J. Roddy Walston and Palm Palm rock a sold-out Ottobar on Jan. 19, 2020. (Photo by David LaMason)
In October of last year, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, posted through social media that “after 14 years, four albums and 889 shows of being creatively betrothed solely to each other, now feels like the time to explore other possibilities…” After sold-out sets in Baltimore and Richmond, J. Roddy Walston and the Business and their raucous brand of Southern rock and Stones-inspired music was on an indefinite hiatus.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Ex Hex performs at Ottobar on Dec. 14, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
Roller skates, pinball, and rock ‘n roll. These are things that my mind is immediately drawn to when I hear the music of Ex Hex.
LP was one of David LaMason’s best concerts of the year. See where she ranked below. (Photo by David LaMason)
Editor’s Note: This year, we asked our bloggers to name their Top 10 shows of 2019 or choose their Top 10 photos of the year. We will run them over the course of mid-December as our Best of the Year posts.
It’s hard to think we’re nearing the end of 2019. I don’t realize how much has happened throughout the year until I look back and get that “Holy Cow! That was this year?” feeling. And I’ve been experiencing a lot of those lately.
Guided by Voices performs at Black Cat on Dec. 7, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
There are things that are on almost everyone’s bucket list, but I submit here that among all the mountain sunrises, skinny dipping, and roller coaster rides there must be a space near the top for experiencing a Guided by Voices show. There’s nothing like it.
Christopher Paul Stelling shakes the Rock and Roll Hotel on Nov. 30, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
As someone who has called Florida, Colorado, New York, and most recently North Carolina “home,” it’s fitting that the music of Christopher Paul Stelling has a rambling, seat-of-the-pants feel that’s at once untethered and feels like coming home.
Fruit Bats rock Union Craft Brewing on Nov. 23, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
There’s a comfort to the Fruit Bats’ music. Eric D. Johnson writes songs that seem to glide from over the hills from the West Coast to this year’s fantastic Gold Past Life on the band’s new label, Merge Records.
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.