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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.

Review: Ume at DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel

WASHINGTON, August 15, 2014 – The press reports surrounding Ume’s live show would lead one to believe that this band is a perpetual face-melter of rock. During their recent performance here at DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel, that advance PR didn’t necessarily prove true. But what really happened instead was considerably more interesting and, at ...

Review: Bells≥ performs at the Rock and Roll Hotel

WASHINGTON, August 13, 2014 – If someone were to look at any promotional material for the band named Bells≥, or even take a cursory glance at their website, it wouldn’t be hard to notice their connection to Jawbox, former D.C. and Dischord luminaries. The other key R&D component you need when writing about the Bells≥ ...

The Jezabels. Courtesy of the band.

Review: The Jezabels perform at the Rock and Roll Hotel

WASHINGTON, August 11, 2014 – When the Jezabels were on stage recently at DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel, there didn’t seem to be much to separate them from any number of indie rock bands who have been in the public consciousness over the last decade or so. The Jezabels are an Australian band. But aside ...

Review: Maxïmo Park at the Rock and Roll Hotel

WASHINGTON, August 8, 2014 – Maxïmo Park feels like a distinctly English band. Listening to them blast through their songs recently at the Rock and Roll Hotel was an intriguing experience. They have a flair about the way they play that inherently sets them apart from their contemporary American counterparts. Their distinctiveness from bands inhabiting ...

Manchester Orchestra. Photo courtesy of the band.

Manchester Orchestra does the Fillmore in Silver Spring

WASHINGTON, August 1, 2014 – Before Atlanta-based band Manchester Orchestra took the stage or even played a note during their recent performance at Silver Spring’s Fillmore in suburban Maryland, they somehow radiated something grand and important. Perhaps that’s due in part to their name. “Manchester Orchestra” invokes any number of grand feelings, combining the musical ...

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah performs at U Street Music Hall

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2014 — The Clap Your Hands Say Yeah band that took the stage recently at U Street Music Hall is one that has changed quite a bit since they first formed in 2002. Their current iteration points to the evolution of their sound and definitely toward their direction going forward. It’s a ...

Norwegian band Highasakite. (Courtesy of the band)

Review: Norwegian indie pop band Highasakite backstage at the Black Cat

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2014 – The Norwegian indie pop band Highasakite recent performed in the “back stage” at the Black Cat, which is that venue’s more or less secondary stage, something of an extension to their first floor bar. You could describe this space as a hole in the wall, and that wouldn’t be inaccurate. ...

Folk/Americana artist Patty Griffin.

Review: Folk-Americana artist Patty Griffin at DC’s Lincoln Theater

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2014 – Whether it’s for her audience or for herself, there is absolutely no confusion about what it is that Patty Griffin performs on stage. About three or four songs into her recent set at the Lincoln Theater and after making some brief and rather vague introductions, she flashed a slight smile ...

Mobb Deep, courtesy of the artists.

Review: Rap duo Mobb Deep performs at the Howard Theater

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014 – The most important thing about a hip-hop concert is flow. That’s the ability of a performer or performers to keep things moving at a brisk pace without tripping up or fumbling through a segment. As long as Mobb Deep has been on the entertainment scene, this is something they’ve understand ...

Unpacking Eels’ and E’s performance at DC’s Lincoln Theater

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2014 – Eels are very strange band to unpack and it’s necessary to take a number of ideas into account when seeing them live. That doesn’t take away from the fact that the audience enjoyed their recent show at the Lincoln Theater, but it does put the performance in an interesting context. ...

Conor Oberst performs two sold-out shows at DC’s 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2014 – Conor Oberst is commonly recognized as a legend in any number of indie rock scenes. For many people, his best-known work has been with the band Bright Eyes. But he’s been involved in so many other projects that the Bright Eyes linkage necessarily common knowledge just the same. Yet more often ...

Jonny Two Bags performs at the Black Cat

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2014 – There was a point about midway through Jonny Two Bags’ recent set at the Black Cat where he shifted gears, moving from playing hard rock inspired punk and venturing instead into a more measured country rhythm. The shift was so abrupt that on the surface it might have seemed somewhat ...

Rodney Crowell brings Country to the Hamilton

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2014 – Rodney Crowell is about as perfect an encapsulation of the Country genre as anyone is going to find. That’s not to say he’s an example of the best Country has to offer, although he consistently hits those high points enough to make a good argument in his favor. But when ...

Mastodon weighs in at DC’s 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 – Mastodon is often included with genre acts that don’t necessarily line up with their distinctive style of music. They’ve toured and performed with Heavy Metal, Hardcore, Death Metal, and every genre in between, while never quite fitting in with any of them. But at the same, they’ve never felt too ...

Matt Pryor returns to action at DC9

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2014 – The narrative for Matt Pryor goes like this: after his last tour with the Get Up Kids—the band he made his name with and the one he’s generally associated with—he was unsure if he really wanted to continue on with music. For anyone latching onto that information when it trickled ...

Cloud Cult materializes in two formats at Sixth and I St. Synagogue

WASHINGTON, June 9, 2014 – It was truly an entire evening the audience spent with Cloud Cult in their recent appearance at the historic Sixth and I Synagogue. The band from Minnesota performed two sets with a half an hour intermission between each stanza to break things up for the crowd. Of course what made ...

The sisters Haim, courtesy of Haim.

Surprising Haim: Three sister ensemble performs at DC’s 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2014 – Anything anyone thinks they know about California band Haim before seeing them live can easily be tossed out the window. Haim demonstrated they’re one of the most surprising bands to garner the high level of popularity they’ve achieved in quite some time, as they performed the first of two sold ...

Synth-pop group HAERTS performs at DC’s 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2014 – HAERTS are just at the beginning of their musical lives. They’ve gotten a sizable amount of buzz for a band that at this point has only released a lone EP. But this is soon to change with a full-length album expected over the summer. Add to this the fact that ...

Los Lonely Boys bring Tex-Mex flair to the Hamilton in DC

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2014 – You immediately sense that there’s something aged and weathered in the air when listening to Los Lonely Boys perform, as they recently did here at the Hamilton. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the performers actually being old—particularly since the oldest member of the band is 35 ...

Singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons at the Howard Theater

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2014 – Throughout his recent set at the Howard Theater, William Fitzsimmons was required to wear several different hats to define all the key points in his repertoire. This was obviously a symbolic statement, of course, but one with a bit of detached irony about it. That’s on of this artist’s most ...