Sunday, November 16, 2008

Anberlin returns to DC at the 9:30 Club

By Angelyn Thornton

On November 2nd, a quartet of alternative indie rock bands took Washington, DC by storm at the 9:30 Club. The first of the lineup was the Orlando based band, There For Tomorrow, making their first appearance in DC as a group. The four-man ensemble opened with the crowd favorite “No More Room to Breathe” whose video, along with the band itself, is nominated in the Breaking Woodie category for best emerging artist at this year’s MTVU Woodie Awards.

Each member is only 19 or 20 years in age, but appearances can be deceiving. These boys each carried the stage presence with that of a seasoned rock veteran, lending itself to their polished performance. Throughout the set, There For Tomorrow demanded audience reaction and made a point to engage the crowd whenever possible.

For an up-and-coming band, there was a surprising number of vocal fans present to enthusiastically sing along with each number. The Floridian band wrapped up its set with their favorite, “Pages.” Before exiting stage Maika Maile, the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, bid the crowd farewell with a “good night and stay real.” A very appropriate send-off for these down-to-earth, hard-working musicians.

Next to the stage was Straylight Run. The Long Island-based trio brought a completely different sound to the club with its heartbreaking lyrics and gravely yet emotional voice of lead vocalist, John Nolan. With a full length album released in 2007 and a new EP just released in September, Straylight Run has been keeping busy in and out of the studio. Nolan decided to forgo any excessive amounts of crowd interaction and the band just plugged away with song after song. The group’s set included standouts such as “Mistakes We Knew We Were Making”, “Existentialism on Prom Night” and “Try.”

The third group of the night was Scary Kids Scaring Kids, six hardcore rockers out of Arizona. With high-octane adrenaline sounds, SKSK brought the momentum up to head-banging level and was the first of the night to induce crowd surfing among the fans. Scary Kids Scaring Kids got the crowd going with hits such as “Deep End”, “My Darkest Hour” and “The City Sleeps In Flames.” Their performance at 9:30 club was their last in the U.S. before the band embarks on a 6-month tour overseas while working on their upcoming third full-length album.

The headliner of the show was Anberlin. These five Floridians took the stage to a venue packed to capacity with shoulder-to-shoulder fans. Stephen Christian, the band’s lead vocalist, took the initiative and repeatedly urged the crowd jump around and move with every song. With a bass line that shook you from the soles of your shoes to the top of your head, Anberlin played a larger-than-life set that included “Paperthin Hymn”, “Godspeed” and “The Unwinding Cable Car.” Though this Washington performance was one of the last few dates on the tour, Anberlin still had the pleasure of enjoying the success of their fourth studio album New Surrender, which was released September 30th.

For more information on these bands, please visit their official websites:

Official Website for There For Tomorrow
Official Website of Straylight Run
Official Website of Scary Kids Scaring Kids
Official Website of Anberlin

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hanson delivers a new sound with a good cause to VA

By Angelyn Thornton
photos by Amy Willard
It may have been a cold night outside but things were heating up at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA on October 28th. Braving the freezing winds, a line of excited fans wrapped around the side of the building with an hour still to go before the doors were set to open.
After much anticipation, the anxious crowd quickly filled the roomy venue. First on stage was Everybody Else, a 3-man band out of Los Angeles, who brought a simple and uncluttered brand of alternative pop-rock to the venue. With catchy songs and impressive dance moves (courtesy of the lead singer), the joy was contagious.
Despite having no prior familiarity with Everybody Else, Hanson fans gave into the urge to dance and sing along. These three guys interacted with the audience and seemed to be friendly, down-to-earth folks who one could easily spend a mellow Saturday night with. This band was just plain fun. No “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it. With more energy and enthusiasm than you could conceive to be possible on one stage, Everybody Else gave a great jumpstart to the night.
Next up was Dave Barnes, a singer/songwriter straight out of the Nashville scene. For this set, Barnes brought a light-hearted and laid-back mood to the theater. Accompanied by a drummer and a bassist, the trio delivered a set full of mellow rhythms worthy of the most delicate toe-tapping and head-bobbing. With album number four now under his belt, Barnes gave the crowd a generous mix of old and new songs.
Never being one to leave an audience un-entertained, he consistently kept the fans laughing with his goofy charm. Barnes and his bandmates also made sure to spread the word about an organization they are involved with called Mocha Club which, with $7 monthly donations from each supporter, provides communities in Africa with food, clean water and education. Check it out at
And finally came Hanson, the main act and the reason why the State Theater was packed with throngs of screaming fans. The boys of Hanson, whose faces were once plastered on every teen magazine in the supermarket, are all grown up and back with a new sound.
The trio of brothers took the stage to a theater brimming with loyal and die-hard fans both young and old. The very moment that the first of the Hanson men stepped on the stage, the sheer volume of the echoing screams was deafening. The boys’ set list included a mix of fan favorites from their previous records and from their most recent release, The Walk. About halfway through, Hanson switched it up with a changeover to an acoustic set.
The acoustic stylings were prefaced with a plug for The Walk Around The World, a campaign that the boys started to raise money to fight poverty and AIDS in Africa. During the day, Hanson hosts a barefoot walk around the town or city that they are performing in that night and donates $1 for every mile counted. The goal is to reach 24,902 miles, the distance around the world. You can learn more at or at

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dandy Warhols rock the District

By Angelyn Thornton
photo by Amy Willard

On a chilly Monday night, the six members of The Upside Down emerged on stage for the relatively modest-sized crowd at 9:30 Club on September 22nd. Armed with harmonicas, tambourines and all the usual trappings of a rock show, the sextet rocked the house with its smooth blend of voices and alternative folk tunes. Sounding like the rock-and-roll offspring of the B-52's, The Upside Down channels a more kitschy funk into their brand of rock. Even through minor technical problems and flying pieces of tambourine, the prevailed without even skipping a beat and delivered an energetic powerhouse performance.
With echoes of “Will to the stage, please...” and the inevitable good-spirited heckling of the crowd, Darker My Love entered the spotlight as the second act of the evening. Accompanied by a trippy video background, the 5-man band contributed a different style to the evening’s sounds. Throughout their set, the boys wove back and forth between psychedelic funk-rock and folksy indie punk. Jam sessions punctuated each song while unique sleighbell accents occasionally filled the space. With an abundance of charm and appeal at their disposal, Darker My Love quickly won the crowd over and undoubtedly gained some new fans in the process.
And finally the star players took to the stage. With their dedicated fan base on display, the crowd of both young and old(er) swelled to maximum capacity within the club as The Dandy Warhols took their turn. A vivid, yet sometimes over-the-top, light show complimented the simple, no-frills setup of the stage. The set was as much about the music as it was about the spectacle. The high-energy foursome continually spun catchy tune after catchy tune that kept the fans singing along. All in all, it was night of past and present. The die-hards relived their old favorites while a new wave of younger fans was formed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Music Builds Tour brings Soulful Spirit to Nissan Pavilion

By the Barricade Buzz Staff
photos by Amy Willard

Last weekend, Barricade Buzz had the privilege of experience something different, Christian rock. One of our photographers and reports set out to the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia to catch the Music Builds tour. The concert featured popular Christian bands, Jars of Clay, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Switchfoot, and Third Day.Jars of Clay
Opening the benefit show for Habitat for Humanity, were Nashville natives, Jars of Clay. Dawned in all white garments, they took the stage shortly after 7 pm. They delivered a powerful performance, and spiritual motivation with songs off of their EP Closer, which was released in August. Some of the highlights included their popular single, "Closer," and a new song from an expected 2009 release, "Heaven."

Following the catchy opener was Robert Randolph and the Family band. This funky soul act features the incredible talent of steel pedal guitarist, Robert Randolph. The rhythm and soul of this musically gifted group really got fans moving. The performance also featured guest vocals from Randolph's sister. Barricade Buzz was especially blown away by the versatility of this group, as musicians began trading off instruments halfway through the set.
San Diego rockers, Switchfoot, claimed the stage next with their popular recordings off of Oh! Gravity, Nothing Is Sound, and Beautiful Letdown. The vocals of lead singer, Jon Foreman, really drew the crowd to the stage as more fans began filing into the pavilion. The spirited performance showcased the pure talent and soul of the band. Note worthy songs included "Awakening," "Oh! Gravity," the Americana packed message of "American Dream," and the ever popular "Dare You To Move," made popular by the major motion picture, A Walk to Remember.

Finally, the spirituality of the venue that night reached another level as Third Day began their set as the headliner. Fans quickly rose to their feat and lifted their hands in the air to praise this Georgia based band. The performance included songs off of their summer release, Revelation. Lead singer, Mac Powell, appeared to unite the crowd with his melodic vocals and his inspirational words. We were particularly moved by "Revelation," and enjoyed the "This Is Who I Am."

The Music Builds Tour delivered entertaining music with a side of spiritual enlightenment. The positive energy beaming from the stage was both enjoyable and inspiring. From the view of the audience, fans received comfort and hope with every melody sung. If you're looking your looking for a concert packed with energy and spirituality, then definitely catch this tour and help support Habitat for Humanity.

For more photos, visit the Photo Pit on this site.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Not quite a Panic! on this year's Honda Civic Tour

Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack performs at the Chevrolet Theater

By Jennifer Penna
photo by Amy Willard

The Honda Civic Tour, which hit Connecticut, on Saturday May 10th proved to be a night of entertainment, great sound, and of course rock. The concert opened just before 6:30 PM with Doug Neuman, a jazz cover artist. While he demonstrated he has a good voice, singing songs like Fall Out Boy’s "Dance Dance," placed him outside of the style of the concert.

It wasn’t until 7:00 PM when Phantom Planet took the stage, dawning their own band shirts and jackets, that the audience rose to their feet. Even though they got off to a rough start with some rocky vocals, the band had electrifying energy and guitar solos performing songs off their Raise the Dead album such as "Geronimo," "Do the Panic," "The Living Dead," and their hit single "California" off The Guest record.

After a fifteen minute intermission, The Hush Sound performed keeping the momentum that Phantom Planet had generated. After Brendan Urie, lead singer of Panic at the Disco, came out to perform a quick solo, The Hush Sound continued by rocking out their hit songs "Honey" and "Wine Red." These songs show the audience that they are a band to watch out for and that they have a surprisingly good sound. The alternative rock quartet from Chicago have a jazz type feel with the piano that adds an element a lot of other bands today do not have.

Motion City Soundtrack's set soon followed and really got fans excited. They had such a strong opening with "My Favorite Accident" and their high energy continued throughout their performance. The few technical difficulties they experienced did not take away from the intense enthusiasm the band showed. After hearing and seeing them perform "Everything," "Broken Heart," "Time Turned," and many others, anyone can tell that Motion City Soundtrack has really come into their own and improved their stage presence and it seems they are only going to get better from here.

Everyone in the audience was standing from the moment they entered the stage to the last note of the last song even through the slower songs like ‘Last Night.’ The entire band was constantly moving and jumping around including the keyboardist and the drummer. The performance ended with their hit "The Future Freaks Me Out" and the entire band throwing everything off stage from drum sticks to water bottles and set lists leaving the audience to try and grab anything they can from the band’s amazing set.

The main event for the evening, Panic at the Disco, took to the stage with their sophomore album Pretty Odd With the new songs came a new sound that has a mix of hard and soft rock with positive lyrics. While they played a good amount of new and old tracks, the audience seemed to have more energy then the band, which is unlike their previous shows.

Many of their hit singles such as "Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off" and "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," were slowed down in tempo and did not have the same power that they once did. "Strike Up The Band" showed a little excitement with the guitar solos, but it seemed like the entire band and especially the lead singer, Urie, were holding back. "Folkin Around" also added a country sound to the mix whereas songs like "Northern Downpour" had more of Beatles type sound. Even though many of the fans were excited just to be at the concert, Panic at the Disco seemed to be just a shadow of their former selves.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Vanilla Sky returns to Rome

Brian Autore of Vanilla Sky performs at Alpheus in Rome

by Amy Willard
photos by Amy Willard

It's a Friday night and after getting lost for about twenty minutes, I arrived to a familiar scene, a quiet neighborhood, and a crowd of teenagers anxiously awaiting something--only I wasn't in DC, I was in Rome. [Yeah, Rome, Italy.]

So what were about a hundred kids, dawned in dark jeans, Converse, and studded belts waiting for? Well, from the outside you really wouldn't know. Standing at an unmarked building with a gate around the door wouldn't exactly explain much, but the sounds from inside was definitely an indicator that something was happening.

I was about to dip my toe into the Italian music scene at a club called Alpheus. After waiting about thirty minutes, and receiving puzzling looks from just about every face in line, I was finally let into the show.

I made my way to a small stage, situated in a room, probably about half of the size of the 9:30 Club. As I turned around to watch the door, dozens of kids began packing in at the front of the stage. It didn't take long for me to realize that this concert would take me back to shows in the US, as a swarm of boys starting pushing each other around creating an infamous mosh pit.

Luckily I was able to seek refuge between the barricade and stage. At around 22:00 [10:00 PM] the first act took the stage. I had no idea who was opening the evening, nor did the girl standing next to me, but we lent our ears.

The openers happened to be a local band called Scenario. They are a hardcore/screamo act with tons of energy. Normally I'm not into that genre, but I found my self bobbing along. Feel free to give them a listen at

About an hour after the start, it was time for the headliner, Vanilla Sky (the band, not the movie). As an anxious crowd began to cheer, the four Roman based musicians took to the stage. Dawning a white Atticus T-shirt, lead singer, Brian Autore, took to the center microphone and announced "BUONA SERA!! SIAMO VANILLA SKY!!" [GOOD EVENING! WE ARE VANILLA SKY!]

The Roman quartet opened their set with "Nightmare," the third track off of their 2007 album, Changes. The face paced, pop-punk hit quickly got the crowd moving. A little mix up in the sound interrupted the opening, but the guys brushed it off and recovered quick.

Vanilla Sky played an array of songs from their album, as well as a few covers I never saw coming. One of which included Vanessa Carlton's "Thousand Miles,"-- which I have to say, sounds pretty good in a rock scenario.

Then guitarist, Vincenzo Mario Cristi, transitioned into a cover of Blink 182's "Small Things," as bassist, Francesco Sarsano, selected a girl and two guys to come up on stage, one of which could have been mistaken for drummer, Luca Alessandrelli's, long lost brother. After a few moments of hesitation, the guests quickly took to the mics to carry out the song.

Halfway through the show, the band exited the stage, leaving fans restless in the pit. Suddenly the cheers for Brian or Vinx turned to a chant.. "VA-NIL-LA! VA-NIL-LA!" As the crowd grew louder, Autore took to the stage for a solo performance of "Broken Car," from their 2004 record, Waiting for Something.

The band continued to play a great set, alternating between songs in English and Italian. I would tell you what they said between songs... but my Italian isn't that good. The set list also included their recent single, "Se Voui Andare," which has an English version entitled, "Goodbye."

Vanilla Sky wrapped up their hometown performance with their infamous cover of Rhianna's "Umbrella." When I first heard these guys had such a cover, I had my doubts. Hearing it live, however, I would pick their version any day.

Overall, the concert was energetic and enjoyable. In all honesty, I was afraid that they were going to be a CD only band--great in a studio, terrible on stage-- but hearing them live confirmed that they in fact have talent.

I had a chance to briefly chat with Cristi aka Vinx after the show. He thanked me for coming but felt the band did awful that night. Sorry man, but I'm going to have to disagree.

Vanilla Sky is continuing to tour through Europe with their album, Changes, so be sure to catch them live if you can! Also, if you're in the United State, head over to and DEMAND them for a city near you.

The complete set list: [grazie a Vinx]
Your Words
Cut Away
Se Vuoi Andare
On & On
A Thousand Miles/Small Things
XMas Girl
Gotta Believe
Break It Out
Broken Car
The Ghost Track

for more photos, please visit