Author Archive for Brandon Wu

Photos: ShamrockFest 2014

For the past several years, the annual ShamrockFest at RFK Stadium has been characterized by rainy, cold weather as much as its trademark drunken idiocy. This year, the festival bucked the former trend at least, and the public inebriation took place under bright sun and warm temperatures.
It does seem the festival is suffering in some [...]

Photos: Washington Women in Jazz Festival Gala Show

Last night's "gala show" of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival was worthy of its elevated status on the festival agenda. Festival organizer Amy K. Bormet—interviewed by Mike West last week—put together an all-star sextet featuring guitarist Mary Halvorson (pictured above), drummer Allison Miller, saxophonist Sarah Hughes, trumpeter Jaimie Branch, bassist Karine Chapdelaine, and Bormet [...]

Photos: Ellie Goulding at Echostage

"I'm a little shy," Ellie Goulding said somewhere in the middle of her performance last night at Echostage, but the audience could be pardoned for not believing her. Backed by a large ensemble of instrumentalists and backup singers, Goulding seemed fluent in everything she did—singing, playing guitar and electronics, pounding on floor toms, and working [...]

Photos: Lorde at Echostage

What happens when you throw Lorde and her meditative songs into a cavernous warehouse of a venue originally built for EDM acts and raves? Not surprisingly, something a bit weird.
As an artist and performer, Lorde certainly didn't disappoint last Friday at her sold-out show at Echostage; her vocals were spot-on and impressively faithful to the [...]

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 [...]

...