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Stories by Stephen Bradley

Stephen Bradley is an avid music listener and an occasional writer. He grew up in the Washington DC area and has been embedded in the local music scene for years. Currently he lives in Vienna, VA. He enjoys bands that have been broken up for at least a decade.

Music Review: Roméo Testa at DC’s 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, December 10, 2014 – Roméo Testa was nervous when he started his recent set at the 9:30 Club. This wasn’t initially the case when he first stepped on the stage. But that feeling started to sink in once he got a better look at the audience. This wasn’t likely observable to the casual audience ...

Music Review: Blake Mills at the Hamilton

WASHINGTON, December 8, 2014 – Blake Mills, who recently performed here at the Hamilton, is a professional musician. That’s different from someone saying he’s in a band or has been in a string of bands or has even gone off as a solo artist. True, these are all things you could say about Mills at ...

Music Review: Sarah Jaffe performs at DC9

WASHINGTON, November 26, 2014 – When Sarah Jaffe was up on stage recently at DC9, she cut quite imposing figure. That was due to a combination of things. The stage at DC9 isn’t a massive affair, but it’s enough to cause a difference with Sarah Jaffe. Her appearance simply adds to the distance between her ...

Music Review: Sucré performs at DC9

WASHINGTON, November 24, 2014 – Sucré is a fairly easy project to break down. While it’s impossible to accurately call the musical stylings of Sucré a “band,” per se, it’s always been intended as an outlet for the feisty Stacy King. Even before she stepped on stage at DC9 recently along with her opening band ...

Review: Hip-hop artist Lizzo at the 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, November 21, 2014 – At least in theory, the kind of energy hip-hop artists during their performances makes them the ideal opening acts for any sort of headliner. That is, as long as they’re on board with the natural process of a live show. At the 9:30 Club recently, Lizzo was opening for Clean ...

Review: Cymbals Eat Guitars performs at DC’s 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2014 – There’s an old adage among music fans – or at least a specific kind of music fan – namely, that one absolutely has to see a band live to really get a full appreciation for what they do. A certain pretentiousness usually goes along with whomever is making a statement ...

Review: Delta Heavy at D.C.’s 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, November 17, 2014 – Attending a performance of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) by a band like London’s Delta Heavy is less about the group or performer than any normal concert or show. Yes, the majority of people who attend these shows do so because they hold a connection with the DJ, whether that DJ ...

Review: Weeknight at the Rock and Roll Hotel

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2014 – The title of Brooklyn-based Weeknight’s first full-length album is Post-Everything. It couldn’t be a more apt description for both this ensemble’s style and their live performance. Case in point: their recent appearance here at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Weeknight’s very presence in all its forms flies in the face ...

Review: Twin Brother at D.C.’s Velvet Lounge

WASHINGTON, October 30, 2014 – The Milwaukee trio band Twin Brother is in the early stages of their development. This isn’t generally noticeable in the way they play. But it’s a fact that becomes all too clear watching them play at venues like DC’s Velvet Lounge in front of a sparse crowd. The seedy glamour ...

Review: Paradise Fears at Vienna’s Jammin’ Java

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2014 – Paradise Fears, a band that performed recently at Vienna, Virginia’s Jammin’ Java, hails from the small town of Vermillion, South Dakota, which, according to the last census has slightly fewer than 11,000 people living in it. Bands have a tendency to associate themselves with larger entities when describing where they’re ...

Review: Dana Buoy performs at DC9

WASHINGTON, October 23, 2014 – Dana Buoy is the solo project alter ego of Akron/Family drummer-vocalist Dana Janssen. His stint as a solo act likely didn’t arise due to any distance from Akron/Family, except, perhaps, in a literal sense. His current project began because Janssen moved out to Portland, while other members of Akron/Family have ...

Music review: Neon Trees at the 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, September 18, 2014 − During Neon Trees’ recent appearance at DC’s 9:30 Club, it was unclear exactly how many people in the audience had ever been in a music video before. And it’s not certain that even these individuals were quite prepared for the fact they were to be employed as props for live ...

Music review: Kitten at the Rock and Roll Hotel

WASHINGTON, September 16, 2014 − When Kitten took the stage at the Rock and Roll Hotel recently, the face of the band and really the only relevant focal point for the audience was its founding spirit, Chloe Chaidez. So why even bother with billing her show as a performance by a band named Kitten? It’s ...

Review: Emma Ruth Rundle at DC9

WASHINGTON, September 12, 2014 − Emma Ruth Rundle, who performed here recently at DC9, seems like a musician who can never quite stay still. She’s been actively playing and performing in a professional sense since 2008. Throughout this time she’s been a key member of three different bands, releasing a combined seven full length albums ...

Review: The Knocks and ASTR at D.C.’s 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, September 10, 2014 − Crafting the atmosphere of a show consistently is a difficult thing for any touring band to do. It’s an art and a formula a band must be able to replicate night and night out, making the audience feel that what the band is creating is authentic and organic yet as ...

Review: Failure at the Fillmore in Silver Spring

WASHINGTON, September 8, 2014 − When Failure (the band) stepped on stage recently for their show at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, it’s likely the first time anyone in the audience had ever seen them. Even for those who experienced Failure live years ago would at best recall them as a fading memory. This is ...

Review: Andrew Bird at D.C.’s Lincoln Theater

WASHINGTON, September 5, 2014 − At first glance, Andrew Bird doesn’t seem to be all that unique as a musician. The music landscape seems to be littered with folk artists out there, especially those like Bird who prefer to be multi-instrumentalists, signaling of their range as musician/songwriters. When Bird is sitting on stage at the ...

Review: BANKS at D.C.’s U Street Music Hall

WASHINGTON, September 3, 2014 − BANKS is categorized as a singer/songwriter in the tradition of modern R&B. That portrayal is generally accurate as far as it goes. But it only scratches the surface of what she does on stage and doesn’t begin to describe the nature of what she sings. In reality, while BANKS is ...

Review: Buddy at the U Street Music Hall

WASHINGTON, August 22, 2014 –As a musician, Buddy walks an interesting line—a line that might not necessarily advance his career, but one that will almost certainly leave strong memories of impressive work and solid performances. Buddy’s recent appeared at DC’s U Street Music Hall as the opening act on a three band bill, a mix ...

Review: Gameface performs at the Rock and Roll Hotel

WASHINGTON, August 19, 2014 – Gameface was a band that never quite seemed to fit in with its contemporaries. It’s not as if they were putting out a sound that was totally different from their peers. It’s just that their sound felt a little left of center from the bands they were generally associated with. ...