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Silver Loves Mercury was the highlight of last Friday's show at Wit's End. The band delivered a powerhouse performance which also happened to be the second set with new bassist Nikki. I saw Nikki's first SLM performance six days earlier at Hailey's in Denton and was impressed both by his chops and by how well he fit into the band, which now seems a tighter operation than ever. The Wit's End show also yielded what I feel to be many of my best SLM photos yet.
Posted pictures from last night's Storm the Sun performance at Wit's End. Jagged Row and Blameshift also played the show, both of which are worth checking out. I missed all but the last song of Jagged Row's set as I arrived late, but what I did hear of them was enough to guarantee that I will be checking them out again soon.
The RivetHead gallery has finally been given its (very) long overdue update, with 247 photos covering the entirety of 2012 and 2013 now up. Previously only the March 2012 Curtain Club plaque show was represented on the site. RivetHead shows are always a real treat and the band delivers the goods every time with a spectacular stage show and performance. If you missed any of these sets, then you missed out.
On the 1st I made the trip out to Shreveport to see Nevermind the Darkness at the Riverside Warehouse. Although a number of local acts I follow have played this venue, this was my very first visit out there. The show that night was a benefit for breast cancer research and featured NTD along with two other bands. The set was good, the sound was good, and it was all for a good cause.
On Valentine's Day I had the pleasure of finally catching another Deaf Angel set. Though I've been acquainted with this band for nearly 4 1/2 years, occasions on which I have managed to catch one of their performances have been few and far between. This was my first D.A. show since December 2012, and before that, although I did see singer Tina join Pulse onstage for a couple of songs once, the last time I saw the actual band play was way back in October 2009. They have changed their musical style over the years, increasing the energy while still keeping it real with powerful, melodic hooks and vocals (melody in metal being something that is becoming more and more of a rarity these days).
No update today - not going to compete with football. Enjoy the Super Bowl, if that's your thing.
D.I.K.'s first show was a real crowd pleaser, with current and former members of the Razorblade Dolls along with percussionist Tad Bryant and frontman Joshua Burleson delivering the goods in a big way. Rarely have I ever seen such an auspicious debut by any band, particularly in a music scene dominated by derivative, cookie cutter metal acts. D.I.K. fuses metal with hardcore industrial rhythms in a manner wholly separate and distinctive from that of the Razorblade Dolls. Be sure to check them out.
That same night saw performances by RivetHead at Trees, and also the "Chicks Who Rock" themed show at the Gas Monkey Bar N Grill in Dallas. I was able to catch the Gas Monkey performance by Nevermind the Darkness, the second band to play, but missed the other acts (Adrian & The Sickness, MADWAK, and Silver Loves Mercury) due to a schedule conflict with the D.I.K. show at Reno's. I have, however, seen MADWAK and Silver Loves Mercury plenty of times before and feel safe in vouching for the electricity of their respective performances that night. It was a great show to a capacity crowd.
Check out some close ups from the D.I.K. show at Reno's Chop Shop, as well as newly added photo galleries for two Kin of Ettins shows from last year, in the Live Photography area of the site.
Five galleries of photos were added today, three for Storm the Sun and two for Silver Loves Mercury. December 7, 2012 was my first ever time at Fort Worth's Rail Club, a venue which proved to be perfect for band photography with the stage lighting and the second level above the stage. The show was memorable not only for the stellar lineup of bands that night, but also for Roxi's characteristically exuberant performance. The more recent Trees show on December 20th also featured Bit Rot and the Razorblade Dolls and was another solid band performance.
Storm the Sun was formed from the ashes of Embrace the Embers and features former Mourning Fury and Fallen South vocalist Chase Ditto, someone I have known ever since I first began following the Dallas music scene in 2007. The 406 South Haskell show featured a killer performance bursting with adrenaline and energy, a description which in fact is fitting for every Storm the Sun performance. In September, Herb Crookall (formerly of Reverent) came in as a replacement on guitar and proved himself more than capable of handling the band's heaviest, most adrenaline fueled licks. A back to back set of performances at the Boiler Room and Wit's End - on the same night! - helped close out a very promising year.
Two new galleries of photos went up today, spotlighting two Nevermind the Darkness shows from October 12 and January 4, at Wit's End and Poor David's Pub. The Poor David's show was only my second time visiting that venue and only my first time seeing a complete set there (I previously caught the tail end of a Def Maybe set in November 2012). Despite the poor attendance at Poor David's, the set was rockin'. The Neverending, which played immediately before NTD, was a good act with a solid set and an interesting Black Sabbath cover to boot.
Emmeline's CD release feature at Mochalux Coffee was a real treat for the ears, during which all six songs from her newly released EP Beautiful Scars were performed live as the entire coffee house sat rapt. The applause between songs was explosive and very enthusiastic. Following the set, the Mochalux open mic continued with performances by Justin Hart, Shanna Hale, and others. Emmeline's new EP, as well as her two previous ones, Early Morning Hours and Someone to Be, are available from her at all her performances across the metroplex - see the Upcoming Events page for a listing of forthcoming shows.
(See also the previously available Ramblings & Rarities collection which I collaborated with)
Girls Rock Dallas is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to empowering girls and women through the use of music education to promote self-esteem and confidence by providing the opportunity to learn and express their musical creativity. Some of the 125 photos I took documenting this September's sessions can be seen by way of the media area of the Girls Rock Dallas website.
(EDIT: Unfortunately, this podcast is no longer available)
Friday night I headed out to Deep Ellum's Liquid Lounge to check out Micha Goolsby, a local keyboard player/singer who took part in two previous "Chicks With Pianos" nights at Opening Bell Coffee. As I had missed both those events, and being acquainted with the other three of the four participants in those features, it was long past time for me to finally see the fourth. Her music reminds me a lot of artists like Barbara Streisand, and of what I might hear on stage in New York City.
Spent the first day of this week at Spaghetti Warehouse for a birthday lunch with some friends, then headed five days later over to City Tavern downtown for The Virgin Wolves. The opening act, Missile, was a pretty good punk power quartet. No pictures this night.
The weekend before Halloween is always prime time for zombie and horror themed shows, and this year's Halloween weekend found me at the Curtain Club for the Razorblade Dolls. This time they pulled out all the stops, including the classic RBD pig act which hadn't been seen in their live shows for quite a long time. This was also Rezin's final show as a Doll, having decided to step down and pursue other musical interests and styles, and we all wish the best to him in all his future endeavors.
September proved to be a somewhat difficult month for me due to long hours at work and a serious hard drive failure which had me playing catch up for two months on updates. On the first Wednesday of the month I took a breather and made the trip out to Mad Swirl to support a poet I've known longer than I've known almost anyone else in the local scene, Mr. Joey Cloudy. The night was actually a double feature with his son Da'rrell, with the two alternating back and forth between Da'rrell's musical lyricism and Joey's spoken lyricism. The night also featured a fantastic a cappella performance by Jay Bean (someone who makes precious few appearances locally but who is always worth seeing) and an appearance by seldom seen Mad Swirl co-founder Cheyenne Gallion. It was a memorable night.
Two days later, I was at the Boiler Room for the dark ambient musings of Frausun. Frausun shows are always uniquely inspiring and defy the normally accepted and understood conventions of art, entertainment, and music.
This busiest of weekends for me was capped by a special Thin White Dukes performance at Lee Harvey's just south of downtown Dallas. This Bowie tribute band is always a lot of fun and put on a great show, at least the equal of the Le Cure performance I attended at Lee Harvey's a month earlier. Then again, given that the two bands share the same drummer, bassist, and keyboardist, this is hardly surprising. What was surprising was the fact that this was my first real Thin White Dukes experience - although I had caught a few songs here and there prior to this night, those were little more than glimpses of what has turned out to be a great band in action.
The weekend officially began for me with a double-shot of Denton area rock 'n' roll. The first stop of the night was Hailey's, and the band My Beerdrunk Soul. This show was in a sense a kind of crossover between two different scenes for me, as My Beerdrunk Soul's guitarist and frontman is none other than the son of local slam poet Victory, who performed and also featured at my earlier Lost Art Open Mic. I took several photos of the band which will be used in future promotions and/or flyers. Keep an eye out for them in the weeks and months ahead.
From Hailey's it was off to Andy's Bar for the Virgin Wolves. I can say that Andy's is not one of the easiest places in which to shoot a band, ranking right up there with some of the most difficult venues such as the Double-Wide and the Crown & Harp on Lower Greenville Avenue. Like those other venues, it is extremely dark and close inside with a tight, obstructed space in front of the stage in which to move around. Fortunately, unlike those other venues, it does have/feature a second level which allowed for some overhead shots of the band. It doesn't span the room, however, so it was only possible to shoot 3/5 of the band in the extremely limited light.
It's been a pretty busy month as far as personal commitments go. Overtime at work has cut into the time available for site updates and shows. Nevertheless, I did manage to make it out to the Razorblade Dollhouse for some partying and then out to Deep Ellum for some great performances.
Friday night was the beginning of a weekend of great performances and events. On this particular night I made my way out to Reno's Chop Shop for Kin of Ettins, my friend Jason's band. Jason is an amazing guitarist and virtuoso guitar shredder who never disappoints, whether it's playing Mozart on acoustic guitar at my former open mic, or a blistering guitar solo here as part of DFW's premier doom metal band.
Saturday night began with a visit to the Razorblade Dollhouse for a party thrown by Skar and Rah. From there it was off to the Curtain Club in Deep Ellum, where I chanced upon an incredible band playing at the Liquid Lounge. Sometimes when I'm beginning to wonder why I bother with the shows and the bands anymore, I'll see a performance like this one and remember what it was that made me start doing this in the first place. The Virgin Wolves were awesome, an extremely dynamic and energetic live act with great material and very tight playing - all the ingredients that make for a fantastic show. I can't believe I'd never heard of them before tonight. I will definitely be back for more.
After The Virgin Wolves finished their set, it was time to go back the Curtain Club next door for the headline act. I've known Pulse's bassist P.J. Blackburn for over five years, since his days as guitarist and songwriter for Reverent (the very first band I ever photographed live), and all the years of work as a musician finally bore fruit with the presentation of Pulse's plaque for the Curtain Club wall. Congratulations!
This was a somewhat less full weekend for me in terms of shows and events, but that does not mean it was boring. If you're going to only do one show, you should make it a great one, and with the Le Cure set at Lee Harvey's this Friday, that is just what I did. Except that it wasn't just the one show. It was actually two shows, one on Friday featuring Le Cure, and one the following day, also at Lee Harvey's, featuring a band that is in a sense kin to them, the Thin White Dukes. However, I only photographed the Friday show. The performances were superb, the lighting and colors fantastic, and the crowd enthusiastic. All of which add up to a memorable experience worth repeating.
Thursday night began what was to be a rip roarin' three day weekend of music. It began at Goodfriend's in Dallas with a performance of Dallas's premier Cure cover band, Le Cure. The show began at 10 and lasted right through the late evening until around 1 in the early AM, with a break in between sets. I came out on the advice of Le Cure bassist Doug Grabowski, who also plays for Ten Can Riot and Bowie tribute band Thin White Dukes. This was my first Le Cure experience but would not be the last.
Hello Lover - what can I say? I don't think I've had this much fun at a metal show in years. Before this night, I hadn't seen these guys play in almost FOUR YEARS - back in the Holy Diver/Stew days - and had barely seen either of the Hardy brothers in over a year and a half. My first Hello Lover experience was at the Hardy Halloween House Party way back in 2008. I've come a long way since then, and so have these guys. After Stew (formerly known as Holy Diver) called it quits in 2011, John joined his brother Joe in this band, making the transition from bass to guitar. The Hello Lover set was a pounding, heavy ride from start to finish and a definite crowd pleaser, playing to a rapt audience of friends and fans who knew every word and who enjoyed the night without the slightest hint of aggression or enmity - unusual for a metal show but very welcome. The Breakfast Machine opened the set at Dada that night, Reinventing Jude followed with a CD release set, and Hello Lover capped the night off in style, the undisputed highlight of the evening for me. It was the metal equivalent of Ten Can Riot - a great time was had by all.
Saturday night brought with it a return to the Curtain Club for RivetHead and the cancer benefit. This event was the brainchild of Kat Foster, organized to benefit the American Cancer Society and cancer research, and featuring Lilith of Exile, Kung Foo Preacher, and RivetHead as the headliner, burlesque performers, stormtroopers, and ending with a raffle. Though I always enjoy RivetHead, and they played a generally good set, I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that, in my opinion, this event would have benefitted greatly from better organization and better planning. The burlesque acts in particular went on for much too long, and by the time RivetHead, the headline act, finally came on to play, it was a few minutes shy of 1 AM. The energy level of the audience by that time had abated greatly, most of it having been spent during hours of long waits between sets, a long succession of pointless burlesque acts (disclosure: burlesque is not my thing), and a very long, rambling stage discourse from a drunk hostess which seemed to go on forever. Valiant attempts by the band to fire up the audience were answered by exhausted efforts, though to everyone's credit they delivered as much energy and enthusiasm as they could muster. By the time it was finally time for the raffle, the audience was a small fraction of what it had been and a far cry from the standing room only crowd of hours earlier. Two friends of mine who had bought $20 worth of raffle tickets had been forced to leave an hour earlier due to the seemingly interminable delays. I did not have the money to buy a ticket for the raffle and quit the venue immediately upon the end of RivetHead's set. The show did, however, raise around $1500 for the American Cancer Society.
Thursday night marked my third visit to the weekly jazz open mic at Buzzbrews on Lemmon Avenue. Unfortunately, unlike the previous two nights, this one was a disappointment as the event was technically called off due to an ill host. A few who had not received the news nevertheless played a few songs on the stage. Eventually I will return on a better night and shoot some pics of jazz at its finest.
Friday night brought with it another Ten Can Riot experience, this time at the Double-Wide on the outskirts of Deep Ellum and the Expo Park area near downtown. It was a fun-filled night, as always. The Double-Wide is a venue I only rarely go to, but nearly each time I have gone there the night has been a blast. This was the scene of the Holy Diver/Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re show way back in 2008, as well as (if one wants to go way back) the site of the Famecast audition for With These Words and David Coté in July 2007, and a former meeting place for the Deep Ellum Enrichment Project back when I was a member.
After nearly thirty-two months since my last SLM experience, it was time for another night with Silver Loves Mercury, and on Saturday night I made my way out to La Grange in Deep Ellum for a doubleshot of SLM and the Razorblade Dolls. La Grange, despite having an excellent lighting setup, can be a very challenging venue to shoot in due to the small size and relatively low stage. In spite of these difficulties, I managed to get some good shots of both bands, particularly of the Razorblade Dolls. I've followed the Razorblade Dolls almost since their beginning - they are one of the few currently active bands I shot on 35 mm and I have several hundreds photos of them. I've been interested in Silver Loves Mercury since the days of their precursor kittyviolet, though opportunities to see them play have been considerably less frequent. There was some drama at this event, in that a fight nearly broke out in the audience. Razorblade Doll Chris Smith had to speak up and attempt to defuse the situation from the stage.
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