Tag Archives: live music

The Third Time is Always a Charm

25 Jul

Thanks to Brain Williams (my nightly news anchor crush) I was introduced to Deer Tick about a year ago and instantly fell in love. In a word, the music is gritty. But it’s also soulful, sinful, and at times serene.

Last Thursday I saw the band live for the third time at the Rock & Roll Hotel. The show lived up to all my expectations despite the unbearable heat and pushy crowd. The show started with a series of songs from War Elephant and Born on Flag Day before moving into songs from the new album The Black Dirt Sessions. Highlights included These Old Shoes, Baltimore Blues No. 1, Ashamed, and Smith Hill.

The only true disappointment came when the band finished without playing Dirty Dishes (my all time fav song). Thankfully I’ve heard it live twice including an acapella style version at Black Cat.

I wasn’t able to capture much video during the show since we stood in the back by the fan, but I did record Ashamed (below). I also recommend this great link the band tweeted to their set in NYC at Maxwell’s from NYC Taper. You can download the whole set live as an Mp3. FANTASTIC.


The National Played a “Slow Show” for Me

8 Jun

Sunday night I enjoyed the sounds and swagger of The National with @carolinefjones at DAR. The National has topped my iTunes playlists since I acquired Boxer. The whole album weaves together a narrative about life and love that has a tangible quality to it I never tire of.

While the music satisfied, what impressed the most was “Super Fan” down in front. “Super Fan” rocked the entire show. And he rocked HARD. No song was sung without “Super Fan” putting his heart and soul into the music.  He is a concert hero.

I love when people put their passions on display and I hope the concert was everything “Super Fan” imagined. See if you spot “Super Fan” in the clips below…

SOS From the National Harbor

10 Jan

The piano players battle it out nightly at National Harbor's Bobby McKey's.

By DC standards, I’m a local. I’ve lived in this town for three and a half years, which compared to many is a lifetime. If I make it five years I’ve heard I’ll get a plaque in my honor and a key to the city for enduring this town’s daily shenanigans (Saturday parking fees, WMATA, and plastic bag tax anyone?)

Over the summer my friends and I decided it was time to expand our horizons a bit and take in a wider variety of what this city has to offer. As locals, we had already hit all the highlights and our weekly routine of dinner/drinks needed some spice. Being the over-zealous, A-Type, DC personalities that we are, a (rather long) list was started to track all our ideas.

Topping the list has been an evening at the dueling piano bar in National Harbor, Bobby McKey’s. The bar features a rotation of four piano players singing a variety of Top 40ish hits from the last few decades. Patrons request songs or phrases to be written on the boards behind the piano players by outbidding the dollar amount of the last person to put in a request. Sounds fun, right?

Last night we decided to brave the cold and venture far, far away to Maryland to see what the place was all about. Here’s my advice: Unless you are going for a party or special occasion, don’t bother. The experience won’t make up for the steep cost, mediocre food, or hassle of getting there.

If you want a table you have to call ahead and make reservations for priority seating. It costs $15.00 per person to have a seat. I’ll admit, we should have made reservations and the Web site clearly states this fact. Regardless, $15 is a lot to pay for a seat when you are also paying for food, drinks, and song requests.

We paid McKey’s $5 general admission cover and ordered food from the upstairs bar. I didn’t expect the food to be Michelin Star winning, but the menu lacked cohesion, vision, and execution. The bar also served all its draft beer in solo cups, including Stella. Lots of bars serve great food – there is no excuse in this town to fall short on the menu.

At 8:00 p.m. the show started and we were entertained with tunes ranging from “Sweet Caroline” to “Baby Got Back.” I won’t dispute the musicians are talented and deserve credit for making a variety of songs work in a piano bar setting, but the show lacked true entertainment value. The musicians had limited witty banter with each other or the crowd, making the show feel more like a “Now Music” CD.

Based on the crowd last night, Bobby McKey’s isn’t hurting for business, despite these reviews that generally support my experience. This is likely because of its tourist trap location (another reason to stay away from the harbor in general). But I advise DC locals to steer clear unless attending an arranged event. I’d much rather pay the cover for a night at New Vegas Lounge. It can be hard to get a drink at the crowded bar, but the music and dancing always make for an entertaining night.

Let me know if you have a different take on National Harbor and Bobby McKey’s. Post a comment with your experience!