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LOG - 23

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09 Jan 05 - Alice Lee, WMUC 88.1 FM, University of Md. (College Park)... She's quite impressive. The harmonies of her songs are quite sophisticated and broad-ranging. She only sang 5 songs, yet one sounded like it was written in the 40s and another had a Brazilian sound to it. Her voice has mostly a husky quality, except when she sings quite hi or low.
  Afterwards, I swung by Phillips Hall, GWU, in DC and caught a bit of the grey-haired Windmill Saxophone Quartet. I wanted to hear Jesse Meman, as I think he started playing jazz in the DC area over 20 years ago. (Probably one of the first area Asians to do so...)

13 Jan - Ken Oak, Jammin' Java, Vienna, Va... This singer/songwriter is based in LA, but got his start several years ago at this very spot. He's got a smooth, strong voice, that only faltered when he tried to sing falsetto. (Probably due to the fact that he was recovering from a cold.)
There were times when he captivated the audience, but on balance, I thought his set could've used better pacing or more variety...

12 Feb - Angie Pepa, Version 4, INU, Rubberband, Third Element, Bleud, Cutterpillows... Frazier's on the Ave., Baltimore... Sat through 5 hours of bands (and Angie's solo act), but I think I may have missed 2 other groups on the bill tonight...
It was like a marathon music party, with bombastic masters of ceremonies. Jason Baquilod, who did the intros and announcements most of the night, was a bit over the top. The white boy, who took over when Baquilod split back to Jersey, wasn't much less loquacious.
The most original band was probably Bleud...

18 Feb - Jeff Chang, book signing for Can't Stop, Won't Stop; Karibu bks., The (Prince Georges) Mall, Hyattsville, Md...

19 Feb - St. Petersburg Quartet + Bright Sheng, Meyer auditorium, Freer Gallery, Wash., D.C.

26 Feb - everything seems to have been sold out, this week. When I went to the Ottobar to see Guitar Wolf, it was sold out. The place looked pretty full, so I may not have been able to get a good spot to take pictures (if I'd been allowed to -- not sure about that).
  And the Teenbeat Records anniversary shows, earlier this week, at the Black Cat were sold out, as well. No chance to see Versus and its splinter groups (Fontaine Toups and +/-).
  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I swung by the Mojo Lounge, a couple days ago, to try to catch Peelander Z. But the club was closed. I think that the place was shut down due to the winter storm warning in effect that day. Snowstorm didn't turn out that bad. Only a few inches.

8 March - Colorado Songwriters Circle, Jammin' Java, Vienna, Va... I headed down to this gig to especially see Wendy Woo. Usually, she spends most of her time performing in Colorado.
The group tour was organized by Mathew Moon, and included Chris Jak and Nina Storey. All were accomplished performers, but I thought that Moon and Storey had the edge when it came to harmonic development in some of their songs.
The gals were more evocative (emotive?) than the guys. Woo's singing and projection was clearly the most refined of the bunch.
Storey's vocals were shaded with blues and melisma. Often, I found her singing style overpowering. I'd have withstood it better if I were sitting 50 feet back, instead of right in front of the stage. Her projection was aided by the fatter instrumental sound from her electronic keyboard (whereas the others accompanied themselves on guitars).

26 Mar - Bhangra Block Party, Smith gym, GWU, DC... a gathering usually held on the afternoon of the Bhangra Blowout competition... This year, it was Kidd Skilly on stage. He's a rapper from Detroit. Seems like the fickle crowd wasn't feelin' him that much. Probably, their thoughts were focused on bhangra, and not hip hop. Too bad, because there seemed to be some skills and musical prowess that deserved some respect...

6 Apr - DMBQ, Mojo Rm., Baltimore... DMBQ was preceded by 2 local acts, Human Host and WZT Hearts... The 2 earlier groups were loud, full of murky electronic noise (with acoustic drum set) and devoid of much stage presence. So it was a welcome contrast to see DMBQ strut their stuff. The easiest way to describe their act is butoh psychedelia that at times caricatures rock bands of yesteryear.

10 Apr - Mono, Talking Head club, Baltimore... trance rock with varied dynamics... what gave it a more contemporary twist was the beefy, tuned kick drum. It thudded like it was coming out of that SUV with the blacked-out windows that pulls up alongside you at the red light.
Mono's woman bass player was handling the merch table, before and after her band played. As the act before Mono was setting up, I decided to snap some photos of the merchandise. So I took a shot of the t-shirts fixed against the wall. When I swung my camera down to capture the lp's and cd's on the table, she stuck her hand out to obstruct the picture and cried out, "Sorry, sorry! No picture!" So I turned away.
I was only mildly disappointed, in that I realized a picture of albums and price tags might not have been very interesting. But I wondered why she didn't want them photographed. (Is there something illegal about the sale?)

13 April - According to cellist and colleague Henna Chou, Annie Lin was in a car accident last night. Fortunately, she's only slightly injured, but her car was totaled. She won't be appearing at the Dallas/SMU gig.
Hope her injuries heal quickly and the incident doesn't result in an eventual lawsuit. (Of course, with Annie graduating from law school, she'd have a good understanding of the nuances of litigation.)
I'm not saying that she shouldn't sue if that's appropriate for her situation. (I've no idea what happened.) It's just that being involved in a suit, can be a hassle in one's life. (Especially if you're the one being sued.) Hope all parties to the accident had insurance.

20-24 April - Asian American Studies conference, L.A... 23 April - Nitasha Sharma of Amherst College gave a talk on "Hip Hop, Cross Racial Identifications, and the Racialization of Second Generation South Asians". She's been surveying about 24 hip hop artists. For this talk, she focused on the work of MC Chee Malabar of the Himalayan Project.

30 April - Cynthia Lin and Francis Kim band, Staccato, DC

1 May - Hiroshima, Hirshhorn Museum plaza, DC

4 May - Cynthia Lin and Kris Racer, Staccato, DC... Cynthia Lin is a seasoned performer and was unfazed by the boisterous hubbub of the patrons. Some of her songs, are more suited to a quieter environment, where one can follow her warblings that range between mezzo and soprano...
By weekday, Kris Racer is a programmer in Northern Va. On weekends, he's back in Chicago. He's been doing that for 4 months, now. This was his first DC gig.
He's a very quirky performer, with lotsa facials expressions and moves and an exuberance that demands an electric guitar and backup band. (He needs to put out a DVD.)...

2 Jun - Corrinne May, Staccato, DC... Her songs sounded similar (musically), but in a place with lots of background noise, you couldn't always hear her well. Too bad, because it would be interesting to hear the essence that has kept her album at the top of the chart in Singapore for the past couple weeks. (By essence, I mean what she can convey through her words and music when she's performing solo.)


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