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Joie de Vivre

The Pixies + Modest Mouse

We finally got to see the Pixies. Fortunately, we had pavilion seats at Merriweather, as it poured! The Pixies came out, and hammered through song after song, and did not utter a single word during the entire performance. I am amazed at how great Black’s voice is.

Modest Mouse sounded really good, too.

I drove out to Columbia twice in one day – I went in the afternoon for a colleague’s memorial service for his wife’s sudden passing. I rushed home and we went right back for this show.

We arrived home at a quarter past midnight, went to sleep, and woke at 4:30 to head to Memphis for a whirlwind weekend!

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Joie de Vivre

Ceramic Dog

We went to see Ceramic Dog at Creative Alliance last night. We saw then in 2021, too. This time, they had seating, so the atmosphere was more subdued. Marc Ribot was playing his black Gibson SG, and he broke two strings during the second to last song. Ches improved a bit before the encore, and I loved it.

I love this trio – there’s a lot of energy, and a lot of improvisation. I think that’s why they always sit facing each other.

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Joie de Vivre

Nate Smith at Keystone Korner

We got to see the Nate Smith Quartet (with Christian McBride, Marquis Hill and Geoffrey Keezer) at Keystone Korner in Baltimore.

I have been a fan of Nate Smith for years, he’s one of my favorite drummers. I feel so lucky that we got to see him play with these guy in such an intimate setting. It was a fantastic show, and the food was as good as when we saw John Scofield. We managed to get a high-top table for two, with a great view.

Nate played some pretty straight ahead stuff to start with, and worked his way to a super strong finish in his tight, strong style at the end. I love it. His signature snare sounded sublime, too.

It was a fantastic performance by all four.

Nate Smith Quartet
Nate Smith Quartet
Nate Smith's drums
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Joie de Vivre

A Mammoth weekend of live music

On Saturday night, we ventured down the Keystone Korner for dinner and the John Scofield trio. It was a great set – I’m glad I finally got to see Sco live. The food was good, too.

I’ve heard mixed things about the sound at Keystone, and I think I know why – there is preferred seating, which he had, where you can mostly see the stage.

In other parts of the U shaped club, the stage is out of sight, and you have to watch on monitors. The stage is at the upper right part of the “U,” and the entrance is on the other side. The bar, tables and some booths line the bottom of the “U.” I don’t think the sound is great over there in other parts of the club.

On Sunday, I met an old college buddy at the Ram’s Head to see Nita Strauss and Mammoth WVH. Both bands were great, and I’m blown away by how well Wolfgang Van Halen sings. Better than Sammy Hagar, in my opinion.

nita strauss
nita strauss
Wolfgang Van Halen
Poop and Castro

What a weekend! I covered quite a range of musical genres.

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Joie de Vivre

Violent Femmes

What a fantastic year for live music! We got to see the Violent Femmes at Ram’s Head in Baltimore, courtesy of my wonderful daughter. They played their first album in its entirety, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its release.

The sound at Ram’s Head was surprisingly poor. The conversations behind us actually competed with the band, and the poor opening act was barely audible. But, the fun part is that everyone knew every single lyric, and sang along at full volume. It was great.

I like American Music. Baby.

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Joie de Vivre

Battles at Ram’s Head

My daughter got me a ticket to see Battles at Ram’s Head. They were opening for Mr. Bungle. I really like Ian Williams, and I’m so happy I got to see him/them live. I can’t help wonder how long they will keep doing this. It was a relatively short set, and was long enough, at that. Two men fill up a lot space together, and John Stanier has two modes: off/110%.

Battles on stage

We had to leave before Mr. Bungle went on (it’s a school night). I’m not sad about it, either.

Battles on stage

I missed El Ten Eleven when they came to DC. I’m curious as to how these bands manage complicated loop cycles. I was impressed, and also a little happy to see that even the mighty battles can flub a loop (Mirrors).

I would have liked to see them as a trio, and very much want to have more Ian on guitar time, rather than just Ian doing everything at once time.