Concert Review: Girls of Trade, DEHD, June 23, Black Cat

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment


Surprises are nice. Sometimes you find a dollar in your pocket and that’s fun. And sometimes there’s actually one last m&m in the bottom of the bag and that’s good too. And sometimes you go to the Black Cat for an indie rock show and you get a drag show as the opener and that’s super amazing.

Saturday night at Black Cat opened with Girls of Trade. To defend myself on the point that I didn’t realize this was going to be a drag show, Trade Bar DC is absolutely not the first thing that comes up when you google “Girls of Trade”, believe me, but after the show I tried a couple of iterations and came up with Trade Bar DC, and the name started making sense.

The ladies came out sporting flowing rompers, ripped tees, lingerie, multiple wigs, and glitter beards. Donna Slash emceed the event, encouraging the crowd to “Give a buck if you like what you see, and if you don’t like what you see give me $20 so I can buy something new.” It took the crowd a little while to get warmed up to the show, and after the first dance Slash quipped, “playing to a straight, sober crowd is just so different from playing to a gay crowd. The gay crowd would already be so drunk and into it, but the straight crowd sits there and thinks ‘Wow. This is art.'” But as the dances progressed, the straight, sober crowd started getting more and more into it, and by the time Slash hit the stage to finish the night off the crowd was sticking dollar bills into lingerie and having a great time. As Slash lip synced her way through a female-led punk rock song, she took a sip from the beer she’d been holding all night and then flung it into the crowd. As I cringed, expecting warm, stale, beer to come spraying my way, colorful confetti came floating down onto the now much more hyped up and roaring crowd. The second delightful surprise of the night.

Dream Eagle Heavy Dream, or DEHD, hit the stage next. With Ne-Hi’s Jason Balla on guitar, Emily Kempf of Heavy Dreams on bass, and drummer Eric McGrady settled between them, the trio swept the crowd up in their hazy, dreamy, droning, summery, indie, post-punk sound. Working their way through 2016’s self-titled DEHD and 2017’s Fire of Love, Kempf’s deep, throaty, majestic vocals kept the crowd entranced while Balla’s catchy riffs kept them moving. The back story to the band is incredibly cute, and involves the two Chicago musicians meeting at Cafe Mustache (everything about this story makes me immediately forget the 9 months of winter and miss Chicago so, so bad), running into each other on tours, wanting an excuse to spend time together, so forming a band and going on tour. The songs are summery and light, but don’t let that fool you – the lyrics are real and relatable. On “Sunburn” the band sings, “Your love is like a sunburn. Warmed my face but now it hurts.” Who can’t relate to that? If you’re in the Chicago area go check them out, they play Empty Bottle in August.

And if you’re in DC throw a couple bucks at the Girls of Trade if you like what you see. Or $20 if you don’t.

Contest! Win A Pair Of Tickets To Code Orange at The Mod Club

Posted on by Paul in Contests | 1 Comment

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Hey kids, wanna see a show? Then you’re in luck! Pittsburgh’s Code Orange, touring behind their latest album Forever, will be making their way to the Mod Club on June 26 and you can win a pair of tickets to the show (which also includes Nicole Dollanganger, Twitching Tongues, and Vein on the bill) courtesy of Live Nation.

To win, simply do one of the following:

1. Follow us on twitter and retweet the post
2. Send an email to panic@panicmanual.com with the subject “I want to see Grammy Award nominees Code Orange” in the subject and your name in the body
3. Comment on this on the Facebook post.

Concert Review: US Girls, June 15, Yonge-Dundas Square

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, North By Northeast | Leave a comment

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The last couple of years have seen NXNE take a bit of a sharp decline, with the focus moving away from the club-level shows and towards the ultimately failed experiment of the Portlands fest-within-a-fest. Generally, many were less than impressed with the direction NXNE seemed to be going. Our coverage of NXNE on this very site also reflected this, with phrases like: “Holy crap what the hell happened to NXNE?”, “NXNE is not what it used to be”, “NXNE is a tiny shell of its former self” and “Let’s face it, NXNE is dead” coming up in our reviews over the past two years.

Thankfully, NXNE is not dead yet and seems to be making its way towards a recovery of some sort with this year’s move back into its old stomping grounds at Yonge-Dundas Square anchored by a fairly stacked lineup that included the likes of Chvrches, Lights, Big Freedia, Tinashe, and Torres taking to the stage (although not the regular stage at YDS – NXNE set up a separate new stage out on Yonge Street for some reason). The first night of the big, free, outdoor shows started things off strong with a solid lineup that included Jazz Cartier, Azealia Banks, and recent Polaris longlist nominees US Girls.

Taking to the stage at 7:00pm, US Girls’ Meghan Remy made a strong impression right off the bat as she took to the stage and asked the gathered crowd to close their eyes and imagine what this space had been used for in years gone by, in the days “before H&M, before LED and NXNE.” In a sense, she was perhaps trying to reclaim the space, or at least to get people thinking about how we use that space. It was a memorable moment for sure.

US Girls impressed with a set that showcased the talents of Remy and her stellar band as they ran through songs off of their latest release In A Poem Unlimited. The band’s mix of thoughtful and political lyrics alongside danceable, disco-inspired grooves made for an inspiring and entirely memorable performance.

Concert Review: Jack White, June 9, Budweiser Stage

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

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Sketch by Damien

Jack White was in town last Saturday to promote his new album (mixed reviews but still hit #1 in Canada) and you would think all the talk would be about his illustrious career, how he would blend his new material with his old, would he play some White Stripes or Raconteurs or Dead Weather songs, or maybe other things like that.

But nope. Everyone just talked about Yondr.

You see, Jack White implemented a no phone policy and Yondr fulfills that requirement by providing everyone with a pouch to put your phone in for the duration of the concert.

There are some pros, I get it, but it also does a good job changing the conversation about the show since it’s at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Anyways, on to the show. It was surprisingly satisfying. I don’t know why I was surprised, because I have always enjoyed shows with Jack White, but it seems like recent years have painted Jack in a different light – like he’s gone off the rails or can’t control his own worst tendencies as a musician or something. Well, as he proved Saturday night, he still got the songs and the back catalog to reach into.

I didn’t really like his dark blue and black aesthetic he has going on now, but the White Stripes were legendary in how they looked and it’s hard to compare. What I did notice was that Jack White likes to have steps on the stage, for him to walk up and down on whilst he is shredding the guitar. The man is still a great guitar player, and his style of singing hasn’t really changed. They are rapid fire lyrics that go up and down, loud and soft and in that voice that is only Jack White’s.

I was delighted to hear some classic White Stripes songs such as a modified version of “Hotel Yorba,” “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground,” “Fell in Love With A Girl” and of course, set closer “Seven Nation Army.” Man, “Seven Nation Army” is a freakin’ epic song. It’s probably got one of the most overplayed riffs of all time but that’s because it’s just great. It’s actually one of the few Jack White songs you can actually sing, which is strangely weird.

I also appreciated hearing “Steady As She Goes,” one of the Raconteurs songs that seems to have stood the ravages of time. I think I like that song more now than I did when it came out. In terms of his new material, it’s not awful as many people have claimed, it’s just … different. “Connected By Love” is an attempt in a new direction and I kinda like it. I’m also very glad he decided to not close with it. Among his solo stuff, “Sixteen Saltines” is just a great rocker.

I think one of the differences between his old act and his solo act is that sometimes the cleaner two person sound highlights his songs just a bit better, but who am I to judge?

Anyway, a pleasant night all around.