Photo Gallery: Lower Dens, Wye Oak @ Black Cat

Last night at Black Cat, I caught two of my favorite bands right now: Wye Oak and Lower Dens. It was an full-on Baltimore showcase as all three bands on the bill come from the city that has in recent years become one of the most vibrant and creative music towns in the country. I had just recently caught Lower Dens a few weeks back at a house show, but it was great to see them on a larger stage, filling the room with their brooding wash of distortion.

Similarly, in the year since I last caught Wye Oak, the band has put out a stellar EP, My Neighbor, My Creator, and followed it up just this past week with their newest album Civilian. And all I can say is that they just keep getting better and better. For whatever reason, I had to convince a few friends that while the band might seem sedate and folky, they are an absolute force live. They bring a raw power and blustery energy to the songs thanks to the exceptional layers of blown out guitar distortion of Jenn Wasner and the simultaneously performed keyboards and thunderous drums of Andy Stack. I can easily say this double bill was one of the top shows I’ve seen this year so far.

I brought my camera along and pushed up to the front and took a few photos of both bands, plus the opener, Lands & Peoples. Here’s a sampling of the best shots:

You can listen to both sets from Wye Oak and Lower Dens at NPR Music.

Photo Gallery: Lower Dens, Secret Mountains, Weekends @ Subterranean A

Caught a sweet house show at Subterranean A featuring Weekends, Secret Mountains, and one of my favorite new bands of 2010, Lower Dens. I heavily pushed Lower Dens last year, helping bring them in for a Tiny Desk Concert — which I filmed and edited — in addition to reviewing them for Song of the Day and voting their debut Twin Hand Movement one of my favorite albums of the year. So yeah, I’m a fan. It was cool to see them in such a cool space.

Here’s a gallery of photos I took that night:

Photo Gallery: Braids, Baths @ Rock & Roll Hotel

Caught a show last night at the Rock and Roll Hotel with new band Braids and electronic artist Baths. Show was mostly good — Baths certainly earned points in my book for making his electronic laptop music look interesting in a live setting by triggering samples and beats in real time with his sweet digital interface, not to mention singing live. That really helps considering so many laptop musicians can essential push play and walk away if they wanted.

Had some lens focus issues with my camera so didn’t get a huge variety of shots, but here’s a gallery of some of the better ones.

Photo Gallery: Yo La Tengo @ 930 Club

Gotta say, it’s pretty damn fun to shoot photos at a concert. Gives me something to do and keeps me engaged. Last night I caught Yo La Tengo at the 930 Club to try out my brand new Canon 7D camera. Here you can see Yo La Tengo try out their new special concert format in which they spin a wheel to determine what their first set will be. We got “Sounds of Science Part 1,” an ambient instrumental score to a film (sadly they didn’t screen that). The second set was full of the hits. Solid show.

After some mishaps with camera settings, eventually got some decent shots for a first go at it.