Brooklyn’s Bodega to Play at DC9

One man strips an basically no one could care less in the VR-shot live video for “How Did This Happen!?,” a song by Bodega, a Brooklyn-based post-punk band that’s coming to DC9 on June 29. I caught front persons of the band, Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio, on the phone the other day and from what I gather, the video gives a good idea of what the live show is like, aside from the audience members that failed to strip.

When I brought up the video both Hozie and Belfiglio laugh.

“That’s actually a curated music video,” Belfiglio tells me. “We wanted to show the average Brooklyn show in 2018 and how ambivalent it was and kind of show where Bodega grew up in [this] bar called Alphaville.”

Hozie continues, “you know most music videos you would tell the audience to be as excited as possible. To dance, sing the lyrics, so we just told everyone ‘just look at your phones, look as bored as possible,’ but that one guy disobeyed and started stripping, and it was great.”

We spoke about a number of things, including Bodega’s use of social media and what success looks like to them. First, Hozie and Belfiglio helped me place Bodega in context, because before Bodega there was Bodega Bay, which is where Belfiglio says she discovered herself as a musician and Hozie discovered his voice as a songwriter.

The work of Bodega Bay helped land Bodega a European and UK tour, as well as a US tour with Franz Ferdinand earlier this year.

Belfiglio says it’s because they’re “very mysterious, [and] people want to know what’s going on,” though something in her tone tells me not to take that seriously.

Hozie refers to the two groups as completely different bands, though he kept the word Bodega, because he wants people to realize there’s some overlap, and also because he likes the word. Even though the two bands sound completely different. Hozie attributes this to a few things, but particularly the input of lead guitar player Madison Velding-VanDam.

When we get to talking about songwriting, Hozie tells me that it might take him three hours to write the lyrics and the chords to a song, but the moment he brings that skeleton to Velding-VanDam is when it becomes a Bodega song.

“Madison deconstructs the original to make it not so predictable and more textural,” he says.

And even then, Hozie’s not sure if the songs are completely written.

“Some of our songs are still not done yet,” he says. “We’re going to play a show tonight and a good part of our show is improvising, so those songs aren’t done yet.”

Belfiglio wrote a few songs on the record as well, including the single single “Gyrate,” on which she described on the band’s Tumblr:

“When I was a little girl I used to masturbate in public (once at a JC Penny perfume counter), not knowing that was wrong. My parents, not wishing to shame me, told me I shouldn’t ‘gyrate’ in front of other people. My song uses the language of Top 40 pop to celebrate self-sustainability and female pleasure. There’s no shame in getting off.”

Belfiglio has several roles in the band. She does the artwork, she sings, does percussion and now she writes. When she started she knew next to nothing about making music.

“I didn’t even know what the two and four was when I joined Bodega Bay,” she says. “The first show I ever did, I was just dancing on a barrel in front of the band, [but] then slowly I incorporated myself into the music making process.”

Tumblr seems to be the only social media that the band makes regular use of, though there is a Facebook page and an Instagram.

Hozie explains why he prefers Tumblr.

“I know there’s a lot of bands that I’ve been a fan of where if if you’re looking at their Facebook it’s very uninspiring and ugly, but if you go to their blog, it just feels more private like you’re looking at their journal or punk zine.”

The two are on their to pick up gear for the night’s gig, but before they go I ask them what success looks like.

“Well we quit our day jobs,” Belfiglio says. “That’s like the highest form of success. It doesn’t mean that we’re sustaining ourselves, but it means that our lives are full enough that we can’t work our day jobs.”

Hozie has two answers. First he quotes an Ian Mackaye-ism that you know you’re successful when you finish a song, are able to play it and actually like it.

“To me, the ultimate success is forming something like a community where your music is connecting with people,” he clarifies. 

Come connect with Bodega June 29 at DC9. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $10. And be sure to check out Endless Scroll when it comes out July 6.

DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; 202-483-5000; www.dc9.club


Paramore with Foster the People and Soccer Mommy at Merriweather Post Pavilion

As part of the After Laughter tour, Paramore arrived at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, with Foster the People and Soccer Mommy. Check out the photos below. Photos: K. Gabrielle Photography

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Corona Lightest Day at The Wharf

Corona Lightest Day at The Wharf celebrated summer solstice with food and drink from Cantina Bambina, Corona Light and silent disco on Transit Pier. Photos: LAFlicks Photography


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Uncle Jesse Band at Nationals Park

As the Nationals warmed up to play the Baltimore Orioles, fans enjoyed live music from Uncle Jesse Band and ice cold beer on Budweiser Terrace for the pre-game show. Photos: Devin Overbey

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Rosslyn Rocks! Driven to Clarity on Central Place Plaza

The Rosslyn Rocks! Concert Series on Central Place Plaza continued on Thursday night with live music from rock band Driven to Clairty, and wine and beer at the outdoor bar. Photos: Loren Probish

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Unwined Wednesday: Yoga & Rosé at Rosslyn Farmers Market

Join Rosslyn every month for its “Market Special Celebration.” June’s theme was Unwined Wednesday: Yoga & Rosé, and people enjoyed Rosé and Frosé at the market while listening to live music from Darcy Dawn & Company. Photos: Devin Overbey

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Wednesdays at The Wharf: Justin Trawick & The Common Good

Each Wednesday evening this summer at The Wharf, you’ll hear live music on Transit Pier presented by Landshark Lager. Americana group Justin Trawick & The Common Good played a live show this past week. Photos: Devin Overbey

Photo: Courtesy of Firefly Music Festival
Photo: Courtesy of Firefly Music Festival

2018’s Firefly Offers Excitement and Hordes of People

With four nights of non-stop music at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway in Delaware’s capital, the 2018 Firefly Music Festival provided plenty of excitement and hordes of great live performances.

Taking place from Jun 14-17, the festival attracted approximately 65,000 people, believed to be the largest crowd in its seven-year history, and no one went home disappointed.

The first night was spent getting accustomed to the grounds and staking out the different stages and food trucks, plus talking music with tent neighbors, but it also provided some early opportunities for music. At the Pavilion, Thursday night featured Bryce Vine, and Shallou and Two Friends, the popular DJ duo who closed out the pre-party with a crowd-pleasing sing-a-long of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Goin’ Down” and additional variations of well-known songs.

Friday night included more moving from stage to stage, and it was great to see a diverse mix of artists having fun and doing their thing. A special shout-out to 25-year veterans Jimmy Eat World, whose set included “Pain,” “Work” and the crowd-pleasing “Middle,” these rockers proved they could still bring it like young ones.

Logic mixed up his set with music off of his various albums, giving the most time to his latest, Bobby Tarantino II. He had a very positive vibe throughout, which was the perfect message for this festival.

To the delight of most, Arctic Monkeys played an extra-long set nearing 1 a.m., and even came back for a three-song encore that included an incredible “R U Mine” finisher.

Still, there was time to rush over and see a DJ set of Foster the People, who partied as if the night was infinite. There’s no doubt these festival goers would have cheered on until sunrise had they been given the chance.

My favorite thing about Firefly is discovering new acts or those whose work I merely know casually. Of course, the trick is getting to the smaller stages to see these bands without missing the headliners and other names on your must list.

One of those discoveries was alt-rockers flor, who played Friday afternoon on the lawn, performing songs off its recently released debut album, come out. you’re hiding. The songs were tight, and the band’s tune “rely” is destined for a long stay on the charts. It was clear the crowd was largely unfamiliar with them, but was won over quickly with flor’s energetic set.

On the lawn, I had the opportunity to see part of the sets for Rob Gallo and They. The former provided a fun, laid-back atmosphere, and I really enjoyed the song, “Young Lady You’re Scaring Me.” And the latter of the two impressed me with a successful old-school-meets modern R&B sound.

Another interesting find on the first day was Hippie Sabotage who played a short five-song set, finishing with a cover of Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High),” which proved a fantastic homage. There are two brothers in the group, Jeff and Kevin Saurer; one mixes beats and the other sings and hypes up the crowd. They made a lot of friends that day by tossing loads of T-shirts into the audience.

At the Treehouse stage Saturday, Smallpools was solid on its brand-new song “Stumblin’ Home” and there was a lot of energy from the crowd for the acoustic set. People went crazy when Sean Scanlon brought a couple out for a proposal. The band did great covers of Radiohead’s “Creep” and Calvin Harris’ “Slide.”

The Firefly stage was the place to be for the rest of the night, with Lil Wayne starting the evening off with a bang, playing a lot of old favorites and being especially appreciative toward his audience. He started with “Mr. Carter,” and ended with “A Milli” and in between was a whole lot of fun—especially on a cover of Drake’s “The Motto.”

Another crowd pleaser was The Killers, with the song “Mr. Brightside,” perhaps the most well-known song of the entire festival. You could see different generations of fans singing along together and this was the one band that seemed to bring people of all ages out. Lots of singing and dancing through hits like “Runaways,” “All These Things That I’ve Done” and a cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl.”

The last act of the night almost always attracts everyone at the festival and this was definitely true for Eminem, who walked out, saw the crowd and commented, “I have never seen this many people looking back at me.”

With a set-list of almost 30 songs, the legendary performer started out with a cover of Dr. Dre’s “Medicine Man” and played a lot of his old stuff, finding the most applause for “Stan,” “My Name is” and “Lose Yourself.” It was an amazing ending to an incredible day of music.

Highlights for the final day—which is always somewhat sad because you know you have to hit the road after the acts—included a small set from saxophonist Kamasi Washington (who would later play with festival-closer Kendrick Lamar), Canadian electro star Charlotte Cardin, and of course the Pulitzer prize winning Lamar himself. From “DNA” to “Swimming Pools” to “Humble,” the star held off the Firefly exodus and further cemented himself as one of the greatest musicians of this generation.

For more information about Firefly Music Festival, visit here.

Capital One Arena, Washington, DC, June 17, 2018.
Bono . Capital One Arena, Washington, DC, June 17, 2018.

U2 at Capital One Arena

With close to three hours of music and a great mix of old and new material, U2 at Capital One Arena was a show to remember. Along with a litany of hits, the concert included a large augmented reality screen in the center of the arena and an app allowing attendees to see a cascading waterfall. Read Keith Loria’s review here. Photos: Mark Caicedo



The Posies at The Hamilton

The Posies stopped by The Hamilton this past Saturday, celebrating their 30th Anniversary as a band; however, the way these guys rocked on stage, you would have thought it was their first year. The Posies went non-stop throughout the night starting off strong with everyone’s favorite Posies song, “Dream All Day.” Very few audience members were sitting at the mostly seated venue, and everyone crowded into the tiny standing space in front of the stage. There were a lot of laughs, a lot of guitars, and a lot of jumping around on stage; it was evident that this band was having just as much fun as attendees were.

Opening the evening, the crowd was treated to a special “musical performance, reading” by Chris Stamey in support of his new book, A Spy in the House of Loud. He captivated the audience with excerpts from his book telling stories of his musical career adventures. Baltimore’s own Thrushes followed with their dreamy, shoegaze melodies, which got the audience in the mood for the headlining act. Photos/write-up: Shantel Mitchell Breen