Live Review: black midi @ Black Cat — 4/5/22

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Geordie Greep leads black midi in a performance at Black Cat on April 5, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Once in a while, there comes a band with a presentation so volatile, so unruly that it almost becomes an endeavor to be navigated by its members.

Since forming in 2017, the London-based group known as black midi has experienced a gigantic leap in popularity. That popularity resulted in a smashing turnout for their most recent appearance at the Black Cat in DC.

Following a period that included the release of two singles, a residency at Brixton’s popular venue The Windmill, and then a key live (and recorded) performance during the Iceland Airwaves festival, black midi was signed to Rough Trade Records in 2019 leading up to its premiere studio album, Schlagenheim, which went on to earn a nomination for that year’s Mercury Prize.

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Preview: Vivien Goldman @ Marx Cafe, 4/1/22

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Vivien Goldman (Photo by Alexesie Pinnock)

Our friend Rick Taylor likes to say he follows in the footsteps of legendary radio host John Peel in creating the traditions of his monthly DC post-punk, garage, and indie left-of-the-dial night, We Fought the Big One.

Well, Rick and his collaborator Brandon Grover add another layer to their storied party when they host punk professor Vivien Goldman, a true indie-rock original, at Marx Cafe on Friday, April 1, in honor of the 18th anniversary of We Fought the Big One.

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Live Review: Puma Blue @ The Miracle Theater — 11/20/21

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Jacob Allen leads Puma Blue in a performance at the Miracle Theater in DC on Nov. 20, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Musicians have such an arsenal of effective ways to reach potential supporters these days that genres and categorization become afterthoughts. And today’s resources are empowering a tremendous wave of artists who set out with no intention of adhering to any sort of conventions in the pursuit of their own organic sound.

London-bred singer songwriter Jacob Allen found his through making recordings in his bedroom, and he didn’t even need to leave the comfortable space to create a following. Since cutting and sharing a track called “Only Trying 2 Tell U” on SoundCloud back in 2014, he’s been able to steadily build that fanbase via his musical vehicle known as Puma Blue.

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Live Review: Wolf Alice @ Union Stage — 11/15/21

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Wolf Alice performs at Union Stage on Nov. 15, 2021. (Photos by Jason Nicholson; Words by Mickey McCarter)

Ellie Rowsell grabbed the microphone and sang in a manner both hypnotic and snarling. With “Smile,” a recent single and the concert opener at Union Stage on Monday, Ellie declares her intent to do things her way, and she doesn’t give a damn if you don’t like it.

To her side, guitarist Theo Ellis wrapped Ellie’s snapping mission statement in wonderfully layered psychedelia, ad Wolf Alice was officially on the prowl for the first of two-sold out shows in DC.

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Snapshots: The Psychedelic Furs @ Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center — 11/6/21

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Richard Butler fronts The Psychedelic Furs at Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center on Nov. 6, 2021. (Photo by Jason Nicholson)

In 2020, The Psychedelic Furs released Made of Rain, the band’s first album of new material in nearly 30 years! To the delight of the DMV, frontman Richard Butler and company have dedicated much of their setlist to the new record on their current tour, and they played new songs at Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center on Saturday.

Jason Nicholson was there to photograph the Furs’ extraordinary return.

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Live Review: Arlo Parks @ Union Stage — 10/26/21

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Arlo Parks sings at Union Stage in DC on Oct. 26, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

A good, general rule to live by is when a recent winner of the Mercury Music Prize comes to your town, go see them. This certainly held up well for Arlo Parks’ sold-out appearance at Union Stage recenlty.  Fresh off of an appearance at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta over the previous weekend, Parks displayed talent and charisma well beyond what I expected from this 20 year-old.

Her debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams, is a fun, airy vibe of trip-hop beats (supplied by producer Gianluca Buccellati) and Parks cooler-than-ice-cold vocals. She has an ear for a hook as well, I’m still trying to get the chorus of “Caroline” out of my head days after the show. I swear to God I tried.

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Snapshots: Ashnikko @ The Fillmore Silver Spring — 10/26/21

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Ashnikko performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Oct. 26, 2021. (Photo by Katherine Gaines/ ambienteye.com)

Ashnikko may look like a blue-haired wood nymph but the singer-songwriter is a viral sensation in full embrace of the horrors of life — both literally and metaphorically — with their unique sense of humor.

The London-dwelling American kicked off their fall Demidevil Tour at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Tuesday, and Katherine Gaines caught the action on camera.

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Live Review: black midi @ Union Craft Brewing — 10/21/21

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Morgan Simpson of black midi during a performance at Union Craft Brewing in Baltimore on Oct. 21, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When’s the last time you absorbed live music that legitimately blew you away? What would it sound like or look like?

These are questions you might not ask yourself each time you head to a local venue, but you could have nevertheless been faced with answers to them if you happened to find yourself at Union Craft Brewing recently, when black midi, a rock group from London, was making an important appearance on their current stateside tour.

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