Live Review: Pink Sweat$ @ Pier Six Pavilion — 8/3/22

Pink Sweat$ cool downs the heat at Pier Six Pavilion on Aug. 3, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

It’s such a cool feeling to come to a show and find something new, something you didn’t expect to find. And opening for Alicia Keys at Baltimore’s Pier Six Pavilion recently, David Bowden, known by the stage name Pink Sweats, brought the perfect balance of charm and soul.

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Live Review: Jawbox @ Black Cat — 7/23/22

Jawbox rocks the Black Cat on July 23, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

Since their reunion a few years ago, Jawbox has been keeping themselves busy with tours, a change in their line up, and a recent Revisionist History EP of a couple of older tracks (“Grip” and “Consolation Prize”) — along with driving version of Wire’s “Lowdown” — that were redone with new guitarist, Brooks Harlan of the brilliant Baltimore-based band War on Women, giving the tracks a weight and sonic punch that sounds fresh and quickly found them on repeat through my headphones.

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Live Review: Midnight Oil @ MGM National Harbor — 6/25/22

Midnight Oil turns in a blistering performance at MGM National Harbor on June 25, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

“This means a great deal to us, and there’s quite a lot of emotion in the room for us, so we’ll let the music do it for us,” Peter Garrett, frontperson for “The Oils,” as their fans call them, said before the last encore of the last performance Midnight Oil would give in the States.

“The first time we jumped in one of those big planes with the kangaroo on the tail with a stop in Honolulu on the way we got up to San Fransisco — I think we played a sketchy club to about 400 people; 300 people didn’t know what we were singing about, didn’t have any idea,” Peter added. But at the MGM National Harbor theater Saturday night, in front of a sold-out audience, everyone knew what this band — who started out nearly 50 years ago — was singing about. Singing with an urgency that remains as vital now as it did back then.

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Live Review: Guided by Voices @ 9:30 Club — 6/18/22

Guided by Voices perform at 9:30 Club on June 18, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

For nearly 40 years, Bob Pollard has been leading Guided by Voices from the early lo-fi days to the slick production of major label offerings and then to the current powerhouse of Kevin March on drums, Doug Gilliard and Bobby Bare Jr. on guitar, and Mark Shue on bass. 

For the past several years, Guided by Voices has released, on average, two records of new material every year (though now it’s really closer to three albums per year), and they are putting out some of their strongest material perhaps in that entire period.  How does this band, who has released six albums just since the start of the Covid pandemic (and seven with July’s Tremblers and Goggles by Rank), keep things fresh?  The answer could be seen in Guided by Voices most recent visit to the 9:30 Club.

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Live Review: Aurora @ Lincoln Theatre — 6/5/22

Aurora captivates at the Lincoln Theatre on June 5, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

Aurora deftly mixes the sense of Norwegian folk melodies with electronic sounds that pack a range of emotions in these small boxes.  It’s hard sometimes to wrap one’s head around the impossibly strong voice coming from the figure on stage, but it’s real and has the ability to move a room full of listeners with its power.

Returning to the Lincoln Theatre Sunday night, Aurora once again showed us what we’ve all been missing the last few years. Even before the the doors to the theater opened there was a line from the sold out venue that wrapped across U Street and up the next block — something I hadn’t witnessed in a long time — as fans, some dressed in costume, eagerly made the slow march inside.

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Live Review: Dry Cleaning @ Ottobar — 5/19/22

Dry Cleaning mesmerizes a packed crowd at the Ottobar on May 19, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

The South London band Dry Cleaning are a bit of a mystery. They seem to have appeared suddenly, out of nowhere, but that’s not quite true. In 2019 alone, they released two fantastic EPs and then followed those up last year with the band’s first LP, New Long Leg — a brilliant record that’s hard to not listen to constantly. And in that short time they’ve created a buzz that’s hard to ignore.

On their first full US tour, Dry Cleaning recently made its way to a completely sold-out Ottobar. (Right before the pandemic, the band did play a short swing through the states.)

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Live Review: LP @ The Anthem — 5/6/22

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LP brings it all back to The Anthem on May 6, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

What do you get when you mix one part brilliant songwriter, one part jaw-dropping voice, and two generous portions of unmatched stage presence? You get the indomitable LP, whose new album, Churches, brings personal and universally relatable songs front and center.

And I have to say, as a fan who has seen this artist perform over the years, their live shows are to die for, so it was tough to see tours get pushed back or canceled during the pandemic. But on Friday, LP was back in DC, and at The Anthem, no less, to bring it all back.

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Live Review: Fontaines DC @ 9:30 Club — 4/21/22

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Fontaines DC amazes at the 9:30 Club on April 21, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

You can almost feel the pull, like the power of a 10,000-ton train, moving the very Irish band Fontaines DC from the smaller clubs of just a handful of years ago to selling out big venues like the 9:30 Club Thursday night. And to top it off, the eve of the release of the quintet’s third full-length LP, Skinty Fia, saw the band not only selling out the 9:30 Club but also venues throughout the United States.

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Interview: LP (@ The Anthem, 5/6/22)

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LP (Photo courtesy Tell All Your Friends PR)

There are people who just seem born with innate talents. Some have a way with public speaking or knowing how to fix things, and others, like Laura Pergolizzi — known professionally as LP — feel destined to create music and, as we discussed in an interview, perform.

Parklife’s David LaMason has tracked LP through their career. He’s watched LP visit DC to perform at small clubs like U Street Music Hall and now to command the stage at The Anthem on Friday, May 6.

In this interview, LP chats with David about the challenges of performing in the advent of a pandemic, their new record, Churches, and their writing process.

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Live Review: Cat Power @ Lincoln Theatre – 4/15/22

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Cat Power (Photo by Mario Sorrenti)

Years ago, in another lifetime perhaps, I last had the fortune to see Chan Marshall, known by her performing name, Cat Power, in an early career performance at the Black Cat. And even though 25 years have passed since that time, the magic encased in that voice has only grown stronger — as evidenced in Cat Power’s performance at the Lincoln Theatre in DC Friday night.

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