January 31, 2008

[Photos] Buffalo Tom @ Black Cat

I'm a bit late on this but I would be remiss if I failed to go on record about how fucking awesome Buffalo Tom was last Friday night. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give the show a 15. Seriously. They destroyed my low expectations and put on what will definitely end up being one of the best shows I will see in 2008.

I can't for the life of me remember the last time I saw them play. I'm guessing 1997ish, which put Friday night's show at about 10 years overdue. But it was like they never left. Everything from Let Me Come Over and Big Red Letter Day sounded as vibrant and fresh as the first time I heard those songs. And the newer songs sounded right at home besides these "classics."

The best part of the show was how much fun the band was having on stage. Yes, to an extent this show was a trip down memory lane, but it was a welcome one. It was clear Bill, Chris and Tom were playing these songs because they love them and were happy to be performing them again. Their energy was infectious and the crowd more than reciprocated. They even took requests. The only (minor) downer was Chris's sore throat, which kept the band performing "Three Easy Pieces," one of the songs I was most looking forward to hearing. But he sucked it up for "Late At Night," so it's hard to complain about that.

Setlist: [via the BTMB]
Staples / CC and Callas / Sodajerk / Thrown / Summer / Treehouse / Mineral / You'll Never Catch Him / Kitchen Door / Scottish Windows / Tangerine / Velvet Roof / I'm Allowed / Bottom of the Rain / Late at Night / Taillights Fade
Encore:
Late At Night / Frozen Lake / Birdbrain / Wiser

I have serious doubts if I will see a better show this year. It was that good.

[mp3] Buffalo Tom | Larry (live)

Also, I finally saw Cloverfield last night. I liked it, but it felt like I was watching someone play a video game. I have some serious issues with the last 20 minutes of the movie, but overal...thumbs up.

**UPDATE** - Pygs In a Blanket nails one of my complaints.

Finally, Robbers on High Street have canceled their show at DC9 tonight.

Posted by Kyle at 12:33 PM | Comments (1)

January 16, 2008

[Photos] Editors @ 9:30 Club

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Real quick...Editors were totally on point last night. When they came through town a few months ago they seemed a bit off. Maybe it was them, maybe it was me (Sky high expectations), I can't say. What I can say is they played an amazing set last night. Their collective energy level was much higher, and it showed through in their set. Ed Lay was straight-up attacking his drum set. I was up front for most of the night and had planned to go in the back and stand with Natalya and her friend when there was a lull in the show. Well, that didn't happen until around song # 9 or so. Great, great show. And a good way to start out the 2008 concert year.

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Can't say the same for the openers. I detest Louis XIV, who have yet to write a decent song. And about 30 seconds into Hot Hot Heat's set, their tour manager came up to me and scolded me that my photo pass was only good for Editors and not his band. Oh really? If my band just released and was touring behind their third album, which was greeting with universally lukewarm reviews, and was in the process of playing a nine song set, seven of which were old tunes, I'd be begging people to pay attention to my band before they fall off the face of the fucking planet. But hey, you got it. I won't talk about or pay attention to them no more.

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If you haven't read it yet, don't forget to check out my interview with Editors lead singer Tom Smith.

While we're semi-on-the-subject, there is an embarrassing amount of great shows in D.C. tonight. The 9:30 has Blonde Redhead, who I have yet to see (the 2 songs I saw them do at ACL Festival last year don't count). The Black Cat is hosting Yeasayer and MGMT in the backstage (locals read all about the brouhaha regarding the small venue yesterday) and The Red and The Black has my boys from GreenVegas, NC, the one and only Future Islands. I saw them last year at Whartscape and they were teh awesome. Normally I would be front and center at the Future Islands show, but I threw my hat into the Yeasayer ring last week. So if you're one of the "lucky" few with tickets, see you tonight.

Posted by Kyle at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2007

[Lists] Gigs of the Year 2007

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Mew @ Black Cat - "The highlight of the night, however, was the encore performance of "Special," a song a few concert goers around me said they were waiting all night for. Madsen started riffing with the band's drummer while the rest of the band slowly took the stage, launching into the song's signature riff with a perfectly timed crescendo that had the audience going wild."

LCD Soundsystem
LCD Soundsystem @ 9:30 Club - "I wouldn't call myself a huge LCD fan by any means, and to be honest, the amount of hype they're getting from NYC was turning me off on the band a bit, but holy shit, they brought the noise last night. It was one of those shows where the band plays for over an hour and you're having so much fun it feels like only 10 minutes. And the best part of it was the usually stoic D.C. audience was totally letting their hair down and absolutely turning it loose. Most everybody in the club was dancing, even old men like me. I was proud to be from D.C. last night."

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The Pipettes and Smoosh @ Black Cat - "The Pipettes are, as some are wont to say, the sound of one pan flashing, but no matter how you feel about the group, they put on a great show. There were plenty of choreographed dance moves to go along with the group's throw-back, doo-wop sound, and best of all, the girls seemed to be enjoying themselves. The crowd certainly did. Think of them as the female Art Brut. You either get it and totally love it or you don't."

The National
The National @ 9:30 Club - "There were some outstanding moments, none of which I can remember directly because I was slightly to fairly drunk. There were quite a few songs that had me dancing around like no one was watching. One of the songs off of the new record got a new arrangement and it sounded great, but I can't remember which one it was. "Lit Up" and "Mr. November" got the chatty Cathy's standing all around us to shut the fuck up and actually watch the show."

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Travis @ 9:30 Club - "Normally I absolutely abhor it when bands play "greatest hits" sets. But when it's been seven years since you've seen a band, those type of sets aren't exactly a bad thing. In fact, last night the set was perfect. Because they played "Back In Black." On a whim. As the last song of the night. It was INCREDIBLE."

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Dappled Cities Fly @ Black Cat - "They played the Black Cat's backstage room last night and put on one of the most enjoyable shows I've seen this year. Their sound is a glorious blend of Mew, Supergrass, The Shins and Levy - art rock with perfect pop hooks occasionally sung in falsetto."

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Kings of Leon @ 9:30 Club - "You know all those completely overrated bands like The Decemberists, Beruit, effing Sufjan, Band of Horses, The New Pornographers, Tapes N Tapes, Andrew Bird and the like? You can have them. Go ahead and take 'em. Just give me Kings of Leon. Give me a band with career ambition, building their fan base the right way - releasing albums that get progressively better while touring like crazy and playing bigger and bigger venues, but most importantly a band that fucking brings the rock live. Their set last night at the 9:30 Club was perhaps the best show I've seen this year. "

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Voxtrot & The Little Ones @ Black Cat - "You know how I always say I love bands that do mainly verse-chorus-verse songs with a "do do do," "la la la" or "woo woo woo" thrown in there at some point? The Little Ones generally do all three in most of their songs. Think of an American version of I Should Coco-era Supergrass. Tons of energy, lots of smiles on stage and plenty of chances to clap along with their songs. And it's pretty impossible not to sing along with the "hey-oh"'s in "Lovers Who Undercover." I had a ball during their set."

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Pela @ Historic Sixth & I Synagouge - "Holy hell. They were brilliant. Forced to do a 30 minute set due to the schedule, they wasted no time and pulled no punches, delivering one of the best sets of music I've seen this year. They were damn near perfect. The choruses were big and soared when they needed to and Billy showed a newfound talent for pulling back a bit and showing a bit of restraint during the slower songs."

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Jen Lekman @ Black Cat - "I couldn't stay long at the Jens Lekman show last night and that turned out to be a real shame. He was brilliant. It was a cold, rainy night outside but this guy was just emanating sunshine from the stage. And he managed to turn a good show into a great show in just the second song of the night, when during the last little bit of "The Opposite of Hallelujah" he dropped in a sample of "Give Me Just A Little More Time" by The Chairman of the Board."

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Morrissey @ DAR Constitution Hall - "We only got to shoot two songs and they went by in a flash(no pun intended). I had both of my cameras with me and would switch between the two whenever the buffer on a memory card would fill up. I had them placed on the stage in front of me, which was very handy. During the second song, while I was putting one camera down and picking up the other, Moz hit me in the face with the mic cord! Awesome."

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Superdrag @ 930 Club - "They didn't get to the good stuff, that being everything off of Head Trip In Every Key, until the latter part of the set but it was worth the wait. "Sold You An Alibi" killed. As did "Do The Vampire." "I'm Expanding My Mind" was every bit of the sonic godhead I make it out to be in my head. So yeah, this show was good."

Posted by Kyle at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2007

[Photos] Superdrag @ 9:30 Club

I've already gushed at how awesome this gig was, so here is the visual evidence. And, as a treat, some live MP3's from a Head Trip In Every Key era show that have been burning up my iTunes in the last week or so.

[MP3] Superdrag | Destinantion Ursa Major (Live)

[MP3] Superdrag | Sold You An Alibi (Live)

[MP3] Superdrag | Do The Vampire (Live)

Posted by Kyle at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2007

Jigga What!?! Jigga Who?!?

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Your eyes do not deceive you, those are my photos of Jay-Z gracing Pitchfork Media today. Head over there right now and you can see my work on the front page.

I was a pretty big Jay-Z fan before shooting him on Friday, but even more so now. Here is quite possibly the biggest artist in the country, with the # 1 album in all the land and he gives me three songs in a small club. No restrictions, no photo release, no attitude, nothing. His staff was incredibly polite and professional throughout the show. In short, Jigga knows how to roll.

His show is mesmerizing. Hit after hit after hit. The best part is he doesn't have a hype man. It's just him on stage with no distractions. His backing band only added to the show, never took it over.

The craziest thing? The crowd, a mix of hip hop heads and casual listeners, were more well behaved than the Morrissey crowd from last week. Respect.

Posted by Kyle at 1:51 PM | Comments (2)

November 6, 2007

Synchronicity

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I headed down to the Verizon center last night to photograph The Police.

Shots should be up over on DCist soon. Here they are.

Semi-related but not really: Daniel Boud talks to Anton Corbijn about photography.

Posted by Kyle at 2:10 PM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2007

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

Last night I finally got to shoot Morrissey. I say "finally" because I was supposed to shoot three of the dates he cancelled back in July. Three! But it was not to be. And after the show last night, I think the wait was almost worth it.

I was incredibly nervous when I got to the venue. I was trying not to put too much pressure on myself to get "the shot" but it wasn't working. I had some serious butterflies in my stomach. About five minutes before Moz went onstage, the promoter led the photogs down to the front of the house. There is no photo pit at DAR, so we had to basically shoot from the crowd. However, the bouncers were nice enough to clear people out of the center aisle which was just enough space for myself and Ryan, the other photog. I was front row! Before I could even get settled, the lights dimmed and Morrissey bounded out across the stage. I took a deep breath and went to work.

We only got to shoot two songs and they went by in a flash(no pun intended). I had both of my cameras with me and would switch between the two whenever the buffer on a memory card would fill up. I had them placed on the stage in front of me, which was very handy. During the second song, while I was putting one camera down and picking up the other, Moz hit me in the face with the mic cord! Awesome.

When our two songs were up, I stored my camera in the production office and then went back out to enjoy the show. Even though the venue was just over half full, Moz was in fine form and looked like he was enjoying himself greatly. He played a great set (although he completely ignored any Ringleaders material - save for the b-side "Good Looking Man About Town") and the crowd was mad for it.

I got my hands on the second shirt that was thrown out but a mad scramble for it ensued and I gave up on it. Besides, what am I going to do with a 1/4 of a sleeve? Moz ended up throwing three shirts into the crowd and it seemed to rile everyone up. There were something like 12 stage invaders during the last song and Moz was loving it. he had the biggest smile on his face. Security was really cool about it, letting people jump up on stage and then back down if they didn't do anything crazy. They had their hands full. Boz threw out a set list right before he walked off stage and I just missed it. Dagger. Even so, I declare my 13th Morrissey gig a success.

Oh, and I got the shot.

Setlist: (via)
Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before / Irish Blood, English Heart / Interesting Drug / Death Of A Disco Dancer / Sister, I'm A Poet / One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell / Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself? / Billy Budd / Jack The Ripper / The Loop / Stretch Out And Wait / I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris / Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want / Tomorrow / I Like You / Good Looking Man About Town / The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores / That's How People Grow Up / The Boy With The Thorn In His Side / Dear God, Please Help Me / How Soon Is Now? // First Of The Gang To Die

Posted by Kyle at 10:42 AM | Comments (2)

October 26, 2007

Sports or Concert? Concert!

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I couldn't stay long at the Jens Lekman show last night and that turned out to be a real shame. He was brilliant. It was a cold, rainy night outside but this guy was just emanating sunshine from the stage. And he managed to turn a good show into a great show in just the second song of the night, when during the last little bit of "The Opposite of Hallelujah" he dropped in a sample of "Give Me Just A Little More Time" by The Chairman of the Board. The crowd went crazy, as well they should have.

I'll put it to you this way. The show was so good I had no problem missing all of the D.C. United playoff loss to Chicago and most of Boston's 2-1 Game 2 win to see it. I immediately downloaded his new album from eMusic when I got home. Think of The Housemartins with a little more bossanova thrown in. Best.

[MP3] Jens Lekman | The Opposite of Hallelujah

[MP3] Jens Lekman | Into Eternity

Posted by Kyle at 11:10 AM | Comments (3)

October 17, 2007

Photos: The Hives & Maroon 5

I had the worst day yesterday. Work was stressful as hell but I eventually got everything done and sorted and some time after 7 p.m. I made my way down to the Verizon Center to see The Hives and Maroon 5. Only my ticket and photo pass weren't at will call. Sigh. But I eventually talked to the right person and was granted a photo pass (but no ticket). So basically I could shoot the show - the first two songs of each artist - but that's it. Luckily the little waiting area we were confined to had a TV and I could watch the game. But I digress...

This was the first show I'd ever shot at the Phone Booth and also the first show where I didn't actually get to see the show. But it wasn't so bad. I got home at a decent hour and wasn't up all night editing photos (just watching baseball).

Anyone heading to the Black Cat tonight to see The Hives is in store for a great show. I've seen them a few times before (even toured with them a bit in my former music industry life - nicest guys ever) and they can still bring it.

Buy Tyrannosaurus Hives from the Amazon MP3 store. New album The Black and White Album is out Nov. 17th.

Posted by Kyle at 2:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2007

Photos: Stellastarr*, Pela & Exit Clov

I am super swamped at work today so I'll have to keep this semi-short. Saturday was my third time "seeing" Stellastarr*, a band I really do not care for at all. But I absolutely love it when they tour!

Why?

because they have this cunning knack of bringing along opening bands that totally blow them off the stage. To wit:

Oct. 6th, 2005 - I helped get Cedars on the bill for this show, so I went early to see their set. The middle band? Giant effing Drag, who totally blew me away and quickly shot up to "my new favorite band" status.

March 30, 2006 - I go to see this opening band from England called Editors. I walk out with my jaw on the floor. They were that good. Also worth noting, that was my very first gig with my then brand-new Canon Rebel XT.

October 13, 2007 - They play again and Pela is on the bill with them. Now, I've obviously seen Pela a few times by this point, including the year before at a DAM!Fest show. I liked that performance so much that I booked the band to play Unbuckled for DCist. That was another great show, but while it was easy to see that while the band had all the tunes they needed, they were more energy than anything else at that point. The chops still weren't there. More of the same when I caught them in San Fran a few months ago, although they showed improvement. Then the gig on Saturday. Holy hell. They were brilliant. Forced to do a 30 minute set due to the schedule, they wasted no time and pulled no punches, delivering one of the best sets of music I've seen this year. They were damn near perfect. The choruses were big and soared when they needed to and Billy showed a newfound talent for pulling back a bit and showing a bit of restraint during the slower songs. Nate supplies and endless supply of killer riffs and hooks while Eric and Tomislav keep it all in check. That was a fucking good show.

The venue certainly added a bit to the atmosphere. It was at the Historic 6th & I Synagogue, which has fabulous acoustics and and superb soundsystem. I'd go see another show there in a heartbeat.

I spoke to Nate for a minute before they went on and he said after that festival thing in NYC this week that I've promised not to mention, they'll be going into the studio and the band plan to have a new record out by middle of next year. I, for one, cannot wait.

I did stick around a bit for a few Stellastarr* songs, but I just couldn't get into it, so I split and caught a bit of Craig Wedren at the Rock n Roll Hotel. I got my "Red House" fix after a while (props for playing it mid-set) and went home and crashed. Not a bad Saturday night in D.C. Not bad at all.

Overall, attendance at this year's DAM!Fest seemed spotty at best, which I assume doesn't bode well for the future. Not sure why that was. Seemed like a lot of people were out of town last weekend, but the ones that were here didn't show up.

Posted by Kyle at 1:25 PM | Comments (1)

October 12, 2007

Photos: ACL Day Three

I know these are hella late, but...*shrug* I'm a busy man.

I was really happy with this batch of photos. Definitely worth clicking through if you have a spare 10 minutes on this fine Friday afternoon.

Plans for this weekend:
Sox! - Obvs.
DAM!Fest - Pela tomorrow!
Work. - Ugh.

Posted by Kyle at 1:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2007

Photos: Klaxons & Washington Social Club

I made my way down to the 9:30 Club on Monday night to check out this "Nu-Rave" thing the kids are going on and on about. The Klaxons are the torch bearers of the movement I suppose, seeing as how they won the 2007 Mercury Music Prize for their album Myths of the Near Future. The verdict? Let's just say it's not my thing. All the kids (and there were a lot of x's on hands around me up front near the stage) were totally into it though, so I was in the minority. I had a hard time getting photos of the band because the people in front were jumping around so much.

D.C.'s own Washington Social Club scored the opening spot for the gig after Sh*t Disco was forced to cancel due to visa issues. I missed them last time they played the 9:30, so it was nice to get to see (WSC bassist) Olivia Mancini do her thing. She is quite possibly my favorite local musician. She and the Social Club played an energetic set of clever, Stones-inspired pop nuggets to the late arriving crowd. So score another one for the openers upstaging the headliners. At least in my book.

[MP3] Klaxons | Atlantis to Interzone

[MP3] Washington Social Club | Diamond Hipster Boy (via TWF)

Posted by Kyle at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2007

Photos: Voxtrot & The Little Ones

Two songs into Voxtrot's set Saturday night at the Black Cat lead singer Ramesh Srivastava told the crowd he was feeling unwell, so if the band was less than stellar that night, that was why. Turns out he wasn't kidding. He had some sort of surgery after the band's gig in Philly on Sunday and the band has had to cancel at least two shows in Canada this week, although Frank says all the Canadian dates are off. As for the show, yes, the band was a little off, but they gave it their all and they get nothing but respect for that.

For me, it was the openers that stole the show. Ms. Smith has been a fan of The Little Ones for a while now and I'm finally catching on. I saw them late last year at a museum in Orange County, CA and liked them, although they didn't blow me away. That changed Saturday night. I guess it took a proper gig at a proper venue for everything to click. You know how I always say I love bands that do mainly verse-chorus-verse songs with a "do do do," "la la la" or "woo woo woo" thrown in there at some point? The Little Ones generally do all three in most of their songs. Think of an American version of I Should Coco-era Supergrass. Tons of energy, lots of smiles on stage and plenty of chances to clap along with their songs. And it's pretty impossible not to sing along with the "hey-oh"'s in "Lovers Who Undercover." I had a ball during their set.

[MP3] Voxtrot | The Start of Something
[MP3] Voxtrot | Trouble

[MP3] The Little Ones | Lovers Who Undercover (via MFR)
[MP3] The Little Ones | Face The Facts (via IA)

Posted by Kyle at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)

October 5, 2007

Austin City Limits Photos: Day Two

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Posted by Kyle at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 3, 2007

Austin City Limits Photos: Day One

Also, some unplugged Bjork for your listening pleasure:

[MP3] Bjork | Aeroplane
[MP3] Bjork | Like Someone In Love

Posted by Kyle at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2007

Goats on the Fork

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Point your web browser over to Pitchfork to see my photos from Friday's Mountain Goats / Bowerbirds show at Sonar in Baltimore.

Posted by Kyle at 4:49 PM | Comments (0)

Photos: KoL & BRMC

Let me just go ahead and put this out there so you can marinate on it for a minute.

You know all those completely overrated bands like The Decemberists, Beruit, effing Sufjan, Band of Horses, The New Pornographers, Tapes N Tapes, Andrew Bird and the like? You can have them. Go ahead and take 'em.

Just give me Kings of Leon.

Give me a band with career ambition, building their fan base the right way - releasing albums that get progressively better while touring like crazy and playing bigger and bigger venues, but most importantly a band that fucking brings the rock live. Their set last night at the 9:30 Club was perhaps the best show I've seen this year. And I think we all know it's no easy feat to impress me. I have been waiting three years to see KoL live and I built it up so much in my head I didn't think there was any way the band were going to be able to live up to my expectations.

Boy was I wrong.

They were so on point, so tight, so perfect. They made a sold out 9:30 crowd do things I've never seen before. There was a palatable energy in the room last night. The crowd gave it and the band returned it in kind.

Let me throw this out there while I'm at it. Is there a more underrated band in the land right now? A band more deserving of admiration and praise but yet gets so very little?

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club played a decent set to warm up the crowd for the headliners. Actually, they came out blazing on their first five or six songs and had the crowd (including me) eating out of their hand. But then they broke out a slow song that went nowhere and then followed that up with a song where the lead singer played trombone. At that point everyone went to the bar or outside for a smoke. I have never seen a crowd go from "Yes! Fucking Rock!" to "Wait, is that a trombone? Time for a beer" so fast.

In contrast, KoL played "Arizona" about 45 minutes into their set and instead of boring everyone, the guys in crowd busted out their air guitars and the girls kept on openly drooling at the guys on stage. Oh, I should also mention that the crowd at a KoL show is not exactly hard on the eyes ifyouknowwhatimean.

Stand out tunes last night included "Fans," "True Love Way," pretty much everything off of Aha Shake Heartbreak and a show stopping version of "Knocked Up" that seriously gave me goosebumps and induced a giant sing-a-long with the backing "ohwoah ohhhhhhh ohh ohhhhhhhhhhs." Full set list here.

So yeah, the show was pretty good. You need to go see it. They're at the 9:30 Club again tonight and then they continue touring through October and into November.

Posted by Kyle at 12:51 PM | Comments (3)

September 6, 2007

Tired and Wired

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Despite being pretty beat, I went to see The National and The Rosebuds last night at the 9:30 Club, hoping that the underwhelming show I saw in June was an aberration. Friend of information leafblower R.D. came down from NYC for the June show, but caught The National recently at South Street Seaport and said the show was so good his "trust in the decency of the common man had been restored." Yes please.

Unfortunately while playing a very good show last night, the band and venue still highlighted their collective weaknesses more than their strengths. Boxer, grainy, emotional and gorgeous on CD, lacks a bit in the pacing department live and I just couldn't get past this. Matt was also battling a bit of a cold, which didn't help things.

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It almost seemed that the band was holding back last night. On the few occasions they put their guard down and let 'er rip ("Abel" and "Squalor Victoria" for instance) it was truly a thing of beauty that made you think "I am so glad I'm here rather than at home watching Andy Roddick lose to Roger Federer in straight sets." But any momentum would soon be lost when they would follow up with a slowie that brought the energy in the room down again. Alligator worked because "Mr. November's" yin evened out "Daughters of the Soho Riots" yang. And "Daughters" sounds all the better because of it. Boxer lacks the songs that punch you right in the gut (sorry for the horrible pun).

That said, they played "All The Wine" (YAY!) with a wonderful new arrangement and did the slow-then-fast tempo for "Apartment Story" that worked so well back in June. The highlight of the show was definitely the venue-wide singalong to all the words of "Fake Empire."

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Similarly, try as I might, I simply cannot get into The Rosebuds. They've garnered all sorts of praise on blogs far and wide, but after seeing them twice, I just can't get into them.

The Washington Post Express is going to run a few of my photos today, which is why there's no photo gallery here. Head over to Flickr for more photos.

Midlake are at the Black Cat tonight, and although I do want to see them, I need a night off. If you go, tell me how it was.

Posted by Kyle at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2007

A Mistake!

After The National played their first song at the 9:30 Club last night, they did the headlinerly thing and thanked the opening bands for playing with them. And then Matt Berninger said "Happy Birthday Kevin." Who the fuck is this Kevin dude and why is he ruining my birthday? No buzz.

Seriously though, I've had a rough last week and a half or so at work (for reasons I won't get into) and on the way to the show last night I told Ms. Smith that I hoped I would feel better at the show, watching the band play. I was wrong. I was in a much better mood before the show even started after hanging out with everyone that came out to help me celebrate my birthday and eat cupcakes. Chatting and hanging with my friends was just what the doctor ordered. So thanks everyone. I needed that.

As for the show itself, it was very good but not great. Loyal readers know that I heart The National and their new record, but it seemed last night their weaknesses outdid their strengths. Through most of the set, they just seemed like five guys onstage playing instruments. Their sound was very thin and they had problems filling up the room. The pacing of the set was a bit suspect as well. Most of the more uptempo numbers were held back for the latter half of the set, which made for a low key start to the show. The new record - full of slow, brooding numbers - certainly contributed to that effect. Also, no "All The Wine." WTF?

There were some outstanding moments, none of which I can remember directly because I was slightly to fairly drunk. There were quite a few songs that had me dancing around like no one was watching. One of the songs off of the new record got a new arrangement and it sounded great, but I can't remember which one it was. "Lit Up" and "Mr. November" got the chatty Cathy's standing all around us to shut the fuck up and actually watch the show.

Other than this Kevin fellow "ruining" my night, I hereby declare my 33rd birthday a success!

NPR streamed last night's show on the web and you can go to their site to hear the show in it's entirety.

Posted by Kyle at 8:12 AM | Comments (1)

May 23, 2007

David Stern, You Have Killed Me

Still numb from last night. I'm afraid to go on the interwebs. I just can't look at Greg Oden's mug right now.

The optimist in me says the Celtics will still be pretty good next year, Al Jeff is a 20-10 guy now, PP is still PP, Rajon Rondo will get the keys to the car and maybe, just maybe, Gerald Green will start to get it. Add in someone like Corey Brewer or Brandon Wright and we'll improve quite a bit. But then the pessimist in me keeps crying out "FOR FUCK'S SAKE! This is what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket!" over and over again. Well, if nothing else draft time should be full of suspense for Celtics Nation. Do we keep the pick or trade it? How will Atlanta screw up this year? Will we be able to capitalize?

I'm really, really glad I went out last night. It was much better for me than sitting at home and stewing over this all night. Many thanks to Ms. Smith for expertly talking me down off the ledge as the night wore on.

Due to the draft debacle I missed Le Loup's set. Let's just assume they were awesome and move on. I did see The Rosebuds, and they were pretty great. Very peppy and full of energy and every song had some sort of "la la la," "oh oh oh," or "yeah yeah yeah." Right up my alley! They just started their tour, so be sure to check them out when they roll through your hood. Here's a taste of their musical stylings:

[MP3] The Rosebuds | Bluebird

OK, now you're just piling on.

You too. Argh! Make it stop!

Reasons Not To Sign With The Major Labels.

William Orbit brought electronica into the mainstream and gave Madonna back her cool. Now he's ditching the synths altogether in favour of an orchestra.

Posted by Kyle at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2007

Perfect Circle

Talk about coincidence...Late (and I mean late) in the day on Friday I was handed two tickets to Saturday's Spoon show in Baltimore. Saturday was also my blog birthday (for lack of a better term). In my first ever blog post I mentioned that I hoped to find out why Spoon isn't the biggest band in the world, so that made for a pleasant surprise when their area show fell on the same day.

Seriously though, it's not like it takes much to get me excited about seeing one of my favorite bands. I've been a fan since Series of Sneaks . We used to have a promo copy of that album at the office and I listened to it constantly, just to hear the "Ma ma ma, Ma ma ma, Ma ma ma" in "Car Radio." Best. "30 Gallon Tank" is easily one of my 10 favorite songs evah. I could go on...

The last time I saw Spoon was at the Pitchfork Festival last year, which I'm sure most people would agree wasn't their best hour. They just seemed out of sorts and under-rehearsed, and I'm not saying that just because I'm still bitter that they didn't play "Chicago at Night." Saturday's show, however, was completely different. They sounded tight and wowed the crowd as they worked their way through a set mostly filled with material from their last two albums and a smattering of songs from the upcoming Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. The only old stuff they played was "Fitted Shirt," "I Could See The Dude," and "Anything You Want." The last song in particular was a real treat. I heart Girls Can Tell.

That was also my first ever trip to Sonar in Baltimore, which is a nice enough place but I'm not sure if I'll be going back anytime soon. There are four big columns in the middle of the room, and that, coupled with a seemingly impenetrable line of tall people running through the middle of the venue made seeing anything pretty much impossible. And I have no idea who was doing the lights at the show, but they were obviously a noob. The show was basically lit by four spotlights mounted in the middle of the room, which is like going to see one of your favorite artists and having them lit by four high powered flashlights. The stage had all sorts of lights on it, and they were all working for the opener The Oranges Band (who weren't half bad), but they couldn't figure it out for the headliners. That was terribly frustrating because I thought the lighting set up was going to lead to some nice shots. Alas, we're stuck with the B & W shots above. I don't feel bad complaining about the lighting though, because Britt complained about it all through the show (as well he should have). Still, all in all a great show. I even bought a shirt!

Here are some live Spoon tracks to get you as excited as I was in Saturday:
[MP3] Spoon | The Two2 Sides of Monsieur Valentine (live)
[MP3] Spoon | The Way We Get By (Live on WERS)

Lastly: I'm trying out a new slideshow app I found online. What do you think? Better than me posting one or two pics and directing you to Flickr? Worse? Thoughts?

Posted by Kyle at 10:20 AM | Comments (1)

April 19, 2007

TV on the Radio @ 9:30 Club

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I still don't like the CD, but they're pretty good live. More over at DCist.

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I got home real late and haven't really had a chance to go through all of my photos, but a few are up on Flickr. More will be added as I have time to get through them.

**UPDATE** here's a slideshow I'm testing out:


Posted by Kyle at 1:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2007

The Many Faces of Ted Leo

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It's a credit to Ted Leo's ability as a performer that I wasn't really in the mood to go out last night and he still blew me away. Other than "Sons of Cain," I'm not really feeling the new record, which he delved into quite a bit last night, although "Bomb. Repeat. Bomb" sounded much better than the recorded version. The biggest cheers were for his older material, specifically "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone" and "Counting Down The Hours." Also, the Pharmacists are a three piece now, so the sound as a whole was filled out much better than the last few tours. I'm still not comfortable seeing him in big spaces like the 9:30 Club though. I think his shows work best at tiny clubs with sweat dripping from the ceiling, but judging by the size of the crowd last night, those venues might be a thing of the past for Ted, at least in major cities.

Ms. Smith and I were beat, so we left a bit early, but I still had a good time and a smile on my face when I left the venue. Love of Diagrams were a pretty good opener. I loved their guitars but their singing was a bit rough. If you get a chance to see them on this tour, let me know what you think.

NPR webcast last night's show, so head over to All Songs Considered to listen or download the show. Joel was there taking photos, so I'm sure his slide show will be online soon if it's not already.

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My photos of the night can be found here. I edited these in a hurry late last night, so I may post more photos later if/when I have time to go back through them.

My big night of concert hopping never materialized, as I didn't get Dean & Britta tickets. I was really looking forward to hearing "Moon Palace" and "Chinatown" but I couldn't really justify paying $30 for half a show. Especially when I'm off to Europe in less than a month. I'll just have to watch my Luna DVD over the weekend and hope they tour again soon.

Tuesday's Cold War Kids show was fairly craptastic. I hate to agree with Pitchfork, but they were all flash and no substance. I didn't like them at all. Actually I liked two songs, "Hospital Beds" and "Hang Me Up To Dry," you know - the ones with verses and choruses, but other than that I was bored to tears. Same with Tokyo Police Club and that other band that opened. Booooring. Also, I got screwed on my photo pass, so I wasn't exactly in the best of moods.

Back to the world of the NBA tonight. The Raptors are in town.

Posted by Kyle at 10:02 AM | Comments (1)

March 27, 2007

Someday, Someday

Someday

[via Kottke]

Posted by Kyle at 2:34 PM | Comments (0)

The Changes @ Recher Theatre

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Hear me now, believe me later, the future is bright for The Changes. You don't create and perfect a sound that takes the Boo Radleys' song writing, adds in Teenage Fanclub's harmonies and some Marr-like riffage and stay anonymous very long. At least in my corner of the internets.

I had seen them once before, late last year at the Rock N Roll Hotel and was a bit underwhelmed, but only just. The band was a bit aloof on stage and the pacing of their set was a bit suspect. Well, they've improved both those things and their show on Saturday at the Recher Theater in Towson, Md. was well worth a trip to the land of people that don't drive so good.

The Recher is a larger version of the Rock N Roll Hotel that at first glance looks a bit worse for the wear, but it's a nice little room with a great soundsystem, tall stage and most importantly, an actual pro-level lighting rig!

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The band put on a very energetic show, which was not easy to do seeing as that there were less than 40 people in attendance (and that includes the other two bands). And now that I've seen them twice, I don't think the band is necessarily aloof, they're just too busy switching instruments between every song to stop and chat with the crowd.

I think they played a new song to start out the set, but from there, they focused mainly on the material from Today Is Tonight, one of my favorite records of 2006. The pacing problems that plagued their previous show were fixed by moving the slower songs like "On A String" to the latter part of the set and working out a new, sped up arrangement of "Sisters" that kept everything moving along nicely. Smiths-ian tunes like "Water on the Gods" and "Modern Love" were full of jangly goodness and set closer "Her, You and I" brought the house down.

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Consider me fully on board The Changes' bandwagon, that is, if there is such a thing. If not, it starts here. If you didn't catch them on this tour, fear not. After taking April off, they'll be back out on the road in May with The Cinematics. They'll be hitting the Rock n Roll Hotel on their way through D.C., so when I get the date, I'll be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, download some tracks from the band:
WOXY has a Lounge Act by the band available to download.
Daytrotter also has a set just waiting to be downloaded. I highly recommend "Her, You and I" and "Water of the Gods," the best stab at "This Charming Man" that I've heard in quite some time.
You can also stream some music on their MySpace page.

All my photos from the night are over on Flickr.

Posted by Kyle at 12:05 PM | Comments (3)

March 26, 2007

Snow Patrol @ Bender Arena

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Friday I took my first ever trip up to American University to catch Snow Patrol, OK Go & Silversun Pickups play Bender Arena. For a basketball gym, it's not a bad venue at all. There's plenty of room to move around on the floor and there are an abundance of seats along the side and back of the gym, so everybody's happy. The sound was great too. Can we move all the shows at DAR up here ASAP?

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As for the gig, I viewed Snow Patrol as a second rate u2 going into the show and my opinion hasn't really changed that much, but they were still much better than I thought they'd be. Gary Lightbody is a very capable front man and he's skilled at grabbing the crowd's attention and not letting go. Playing all those songs with big choruses that people love to sing along to certainly doesn't hurt. Crowd participation is a big part of their show, so I think seeing them in a big arena is the way to go. They stayed away from most of the stuff I know off of Final Straw, but all in all, not too bad.

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I had seen OK Go once before, opening for Rufus Wainwright. I wasn't very impressed back then or with their set on Friday. Their songs sounded unremarkable and hooks were far and few between. The best thing they did all night was a cover of ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down." I think at this point it's safe to say I'm not a fan. However, I will give them propers for not dancing this time.

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I've gone on record many times saying that I think the Silversun Pickups are bovs and they did not let me down. They were alloted a very short set, which was perfect for them because they played their five or six best songs and got the hell out of there. When I saw them last year, I predicted they'd be mega once they got a proper sound system behind them and I was right. They'll be ready to headline shows like this in a few years.

Related:
Check out my Silversun Pickups interview from last year.
Silversun Pickups on AOL's The Interface.
Silversun Pickups on Woxy's Lounge Acts.
Scroll down for all three Silversun Pickups performances at KEXP.


SilversunPickups-9610.jpg As far as I can remember, that was the first time I've had the opportunity to shoot an arena show and I was unsure as to how to go about it. I brought all four of my lenses and it took me a long time to figure out which one worked best. The SSPU's were lit by this searing blue light and red fills and OK Go was bathed in straight red and I had a hard time getting any good shots. Snow Patrol's set was easier because they relied more on their lighted backdrop and some straight flood lights. I always bitch about not having enough light to shoot shows, right? Well Friday I got what I asked for and I had a hard time coping. Every time I start thinking I'm getting good at this photo thing, I have a gig like this that sets me straight.

No rest for the wicked though. I have a very full week ahead of me. I might be going to see The Decemberists in Bethesda tonight(although I doubt the tickets will come through), then there's Say Hi To Your Mom and De Novo Dahl on Tuesday, Cold War Kids on Wednesday, Ted Leo on Thursday, Raps @ Wiz on Friday. Whew.

Posted by Kyle at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2007

Unbuckled 5 Photos

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I put on a hell of a show last night at DC9 if I do say so myself. We had a good crowd considering there is a sheet of ice blanketing the U Street corridor. And while I would have liked it if more people showed up, the upstairs was pretty crowded and there were never more than three people at the bar downstairs during the show, so everyone that came out came to see the rock. And good lord did Pela bring it. Wow! You really need to go see them and be prepared to rock out when you do. I kept comparing them to a cross between the Old 97's and War-era u2 before the show, but they reminded me more of The Hold Steady last night. Great tunes and a big, fuck off rock sound. They were insanely great. When their set was done, the crowd wouldn't let them leave. They ended up playing three extra songs, including a cover of the Pixies' "Holiday Song."

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These United States were no slouches either. Jesse and Co. put n a very engaging show that veered from slow country jams to full-on boogie workouts. Best. People were coming up to me all night saying how much they liked their set. I can't wait to see them again. John and Laura, our resident DJ's for the evening, played New Edition and the Geto Boys, so hey, what more can you ask for?

I declare Unbuckled 5 a success!

You can see all of my Unbuckled 5 photos over on Flickr.

Posted by Kyle at 11:19 AM | Comments (3)

August 7, 2006

Common Reactor

Ah Monday. I did nothing over the weekend. Absolutely nothing. And it was good. I spent a majority of Saturday and Sunday lounging by the pool, reading my new copies of Q and MOJO and trying not to get too sunburned. So much awesome, especially after the hectic July I had.

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I did, however, get my shit together long enough to go see the Silversun Pickups last night and I am glad I did. They were pretty amazing, especially given the venue. The Black Cat's backstage really isn't designed or configured to deal with a band like that. And that's not neccesarily a knock on the room as much as an observation wondering what a band as accomplished as this was doing in such a small room with its junior PA system. I knew we were in for a good show when the SSPU's wheeled their amps onstage. They were as big as the stage was.

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Let me go on record now saying this band is going to be huge huge huge in a very short amount of time. They have a big sound made for large venues. They'll be blowing away the bands they're opening for soon enough. The set they played last nigth could have easily gone over like gangbusters at the 9:30 Club. The songs are fast, LOUD and tight, propelled by their drummer, a dead ringer stylistically for Dave Grohl. He was just punishing his snare drums. The band has tons of hits; "Kissing Families," "Lazy Eye," "Dream At Tempo 119," "Well Thought Out Twinkles," etc. I was most impressed with the lead singer's voice. On record it sounds uber-processed, but he has the live pipes to back it up. Bottom line: go see this band when they come through your town. And get ready for a big rock show, even if it's on a small scale. I still stand by my Smashing Pumpkins comparison, but I mean it in a good way. Gish-era Pumpkins, before Billy disappeared up his own ass. Sorry for the craptastic pictures, the light in that room is pretty much nonexistant.

Crackers United has better pictures and a smiliar review from their recent NYC show. Check Myspace for some SSPU sounds.

"I'd rather poo in my mum's Sunday roast than have Danger Mouse produce a Portishead record." I second that emotion.

Posted by Kyle at 1:15 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

On the Road With the Super Furry Animals / Norfolk, VA

Blue Light

Glowing Gruff

Red Bunf

All Governments Are

You Gots To Chill

Only 105 people at the Norva last night. While that's a bad thing for the band's checkbook, it's a good thing for L Boogie and myself. I got right up front and took 158 photos. The band changed the set up a bit, dropping "Hello Sunshine", "Frequency" and "Something 4 the Weekend" but added "Golden Retriever" and played it early, which worked much better. The small crowd last night was actually much more into it than the DC crowd was on Tuesday, so the place didn't feel as empty as it actually was. The Norva was probably the nicest midsize venue I've ever been to. Think the Bowery Ballroom is it was a tad bigger and had three levels. The backstage area was twice the size of my apartment. It had five huge rooms and included a hot tub and sauna. It was easily the nicest accommodations I've ever seen at a venue.
I got some amazing pictures last night. Take a look at my pictures of the Super Furry Animals at Norva in Flickr.

Chapel Hill tonight. We'll be rolling deep with Mike Grass and Johnny English in tow. Full report (and hopefully the much talked about interview) to come.

Posted by Kyle at 2:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 2, 2005

Smell The Pledge


Rufus, originally uploaded by leafblower.

My new camera is fucking bovs. I don't even know how to properly work it yet and it still takes pictures like these. The Rufus show was great. His voice always stuns me when I hear it in the live arena. Unfortunately everyone around me insisted on singing along so it was very hard to hear Rufus above it, which was a bit frustrating, but he played "Vibrate" so I was a happy camper. Pitchfork today confirmed that Rufus will be releasing the double disc Want set here in the US (which will include a Leoard Cohen cover that was simply amazing on Monday night) on November 28th, so I might have to pick that up. See the rest of my Rufus picures on Flickr. Some of them turned out great.

OK Go, on the other hand, were a bit of a disappointment. The lead singer said he was sick, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Here are my OK Go pictures on Flickr.

The Super Furries are in North America and kicked off their tour last night, but I can't find the set list anywhere. If you find hit, holler at me.

Moz producer Tony Visconti has a blog and a new photo of himself and the mighty Mozzer!

NME reviews Gorillaz in Manchester.

The Gaurdian on that Gorillaz gig as well as We Are Scientists.

Pitchfork throws some love at the new Harvey Danger record. Actually, the review kinda trashes the record, but they give it a 6.9. *shrug*

Wow. When he;s not busy trying to sell his book, kiss Chuck Klosterman's ass or talk up Jimmy Kimmel, the Sports Guy can still bring the heat. His thoughts on Theo Epstein might be some of the best stuff he's ever done. Definitely one of his most heartfelt columns. More please.

Knicks at Celtics tonight!

Here is my fantasy basketball team:
Gilbert Arenas / Jamal Crawford / Jalen Rose / Andrei Kirilenko / Shareef Abdur-Rahim / Richard Jefferson / Nene(who got hurt last night, *sigh*) / Lorenzen Wright / Antawn Jamison / Jameer Nelson / Mike Sweetney / Derek Fisher / Brendan Haywood

Three wizards and NO CELTICS. Oh well, that's what you get with autodraft.

Speaking of the hometown Wiz, here is my season preview on DCist.

Posted by Kyle at 2:09 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 6, 2005

Cordial Invitation


Big stage, huh?, originally uploaded by leafblower.

Unlike Tuesday night, last night was alot of fun. Got there right before Cartel Cedars went on and went right up front to stake out a spot. They quickly came onstage, played (what I think was) a new song and followed up with "Fleets". It sounded great coming out the 930's soundsystem. The drums were absolutely banging and the keyboard flourishes sounded much more fleshed out than usual. The local boys put up a great set and looked right at home on that big stage. Hopefully this is a precursor of future 930 gigs for them. Also, they gave shouts to both bluestate and DCist, but strangely not to information leafblower dot com slash blog(kidding!), and that was much appreciated. Flickr's acting weird today so I can't link to my photos tagged with "Cedars", but just go to my photostream and check out my digital photos from last night.

In between sets, someone came up to me and asked me "Are you information leafblower?", so that was kinda wild. Ryan and his friend Marissa said they recognized me because I was using my new toy. They were both really cool and very friendly, so we made plans to go see Tom Vek at the Black Cat next month (Sunday, Nov 6th!!). I took about 13 photos with the fisheye, so hopefully I will take the rest of the roll this weekend and get them developed early next week.

Giant Drag were after Cedars and they were so much awesome. I had read somewhere that Annie, the singer, rants and raves alot on stage and she didn't disappoint last night. She was barely coherent during most of the set. It's hard to describe, but if you go read the bio on their website, you'll get the idea.

Anyhoo, they were great. So 90's alternarock, but in a good way. Annie, who is a total cutie BTW, plays guitar and Micah (who I couldn't get a decent picture of) plays drums and the keyboards. At. the. same. time. It was hard for me to decide who to watch, the do it all drumboardist or the cute girl with the guitar. I seriously recommend going to see this band if you get the chance.

I was pretty beat by that point in the night, so I skipped Stellastarr* and went home to play with The Mister.

Posted by Kyle at 1:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 25, 2004

Ted Leo: Ottobar, October 21st

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Posted by Kyle at 8:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack