Live Review: RoseRiot @ Jammin’ Java – 7/23/21

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Rose Riot pose for the camera at Jammin’ Java on July 23, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Anyone who’s familiar with the DMV’s music scene knows Cathy DiToro, an incandescent ball of energy whose bands So Fetch (aughts covers), The Legwarmers (’80s covers), and Party Like It’s (ska/dance) clearly don’t occupy enough of her time.

A songwriter in her own right, Cathy has assembled a fresh quartet, the aptly named RoseRiot, to perform original songs, and the band made a long-awaited return to live performance with an outdoor appearance at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia this past Friday.

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Live Review: Dominique Bianco @ Pearl Street Warehouse – 7/11/21

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Dominique Bianco performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on July 11, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

There is a unique joy to experiencing emerging musical artists. You can see their determination, feel their ambition, and hear the purity of their performance. Or as music critic David Ackert says, “[giving their] lives to a moment – to that melody, that lyric, that chord or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. Singers and Musicians are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be.” No matter the genre, or level of talent, new artists have an utter lack of cynicism, almost naivete, that embodies the drive and desire to be acknowledged and accepted on their own terms-an attitude that virtually guarantees a pure, energetic performance.

This past Sunday, an enthusiastic Pearl Street Warehouse crowd watched and heard Dominique Bianco exemplify that passion and determination. Backed by an equally talented quartet of local DC musicians, Dominique reminded us that training, hard work, overcoming setbacks, and “serving the song” are the ingredients of a successful artist.

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Live Review: The Walkaways and Wicked Sycamore @ Pearl Street Warehouse — 6/26/21

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The Walkaways perform at Pearl Street Warehouse on June 26, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

The return to indoor live music continues to be an exhilarating experience! Last Saturday night at Pearl Street Warehouse with The Walkaways and Wicked Sycamore, a boisterous (and sweaty) crowd was showered with a musical deluge ending a long, and frustrating, drought.

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Live Review: The Nighthawks @Jammin’ Java — 6/11/21

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The Nighthawks perform at Jammin’ Java on June 11, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Institution. If there’s any word to describe The Nighthawks, it’s one that connotes longevity, durability, strength, maturity, and endurance. And of all Washington DC’s institutions, none has the grace, consistency and joy that The Nighthawks delivered on a recent Friday night at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia.

Originally planned as a free outdoor show, the threat of rain moved the performance indoors. With the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, for many of us the concert became an impromptu, and welcome, return to indoor live music.

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Live Review: Sam C. Jones and The Sinners @ Jammin’ Java — 5/23/21

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Sam C. Jones performs at Jammin’ Java on May 23, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Sam C. Jones is a threat. Or better said, a triple threat. After experiencing his two-set performance at Jammin’ Java this past Sunday evening, I was blown away by his singing and guitar chops, his dance moves, and the ease with which he commands a stage.

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Livestream Preview: 6th Annual Charm City Django Jazz Fest, 2/26-2/27/21

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The Adrien Moignard Trio and Christophe Cravero (Photo courtesy Charm City Django Jazz Fest)

The 6th Annual Charm City Django Jazz Fest returns this Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27, with a tuned-in lineup from around the globe celebrating the music and legacy Django Reinhardt. Although the Creative Alliance is hosting this year’s Djangofest virtually, the talent, energy, and music promise to be just as powerful as previous years.

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Best of the Year: Top 10 Musical Moments of 2020 by Mark C.

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The year started out typically enough. But the way it began and how it’s ending are startlingly different. By the end of March, so many plans and hopes were dashed that now, as we race toward 2020’s conclusion, many of us feel they may never be realized.

Like so many others in this Year of Covid, I’ve had a chance to reflect, reassess, and reset for the coming year, sorting out what is, and isn’t, important. I enjoy photographing people, whether it be portraiture, cultural documentation, or musical performance. As a photographer, I strive to become invisible and capture moments as they are, not as I or the subject, would like them to be. Although photographing live music has been challenging as of late, I’ve been afforded the luxury of time to go through my archives and, as a result, have made a belated but important discovery: the final image must also render the photographer invisible.

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Preview: David Goodrich @ Gray Ghost Vineyards – 10/17/20

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David Goodrich performs at Gray Ghost Vineyards on Sept. 6, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Live performances are returning to the DC metro area. The return to “normalcy,” though, has been achingly slow and many argue we are still nowhere near normal. But despite the continued shutdown of many of the region’s larger indoor music venues, the past few weeks have seen many local artists performing outdoor gigs at Jammin’ Java and the State Theatre. In addition, ever resourceful musicians have been performing sidewalk and porch shows, at drive-in concerts and even outdoor shopping malls. Of course, live streaming continues unabated, but as I’ve written before, watching a performance on the screen just doesn’t compare to being in the same room, in front of the players, enveloped by the music.

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Live Review: Bobby Thompson and Friends @ Jammin’ Java – 9/20/20

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Bobby Thompson performs at Jammin’ Java on Sept. 20, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Famed American multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter David Bromberg wrote, “you gotta suffer if you wanna sing the blues.” The irony, of course, is that when the bluesman (or woman) sings, everybody else feels good. So it was when local blues musician Bobby Thompson performed recently on a brilliant late afternoon show at Jammin’ Java.

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