Top 5 Shows
Coke Bust, Self Abuse, Police And Thieves, Cloak/Dagger, Set To Explode, 86 Mentality, Striking Distance
When & Where: April 2007 - Washington D.C. @ Alfishawy Cafe
My attendance at this show almost didn't happen. I got a last minute call from the drummer of Forced Forward telling me he could give me a ride, and before I knew it I was in a minivan headed towards D.C.. Seeing so many D.C. bands, as well as the always good Cloak/Dagger, was absolutely unreal. Coke Bust and Police and Thieves are the future, 86 Mentality is the present, and Striking Distance's final reunion show was a great lesson of the not-so-distant past. Not to mention that Boyd Farrell of 80's D.C. hardcore band Black Market Baby made a surprise appearance, doing the vocals while Set to Explode covered one of Black Market Baby's songs. Alfishawy shows are generally held in the basement, but with such a low ceiling, a stage was built before hand and the show was moved upstairs. By the time Striking Distance took the stage, a good four hours after the show had started, the crowd was out the door. Seeing 86 Mentality or Striking Distance in D.C. is more or less equatable to seeing Converge in Boston, absolute chaos breaks out. At one point of the set Striking Distance had to ask people to "Please stop jumping off the amps, the ceiling fans are getting broken." Yeah, it was that ridiculous.
- Photo: Set to Explode
When & Where: January 2007 - Washington D.C. @ The Kennedy Center
Looking back at it now, this whole experience will go down as one of the best times of my life. To celebrate ten years of free shows at The Kennedy Center, Sufjan Stevens, backed by the Grand Symphony Orchestra, played a free show in The Grand Orchestra Hall. The only catch: tickets were first come first serve, also known as camping out outside The Kennedy Center in January. My best friend and I staked our territory at 3 PM the day before tickets were given out, and the freezing shit-show began. By 8 PM more friends showed up, new friends were made, and I had gone through three-fourths of a bottle of Southern Comfort. Drunken Frisbee was played, Watergate was pissed on numerous times, and I managed to smoke three packs of cigarettes in eighteen hours and get an hour of sleep. I was the eighth person in line, guaranteeing a front row seat and an extra ticket (two were given to each person), which I promptly sold on eBay for $180. A week later, Stevens played a show that literally brought tears to my eyes. A full orchestra behind him, Sufjan left to a standing ovation, playing an hour's worth of music that can only be described as breathtakingly beautiful.
- Photos: The line the day of handing out tickets |
Dangers, The Catalyst, Graf Orlock, Comadre, Danke
When & Where: July 2007 - Washington D.C. @ The Bervin Haus Basement
The Bervin Haus is second to the old Dischord House in terms of punk and hardcore residents. Members of Sick Fix, Magrudergrind, Coke Bust, and Attrition all live there, and their basement serves as a practice space and venue for occasional shows. Dangers is one of the most intense bands I've ever seen, as their singer literally tackled people and wrestled with them on the ground while continuing to sing. I've seen The Catalyst numerous times, and this show saw them in their tightest form. Joey from Mass Movement of the Moth said it the best: "Headbanging 101." Graf Orlock matches intensity with pure fun, as all of the movie clips are played with their songs. A basement filled with sweaty punks yelling, "I only live to get radical" and "It was never about the money for us, it was about us against the system!" is great in it's own right, now to mention a crushing rendition to the famed song that closes Jurassic Park. All of Comadre's songs are giant sing-a-longs, fifty people piling on top of one another in a basement that probably should have a maximum capacity of half of that. Comadre lives on tour, do yourself a favor and see them if you get a chance.
- Video: "Burn the Scene":
Deep Sleep, Fiya, Government Warning, Fucked Up
When & Where: July 2007 - Washington D.C. @ The Warehouse Next Door Parking Lot
To be completely honest I've never understood the hype that follows Fucked Up, but the atmosphere around this show made it something special. The Warehouse Next Door was the premier DIY punk and hardcore venue in D.C., but high tax rates forced it to shut down. This was the farewell show, over the summer in beautiful weather, in a huge enclosed parking lot. Fiya reminded me a bit of old Against Me! mixed with Nirvana, and played a great set despite being the only non-hardcore band on the bill. While Fucked Up closed the show and played a great set, locals Government Warning stole the show, covering Minor Threat and inspiring stage dives onto concrete. D.C. is a scene of politics and hierarchies, but that night was the most unified I've ever seen DC punk.
- Photo: Government Warning
Savage Land, Modern Life Is War
When & Where: August 2007 - Harrisonburg, VA @ Crayola House
I may be biased when it comes to Savage Land since I'm friends with some of them, but seriously, go to their Myspace (http://www.myspace.com/savagelandhc) and listen to "The Widowmaker." One of the most pissed off riffs I've heard, and when you're playing it to a crowd of locals waiting for Modern Life is War, shit is going be to nuts. This was the second Modern Life is War house show I've been too, and it's so much better than seeing them on stage. Being sick all week did not matter, as once "The Outsiders" hit everything else was gone. "D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S." could very well be the hardcore anthem of the decade, and singing along to that song while having to hold onto the rafters to not get trampled is a feeling that never grows old to me.
- Photo: Savage Land
Police And Thieves, Cloak/Dagger, Strike Anywhere
This show was fun, but the highlight for me was the after party, making small talk with Adam of Cloak/Dagger while waiting in line for the keg, and talking about pacifism vs. resistance and linguistics with Thomas from Strike Anywhere
Astronautalis is half amazing hip-hop show, half comedy act. His songs are great, and his freestyles about random topics the crowd yells at him, in this case doing taxes on acid, is a sight to see.
Meneguar is one of the catchiest bands I've heard, recorded and live, it doesn't matter.