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What's Up Magazine

The Live Wire: Concert Previews

Sep 04, 2011 05:01PM ● By Anonymous

9/2 The Spring Standards
At The Nightcat, Easton

With an interesting approach to modern rock and roll, the Spring Standards are currently in the process of winning over fans by demonstrating just how differently a group can go about making modern indie rock. With each of the three performers on stage taking parts of a drum set and playing along with their guitar, bass, and sometimes other interesting instruments, the group has formed a synced up, rhythmic sound that also features superb vocalization. With each member’s great focus on harmonization and the layering of these vocals, while also concentrating on their respective instrument, the finished product is a pleasantly bright sound. Each musician in the group seems adept at several instruments, which will surely be on full display early this month in Easton at The Nightcat.

9/5 Bright Eyes at Rams Head Live, Baltimore
With haunting, warbled vocals and poetic, thoughtful lyrics, Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst has established himself as one of the main folk voices of this musical generation (albeit a quiet and shaky one). Oberst’s musical projects are often grandiose undertakings, and his fans have no shortage of material to sift through when exploring his catalog. The sheer amount of material he has had a hand in producing, both through side projects and with Bright Eyes, are comparable in volume to the prolific works of Bob Dylan, while Oberst’s voice is comparable to that of Neil Young. Newcomers to Oberst’s stylings, however, should expect a much more reserved, nervous feel to songs than these past successes. Bright Eyes fans have long embraced the humanity in this nervousness, which will be on full display at Rams Head this month.

9/10 Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2011 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia
In its sixth year as a festival and third year at Columbia’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, Virgin Mobile’s massive Freefest production has become a groundbreaking real time study in advertisement, branding, and plain old free fun. As a way to attract hordes of fans and advertise the living daylights out of its mobile service, Virgin came up with the brilliant idea of turning its already successful Virgin Festival (previously a pricy, two-day affair at Pimlico Race Course) into an entirely free festival with big named acts interspersed with hip up-and-comers. Currently booked by the local promoter I.M.P’s Seth Hurwitz, this year has an intriguingly lineup of artists featuring burgeoning rock throwback duo The Black Keys, funky indie rockers TV On The Radio, man-of-the-moment crooner Cee-Lo Green, a host of popular DJs, and many more. This year looks to be similar to the wildly successful format of last year’s September celebration. Merriweather’s grounds will undergo a serious facelift in advance of this festival, with grounds expanded, a gigantic Ferris wheel assembled, and a “Dance Forest” stage in the famous Symphony Woods. Though free tickets can be difficult to acquire through the official “sale,” the market will be flooded with them, making them an easy find.

9/11 & 18 Chesapeake Beach Band Shell Concert Series
Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa has a really neat trick up its sleeve. The resort is reviving the once-vibrant music scene of the bay-side town by building a replica of the 1900’s Boardwalk Band Shell and launching a new “Celebrate Chesapeake Beach” concert series. More than 100 years ago, Chesapeake Beach hosted national- and world-renowned talent at the popular boardwalk venue and this September that tradition will onceagain thrive when music legend impersonator, Johnny Rogers, from Chicago, presents a tribute to the great Johnny Cash on 9/11. The following week on 9/18, Hankerin’ 4 Hank from Oklahoma will take the stage paying tribute in true note fashion to Hank Williams, Sr. The concert series is expected to grow into a full-season spectacle by 2012.

9/16 Rare Earth at Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis

Chock full of lively, memorable sing-along anthems and a funky, cool sensibility, Rare Earth will turn the friendly environs of Annapolis’ Rams Head On Stage into the best place in town to enjoy a Friday night. Whether it’s a night of fun with the significant other or in the company of good friends, this venue always promises a great view, spectacular sound, and a thorough experience of whatever artist is present. Although staples of Rare Earth’s catalog like “I Just Want To Celebrate” and “Hey Big Brother” will likely be the most lively sing-a-longs of the evening, the group’s less known tunes are sure to pack the same funk laden punch that their hits do.

9/30 The Bridge (w/Yellow Dubmarine) at 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
When ten-year veterans of the Baltimore music scene The Bridge announced that they’d be calling it quits this fall, lovers of music in the Mid-Atlantic were shocked. Though the group has never achieved the kind of commercial success that most of their talent do at this point in their career, they’ve accrued a local following of devoted fans that hang on the group’s every note. The band’s legendary gigs at the tiny 8x10 club in Baltimore’s Federal Hill section served as the area’s greatest local meet-up for live music lovers. The group’s final residency at the venue (in which a band plays each Wednesday night, usually featuring lots of sit-ins and banter) was an emotional one, with both the group and fans mourning the passing of a special bond. The group’s last gig will see them coming full-circle, playing Rams Head Live on the eve of Thanksgiving; the date the group first performed ten years earlier. With a gig late this month at D.C.’s 9:30 Club, the group is sure to continue pouring out their souls for fans, in one last show of thanks for a decade spent together enjoying a truly symbiotic relationship.

9/30 Grayson Capps
At The Nightcat, Easton

Alabama-native-turned New Orleans-troubadour plays every bit the part you might expect a southern man to show for a life of pickin’ the guitar and writing tunes influenced by the grit ‘n’ glamour that’s on full display in the Big Easy. With his backing band, the Lost Cause Minstrels, Capps’ raw acoustic guitar playing is well-complemented by drums, electric guitar, harmonica, keys, and thumping bass. Capps and company play energetic concerts in which choo-choo boogie, honky-tonk rock, and delta blues tunes are interspersed with melancholic ballads, giving all in attendance a breather from the overall fun.