Author Archive for Brandon Wu

Photos: Amon Amarth @ Fillmore Silver Spring

Fans of Swedish death metal stalwarts Amon Amarth would probably describe the band as "consistent" and "reliable"; detractors might say "predictable" instead. You know what you're going to get from an Amon Amarth album or live show: solid, ridiculously catchy, accessible death metal. In that respect the band's show last Friday came with no surprises—but [...]

Photos: Anthony Pirog Trio @ Atlas Performing Arts Center

Local guitarist Anthony Pirog has assembled a new trio with drummer Ches Smith (among many others, of Secret Chiefs 3 and his tremendous collective improv group These Arches) and prolific Baltimore bassist Michael Formanek. Under the name "Anthony Pirog Trio"—the compositions are all Pirog's—they put on their first live show last night at Atlas Performing [...]

Photos: Margot MacDonald @ Black Cat

Virginia-based vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Margot MacDonald has toiled away in the D.C. music scene for over a decade. The fruits of that labor were evident at last night's impressively attended release party for first record since 2009, Canvas.
Performing with a full band (including guests Wytold, Derek Evry, and The Sweater Set), MacDonald's best moments were [...]

Photos: Pelican @ DC9

Since its last show in D.C. in 2009, Chicago instrumental metal outfit Pelican has released a new record, replaced a guitarist, and gained the ability to sell out a string of shows. DC9's sellout was the group's fourth full house of the current tour, and it was justified: Pelican delivered the goods with a set [...]

Photos: Krewella @ Echostage

I was interested in seeing Chicago's dubstep/house trio Krewella mainly for two reasons. First, its popularity has skyrocketed in the mainstream dance music scene in the past year; it's gone from releasing its first EP last summer, to putting on a much-talked-about performance at this year's Ultra festival in Miami, to selling out huge venues like [...]

Photos: The Dismemberment Plan @ 9:30 Club

The Dismemberment Plan's first original studio album in a dozen years, Uncanney Valley, isn't likely to end up on too many end-of-year Top 10 lists. But while it's hard to see that album as anything other than a product of an aging band, The Dismemberment Plan's live show is basically ageless—at least judging by the [...]

Photos: Dessa @ Rock & Roll Hotel

Last night's show by Minnesota indie hip-hop luminary Dessa was one of the more improbable shows in recent memory. Dessa was sick, for one thing, to the point of nearly passing out during the show and needing to take a one-song "inhaler break." Also, a few days ago, her band's gear was stolen after a [...]

Photos: The Fans at Virgin Mobile FreeFest

The bands and performers at FreeFest were pretty interesting to look at (here's the evidence), but not nearly as interesting as the fans. To be fair, the fans had an unfair advantage: The bands got to stay dry. As in previous years, this year's FreeFest attracted a lot of neon-clad ravers (Kaskade had a bigger [...]

Photos: Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2013 @ Merriweather Post Pavilion

This year's Virgin Mobile FreeFest felt a bit different from the previous versions. The proliferation of dance acts (like Skrillex last year, DJs Kaskade and Pretty Lights played the West Stage rather than the Dance Forest, which caused multiple mass migrations of EDM fans back and forth across the festival grounds), the lack of a [...]

Photos: Austra @ Black Cat

The genre labels that have been applied to Austra's two studio recordings (electronic, synthpop, dream pop) don't seem to adequately describe the band's music, and this seems doubly true in concert. Using both catchy dance beats and near-ambient drones as backdrops to invariably earwormy melodies, Austra—with Katie Stelmanis' unique and powerful vocals as the ever-present [...]

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