By itself attending two hundred concerts a year is a lot, and reviewing all those shows, opening acts included, takes us well beyond the realm of casual listener. During the second part of my interview with Dave Hintz, who lives in Washington DC and whose website DC Rock Live is devoted to the concerts he attends in that city of politics and great live music, we talked about what it was like reviewing so many shows, where the threat is there of becoming blasé or grumpy.
“My friends say why aren’t there more negative reviews?” Dave said. “For one thing, I’m picking the shows I’m going to.”
He also tries to be sensitive to the musicians. “These guys are banging it out and piling equipment on to play 20 to 40 minutes. It’s three bands for eight dollars. How can I say that this is a bad time?”
In February of this year Dave upped the ante for himself, seeing and reviewing a concert every night that month, which began to have an impact on his ratings: “One thing I’ve found is I did get a few more negative reviews that way.
Dave mixes things up in his reviews, catching everything from obscure new bands to long-established groups to bands that have been around forever but still, to mainstream listeners, fly well below the radar. There’s plenty of hard-edged rock and roll, but when the spaceiest of European artists descend on DC—Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and Van Der Graff Generator—for example—he catches those shows as well. His blog gives a clear indication of what a strong city DC is musically for both international and local artists.
It’s clear, too, that locally there’s a lot of talent.
“The third best band in DC isn’t that much better than the 97th best band,” Dave said. “There are so many really, really good solid bands, and there’s only a handful that don’t have day jobs.”
His favorite local band? “Presto Bando; they’re a three piece. They’re very eclectic and fun and energetic. The guitarist has a bizarre singing style. They remind me a lot of Pere Ubu. It’s as if Jonathan Richman had discovered thrash.”
As you might expect, since this has been a running issue in this blog, the question arose of what his favorite concert of all time was, and our next blog will be devoted to his description of that show. So what show was it? Here’s a hint: the band he saw looked kind of like the one at the top of the screen.