All posts by Roy Ghim

Freelance writer with the Frederick News Post. I've also contributed to Frederick Playlist, Bucket of Rock. In a parallel universe, I've written about international soccer for New York Times Goals, In Bed With Maradona and about Korean soccer at taegukwarriors.com

Fugazi @ Weinberg 30 years ago + Shut Up & Listen / Cosmic Hallitosis / Cheshi+more January 13

Saturday January 13th 2018 — seems so Frederick to schedule a billion things all on one weekend night (not that I’m mad at anyone – it’s just more challenging to figure out logistics to be 3 different place at once).  So here’s how Western Machines reboots in 2018 after several months layoff – pick a random weekend to preview/list what the fuck is going down in Frederick.  Frederick Playlist highlighted the Cosmic Hallitosis show, but there’s 2 more events to keep tabs on. If you can multitask – you’re going to have a more sonically adventurous Saturday.

But first, it has been too long since I last posted – and it was mostly about the Nov city election. Turns out the dems made a clean sweep (made easier when the GOP candidates either got caught cheating by forging his signature so his daughter could vote for him  -from the Frederick Extra (hilarious irony as it’s the GOP that’s generally always accusing the other side of illegal voting), or didn’t show up to campaign at all – literally.

But nothing since then, though I should have posted about my own writing, having finally published a piece on the improbable events leading to Fugazi having played at the prim and proper Weinberg Center 30 years ago!  Pretty wild scenes in there – mosh pits (CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT AT THE WEINBERG?!) …the thing that blew me away researching the article was discovering there was NO CONTRACT AT ALL!  It was all verbally done, a simple phone call by a the 16 year old Chris Stup.  That would never happen today. I’ll tell you something else that will never happen again (probably -never say never I guess): Fugazi -should they regroup- or another post-hardcore band headlining at the Weinberg.  I do regret not getting in all the different stories and anecdotes about the 3 legendary Fugazi shows at the Weinberg – but through Subversive Zine, I’m doing a more comprehensive expanded version of the article.  Stay tuned for that (not in the next issue, #5 which is coming out soon- the expanded Fugazi piece will likely be in #6).

Fugazi at Weinberg in 1989 / Photo: J. Venverloh

But the flipside is that Frederick had a legit punk rock scene. Actually a few different unique and occasionally cross-collaborative scenes – metal / hardcore / punk / post punk / new wave.  They had all ages venues downtown – they were making waves outside of Frederick.  It happened before.  While there is a legit music scene today, all punching above their weight, I think everyone, including those in those bands know that it could be so much better. The missing ingredient – and common theme since Western Machines came online – is Frederick is in dire need of a mid-size music venue.  Even Scott Ambush, bassist for Spiro Gyra was quoted in the FNP 72 Hours yesterday:

Ambush…believes that Frederick getting a mid-size venue is the logical next step to a more vibrant music scene.

“A 300- to 500-seat venue would be great here,” he explained. “That would allow enough sales for regional and less expensive national acts to play in an atmosphere where food and drink was served. If I had the money, I would do it.”

There are some challenges that may get in the way — Ambush cited that a smaller venue means there’s less at stake compared with a mid-size venue.

Imade Borha interviewed Ambush and got that response — I agree with him on the need for a venue of course, but the food/drink thing – I don’t know – we may have slightly different ideas on what the atmosphere would look like for a hypothetical venue.  Anyway, FNP reporter Kelsi Loos tweeted this:

That would be Frederick County’s 20 year plan that incorporates a possible blueprint to making Frederick more livable – including improving entertainment/cultural options in order to attract people to come work and play in the area.  There was a survey (not a great one as surveys go) that went into the just released master plan – check that out here.

But how serious are they at the county or city level about this mid size venue idea?

In any event – New Spire Stages was in the news -the former Frederick Cultural Center on 15th and Patrick –   they’re doing a groundbreaking ceremony next week with a new executive director – eventually a 300-500 person capacity… maybe barebones ready by July…more on that soon…

 

 

2 quick plugs – Subversive Zine finally has a website – find it at subversivefrederick.com 

Already lots of more up to date stuff that’s on the online version of Subversive – like covering the new O’Conner mayoral adminstration,  and their super rad playlist on spotify (apple too? not sure but I’m going to check that out) + a comprehensive Frederick band list.

Last plug, I’ve been to Anthem in DC, their new ‘midsize’ venue built and operated by DC independents IMP and I got to review St Vincent’s show there last month (late Nov really) for the FNP.   Check out the review here.  The show was such a blast – Emily Jessee took this incredible photo below:

 

Photo: Emily Jessee

 

 

finally the shows that matter this Saturday, in no particular order:

 

Local Hip Hop at 611 – neat!

 

Next up: Cosmic Halitosis 1st full length album release show at Guidos, starting at 9pm.  From their FB events page:

…On January 13, the planets will align, blood will rain from the skies and rock ‘n’ roll will spread through the air like a toxic fume, creeping and slithering into every crevice. Comic Halitosis is releasing their first full length album and will be celebrating at Guidos!!!

Cosmic Halitosis
https://cosmichalitosis.bandcamp.com/

Slow Reader
https://slowreader.bandcamp.com/

My Friday Anthem
https://myfridayanthem.bandcamp.com/

and if you missed it, Frederick Playlist interviewed frontman Matt Henry (and relatively new father – he joins the rock dad club) about the new album release called “Where is She?” Good lineup – and I heard My Friday Anthem has a new album nearly ready to drop. Subversive Zine is previewing their new album soon…

 

Last but not least:

 

Cheshi and Silent Old Mts did a set last weekend at Baltimore’s Ottobar (hopefully they slayed – this rock dad couldn’t make it).  But I can make up for it partially by going to this show.  Doors at 9, music starts at 10, from the FB events page:

CHESHI (alt-indie)
https://cheshi.bandcamp.com/

HEXGIRLFRIENDS (electrofemme punk)
https://soundcloud.com/hexgirlfriends

EVOLV (cinematic sound)
https://evolv.bandcamp.com/

It is 21+ show and 3-5$ cover.   You know that WM is all about Cheshi — now HexGirlfriends is a Baltimore band I’ve been wanting to check out, and all the better that they’re coming to Nola. Evolv sounds very ambient/electronic – from DC – could be interesting.

I’m taking in all 3 shows somehow.  Let the transmorgrifying begin…it’s gonna be a long night. Enjoy, be safe, and don’t act like a trump out there. Peace.

 

 

 

 

Frederick City Election: on Nov 7…just fucking vote

So a couple things happening – but lets narrow all this down to 2 things to focus on.

  1. Subversive Zine #4 is out. Rad af.  Get it at a subversive joint in and around Frederick and read it front to back now.  I’m just getting caught up and didn’t realize there’s a spotify Subversive playlist – that’s how subversive this whole thing is – it slipped under my own radar!
  2. Frederick City general election is taking place Tuesday Nov 7 – polls open at 7am and close at 8pm. If you already voted when early voting was an option – you get a prize: having a democratic say in who will be the next mayor and who will represent you on on the city council – otherwise known as the Board of Aldermen.

Already early voter turnout last week was better than expected, 1400 showed up – but that’s in contrast to historic low turnout in the primary elections in September AND the last general election several years ago. 

Subversive has written about the anemic and incredibly lame voter turnout and how it’s contributed to the “bland arts” in Frederick visa vis Mayor “do nothing” Randy McClement getting re-elected. The newest piece on Frederick’s turnout is both shame inducing but hopefully constructive in urging people to come out and utilize their democratic right to regime change and a better direction for Frederick:

[from Subversive Zine #4]

And the winner of the Frederick City
Primary is: APATHY
Seriously folks, we’re talking 13.73% turnout here. Congrats
Frederick, that’s one of our lowest voter turnouts in recent history.
That’s a little over 4,000 voters determining the city’s fate out of
31,000 registered Republicans and Democrats (in a city whose
population is nearing 70,000). Maybe this does not seem too bad,
and likely compares to other similarly-sized cities, but I’m pissed,
and you should be too. Here’s why:

Frederick is growing…fast. Really fast. Anyone driving up and down
Route 15 can tell you that the rate of bulldozing farmland for shitty
condos and townhomes is way way up. The downtown seems to
be flourishing (particularly for the khaki/polo crowd), and, I am told,
Frederick is a hotspot for tourists. This means money is coming in,
and that means the city will continue to grow, and cities can grow
in intelligent ways or really dumb ways. This is a critical juncture in
Frederick’s existence: will it continue to grow in the most bland way
possible, complete with Jimmy Buffet cover bands and so many fountains that even they become
bland, or will its people
seize this opportunity to
DIFFERENTIATE the
city from the surrounding
BLAND AS FUCK
Washington D.C. suburbs?

Electing the “right” people
is just one approach. We still need awesome people working at
the bottom to challenge the complacency of this town…make weird
art, organize anti-gentrification demonstrations, engage in urban
gardening, dive headfirst into the cultural diversity of the Golden
Mile, ride bikes with fancy leather seats that conform to your unique
ass shape, whatever…BUT we also need a more cohesive vision of
Frederick’s identity and future. It helps when the leadership can fulfill this need by listening to the people, thinking creatively, and
unifying a city. That’s all the city: diverse neighborhoods out on the
west end, weird townhome people living north along 26, the stalwart longtime downtown folks and their burning desire to have bulk trash pickup return, the metal crowd, and newcomer hipsters. Interesting cities that people actually bother to visit: Asheville, Lancaster, Shepherdstown…all have support for the arts and visions of what makes themselves unique. If we want to attract that kind of attention, not to mention interesting people who want to open businesses etc. we had better start cultivating a better identity.

So, that’s all to say that I am sick of our nonexistent leadership. I want a mayor and board of aldermen that I actually want to rally behind and give me the sense that they are forward-thinking and not just good at cutting oversized ribbons. I want a mayor that appreciates the potential this town has and gives a
damn about being proactive about
pointing it in the right direction. Was
I enamored with any of the primary
candidates? No, frankly I think we
need new blood, but at this point I
do know that I sure as hell do not
want another 4 years of Blandy
McClement.

From Subversive Zine #4

Please, register and GO VOTE.
Fight off apathy for just the few minutes you’ll be in the voting booth. Give it a try and maybe you’ll start to feel like you have some more control over the city’s future. Maybe not, but it would be nice for Frederick’s fate to be determined by more people than the same few thousand that decide to vote.

Honestly, given the clusterfuck that is national politics we should all be taking a harder look at the local level and start to change things for the betterhere. With only a 1500 vote margin between the winning mayor and 2nd place last election it is a lot easier to have your voice heard here than it is when you’re yelling at Trump. Both are important, one just starts in your community.

 

Thanks for that Subversive —who will be finally putting some of their content on the interwebs after counter intuitively going analogue in a digital world all this time since launching in March.

This might not be a thing we’ll do with each election but we’re going to do it and take the plunge. WesternMachines endorses:

Mayor:

Michael O’Conner (D)

 

Aldermen:

Ben McShane (D)

Roger Wilson (D)

Derek Shackleford (D)

Donna Kuzemchak (D)

Kelly Russell (D)

 

Find your polling place here.   Get out…and fucking vote.

Extra Time: November 25 might not register as a particularly important date but on that day in 1987, a weird and wonderfully unexpected thing happened. Fugazi – then really unknown except to the Dischord post punk scene in DC – drove up a few miles from their homebase and played the historic Weinberg Theater in Frederick.  Don’t want to give too much away but I’m doing a piece about this, it’ll be a little more expansive on just some unlikely events transpired into an even more unlikely venue pairing featuring THE most influential underground band of the past several decades  -at the prim and proper Weinberg. What impact would Fugazi coming up to Frederick have on the city?  Stay tuned…

 

J Berd : Representing at Pop Montreal 2017 Today

Art and hip-hop goes together like rolled joint to a flame.  Today marks the start of the Pop Montreal Festival. As diverse & eclectic a lineup as that festival is, from ASMA to Wu Tang Clan, Frederick/Hagerstown’s own J Berd will be holding it down by opening the festival tonight at 6-8pm. Along with DJ Blaze, he’ll be doing his set (my guess: a mix of stuff from “Latchkey Kids” and stuff from his upcoming “Overtime” album).  That’s not all – he’s bringing his artwork and installed it yesterday. His art exhibit, titled Adventures in Boom Bap “depicts his friends and fellow musicians in his local scene as well as heroes from Rap history,” and will be up during the festival.

J Berd has been doing some high profile shows lately, including a May 5th Pittsburg show opening for Method Man & Redman. He was also scheduled to do an opening set, opening for Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) at Rams Head in B’more in late September – that’s been postponed until later in the year – we’ll try to update when we have the new date.

Continue reading J Berd : Representing at Pop Montreal 2017 Today

Frederick City Election Tuesday: WesternMachines + Subversive Zine want YOU to VOTE!

Less than 17% of Frederick city voted in the last election in 2013. That is atrociously low – and as a consequence, Mayor Randy McClement was re-elected.  In office since 2009, McClemment is Republican that has – how do we put this- has done virtually nothing. In the meantime, gentrification has blossomed in the city like weeds, and little cultural improvements to the Frederick landscape has encapsulated his time as the hands off mayor. In a moment captured several years ago over the future of the Carmack/Jay building on 5th and Market, he was laughed at by hundreds in attendance when he said he thought things were going well in Frederick. Status Quo, same old same old?  Naw.  The people in that crowded city hall weren’t buying that.

An opportunity has emerged: Frederick City wide primary voting will take place September 12 from 7am and polls close 8pm.

 

Early voting has come and gone, but here’s a chance to take the reins of democracy in your hands. It’s the punk thing to do.  Subversive Zine’s debut in March highlighted the incredibly low participation rate in the 2013 elections.  Can the narrative be flipped?   Both WM and Subversive thinks so, especially in light of how galvanizing the threat to democracy  ‘president trump’ has been.  The question is will it translate to a city election tomorrow? Continue reading Frederick City Election Tuesday: WesternMachines + Subversive Zine want YOU to VOTE!

Tuff Junior & Mr Husband Sept 2 @ cafe nola

This non-frequent posting thing just has to end, might as well end the loooong break on labor day weekend as Tuff Junior AND Mr Husband team up for a killer show at Nola tomorrow – that’s Saturday night Sept 2.

Tuff Junior is a post Old Indian project of frontman Cory Springirth and while we’re waiting for their EP,  the few shows they’ve done in Frederick and the 2 online singles released on their bandcamp page have given a pretty good indication of the awesomeness that awaits.

Mr Husband – we’ve written about before so I’ll let the promo from Cafe Nola do the talking…

Mr. Husband is the songwriting and comedy persona of Kenny Tompkins.  He is best known as co-founder of noteworthy indie-upstart Yellow K Records who released one of 2016’s most critically acclaimed albums “Psychopomp” by Japanese Breakfast.   In his live band Tompkins is joined by Chris Morris of Cotton Jones on drums and Jasen Reeder of Page France on bass. The group is quickly making a name for itself with their unique live show which mixes in small doses of comedy, theatrics, and faux-self-help all centered around extremely well crafted songs.   Mr. Husband is currently on tour in support of their debut  “Plaid on Plaid” which was released on May 5th, 2017 via Yellow K Records. Continue reading Tuff Junior & Mr Husband Sept 2 @ cafe nola

Fun Boys EP release & Kai Orion/Luna shows today

I’m on the run (what’s new?) but quickly now – this should b on yr radar:

Fun Boys EP release show at Guidos.  Starts at 9pm – until 1am maybe. They just played Baltimore with Cheshi and Middle Kid last night. And tonight Fun Boys brings some Baltimore bands to join in the fun: Micah E. Woods, Hexgirlfriends, and Albert Bagman (I think Albert Bagman is from b’more).  Here’s description from their FB event page:

WOOOOOOOOOOO!
Get ready!

The Fun Boys- Hometown heartthrobs
https://thefunboys.bandcamp.com/

Micah E Wood- Baltimore sad boy indie hip pop
https://micahewood.bandcamp.com/

Hexgirlfriends- Electrofemme punk from Baltimore
https://soundcloud.com/hexgirlfriends

Albert Bagman- Baltimore avant-garde freak folk
https://albertbagman.bandcamp.com/

Free show!
Support the bands!
Tip your bartenders!
Party! Guidos: 543 N. Market St

Also tonight at Cafe Nola: Kai Orion’s bday show: from the FB events page:

Kai Orion is an experimental-pop songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Frederick. His work blends unconventional techniques with accessible songwriting, drawing comparisons to the likes of Peter Gabriel and Tom Waits. Orion’s debut album, “Pots & Pans,” was created using only common everyday objects and sounds as instruments, in addition to vocals. The Frederick News Post called it “the most ambitious record of 2015.” In 2014, Orion won a cover contest held by indie rock band The National for his cover of their song “I Need My Girl.”

Alexander Gallows is a versatile singer-songwriter from the D.C. area. His work focuses around the acoustic sound and lyricism. His debut album “Solitude” is available on CDbaby, Soundcloud, and Spotify.

Luna is a Frederick based singer/songwriter, playing dreamy acoustic pop with an experimental aesthetic and sophisticated lyrics.

 

Frederick Playlist highlighted Kai this week – giving Kai a celebrity playlist. Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel + prog rock era Genesis among other good picks like the National, Massive Attack and Talk Talk  – pretty decent listening – check that here.

 

We’ll try to update when we can, lots of talking points including:

  • Successful New Spire Spaces open house last week – tons of people showed up – another event July 21 Media Town Hall  make sure you put that on yr calendar
  • Brunswick’s SmokeHouse brewery looking to refurbish an old firehall event space that once hosted Duke Ellington and Patsy Kline – it be interesting to do some musical archeology to see what other bands once played during the venue’s glory days.
  • July 21: first run arthouse cinema returns to Area 31 now that LEDA principal filming is over.  LOST IN PARIS is another fantastic Oscilliscopes Lab release – get tickets on eventbrite and check out the trailer:

 

New Spires Spaces OPEN-haus today: is this (and Stages nxt yr) the mid size venues we’ve been waiting for?

If u can attend: starting around 4:30 today, come by the old Artomatic building on 115 E. Church st – it’s been rebranded as New Spire Spaces (not to be confused with New Spire Stages – the old Frederick Cultural Arts Center on 15 Market St that’s set to activate next year while they tear down some walls & expand ceiling space for a 400 standing room multi-purpose venue).  Today’s open house will intro officially to the public what is in store as ‘Spaces’ already started hosting arts classes (pretty wide ranging and frankly – pretty spectacular programming).  Here’s some highlights of the new facility that will double as a art education & cultural event space:

  • Green screen room for film/production/YouTube broadcast quality classes
  • Recording studio for music, aforementioned YouTube classes & for Podcasting classes
  • Various sizes of rooms that could serve multiple functions, be they classes or intimate ArtHouse screening rooms for older and possibly even first run releases.
  • Dubbed the  ‘Great Room’ – it’s an approx. 150 capacity room for dance instruction/performances and music concerts (or even a 1st run indie film screening if it’s going to be BIG).  One can creatively think of any kind of event appropriate to the size of the room and book something there.

It’s the last 2 items that catches our attention immediately since WesternMachines has been all about culture pushing Frederick to another level via an appropriately mid-sized venue ( since like forever).  And it presents opportunities for all culture pushers, from all scenes (indie film creators — and folks in music scenes that typically get under-reported like metal or hip-hop) in Frederick, independent of New Spire Arts.  After a ribbon cutting opening ceremony, beginning at 4:45 and repeating at 6pm, Elizabeth Lucas – the artistic director for New Spire Arts will be presenting —well let’s let them describe what’s going to happen:

4:45 and 6 p.m. — Our Plans and How You Can Be Part of Them: Elizabeth Lucas will talk about New Spire Arts’ plans, from what’s available now to what the community can expect will come online within the next couple years, then will answer questions about working with us. Suitable for everyone, whether you want to teach for us, rent from us, present in our facility, or learn about what’s going on in your downtown.

And there’s another program at 7pm:

7 p.m. — Co-Presenting with New Spire Arts: Learn about how you can get involved as a presenter or performer. We will do a recap of our plans, then talk about how you can get involved in our curated performing arts series.

Register at http://newspirearts.com/events/open-house.

I wrote about New Spires Spaces (and Stages) for the FNP last Thursday, and I mentioned that Alexa Johnson – who started the rad house show venue The SQUAT with other Hood College alums – has been in conversation with Lucas about trying to replicate some aspect of the underground house show vibe at ‘Spaces.’  That conversation becomes even more prescient as the SQUAT’s lease is ending August.

There’s a couple of other aspects to ‘Spaces’/’Stages’ that is potentially positive for the Frederick music scene:

  • As Ashli Cheshire (of the indie rock band Cheshi) put it in the FNP piece: all music venues currently existing in Frederick now are bars first, with music as a afterthought. That affects some of the dynamics of putting on shows in downtown Frederick currently, with atmosphere and people’s focus being a challenge for bands to perform in. That’s not the case necessarily with Spaces (and Stages next year). ArtsFirst could be a new mantra – and quite possibly could fit in this new context.  That and the sizes of the bar/venues in downtown Frederick are usually too small to book certain kinds of national touring bands (with the Weinberg having the opposite challenge with over 1100 seats to fill).
  • Let’s stay on the bar/venue situation – it leads to college and high school kids getting shut out of shows downtown. Tentatively at Spaces – shows booked there can be / or at least should be all ages.  That may require more stringent efforts to self-police so this doesn’t get a rep for underage drinking to spoil the party for everyone, but getting ahead of ourselves – but the fact is the Artomatic Music shows (held in the same building on the 3rd floor gym) last year were an absolute all ages success – and few  problems resulting from the process (wristbands. It’s that simple. Yes it could be abused but 9:30 Club with 18+ shows utilizes handstamps under infra-ray.  Low % chance of problems with either system, both more or less work.
  • All music scene stakeholders can utilize the Great Room space. Metal/Hip-Hop/Electronic/Experimental, you name it – it’s built -so if you book it (and book it right -however you want to intrpret that given the size of the room) they will (hopefully) come.  If these various shows are successful – and this is the important partif these shows are packed, it will allow Lucas to show to the Ausherman Foundation (who has bankrolled the arts facility) that envelope-pushing music & film can work here and next year when they finish remodeling Stages on Patrick & Market st. 

And put this on yr calendar for July 19 – I’ll let New Spire say a few more words about it:

MEDIA TOWN HALL, July 19

From traditional filmmaking to podcasting to new technologies like virtual reality, storytelling through technology is a constantly developing industry. New Spire Arts would like to explore how the performing arts and these new technologies intersect. However, developing a robust media education and presenting program takes time and resources. Join us for a conversation about what you are excited about. We will look at some examples of what others are working on and talk about how we might bring that type of work here, through teaching it, encouraging its production, partnering with commercial organizations, and more. Share your priorities, tell us what you can bring to the table, and help us develop a strong, innovative media education program.

Register at http://newspirearts.com/events/media-town-hall.

 

………………………………………………

Moving on, last Friday, too many shows to attend. I tried to transmorgrify but the damn machine in the cardboard box didn’t work so I could only get to the Slayground for their coup d’etat in booking Rozwell Kid to play a semi-secret house show there.  Rozwell Kid treated everyone as they start their national tour with an album release show.  True to the venue name, slay they did.  I don’t know – I’m not good with estimating numbers, but it looked like 100 people packed in the hot sweaty Slayground.  Atmosphere? hell yes.  It was absolutely encouraging to see all these people come out -and that gives me hope that Frederick is more than just a greying gentrifying exurban shell – that it has some goddamn potential to be a dynamic cultural city.

 

Rozwell Kid at the Slayground for their album release show. 6/23/17

This blurry photo above does NO justice in capturing what happened there.  Biking to the house, I arrived late 3 songs in and just as I was about to open the door inside, the power went out. Minor circuit break, an impromptu intermission and here’s the sequence I witnessed:

  1. door opens. literal steam from human sweat comes rushing out.
  2. people start streaming out, band members and audience alike to take a break from the sweat box. Smiles all around.
  3. and people kept coming out. That procession did not stop for several minutes. When the last person exited, I took a quick peek in at the setup.  Drums, amps, guitars precariously leaning and… a decent moderately sized bedroom. The question I asked: how on earth did all these people squeeze in there?!?  Logistics aside, it was a remarkable feat in of itself.
  4. Electricity restored, show continues. Bloody good rocking commences. Heads are nodding in sync.
  5. Set ends after about 5 more songs – it’s just too hot in there so they end a bit early but everyone is cheering full throated – having bared witness to a super dope house show by a WV band blowing up in real time.
  6. Orderly exit to the backyard, fireflies intermittently glowing all around, and…instant community as most stick around to talk about what they just witnessed in the cool June night.

No cops called. Neighbors were cool with everything – especially since Slayground show started and ended in a reasonable time frame for the neighborhood.

Good signpost for Frederick.  Look for a different POV from Chad Wilkes – he’s back from travels out west and while here temporarily in Frederick, will start freelance writing on local cultural matters. He wrote about this show and his unusual concert review  will appear in the Frederick News Post soon (at least I think it will be published soon).

Last postscript from the show: Rozwell Kid donated some money from the show proceeds (DIY house style – they passed around a bucket!) to Subversive Zine.  Cheers to Rozwell Kid!!!  (confession/disclosure: I’m part of the ad hoc Subversive Zine committee).  Subversive issue #2 is out now at a subversive joint near you.  Submission deadline to contribute to the upcoming #3 is July 1-ish – email subversive.frederick@gmail.com to contribute.

 

………………………………………………………………

I got a bit more to converse about but my time is up.  I’ll post soon about the Open House and conclusions from it later this week but I leave you with this insightful op-ed titled “Density Matters” from Matt Edens. He’s writes about true crime for TV, but last Friday opined about ‘micro units’ being built in downtown Frederick – designed to be affordable units for millenials who are increasingly being priced out of living downtown. This is vitally important as Frederick is trying to (or at least should be trying to) attract young people – and keep young people already here to stick around instead of fleeing to DC/Baltimore/Chicago/Denver, you name it.  Interesting facts:

  • “Currently, 20- to 29-year-olds still constitute the largest age group living in the core of downtown (25 percent according to 2015 census estimates). But 50- to 60-year-olds — prime empty-nester yearsare the fastest-growing segment, more than doubling from 6.9 percent of downtown’s population in 2009 to 17.1 percent in 2015 (the percentage of 20-somethings scarcely changed over that same interim),” according to Edens.
  • “The number of housing units in downtown’s core has also decreased: down to 1,052 in 2015 from 1,134 in 2010. And there are fewer for rent, too. Since 2010, the owner occupancy rate in downtown climbed from 29.7 to 32.8 percent. Downtown, it seems, is slowly becoming a neighborhood of older homeowners.” This is a trend Edens seem to regard as a concern – obviously something WM shares -particularly in this regard: young artists/musicians/filmmakers are gradually being priced out of the city- and I dare say most are probably looking around the nation to see what other options exist.
  • In a nod to both the young and old: “…not only do I think that downtown needs the energy and vibrancy that young people provide, perhaps more importantly, it also needs density to attract the sort of services that older homeowners desire.”

    That corresponds to why something like New Spire Spaces/Stages is important to keeping younger people in the city. From the FNP article:

    Referring to a long-term study about the environment businesses face in thinking about locating in Frederick, an immediate concern about the perceived lack of exciting cultural programming comes to the fore. “The Work Force Development Component, from what I understand, [said] large businesses are having trouble convincing young professionals to move here,” explained Lucas, “because it doesn’t feel like there’s enough. We hope we can fill that gap.”

     

    Ok I really have to go. Peace / Resistance / Bye !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rozwell Kid album release show+Travelin’ Appalachian Revue+F3filmFest+Pride Fest+Doom Fest=too much good shit to do this weekend

Listen, I know I’ve been neglectful (not updating often) but my new mantra is quality, not quantity.  Still, since the WesternMachines/Skystage/Thing show May20th (so glad you came / sorry if u didn’t go), plenty of great shows have come & gone.  Good shit happening in the film scene as well, including the F3 Pride Film Fest (which I covered in the FNP earlier in June, shameless plug). But seeing as I’m typing simultaneously whilest biking thru the city, wobbly & avoiding near death collisions – no more apologies – this post be real short.

First: let’s fill you in on cool shows happening + great events as too much good shit is happening this weekend (I’m trademarking that last fragment, get yr fucking hands off that Flying Dog. ’cause I know where u live).

Rozwell Kid – album release show with Gloop at SLAYGROUND Friday June 22 / 7:30-11pm

WHAT A COUP…can I tell you how incredible this is?  West Virgina’s Rozwell Kid, newly signed to California indie label SideOneDummy and blowing the bejezus up –  are launching their US tour with a album release show at…wait for it… the Frederick house venue known as the Slayground.  The DIY venue  is relatively new, and out of total respect for the occupants, I’ll set the tone: if you go, do not act like a bona fide asshole. I’ll let you figure out how to interpret and process that. You still in?  To get the address, go to this link and make contact. Suggested $5 donation.  Self described as ‘noisy grunge junk’ from Frederick, Gloop is also on the bill – and if you know your WesternMachines history, Gloop and their show at the JunkDrawer was (I think) the 2nd or 3rd WesternMachines post ever when it launched last summer.  So that show, which included Cheshi, had to end prematurely when the cops was called to the makeshift storage space/outdoor venue, but it would end happily when the show moved over to Knights Castle –house venue to the rescue!   Back to Rozwell Kid, they’re about to go on a pretty sizable US tour (including a stop at Omaha’s Slowdown -run by Saddle Creek Records), and going coast to coast.  If you missed them at 200 East Art Haus (like the very first show at 200 East in 2015 and very last official show there last month), this intimate house setting is going to be radical.

Travelin’ Appalachians Revue @Area31 / 7-11pm

now goddammit – why are all the good shows packed on the same weekend, on the same day ?!?  From their FB events page:

Hello, Frederick. This show is real special for us, it marks our first steps with this project outside the state of West Virginia. We can’t wait to celebrate that milestone with you. ~Celebrate~ being the key word here- that’s the whole purpose of this show.
In case you’re not familiar with The Travelin’ Appalachians Revue, we are an annual mobile arts and culture festival, featuring a showcase of Appalachian writers, musicians, and artists. This is our THIRD ANNUAL year, and like I said, this is our FIRST time outside West Virginia. RAD!
Hope you can join us at the Area 31. The show kicks off at 7pm. Entry is free, but we ask you to considering donating what you can at the door so we can give all these talented folks a little cashola for their hard work.
That said, we will NEVER turn anyone away who can’t afford it!
Again, this show starts at 7pm and it is ALL AGES.


This gig is doubly unique because we will be featuring a film screening by Frederick filmmaker Samuel Tressler IV
~AS WELL AS~
A very special one-time-only ACOUSTIC set from Cheshi

and more musicians and writers from WV are on this bill.  Transmorgrify yourself and attend both events – it’s like the best of WV has descended onto Frederick on Friday.

But I must let loose more foul language ($*%#*&%^#@^%*$^!) as the Frederick Film Festival returns this year (now rebranded as Frederick Film & Music Fest) and opening night is…you guessed it : fucking Friday.

The Film Fest spans from Friday’s opening at the Weinberg to Saturday – with the 2nd day spread out across several venues. Me, if I can’t transmorgrify, will likely check out some documentaries on Syrian refugees on Saturday at the Deleplaine. Check out the full event schedule here.  And do check out Imade Borha’s FNP article about some of the highlights to possibly see at the film festival.

What is a music and film aficionado to do? Keep transmorgriying, Calvin & Hobbes style.

  • If there are three of me, one can go to the Slayground
  • another to Area 31
  • and the third to the Weinberg for F3’s opening night

Maryland Doom Fest returns this weekend as well – adding to Friday night’s troubles of splitting several ways, but Saturday and Sunday night offers options to attend as well.  Wander to the ‘ass end of North Market st’ and it’s there at Cafe 611 you’ll find these excellent regional and national metal acts that range in scope and subgenres.

I’ll update soon on the high Priestess of all things Metal in Frederick, Caroline Wexler with her pick of not-to-be-missed bands for the festival:

TONIGHT:

Beelzefuzz

Faith in Jane

Lo Pan

Captain Beyond

TOMORROW:

Conclave

The Well

Heavy Temple

Serpents of Secrecy

Earthride

Wo Fat

Bang

SUNDAY:

Horehound

Cavern

Akris

Lifetime Shitlist

Atomic Bitchwax

Here’s more from Caroline: “…each day this year is packed with a bunch of amazing bands, so you could really show up at any time and the quality of music you’d be seeing would be off the charts. And the headliners this year are nuts. Captain Beyond is a 70s rock group that hasn’t released and album since 1977 and they’re releasing one this year…like big time rockstar types. Honestly the quality of Doom Fest has always been of such a high caliber, right from the first one they did a few years ago. Never been disappointed by this festival.”

Hella endorsement.  So…I’m splitting up 4 ways on Friday now…

 

But during the day Saturday, I don’t have to split myself up as one event takes over part of the city during the day: the 2017 Frederick Pride Fest.  Head over to Carrol Creek Linear Park beginning at 11am and celebrate LGBTQ pride & culture -and give a middle finger to trump and his  bigoted agenda that reversed Obama’s school policy on transgender students.  For last min schedule updates, check the FB page.

 

I’ll try to update tomorrow or sometime this weekend as there’s tons to talk about – I haven’t even discussed Subversive Zine issue #2 now out at yr favorite subversive joint in the city (issue #3 coming out in…July?), and a  brand new article I wrote for the FNP that came out today discussing the potential for the New Spire Spaces (formerly the Artomatic building on church st) to be a catalyst for  the Frederick music/film/art scene. Could that (or it’s sister venue, New Spire Stage, set to open next year) finally be the [permanent. read: not temporary] mid-size venue we’ve all been praying to jeebus for? Check that here.  Some super awesome voices weigh in, including Ashli Cheshire of Cheshi, Alexa Johnson -who started the SQUAT, the DIY house venue that started last year (but SQUAT’s lease ending in August), and Ryan Nicholson from Heavy Lights.  There’s also the matter of underground hip hop artist J Berd who’s going to be playing with RZA in Montreal later in early fall – yes RZA – downright exciting.  No press has covered the fact he opened for Redman and Method Man in Pittsburg last month.  J Berd, with the Makeshift Crew put out a new mixtape that’s dope af, check it here:

We’ll talk more about J soon.

After the weekend —keep a look out for :

Monday June 26 at Skystage is Cinemonday’s screening of Watership Down  Hell to the yes!

Tuesday June 27  New Spire Spaces Open House (see above and/or here)

 

Kid got to be picked up from summer camp, gots to go before CPS is called on my ass. Culture up. Fuck trump and fuck fascism. Peace Love and Resistance.

WesternMachines curates Sky Stage Thing MAY 20: Tuff Junior/Mr. Husband/Miss Lonelyheart/Drop Electric

I’ll get to the Thing at Sky Stage in a jiff – but don’t forget: Dashing Emancipation tonight 7pm at McClintock Distillery (ethical clothing symposium), and on Wednesday the first volume of Films & Fermented Foods featuring “Black Dynamite,” a fantastic homage to blacksploitation films (also at McClintock).  More on all that later.

I’ve been quietly talking about the Sky Stage (corner of All Saints & Carrol St) for awhile -Heather Clarke’s brilliant repurposed venue getting some love from publications like Dwell Magazine and just a few days ago from the Washington Post.

Rewind to the cold of January, WesternMachines was asked to curate the lineup at the Sky Stage as part of the 2nd Thing Fest set to go this Saturday May 20 (weather forecast so far so good).  It just might end up being the last Thing (the Frederick News Post was sold to Ogden News) but we’re going to go all out anyway.  We’re stoked to present both new and stalwart indie rock awesomeness this Saturday. Let me deconstruct the lineup if you’re not familiar with some of these bands – this will convince you to drop that cell phone and get your ass out the door to go. Another reason: subVersive Zine  issue #2 will be hot off the press and available to pick up at Sky Stage (and other downtown locations).

 

TUFF JUNIOR          [5pm]

The final event of the Thing fest at 200 East Art Haus back in July 2016 was Old Indian’s last show ever.  That was a blast, but since then frontman Cory Springirth has not gone into the gentle night (to misuse Dylan Thomas) but instead, from bedroom recordings, developed a new sound just as cool as Old Indian’s – but takes it a step further into adventurous avenues.  It turned out to be a new band project Tuff Junior, which officially debuted in March at Cafe Nola.  For those lucky enough to catch the show -the whole of the music just shimmered – starting from the familiar Black Sabbath vibe that made us fall in love with Old Indian – then suddenly without warning, the band transitioned into a slower but wild psychedelic country-fried medley, then new wave hybrid surfer rock.  Like I said, adventurous. Absolutely.  Everything, the vocal arrangements that crackled with vibrancy and confidence of someone who sounds like they’ve walked down a hundred different roads, the rainbow jangling coming out of his guitar, the mysterious bassist in the corner keeping the low end in perfect transcendent time with Heavy Light’s Derek Salazar’s vital drumming…it made listening just pure joy – fine barrel aged bourbon pouring slowly and deliciously on down –  top fucking shelf.

Check their bandcamp for their first two singles, Denim v Leather and the newest single that emerged a few days ago, Vacation Daydream.


MR. HUSBAND                 [6pm]

a new project from the creative force that brought you New God and Yellow K Records (entities  that NPR Music, Pitchfork, Fader and other national media outlets have heaped praise & blessings), Kenny Tompkins decided that he lost his mind.  Too many hours spent promoting bands in conventional social media ways and Kenny simply cracked.  He put on a wig and dressed as a man in a time machine stuck between only the years 1968 and 1985.  He made self deprecating ironic videos talking about his new ‘professional musical career’, complete with yearbook pictures from hell and 80’s elevator music.  He sold band t-shirts hilariously out of order – violating a sacred unwritten rule: thou shalt not sell band t-shirts before putting on a single show or releasing music to the public. And he wound up making some brilliant music along the way, releasing Plaid on Plaid on cassette – a sound simpatico with the elephant 6 collective or panda bear/animal collective – all of whom spent copious amounts of time worshipping in the house of Brian Wilson.  Stereogum had this to say about his first single, “Riding a Lighting Bolt”: like Brian Wilson refracting through Animal Collective and boomeranging back to the ’60s, leaving behind sonic contrails in its wake.  To further his “professional music career” he thought it best to go on tour -in character.   Mirth, hilarity and brilliant music all in one. He’s joined by some heavy hitters like Chris Morris of Heavy Lights and Jason Reeder of Cotton Jones.  [FYI – I wrote a feature story about Mr. Husband in last week’s 72 Hours – check that here.  ]

 

MISS LONELYHEART                 [7pm]

They would say they’re not legends – but I say they are.  They are in fact indie rock gods of Frederick (and central PA – they’ve been in continual transition with members in both MD and PA) – and that ain’t no goddamn ‘alternative fact’ brought to you by some fucking trumpist.  That they formed in the 90’s makes them OG. seriously legit OG.  I flipped thru a zine, Shredding Material – it was from 1998 and they interviewed the (then) young band who were struggling with what Frederick was about, musically and culturally.  Can you imagine, in the midst of a city transforming from frednecksville into -well, whatever the fuck it is today – and this incredible music that you could fit into the same sentence as Superchunk, Pavement, Mission of Burma- it’s pretty mindblowing. Miss Lonelyheart performed with the likes of Fugazi – stop right there. I can’t handle all this awesomeness.  Sky Stage brings the people who defined indie rock in this city for so long full circle (and for once, WesternMachines will neglect his kids in order to watch them live).

 

DROP ELECTRIC                          [8pm]

Let me drop 2 words: electronic shoegazer.  That’s not exactly an apt description, but with a band that’s as versatile, creative and hard to pin down as Drop Electric, it will suffice [for now].  Hailing from DC (mostly DC, some work DC but live in MD) Drop Electric started to make a name for themselves thanks to a shout from Bob Boilen, who said this: …they knocked me out. I’d seen Sigur Ros earlier in the week, we’d webcast that show, Sigur Ros is on my mind. Epic sounding instrumental band, with beautiful, beautiful vocals and here was Drop Electric, doing something sorta similar. “
– Bob Boilen, All Songs Considered (NPR).

What they do is gorgeous as they envelope you in this sonic wave that carries influences far (most of the band members are Persian and bring in a neat middle eastern percussive element) and wide (shoegazer has punk rock/indie rock roots mixed in with neo-psychedelic elements).

 

So yeah, Sky Stage // like Frederick Artomatic Music fest before it, will be here and gone tomorrow -or sometime in the fall – as it will cease to exist as a temporary community public art installation and open air performance venue.

don’t forget all the other rad bands playing the Thing  like…

underground hip hop at Cafe 611 with Stitch Early, Retro/Ricole and J Berd

DIY instrumentalist Kai Orion and emo rocker Middle Kid at Gravel & Grind

Appalachian rockers Crooked Hills playing Guidos – plus Mess, Cosmic Halitosis, and Atomic Mosquitoes will makes Guidos a really eclectic lineup

bluegrass band Platescrapers/Kretzer Brothers at McClintock

Luna, Thom Huenger and Declan Poehler at Vini Culture

Fun Boys, Silent Old Mts., DoubleMotorcyles, Cheshi and Time Columns playing 200 East Art Haus outside -and the headliner, Rozwell Kid – who returns after playing the first 200 East show in July 2015.

and the official aftershow at Cafe Nola : My Friday Anthem closes it out at midnight!

Full lineup for this massively wide fest here. 

Pricing:

So there’s a couple of options :

  • if you only want to go to one venue, it’ll be $5.
  • All access/all shows, there’s a wristband for that which will set you back $30.
  • There’s even a VIP option -a tshirt and pint glass to commemorate the Thing (hint: last option is not worth it but you didn’t hear that from me. shhh. remember snitches get stiches).

You can get wristbands at this point on the THING website here – or day of on May 20th at various venues, including Sky Stage.

And DON’T forget to pick up a copy of SubVersive Zine #2  – it’ll be available at all the usual suspects, Pit Crew, Gravel y Grind, Record Exchange, Nola and of course at the Sky Stage.

extra time:

Shameless plug, I wrote a little something about the McClintock screening event for the FNP – the event seeks to raise funds for the Frederick Film & Music Fest that’ll take place late in June – you can read that here, ’cause Black Dynamite is one bad mother-shut your mouth!

Meanwhile LEDA is still filming but rapidly finishing all the shooting soon. They are facing a major fundraising hurdle, if you can help out via indie gogo – they could use all the help.

Mr Husband debuts May 5 @Nola : Commence Subliminal Command to Go to the Show(s)

Tonight Tonight Tonight : Mr Husband, Kenny Tompkin’s new project (which has featured a gradual building up of ridiculously bonkers social media video stuntmaking with a high factor of hilariousness – like selling band merch like a t-shirt even before putting out any music) will debut the new cassette album Plaid on Plaid and full-on band live at Cafe Nola Friday May 5 – with Michael Nau from Cotton Jones [and before that Page,France].  Show starts at 10pm – link to the FB events page here.

The full band, if you’re not aware, contains some area heavy hitters including Chris Morris (drummer for Heavy Lights & Cotton Jones) and Jason Reeder (also from Cotton Jones).

If you miss that show – Sunday is your salvation as Mr Husband will play in a more informal setting in that awesome house show venue  known as the Squat – starts at 5pm -ends at a reasonable 8pm) – check out the Sunday Squat show at their FB events link here.  Middle Kid and Silent Old Mts. on board for that one – stellar lineup for both shows.

Mr Husband will continue up the east coast to do shows, eventually winding their way to Brooklyn before heading back down to Frederick to play the Thing fest at WesternMachines curated Sky Stage show on May 20th (along with Tuff Junior/Miss Lonelyheart & Drop Electric).

This should be on your radar and you should be stoked for a number of reasons -too many to get into as I’m writing a piece and behind on my deadline for the FNP about Kenny, his moving to Frederick, Yellow K Record‘s rapid success and his music projects & muses with New God and now with Mr Husband.

Oh yeah, another reason to be excited – Mr Husband is on the radar of legit media like Stereogum. This is what they had to say on just hearing a bit of the new album Plaid on Plaid:

“Like Brian Wilson refracting through Animal Collective and boomeranging back to the ’60s, leaving behind sonic contrails” – Stereogum

hearing that—-Yes yes and triple yes

For now, go to Mr Husband’s bandcamp page to get acclimated as he worships from the house of Brian Wilson – that alone should climatize you to the wicked creative forces swirling around with this project. 

 

Moving on…

A few days ago Chili Town Radio came out with their 3rd podcast on Soundcloud.  A Marc Train Home, My Friday Anthem and more:

 

 

Extra time: shame on me , I almost forgot, J Berd is representing Frederick underground hip hop tonight over in Pittsburg as he’s opening for MethodMan & Redman at Xtaza nightclub.  FB event page here.