Big Thief performs at the 9:30 Club on Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
Big Thief is one of those bands that is as true to the idea of a band as can be. Each time I’ve seen them, I come away with the feeling that each piece of the whole works so well together. And that cohesion over each record seems to get tighter and seem like second nature. Even when, as she did Sunday night to a sold out audience at the 9:30 Club, singer/guitarist Adrianne Lenker started the evening solo for a newish song “Zombie” (which has been in rotation for their live shows for the last year or so). The rest of the band focused their attention as if performing along through some telepathy.
Kishi Bashi captivates a sold out Lincoln Theatre on Nov. 8, 2019 (Photo by David LaMason)
There are performances that are good, some are great, and then there are the transcendent ones that leaves you a little different than when you came in. Kaoru Ishibashi (who performs under the name Kishi Bashi) created an experience that is both musically and visually compelling — moving the audience to feel like a part of what was going on there on the stage — as was the case of Friday night’s performance within the crowded walls of the Lincoln Theatre.
Mudhoney blew the doors off the Baltimore Soundstage on Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
Thirty years is a long time for anything, but for being in a band it can be a lifetime. That often means beating the odds and then some. But that’s just how long Mudhoney has been making some of the best garage rock ever put to plastic. The band took some of that great music to the stage at Baltimore Soundstage on Friday.
Wilco rock a sold-out show at The Anthem on Oct. 15, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
Wilco is one of those bands that continue to grow and evolve — which is part of why they continue to be an inspiration to other musicians and more importantly their fans. Although each album stands alone as a document of that particular point in time — they aren’t trying to redo what’s already been done — the great thing about watching a Wilco show is that you have that chance to hear some of those older songs alongside newer ones.
And even then things are never the same, as the performance like the band can evolve, too. I remember the first time I saw Wilco. It was back in 1997 or 1998 at a wedding hall, and each time since then it’s been different but each has been an amazing performance.
Luna brings Penthouse to the 9:30 Club on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
Luna have been making great music for nearly 30 years, but for some reason even after being on major labels, having had songs featured on major movie soundtracks, and the critical praise of not only their peers but of big name music publications (Rolling Stone famously named them “the best band you’ve never heard”), Luna isn’t a household name, though it should be!
In fact, one of their best albums, Penthouse, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year, was named one of the best 100 albums of the 1990s by Rolling Stone recently. And it’s that same album that was performed in full (plus some, but I’ll get into that in a moment) at the 9:30 Club recently.
Bob Mould rocks the City Winery on Sept. 26, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
My introduction to Bob Mould came years ago after picking up a cut-out cassette of Hüsker Dü’s final LP, Warehouse: Songs and Stories. One of the first records I owned myself, I felt I had something special no one knew about. “There’s this record by this band and this guy’s voice is so cool!”
That guy’s voice, by the way, was Bob Mould. I hadn’t heard anyone sing like that before. Of course, I had been listening to mostly U2 and hair metal bands at that point, but that record was clearly different — and in a good way. It was melodic but loud, punk but with hooks.
Orville Peck croons the night away at Union Stage on Sept. 21, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
Whether it’s the smooth baritone croon, the old west cowboy veneer, or perhaps the well talked about mystery behind the fringed black mask that draws you in: Once you witness Orville Peck, it’s hard not to be a fan.