Live Review: Father John Misty @ The Anthem — 9/20/22

Josh Tillman performs as Father John Misty at The Anthem on Sept. 20, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

If there are identifiable traits that the best show people have had or have in common, those would have to include bravery and boldness — someone with the fearlessness and the audacity to take chances on ideas and carry them through in fulfillment of a vision.

When Joshua Tillman made the decision a decade ago to recreate himself artistically by rebranding to record and perform as Father John Misty, it was a potentially risky move for someone who’d already established himself as a respected singer-songwriter on his own and had been a member of numerous nationally known bands.

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Snapshots: Front 242 w/ Revolting Cocks @ Warsaw, NYC (Cold Waves) — 9/15/22

Front 242 2022-5
Front 242 performs at Warsaw in Brooklyn on Sept. 15, 2022. (Photos by Ben Eisendrath)

Belgian electronic body music pioneers Front 242 are celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary with a USA tour that included a headline performance at the 2022 Cold Waves Festival in New York City.

Ben Eisendrath caught the industrial legends in a show at Warsaw in Brookland, and he photographed the show for Parklife DC!

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Live Review: Heaven 17 @ The Birchmere — 9/25/22

Glenn Gregory fronts Heaven 17 at The Birchmere on Sept. 25, 2022. (Photos by Jason Nicholson; Words by Mickey McCarter)

Finally, on a full tour of the United States, Heaven 17 recently engaged a DC-area audience at The Birchmere with stories and song, providing a fascinating look at the history of the band.

The synthpop collective’s core duo of Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware have known each other since they were teens in Sheffield, England, so they arrive to the United States more than 45 years into their association full of fond tales and bright tunes.

Glen recalled, for example, how Martyn might dress in a bright green jacket, tight white pants, and platform shoes before going out for clubbing with him in the ‘70s.

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Live Review: SG Goodman @ Songbyrd Music House — 9/24/22

SG Goodman (Photo by Ryan Hartley)

SG Goodman and I have something in common: We both studied philosophy in college. I like to get in a good zinger when I can in these, so, if you’re reading this SG, here goes: What does Zeno take in his coffee? Half and a quarter and an eighth…. 

Goodman had recent jokes of her own at Songbyrd Music House, which mainly involved repeating her own name as many times as she could. It was a funny bit, with just the right mix of sarcasm and sincere salesmanship. A native of Hickman, Kentucky, her music takes on Southern culture and stereotypes with a unique perspective, intelligence and compassion, channeled through her perspective as a queer woman.

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Live Review: New Order and Pet Shop Boys @ Merriweather Post Pavilion — 9/21/22

Pet Shop Boys at Merriweather Post Pavillion
Neil Tennant fronts Pet Shop Boys at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Sept. 21, 2022. (Photos by Kyle Gustafson; Words by Mickey McCarter)

New Order and the Pet Shop Boys, two revered English synthpop bands, joined forces for an irresistible double bill, hailed The Unity Tour, which surfaced at Merriweather Post Pavilion outside DC not long ago.

The highly anticipated tour was twice postponed due to complications of touring during the high prevalence of COVID-19 over the past two years. With the rescheduled date landing in the midst of a high season of very good concerts, I wondered if the final show would stand out from the crowd as well.

I need not have wondered. The New Order Mancs showed so much heart and grit and the PSB Londoners brought plenty of brains and style — and the combined power of their twin performances undoubtedly produced the very best concert of the year.

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Live Review: Illiterate Light @ DC9 — 9/17/22

Illiterate Light performs “off the grid” at DC9 on Sept. 17, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Many artists and entertainers have found themselves operating on what can be described as a DIY model — some music genres have historically made it a pillar of existence for bands or groups, and today’s digital resources have helped empower what feels like an entire generation of songwriters who’ve built their own brand.

But few musicians might be testing the definition of self-sustenance and how it can shape the nature of their songs with the same fervor and thoughtfulness as Illiterate Light, a blasting two-piece rock duo that got its start not too far away over in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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Snapshots: Watermelon Pickers Festival @ Watermelon Park (Berryville, VA) — 9/15-9/17/22

Watermelon Pickers Festival
Nicole June and the Jets pose for a photo at Watermelon Pickers Festival. (Photo by Chester Simpson)

The 18th Annual Watermelon Pickers Festival was created and hosted by Shepherds Ford Production and held Sept. 15-17, 2022, at the Clarke County Fairgrounds in Berryville, Virginia.

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Live Review: Kathleen Edwards @ The Birchmere — 9/20/22

Kathleen Edwards (Photo courtesy High Road Touring)

At The Birchmere recently, Kathleen Edwards struggled to deny that one gig can make a career. Twenty years ago this month, she released her debut album, Failer, in her native Canada. That was six months prior to its American release on an independent label based in Austin, Rounder Records. A few months after that release in 2003, she appeared on Letterman, with his bandleader, Paul Schafer sitting in with her and her crew as they played “Six O’ Clock News.”

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Live Review: Daði Freyr @ 9:30 Club — 9/18/22

Daði Freyr performs at 9:30 Club on Sept. 18, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Two things you grasp about Icelandic musician Daði Freyr right away — he’s very tall, and he enjoys being something of a lovable goof.

Those two aspects of him were very easy to spot at 9:30 Club recently when Daði dropped in for The Fabulous, Wonderful, & Nice Tour, his first *major* headlining journey around the United States. At about a third of the way through the set, for example, Daði warned his audience to steel themselves for the most serious song he would play, but then he and his band broke out into an electronic version of the famed “Chicken Dance,” the ubiquitous German beer hall dance adopted by weddings all over the world.

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