A Conversation with Old Man Luedecke at the Bier Baron, April 9th 2013

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Concert Review

On a warm sunny tuesday night, I couldn’t decide where to get dinner. So, on a whim of habit, I decided to go to a neighbourhood bar for dinner and a decent pint. This neighborhood bar was the Bier Baron on 22nd and P. Before you enter the Bier Baron, it’s a rule for them to check your IDs, regardless if you’re ninety or twenty-one. The guy gave me back my ID and said, “Both the upstairs and downstairs [bars] are open, the upstairs have this folk act from Canada and a better tap selection.” Naturally, as a fellow Canadian, I decided to see what this act is. I was a bit wary at first. You never know what could happen at the Bier Baron in terms of events; it ranges from the oddest burlesque show you’ve ever seen to a decent musical act. And on that summery day, it was definitely an event of the latter variety.

To say Old Man Luedecke isn’t sweet is to say that cupcakes are not sweet, either. He is a charming man which is obvious through the stories he tells before every song. There were tales of Matt Groening buying his music (thanks to the magic of Paypal), and A&W drunken drive-thru adventures. I had not heard of Old Man Luedecke before but by the third song, I was texting friends to inform them that I was witnessing some great folk music. The show was not seen by more than eighteen or nineteen people (including the three members of the Bier Baron staff), which made me sad. It made me sad to see such a talented musical act not gain more attention. I felt like people were missing out on something lovely. His banjo skills were amazing and his partner Joel’s mandolin sounded quite nice as well. Between songs, Old Man Luedecke would sneeze and/or cough and it was evident that he was battling a cold. Nevertheless, he put up a brave front, and played quite well. During the first of two encores, there was a request for a certain song. They started playing the request, but because it wasn’t a song they played regularly, there were a few false starts. It just showed what Old Man Luedeke’s act was about: every song felt honest and true as if he was singing to a group of close friends. I think by the end of the concert and the two encores that followed, I felt like I was his friend as well. Continue reading “A Conversation with Old Man Luedecke at the Bier Baron, April 9th 2013”

Railroad Earth At The 9:30 Club- A Concert Review

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Breaking news: The World’s Greatest Understatement was recorded last week when John Skehan of Railroad Earth told WRGW that the band likes to improvise at live shows.  Their concert at Washington DC’s 9:30 Club, occurring only a few days after the statement in question, delivered over two hours of spirited, cohesive, and impressive musicianship.  RRE certainly did play recorded favorites, but those tracks were more like guidelines— skeletons on which the band layered meaty muscles of creative, twangy, and fresh material.

New Jersey alt-country rockers Railroad Earth garner a broad spectrum of fans.  The (sold-out) 9:30 Club was packed not only with the hip youth of DC, beards flowing gallantly and vintage cowboy boots stomping, but also with middle-aged “real people”: balding dads in Grateful Dead t-shirts and career women gleefully twisting and shouting, shedding the stress of the week’s Department of Transportation woes, keeping up with their younger counterparts.  RRE’s preference for improvisation gives them a jam band-esque quality (hence the overwhelming presence of Dead paraphernalia) during their live performances that is not necessarily apparent in their recordings.

Continue reading “Railroad Earth At The 9:30 Club- A Concert Review”