2000: The HFSmas Nutcracker with Lifehouse, Good Charlotte, Disturbed, Fuel, Moby and Green Day at the Patriot Center... A very special and festive event on an icy eve: I was happy to have introduced my nephew to what hopefully will be a lifetime of live shows and old ticket stubs! This was Spike's first concert, and the little Green Day freak was beside himself with glee at being right on top of the boyz for their great performance. Green Day gave us a very impressive, lengthy set at warp speed--a nice spot of punk for those of us who miss it. They didn't miss a beat, gave us every hit and then some. And pulling three randomites from the pit to the stage to take over the bass, lead and drum duties was a great touch! Disturbed was a waste of time, and Fuel was muddy. But Good Charlotte was surprisingly good (nice cover of Hard Day's Night). And Moby is well worth his own ticket and will be hunted down by this girl for a repeat experience! Many thanks to Sir John for enabling the Garden runs. / Chuck Berry at the 9:30... Unbelievable that there were folks there who saw Chuck in the 50s--yikes! Lots of them were there this night as well, making me feel like quite the pup in the crowd. This was no gender-bending group of fans--boys were boys and girls were girls... must have been the good ol' rock and roll. He gave us all the faves and he's stilled filled with passion, even though he's no longer Sir Zippy. Bill Kirchen provided the quintessential warm-up experience beforehand with some saweet, bluesy rockabilly--and a sweaty, blazing version of Hot Rod Lincoln that I'd kill to have recorded!! (Glad I didn't try that, since they nearly confiscated my digicam after Chuck hit the stage.) --Oh, and refreshing to meet you, Robert! / John Faye Power Trip at Iota... Glad to have caught my favorite "locasl" for their last show of the year, and was reminded yet again of how much talent lies here. I'm happy to report that my five newbie cohorts were just as blown away. I forget what John called him, but the Robin to John's Batman, Cliff Hillis, was equally impressive acoustically beforehand... rich, beauteous melodies and lyrics. 'Twas indeed a power pop lovers' night. Steve said it was the most enjoyable night of live music he'd experienced in a very, very long time. Watch for them, you will not be disappointed. / Stone Temple Pilots at the Patriot Center... Oh mama mia, my voice is GONE! We had a great spot right above the heads in the pit and had cool people all around us. After sitting through a wee bit of Disturbed (not worth it, don't bother, we hung out in the beer garden) and Godsmack (great and hard--much better than they were at the HFStival and worth a ticket), STP hit the stage with Crackerman and everybody was on their feet! Backed by the sparkly crimson drape with the big fat star on it, and accompanied by gong, Sir Scott was on display in all his baldness (right on, the mohawk's gone) on a raised platform--alternating between his lava lamp and pigeon dances centerstage, and mixing with the crowd stages left and right. They didn't get their groove on until about three songs in, and after that gave us about 75 minutes of hits--not nearly enough in my estimation. Scott's a sight to behold and even left us palpitating gals with a nice shot of his naked bum at the end of the night, which was hidden under a flag during the encore. No great surprises in the set... paused during Sour Girl to get parental on a guy in the pit, gave us a surprising bit of Seven Caged Tigers, Scott sang the Star Spangled Banner before diving into Dead & Bloated, and they finished the night off with Sex Type Thing. I was a happy, sweaty dancing fool until the lights came up, and we got treated to the beauteous Blubaby fave And So I Know on exit--a very sweet way to end a very sweet evening. My condolences to any diehard fans who haven't gotten a live taste of one of the most talented rock and roll bands of the 90s. Phew! (Cool workshirts being sold at this show as well, had to grab one. No model am I, but here's the JCPenney shot.) / Skipped BT at the 9:30 for the Caps game and that trashy beer. (How can you people drink that domestic garbage? Uggh.) / John Doe at Iota... Not an X show, so we got what we expected. He's got such a great voice, that guy. Was pretty unimpressed (gusto-wise) through the first half of the set, which was solid and pretty, but they kicked butt during the second half--pacemaker resetting stuff! My head about spun off my neck a couple of times. So much sound from only three boyz! He's definitely best when he rocks HARD. Got a unique autograph from the man--check it out here. Of notable mention: opener Mary Lou Lord... wonderful storyteller with beauteous pipes, colorful lyrics, a great acoustic show to catch. Iota's one of her fave spots in the country, so hopefully she'll be back. / Los Straitjackets at Iota... My first taste of the wacky, masked purveyors of instrumental surf rock was a sweet--and unique--treat. Dug their cover of the love theme from Titanic, easily the most enjoyable version of the song I've ever heard, as well as the covers of such slower tunes as Theme From a Summer Place (thanks for the dance, Scott), and what was that other tune from my childhood? Highly entertaining and talented, I'd see them again in a heartbeat! / Elastica at the 9:30... Love that Justine's voice, but what's up with (Mia)? Why's she there? Though great to watch, we couldn't tell you what she actually does. Superb, nerve-grinding guitar and huge sound (punk laden with more keyboard action these days) made for a cool night at the not-so-packed 9:30, even though Kris doesn't think they ever found their groove. --Oh, and those of us who got there early were treated to the bizarre Peaches & Gonzales beforehand, angry "performance" punk a la the 70s, with bad hot pants to boot. (Nice to meet you in the blue room, Stephen!) / Sleater-Kinney at the 9:30... WOW. Nice to see some chicks tear up the stage for once! Quite a bit more than the Gogos on acid, these punky grrrlz--most definitely the oh-so-Hillary-Swank bassist with the Chrissie Hynde thing goin' on--are a must-see for anyone with any punk in their soul. 'Twas a great, raw, rock and roll night, and I'm glad to have gone with the quintessential SK fan. Oh, and thanks, PP, for the blue raincoats! / Cracker at the 9:30... Started off as a Camper (van Beethoven) night, mediocre at first, but a welcome sit through after being slammed by a DC cop on U Street for what briefly was a very sweet parking spot. Unfortunately, the evening was cut short and most of Cracker's set was missed, though I did catch Eurotrash Girl (love that tune!) from above... up to par and chunky, so I assume the rest was as well. Glad I caught them last time they came through--me and the chick who was with the label. / Travis w/ Remy Zero at the 9:30... much better show than the one we got before Oasis. Besides sounding wonderful, somebody showed them how to move around (especially the groovy, wiggly-bummed bass player)--not to mention they skipped formula and gave us the hits midway, then tried out some new stuff and threw out a few covers, the best being Britney Spears "Hit Me Baby..." in full! She could learn a thing or two from that acoustic rendition. I look forward to seeing these boys again. Remy was great but their set was too short, and it seems they'd like to be Radiohead. Um, we've already got one of those, thanks. / Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes at the Birchmere... Still the second hardest working man in show business (can I get a witness?), SSJ and his Jukes gave us a sold out, rock-solid, all-hits trip to the Jersey shore on a hot and humid DC night. SSJ hasn't changed a bit in twenty years; it's like Robert DeNiro gone soul, still so cool... / Said goodbye to my Jukes compadres and headed off to catch the John Faye Power Trip at IOTA (never a disappointment), and am damned glad I did, because I caught most of The Northern Lights, a powerpacked three-man band fresh out of highschool and as tight and seasoned as any veterans. Bass-driven with lightning drums and fast, powerful guitar, the punk pop didn't give me a chance to blink. DAMN... three very talented boyz. / Posies at the Black Cat... Well after living through 1) a nasty opening band called the Saturday People (who'd be less nasty if they didn't sing), and 2) the very angry--albeit talented--Shannon Wright (think PJ Harvey meets Tori Amos on speed) whose issues come through louder than her screaming, the Posies were sweet as can be in this acoustic show. Wish they'd have come on sooner so we didn't have to miss the end of their act. Unfortunately the Cat's noise problem took a lot away from what should have been a very intimate experience. / Nick Dasterdly at IOTA... Not as impressive this time around, what happened to the hard stuff? I was blown away by them when I saw them the first time, but they seemed entirely too sweet this time. Blue Calamari did a great job on the funk jam! / BT at the 9:30 didn't happen 'cause we skipped that performance to catch M. Doughty at the Black Cat, which was an unexpected turn of events. Met Doughty again, this time snapped a pic. Same sweet show as usual, but not too hip on the noise at the Cat. / The Keem&Tony Bitterfest w/ Bauhaus, Radiohead, Stone Temple Pilots, Soul Coughing, Oasis and Beck in Arlington. We don't need no steenkeeng radio! What a glorious day for a show, sunny and breezy, and hats off to the speedy delivery boy who found us so quickly in our to-die-for seats. Damn, what a sweet line-up--and no rain this time. (And many thanks to Bill for whetting my appetite with Crackerman a couple nights prior!! Get away, gotta get away...) / Steely Dan at Merriweather... YIKES. What did Rich say... Hey 19 is, what, 39 these days? She has aged damned well! These guys are tighter than tight, easily the most polished act out there. Becker was nearly invisible, but Fagen's chords sound like they did when he was a young'ne. After the first encore, the show ended abruptly due to a huge, dangerous thunderstorm (the boyz on stage BOLTED), but luckily we were under the pavillion, so we waited it out with the rest of the front-seaters. Got soaked, but it was well worth it! They sang Kid Charlemagne, so I was happy. But damn, that second encore stood to give us Reelin', Rikki and Do It Again... three biggies that were sorely missed--but Elliot said they didn't do them at Nissan last weekend, either, and there wasn't a cloud in sight! / Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters at Nissan Pavillion... We got there late and missed most of the Foo, but looks like they were high energy all the way through; Red Hots had an impressive visual thang going on... surrounded by bloody red and ocean backdrops, it was quite multisensory--and the guitar was amazing. A damned funky evening, with great company... much better than the HFStival performance of 1999, though I hate the mohawk action! / John Faye Power Trip at Iota... Had to shake John's hand this time out, he's so great to watch. Stuck around for the whole shew and sang along... perfect power pop, tight and textured, one of the better Iota shows to catch. He's going somewhere. / Bodeans at the 9:30... Packed the house, sweet show, and they sang Sylvia--first ever for me in all the times I've seen the boyz. They closed with The Joker by Steve Miller, was a fullhouse singalong. And had fun throwing paper at you, Tall One! / The angrier-than-ever HFStival w/ such notables as Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, Third Eye Blind, Filter, Eve 6, Bloodhound Gang, Staind, Deftones, Slipknot and others at FedEx Field... caught STP in the rain, sang at the top of my lungs, and lost my voice afterwards for a week. It was well worth it. For the full story, go here. / Oasis at the Patriot Center... Well, they sound great, no doubt about that. I dig Liam's voice. But I'm sad to report we were bored silly. And they didn't sing Supernova or Don't Go Away (snif). Travis opened for them, great sound, equally boring to watch. Pisto started trouble with a female cop in the street after the concert, that was more entertaining. / They Might Be Giants w/ M. Doughty at the 9:30 Club... Damn that Doughty is cool, and I love him on his own, and I love his hair! Went with Jimbo and Lou and had a fine time. Also got to meet the man! / Charlatans U.K with the Stereophonics at the 9:30 Club... Schweeeeet. On that opening act: Can anyone say, um, LIAM?? Yet another British band. (They were good!) Charlatans were great, think I'll have to pick up that new one. A little muffled on vocals at the start, but God bless those keyboards! Three most common phrases of the eve: "Sorry, mate." "Hello, Love!" and "Fokken BRILLIANT!" Yeah, baby, that closing number (Sproston Green) screwed up my heartbeat all over the place. I've had palpitations ever since. / Pretenders at the 9:30 Club... Chrissie sounded better than ever, the music was great, but there was some passion missing. Worst of all, Gay Dad cancelled, and that made me damned mad! / Road-tripped with Pat to catch Bruce Springsteen (again!) at Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA... Kicked off the Year 2000 tour and got to see the stage action for a change. Every marriage should be as strong as this band is. It's almost a spiritual event.