stilled moments leading up to Edward Sharpe, it was ass to ankles from bar to bar. You had your spot, your beer(s) and you weren’t going anywhere.

This concert developed with an air of mystery for me. I knew loved the hits and crushed Alex Ebert’s solo album. But beyond that, I was lost. In the end, none of that mattered. Edward Sharpe delivered an energy and sound that it is near impossible to match in a live setting. This can mostly be attributed to the twelve piece band that plays everything. Literally everything.

Together, their sound rose as a deafening crescendo that inherited the energy of everything in its path. My ears are still ringing with their sweet, beautiful melodies. The motion and power of the crowd was merely an extension of the stage itself. And I mean this quite literally. Alex came out into the crowd on multiple occasions to be with his people. The air surrounding Ebert’s performance transformed onlookers instantly.

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Epic Week in Concerts

The music scene literally explodes this week in DC. I have shows lined up Wednesday through Saturday and I might even pick up a Sunday ticket. Bowerbirds! Gotye! Polica! Youth Lagoon!! There is no way I’m going to be able to review all these shows (new job!!) so here’s a quick preview of the upcoming week in music. My favorite part about this week? Four concerts, four different venues all with a best friend in town. I will survive?

Unfortunately most of these are sold out (minus Bowerbirds). If you’re up for joining, snag some last-minute craigslistings, it’s going to be special.

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Concert Review: Reptar @ Gibson Guitar Showroom

Reptar, Washington DC, All Things Go, New Noise 2, Gibson Guitar Showroom

Photo courtesy All Things Go; Laura Lopez

Hands down, one of the coolest things I have ever done. The good people at All Things Go certainly know how to throw a party. ATG’s New Noise series at the Gibson Guitar Showroom is a show that every audiofile should experience. There were three great bands that brought down the roof for New Noise 002, but I am going to focus solely on Reptar‘s performance. But trust me, Casual Curious and Fort Lean were excellent and made the night all the more special.

So, I mentioned the venue being awesome. DC’s Gibson Guitar Showroom supplied an intimate experience the likes I have never been apart of in my concert going days. There is no “stage” so the hyped, sold out crowd was able to basically stand in with the bands as their sound poured over the audience. I was lucky enough to sidle up to the front of the crowd for a good majority of the show. The only down side was when one of the 6’6″ behemoths at the show happened to wonder in front of me, essentially giving me a great view of flannel. Oh, I am also forgetting the open bar stocked with Flying Dog and liquor (later cases on cases of Bud Light). Those that were smart enough to get there early were more than tuned up for Reptar’s brain melting set.

Every time I begin to talk about what I experienced during Reptar’s performance, the words seem to get stuck somewhere near my heart. It was mind-blowing, earth rattling, sex inducing, raw power. People were losing their shit. I mean everyone expected something amazing, but what this DC crowd got was something different. In a moment of mid-show reflection, the thought crossed my mind; “Oh, so this is what it’s like to be in a cult”. And I was ok with it.

I honestly have little to no recollection of the setlist, sorry. What I do know is that a new religious movement signed its charter immediately after Stuck In My Id was through. This song might already be my anthem for 2012, but the live performance takes it to new heights. The entire crowd moved and sang as one while Graham Ulicny belted the lyrics into oblivion. Reptar’s electronic synths and bouncy rhythmic instrumentation are made for live performances. Blastoff and Rainbounce once again got the crowd moving. Every note and key is delivered with an intensified passion all capped by Ulicny’s fierce sound. That behemoth I mentioned earlier, yea he nearly took down the entire stage and crowd in the tornado created by Reptar.

What an incredible night. Not to mention, I went to the All Things Go after party and had an epic battle game of landmines with band members and show goers. I’m pretty sure I asked the Reptar guys if their name had anything to do with Rugrats, but I was too bombed to remember their response. That’s for sucking at spinning a quarter. I love music.

Concert Review: Real Estate @ Black Cat

Real Estate, Live, Black Cat, Washington DC

Real Estate is an ever building force wrapped in nostalgia. On an icy night in DC, these guys from Brooklyn provided the perfect energy to close out the weekend. Real Estate being big Giant’s fans, delayed the show several minutes while waiting out the end of the playoff game. Luckily they didn’t wait through overtime because the sold out Black Cat crowd was itching to start moving.

Real Estate touched all bases with their set but the main focus was on tracks from their 2011 album Days. They led off with Green Aisles and Easy which set the crowd to fully primed. By the time It’s Real hit in the middle of the set, Real Estate could not be touched. The flow created by Real Estate’s sound lulls you into an effervescent state of mind that only gets better with every song.

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Rarity In Form: Top 5 Concerts of 2011

M83, Live, Black Cat DCWow. What a year this has been for live music. I’ve seen so many incredible shows throughout DC, Northern VA and Richmond. It’s not going to be an easy task getting this down to five. Just to give you an idea of how great this year was, Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine, among other great shows, didn’t make the cut. There have been a fair share of “damn, can’t believed I didn’t get tickets” and “shit, I missed them?” moments throughout the year. I only wish I could have seen every concert.

I have never rated anything like this before, so I don’t really know what I’m doing here. Just go with it, I guess. I’m such an amateur that I couldn’t narrow this thing down to my top five. So you get a bonus and we start at…

6.  The Black Keys @ Merriweather Post / Free Fest

The Black Keys were the sole reason I trekked to the shitty state of Maryland and the techno vomit that was Free Fest. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of great bands there (Cut Copy, Okkervil River, Two Door Cinema Club) but it seemed like all everybody wanted to see were the “press play-button” artists. I was there for the Keys. And man, did they deliver. It doesn’t matter where you are, the energy oozing from The Black Keys is enough to impregnate all within earshot. Closing with I Got Mine was one of the musical highlights of my life.

5.  Foals w/ The Naked And Famous @ 9:30 Club

I’m going to call #5 the upset of the year. I bought the tickets on a whim and went in with zero expectations. The Naked And Famous played the part of primer to perfection. Everyone was juiced, jazzed and ready to go by the time Foals came on. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough because I was very quickly gaping at the spectacle unfolding before me on 9:30 Club’s historic stage. Yannis Philippakis tore the rafters from the ceiling while leading a stage-diving, microphone-coptering, speaker-climbing all out rage. Once I finally got my mouth off the floor, I realized I was right in the middle of one hell of a show.

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Concert Review + Photos: M83 @ Black Cat

M83, Live, Black Cat DC

Holy shitmazingepic! {{Early Show Review}} Formulating coherent thoughts into a review is going to be near impossible for this show. M83 pure killed it at Black Cat. You must see these guys live, it will change your life. The entire show was a blur of lights, reverb rhythm, and infectious sound. Without a setlist for reference, I would not have be able to discern one song from the next. Halfway through the show I was in a near ethereal state. Thank you M83!

Intro and Midnight City led off the show. Never before have I experienced such an adrenaline spike at the beginning of a concert. Midnight City was every bit as good live, and them some. The sold out crowd was completely caught off guard hearing that song so early on… just got the chills reminiscing. Morgan Kibby was incredible throughout the night and never more so while belting out lyrics for Intro. Without her, M83 is a much lesser band. I was a little worried that they peaked too early but those thoughts were quickly and emphatically extinguished.

M83 brought back the classics with Kim & Jessie followed closely by We Own The Sky. The latter was definitely a highlight of the main set. Everyone jumping, dancing, swaying…it was special. Gonzalez chose to close out the night with one of the most popular songs off Saturdays = Youth, Couleurs. And what a perfect way to end it all; the crowd was completely hypnotized and electrified by the instrumental fueled jam session.

Unfortunately we did not get to hear Raconte-Moi Une Historie. I was almost positive Gonzalez would lead the group back out for one final closing song. It was not meant to be. That was the only let down for the night but if I’m being honest with myself, I never should have never to hear that song. It would have felt forced and out of place on this night.

I am going to be talking about this show for some time to come. Happy it was shared with some good friends. I greatly look forward for the next go around, and so should you. — RIF

Setlist and more (read great) concert photos after the jump.

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Concert Review: Milo Grene @ Lincoln Theater

Milo Greene, Lincoln Theater, DC, Marlana Sheetz, 1957, The Hello Sessions

This marks a first for Rarity in Form; I’m reviewing an opening band. I believe, unequivocally, that Milo Greene will be the next big thing, and very soon. I had originally come to see The Civil Wars (review coming), who was headlining for the night, but after doing my homework, I was just as excited to see Milo Greene.

They were incredible, end of story. I have never seen so many concert goers awed and speechless following a performance. After their set, the intermission lobby was buzzing on Milo. Eager new fans rushed the merch table to meet the band and grab their EP. I am guilty of lingering to catch a glimpse of the multi-talented and breathtaking Marlana Sheetz. It’s not fair that few expected that type of performance but it was all made up for at the end of the set as the audience rose to give the band a standing ovation. Unheard of for an opening band. This was a special moment for the group and the audience could feel it.

Milo Greene’s set showcased the four tracks from this year’s EP, The Hello Sessions. 1957 and Silent Way are perfect examples of the strength and potential of this band. Their sound is so cohesive and addicting. On stage, Milo Greene is a continuous back and forth chess match. Minus the drums, just about every band member gets a crack at their instrument of choice and even lead on the vocals. I’m not 100% on this, but I’m pretty certain that Marlana played three instruments in one song, now that’s some talent.

The surprise of the set came midway when Milo Green busted out an amazing cover of Sufjan’s Chicago. My days will now be spent scouring the internet for a copy of the cover.

Bottom line, you have to see Milo Greene live. I can’t wait for them to come back around as headliners. Check out my previous post to listen to Milo Greene’s EP.

Live song from Lincoln Theater after the jump!!!

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Concert Review: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. @ Red Palace

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Red Palace

It is becoming difficult to describe the special connection I feel towards Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Seeing this group from Detroit tear down stage after stage will never get old. You can, and should, listen to their debut album Morning Thought every day, but you will never know the creativity, intensity, and passion in which they deliver these tracks until you witness them live.

The set from DEJJ was essentially the same from months ago back in Richmond. The sold out Red Palace offered a rocking venue. A special touch was added when they paid tribute to recently disbanded REM with an inspiring segue into Everybody Hurts. Nostalgia, yes!

In my opinion, you won’t see many other live songs that top DEJJ’s version of Gil Scott-Heron’s We Almost Lost Detroit. Repping their hometown threads, Epstein and Zott took the roof off with a performance that has, to this day, left me speechless.

The encore was… insane! I would never would have called Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody as the lead off. That whipped the DC crowd into a frenzied momentum which carried on well after the show had ended.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – We Almost Lost Detroit 

Concert Pictures After the Jump…
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Photos: The Decemberists w/ The Head and the Heart @ Charlottesville 8/3/11

The Head and the Heart killed it as openers. These guys will be hitting VA several times this fall as headliners so keep an eye on Concert Pulse for a show near you. The Decemberists performed one of the more entertaining shows I have ever seen. Colin Meloy had his band laying on the stage, playing somber notes, while the crowd crouched in anticipation of the explosion. A few songs later, the entire crowd was swaying with the motion of the ocean and singing along at full pitch. Talk about stage presence; wild, unadulterated fun. This is Why We Fight and Won’t Want For Love were beyond incredible.

Here are my shitty camera picks from The Decemberists w/ The Head and the Heart @ the Charlottesville Pavilion in Virginia. I really need to start bringing my real camera to shows. For now, these will have to do.

The Head and the Heart Charlottesville

The Head and the Heart @ Charlottesville 8/3/11

The Head and the Heart Charlottesville

The Head and the Heart @ Charlottesville 8/3/11

The Decemberists Charlottesville

The Decemberists @ Charlottesville 8/3/11

The Decemberists Charlottesville

The Decemberists @ Charlottesville 8/3/11

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