Bob Mould - Talk about a legend. And talk about a long set list. He just fired through song after song and if I'm 1/10th as badass as he is at his age, I'd be thrilled. Related: pretty sure I was the youngest person at this show. Husker Du for life! Ted Leo opened the show solo -- new songs (both his and for The Both) sounded great.
Puddles Pity Party - This was the first seated show at the venue that I've been to. Made sense for Puddles' set up, but was still a little bizarre. I was relieved when his act had a decent amount of change up from his last show at the Hamilton (I've never paid to see another clown before, let alone seen a clown twice, so I wasn't sure if the gags would be the same, etc.). His Kevin Costner obsession was still there, but other than the "Happy Birthday, Kevin" repeated gag, his Costner jokes were different this time. This gives me confidence that I can keep seeing and enjoying Puddles for years to come. Happy day!
M. Ward - I wasn't going to go to this show (I like M. Ward, but I don't love M. Ward, and I'd already seen him this year opening for Jenny Lewis in Nashville). Then they announced that NAF was opening, aka Jenny Lewis' new band. I couldn't miss that. Their set was short, fun, and performed in the middle of the floor of the venue instead of from the stage. It's very different than any other Jenny Lewis project that I've seen, but it was still instantly enjoyable and joyous.
Titus Andronicus - I did not notice that this was a late show (on a weeknight...why would that even be an option?) when I bought my ticket. I did not appreciate said timing. I had to take a nap before I went to the venue. But then La Sera hit the stage at 11pm to open things and slayed. So I felt better about my decision not to ditch the show. But I can't say that I was fully awake during TA's set, despite all the loudness and screaming. From what I can remember they were good, but I was deliriously tired so I wouldn't have much confidence in my assessment either way.
Nada Surf - I lost hope years ago that I would ever see them play "Popular." I'd come to terms with it. It doesn't even disappoint me anymore. So guess what they played? "Popular," of course. I could have fainted. Daniel Brummel (from my second favorite band, Ozma) filled in on bass this tour, so that was a nice treat. The set was really long and it was a homecoming of sorts, as the lead singer's dad is a professor at GWU (he watched from the dressing room balcony). It was the first time that I've seen them when they've left "Killian's Red" off the setlist, but the "Popular" trade off more than made up for it. They even came back for a second encore after the vast majority of the crowd had left, in which they did a totally acoustic cover of "Blizzard of '77."
At the Drive In - This was bucket list material for me. A Relationship of Command poster proudly adorned my dorm room wall for four years at Bucknell. I tried in vein to get any of my college friends to care (they did not). They broke up before I could see them, and I never had much hope of a reunion. But they are finally back, even if it's without one of the original guitarists (at least I've seen his other band, Sparta). They had two sold out shows at the venue and I went on night one. Cedrick sounded fine to me, but the next day they postponed the rest of their North American tour because of serious vocal injury. So...thank the good lord that I went on night one. I had goosebumps the whole show. Finally seeing "One Armed Scissor" live is 100% the best musical moment that I've had at the 9:30 Club. Which is not something I would say lightly, considering that I've had enough awesome memories there to tattoo their logo on my arm. Also, the lead singer of the opening band was crazy and kept hitting herself, so that was fun.
Lucius - I've previously posted several videos from this show (which was live streamed on NPR) so you already know that it was killer. If you somehow missed that, don't bother with my review. Just watch the show here. You won't regret it.
I've seen my favorite band twice this year. At the end of March I headed up to Brooklyn for the album release show for the White Album at Warsaw. The venue was tiny, had Polish food, and had easy access to the bar from my spot near the front stage right (I prefer Scott side to Brian side at Weezer shows, but Brian side was closer to the bar -- sorry, Scott). These were all good things, clearly. The downside was that when the venue feels like a small high school gym, the acoustics sound like a small high school gym.
Big Data opened with a DJ set that no one danced to, so that was nice and awkward. Then Weezer delivered a blistering 20 song set consisting of five tracks from their new album (It is very good, you should get it), a few EWBAITE tracks, a handful of the normal singles that they play, and, my favorite of the evening, a Brian Bell on lead vocals version of "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly." The fan club had been buzzing that the band was filmed practicing "Slave" on snapchat earlier in the week. This small of a crowd would have been the perfect time to bust of fan favorite rarities like that. When they didn't play it in the set I assumed they were saving it for the encore. They came back and played "Beverly Hills" (there were noticeable sighs in the room) then "Buddy Holly." Alas, no "Slave" for me. They would play it later in the week at a record store show also in Brooklyn, but I was back in DC by then. Great show. Would have been perfect if they would have swapped a few more singles out for rarities (normally I'd recognize that as a ridiculous request for any show not on a Weezer Cruise, but this venue was so small that most people there were fan club members -- rarities would have gone over well).
This summer Weezer is on the road with Panic! at the Disco in their first full blown tour in a very long time (they normally play in short spurts or only on weekends). I caught the DC area show. The fan club got to go early to do a group picture with the band, so that was a fun start to the day. Plus it's always fun to catch up with the DC area Weezer Cruise alumni.
The setlist was better than I thought it would be for the setting. I was worried that it would be just a greatest hits set. It ended up being mostly a greatest hits set, but with four songs off their new album (including two fan favorite non-singles, "California Kids" and "Jacked Up"). The only bummer was that the band had played "Tired of Sex" in the shows leading up to the DC date. Then for us they replaced that song with "Troublemaker" (a huge downgrade -- had they swapped out TOS for anything off of their last two albums I wouldn't have been disappointed).
Setlist aside, this was the best live performance I've seen from the band. They are on fire at the moment and it is breathtaking to watch.
If you are wondering what it's like to see Panic! at the Disco live nowadays, the answer is a perplexing combination of the lead singer taking clothes off and doing back flips while teenage girls in the crowd shriek like they are at a One Direction concert. I have their first album and you hadn't of told me that they were the same band, I never would have guessed it. They have kind of dancey wanna be Muse songs now? But they did do a stellar cover of Bohemian Rhapsody, so that was enough for me.
I've been so busy going to shows (I should easily break 80 this year) that I haven't had much time to review shows. So for the ones that I remember at least, I'll offer some brief memories. Here are the Rock and Roll Hotel shows that I've been too so far:
The Big Pink - Nothing to wright home about at this concert other than the fact that it was the most empty I've ever seen the venue. Like embarrassingly so. The crowd would have looked sparse even at a smaller venue like DC9. Show them some love next time, DC, mmmkay?
Those Darlins - Thank God they rescheduled this. Their farewell tour was scheduled to come to DC the weekend of the blizzard in January. The thought of them breaking up before I got to see them one last time was very stressful. But they came back. Phew. Turns out the not crazy eyes female in the band has family in Virginia, so they were in the front row with us rocking out (her mom looks just like her and her aunt was a very enthusiastic dancer). Crazy eyes wore a jacket with giant eyes on it, so that was the most appropriate outfit ever. They slayed. And, if you needed any additional proof that they are batshit crazy in the best possible way, I grabbed a setlist at the end of the show and it was a list of hits from the 90s. They had fake setlists! Or I suppose they could also have developed nicknames for their own songs based on 90s hits, but the fake option seems more plausible. I love it.
J. Roddy Walston and the Business - They played for two nights around St. Patty's Day. I should have anticipated the crowd being annoyingly drunk, but I naively thought that the standard obnoxious green-beer drinking amateurs would be at a crappy bar and not at a concert. Worst DC crowd since the Knocks 9:30 Club were everyone else was a drunk college kid seemingly covered in sticky mix drinks.
Legendary Shack Shakers - I went because my friend Stefanie likes the opening band (they were decent and had a guy who played wash tub bass, which I'd never seen before). But holy crap were the headliners amazing. It was like hillbilly punk. The lead singer was insane. At one point he rolled up his pant leg, picked up his leg, and rocked it like it was a baby. At another point, he grabbed a baseball hat off a guy in the front row, stuck it down his pants, then handed it back to him (at which point another guy inexplicably hit him on the back and shouted "awesome!"...what?!). I was challenged to two air bango competitions by members of the crowd. I will definitely see them again.
Yuck - The band member who I got in an altercation with in an elevator on the first Weezer Cruise is no longer in the band, and he used to carry a decent amount of the vocals. But their new set up worked well and the replacement member looks jovial enough of a chap that I wouldn't expect his response to me saying "Happy Birthday" to him in an elevator to be yelling something about my football player, drunkenly falling over, then getting dragged out of the elevator by their sound guy. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.
Local H - They did a tour this year where they played their most popular album start to finish. Which is convenient as it is the only Local H album that I own. A few Weezer cruise friends from out of town joined me at the show. Most notably, the drum set up was the most ridiculous I've seen. Imagine a normal drum set, then elevate all of the cymbals several feet higher than they normally would be. The amount of arm swinging needed to even touch the things, let alone get a solid sound out of them...wow did it look funny. And the crazy part is that both drummers did this (the original drummer played the old album, the new drummer played the other half of the set, and they both played the encore). Also surprising, how full of a sound they have for being a drum/guitar two-piece.
Rooney - I thought this would be nostalgic and enjoyable. It was not. Turns out I'm totally over Rooney. Sorry, Robert (who at this point is the only band member left anyway).
Quasi - Matt Friedberger and the drummer from Sebadoh debuted their new band to open the show. It was clearly a concept band, though I can't say that I fully followed what said concept was. Something about Soviets and/or Atlantis. It was bizarre. Janet Weiss crushed on the drums, natch. She's by far my favorite drummer. Was funny to see her in such a low key environment -- there was endearing banter, for example, and I'm not sure I've ever even heard her speak at a Sleater-Kinney show before. Several DC music royalty were in attendance, including Mary Timony and Ian MacKaye.