On a recent rainy day, I nonetheless was really excited to see Failure play at Baltimore Soundstage. Between the rain-slowed traffic, fallen trees blocking the road, and my unfamiliarity with downtown Baltimore, I’m amazed I made it to the show on time. But nothing was going to stop me from making it to the show.
The last time I (or anyone else, for that matter) saw Failure was in 2019 for the tour to support their album In The Future Your Body Will Be The Furthest Thing From Your Mind. That tour was amazing, so my expectations were incredibly high for this go around.
Tim Fogarty and Kristian Dunn of El Ten Eleven perform at Union Stage on April 15, 2022. (Photo by Marc Shea)
“We love it when you guys sing along” was the quote of the night from Kristian Dunn, the bassist and one half of the duo El Ten Eleven. That’s typical of the humor the instrumental band displays, not just in their occasional between song banter with the audience, but also within the songs titles like “Adam And Nathan Totally Kick Ass.” And every bit of it was on display at Union Stage recently.
OURS performs at Jammin’ Java on March 3, 2022. (Photo by Marc Shea)
Jimmy Gnecco is a very soft spoken, down to earth person. As a musician and an artist, he is a powerful, uncompromising force. After Jimmy founded the band OURS, they played a total of five shows before the record label bidding war began.
But it was far from the dream that musicians hope for. It took years for Jimmy to get his first album to sound the way he wanted it to sound. And that wonderful sound was on full display in a recent performance by OURS at Jammin’ Java in Virginia.
Mother Mother perform at 9:30 Club on Feb. 4, 2022. (Photo by Marc Shea)
Like a lot of people, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a live show. I was more than ready to get my rear end to a concert. It didn’t even really matter what it was. So, to that end, Mother Mother was not a band I was familiar with at all. But I knew a few people who were going to the show, so I figured I would go with them. It had been several months since I had been to a concert and I thought it would be fun.
I checked out some of their music ahead of time and enjoyed it. But none of that prepared me for Mother Mother live at 9:30 Club recently.
You may not recognize the name iAN Ottaway (that’s EYE-an) but he’s spent a lifetime with some of the most incredible musicians and artists of the past few decades. He’s hung out with Jeff Buckley. He runs the Ask iAN page for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. He’s been friends with Mark Lanegan for almost 30 years. And that’s just the start.
That friendship with Mark Lanegan resulted in a track iAN has recently released called “I’m Always.”
Jordon Zadorozny has been releasing music as Blinker The Star since back in 1994. He has done almost everything an artist would want to do. He got a major label record deal. He’s written music with and for artists like Lindsey Buckingham, Chris Cornell, and Courtney Love. He’s played in some amazing venues and lived the rock and roll life.
You may think that over 25 years into his career, he might be satisfied with cranking out songs that sound like they were written in the mid-’90s. But that just isn’t the case. Jordon has been steadily writing and releasing fresh-sounding music for years. Case in point, Blinker’s new single, “Silent Types.”
Vast Robot Armies album cover for Paper Crown Parade (Artwork by Victor Malang)
Vast Robot Armies describe themselves as “three cities, two countries, one band.” John Agee (guitar, bass, and vocals) and Joe Wells (guitar, bass, synth, and backing vocals) hail from Kansas City, Missouri. Jason Thomson (guitars, piano, synths, and vocals) lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The band recently released a new full-length album titled Paper Crown Parade. I caught up with Jason to ask him about standout song “Little Detroit.”
Failure playing during their tour with Swervedriver in March of 2019. (Photo by Marc Shea)
Editor’s note: Parklife asked our contributors to revisit some of the best shows they’ve ever seen in a series titled My Favorite Concert.
One of the best concerts I ever saw took place almost a year ago. Failure was co-headlining a bill with Swervedriver at 9:30 Club. I’ve been a fan of both bands since the mid-90’s and this was a chance to see two bands that I had never been able to see.
Ken Stingfellow performs at the Bright Box Theater on March 7, 2020. (Photo by Marc Shea)
The Bright Box Theater is a little gem tucked away on the Pedestrian Mall in Old Town Winchester, Virginia. In addition to the main theater, there is a small area on the second floor called Out of the Box that hosts intimate events. Out of the Box recently featured Ken Stringfellow. Ken not only founded the alternative rock band The Posies, but has also played for many years with REM and Big Star, in addition to releasing several solo albums.