Category Archives: american aquarium

Favorite Videos of 2012

Favorite videos of 2012

This year I started shooting a fair amount of video, so here are my 10 favorite videos I shot this year (not including the videos from Hopscotch proper, which are still being culled and edited for official posting):

1. Red Collar – Pilgrim – this is why rock and roll is awesome and transformative

2. American Aquarium with Chip Robinson – Abe Lincoln

3. Reese McHenry & company – Think

4. Arliss Nancy – Abacus (Racing in the Street)

5. Josh Ritter – Lillian, Egypt

6. Red Collar – Jinx Removing (Jawbreaker)

7. Cory Brannan – Skateland South

8. Filthybird – Night Comes In (Richard & Linda Thompson)

9. JKutchma – Durham Bull

10. Widowspeak – Wicked Game (Chris Issak)

Favorite Albums of 2012: Locals Edition

I tried to cut my list of favorite local releases down to the best of the best and ended up with 6 records. So that’d what I have here. I’m incredibly lucky to live in an area with so much great music and so many opportunities to see them live. All told I’ve seen these bands 41 times this year. Pretty awesome.

JKutchma & The 5/5ths, Pinhook, Durham NC, 07/06/12
1. JKutchma – Pastorals
Band I saw the most this year; favorite album of the year. The title track “Pastorals” was the song I didn’t know I needed this year. “And no I’m not proud of all that I did, In search for destination now I’m back where I begin. All my transgression oh how I remember each. But if I lived again without them, would I have found this peace? I’ve been wrong more than I’ve been right. My fault, I won’t deny. I hope at heaven’s gate, they make saints. Cause I tried, I tried, I tried. I been so wrong. But I tried.”

Spider Bags, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 1/14/12
2. Spider Bags – Shake Your Head
I dare you to listen to the opening tracks “Keys to the City” & “Simona La Ramona” and try not to dance, laugh, remember why you love music, sing along. I’m pretty sure it is impossible.

Midtown Dickens, Brickside Festival, Jameson Gallery, Durham NC, 03/24/12
3. Midtown Dickens – Home
This album sounds like Durham to me. And I mean that in all the best ways.

Gross Ghost, Pinhook, Durham NC, 06/02/12
4. Gross Ghost – Brer Rabbit

American Aquarium, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 11/29/12
5. American Aquarium – Burn.Flicker.Die
I’m so incredibly proud of these guys for all the hard work they’ve put in to their success, for the touring and the growth, and the fact that this album is just darn, darn fine. Some of these songs have been kicking around live for years and it shows in the delivery. Both a familiar step for the band and a big leap forward. All of that notwithstanding, this album might just belong on this list for the Backsliders cover alone.

Red Collar, Motorco, Durham NC, 05/19/12
6. Red Collar – Welcome Home
I love this band, full stop.

10 favorite non-local releases tomorrow.

Samantha Crain, 02/07/12

Charming set by Samantha Crain at Local 506 last night.

Samantha Crain, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 02/07/12

She & her band played a few newer songs and alot of my favorites.

American Aquarium, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 02/07/12

American Aquarium opened.

These two bands are on a mini-tour right now. (Charlotte tonight, Boone tomorrow, Atlanta Friday, and back to Raleigh Saturday.) On Saturday they’ll be at Pour House with Samantha Crain opening for American Aquarium for the release of American Aquarium’s new live CD.

10 Favorite Shows of 2011

If you know me or just see me at shows, you know I’m frequently wandering around, running between two shows, etc. I see alot of shows and the more shows I go to the harder it is for a full show bill to hold me from the first band to the last. These are the ones where I stood up front or was otherwise transfixed by the whole show. My 10 favorite shows of the year.

Joe Pug, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 04/11/11
1. Joe Pug w/ Strand of Oaks, Local 506, 4/11 – It’s a very lucky thing that my favorite show of the year (and many others on this list) was also attended by the best taper in the area (Dan Schram) so I have this show on mp3 and can go back and listen again and again. Just a stunningly excellent show. So many of the shows on this list are special shows: album releases, first shows back, etc. The excellence of this show is even more amazing because it wasn’t a “special” show. It was another night on a long tour (for both bands). It’s the kind of show that makes me want to pack a bag and follow a tour around so I can see it every night. Photos here

Des Ark, Nightlight, Chapel Hill NC, 03/10/11
2. Des Ark w/ Pygmy Lush, Bellafea, Nightlight, 3/10 – Des Ark’s CD is on my favorite albums of the year list so it is no surprise to see the local album release show here. Just a show with Des Ark full band likely would have put it on the list, but this was far more. The crowd was wonderful, Pygmy Lush’s set was great, and Bellafea was so fantastic to hear again. I love Mount Moriah, obviously (favorite album of the year, a Mount Moriah show is coming up on this list), but sometimes a Bellafea show is exactly what I need. It was the perfect kickstart to the night. Photos here

The Butchies, Pinhook Outdoor Stage, Durham NC, 09/24/11
3. The Butchies w/ Pink Flag, Pinhook, 9/24 – Everything about this show. The weather was perfect for a huge celebratory show in the parking lot behind Pinhook, and that is exactly what this was. Both bands played fantastic sets to a great hometown crowd. Photos here

Mount Moriah, Cat's Cradle, Carrboro NC, 04/15/11
4.Mount Moriah w/ The Moaners & Filthybird, Cat’s Cradle, 4/15 – I feel like I’ve already said enough about how great Mount Moriah’s album is. The CD release show started with the three videos that are included with the album and ended with an all hands on-stage sing along of “Lament.” Start to finish, just a great night. Photos here

Bombadil, Cat's Cradle, Carrboro NC, 11/12/11
5. Bombadil w/ The Future Kings of Nowhere, JKutchma and the 5/5ths, Cat’s Cradle, 11/12 – Three bands I love on the same bill, a CD release show for Bombadil. Before even going to this show, I knew it’d end up on this list. So, for me, it had alot to live up to. And it more than did so. Photos here

Future Kings of Nowhere, Motorco, Durham NC, 05/07/11
6. Future Kings of Nowhere w/ Hammer No More the Fingers & The Wigg Report, Motorco, 5/7 – Photos here

Red Collar, Casbah, Durham NC, 05/28/11
7. Red Collar w/ American Aquarium, Casbah, 5/28 – Photos here

The Moaners, Cave, Chapel Hill NC, 07/29/11
8. The Moaners w/ All Girl Boys Choir, Cave, 7/29 – Photos here

Free Electric State, Pinhook, Durham NC, 11/4/11
9. Pinhook’s 3-year anniversary 3-night concert (Men w/ Tayisha Busey, Crystal Antlers w/ Old Bricks, Free Electric State, Javelin w/ Organos), 11/3-11/5 – Photos here

Shirlette & The Dynamite Brothers, Duke Gardens, Durham NC, 06/29/11
10. Shirlette and the Dynamite Brothers, Duke Gardens, 6/29 – Photos here

Links to all year end coverage:
Year End Concert Stats
Top Ten Albums of 2011
Twenty Favorite Photos of 2011
Great Moments of 2011

Year End Concert Stats

As I start my year end wrap up posts, today some stats to keep it in perspective. This was an amazing year in live music in Durham and in Raleigh and in Chapel Hill. I didn’t even see most of it (though I came closest in Durham) but, bow howdy, I saw a lot of it.

[All stats include shows I know I’ll see and shoot before the year is over. Stats do not include shows I went to without my camera (it happens)]

I saw and shot 209 shows at 33 venues in 2011 (this counts each day of a festival as a single show): 150 shows in Durham, 23 in Chapel Hill, 22 in Raleigh, 13 in Carrboro, 1 in Winston-Salem.

Counting each set by band I saw and shot 565 sets in 2011: 381 bands in Durham, 85 bands in Raleigh, 66 bands in Chapel Hill, 31 bands in Carrboro, 2 bands in Winston.

Looking at the venues I shot the most out of the 33 total venues: I shot 58 shows at Motorco, 47 shows at Pinhook, 13 shows at Casbah, 13 shows at Local 506, 11 shows at Motorco Garage, 10 shows at Cat’s Cradle.

Going by number of band sets, not shows: I shot 155 bands at Motorco, 108 bands at Pinhook, 38 bands at Casbah, 37 bands at Local 506, 34 bands at Motorco Garage, 23 bands at Cat’s Cradle, 21 bands at Kings, and 20 at Nightlight.

All together I saw and shot 358 bands this year, almost a band for each day of the year. 276 of those bands I saw only once. 65 of the bands I saw between 2 and 4 times. And 17 of the bands I saw 5 or more times:
Band – # of shows
JKutchma (w/ the 5/5 or solo) – 19
Midtown Dickens- 10
Almost People – 10
Phil Cook & His Feat – 8
Magnolia Collective – 7
Pink Flag – 7
Onward, Soldiers – 6
Mount Moriah – 6
Free Electric State – 6
Gray Young – 6
Hammer No More The Fingers – 6
Birds & Arrows – 6
American Aquarium – 5
Effingham – 5
Humble Tripe – 5
Red Collar – 5
The Moaners – 5

A special nod to JKutchma, Midtown Dickens, Phil Cook & His Feat, Gray Young, Mount Moriah, Birds & Arrows, and The Moaners, all of whom I saw play in at least 5 different venues.

And, yes, if anyone is curious, I’m happy to share the excel spreadsheet where I store all this info if you are curious about the nitty gritty details or want to look at lots of pivot tables.

In summary, I saw and shot a ton of shows and bands. I shot in venues all around the area and also really focused on shooting in Durham. I got to see many of my favorite bands play a bunch, some of my favorite bands not nearly enough, and just about everything in between. I found new music, new friends, new angles, new light, and so much more at shows

And between now and the end of the year, I have posts coming to try and pull from that magnitude of music: my favorite shows, my favorite concert moments, my favorite photos, my favorite albums.

Links to all year end coverage:
Top Ten Albums of 2011
Twenty Favorite Photos of 2011
Ten Favorite Shows of 2011
Great Moments of 2011

Red Collar w/ American Aquarium, Casbah

Saturday night Red Collar put on one of the best shows I’ve seen this year. And I know it was the most dancing and singing along and grinning like a fool I’ve done during a show all year. Durham hadn’t been treated to a full show by hometown band Red Collar in a long time and we were all more than primed for a great time.

American Aquarium opened and sounded great.
American Aquarium, Casbah, Durham NC, 05/28/11

American Aquarium, Casbah, Durham NC, 05/28/11

Red Collar started the show with the band streaming in from the back to the chanting part of “Pilgrim” and as they made it on stage the rock & the smiles began.

Red Collar, Casbah, Durham NC, 05/28/11

They sound like why I fell in love with rock, why every does. It is a stunner of a live show, it is amazing to see a band full of such a+ people be so completely unapologetic about giving every single thing they have to a performance.

Red Collar, Casbah, Durham NC, 05/28/11

It was a steamy night inside and outside the Casbah, and even so, it was a show so amazing that, once the show ended, a large group of folks from the crowd all just hung around the venue with giant smiles, catching up with friends, talking about the amazing show we just saw.

I’m lucky and proud to be able to call them a local band, and my favorite local band. It was a fantastic show, just stunningly good.
The full photo set is here

Big City Turn Me On