God Is an Astronaut performs at Rock and Roll Hotel on Sept. 14, 2019. (Photo by Marc Caicedo)
“Buying records cheers me up…whenever I feel low, I buy some new records.” Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz
The ability of music to lift us from pain born of tragedy is one of its enduring qualities. Recently, God Is an Astronaut (GIAA) showed us how despair and grief can be relieved — if only temporarily — with soaring melodies, a huge backbeat, and the sort of musical intimacy between player and listener that gives solace at the Rock and Roll Hotel.
Peter Frampton performs at The Anthem on Sept. 11, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Reliving one’s youth isn’t always a good idea, but sometimes the past can return in the sweetest way, transporting us to a cherished place and time. I was reminded of my years in high school when Frampton Comes Alive! was all over the radio, car stereo players, and weekend parties, as I watched Mr. Frampton perform at The Anthem recently, nearly 6,000 of us singing in unison, “Do you feel like we do!”
Eli Lev performs at the DC Music Rocks Festival on Aug. 17, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
I’ve been following the District of Columbia’s live music scene for several years yet I’ve just barely begun to scratch the surface of the diversity, variety and joy that so many musical artists bring to this region. The same could be said about the third annual DC Rocks Music Festival recently — despite the line-up of a wonderful array of 12 bands and singer-songwriters, there is so much more to discover in our own backyard.
The Waifs perform at The Birchmere on Aug. 15, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
“With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life — the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because musicians and singers are willing to give their entire 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. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.” — David Ackert, Los Angeles Times
Jon Anderson performs at The Birchmere on Aug. 5, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Getting older, aging, maturing — whatever you’d like to call it — does have its upsides. Like wine or whisky, guitars and violins, aging produces deep tones and a richness that can’t be duplicated any other way. The same can be said for music, the timelessness and appeal that cuts across space and time.
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles perform at Jammin’ Java on Aug. 4, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Oh, the things we do for love… and I do love Sarah Borges’s music. Last Sunday, she and her band, the Broken Singles, made their way to Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia on her current east coast run. Though my predicament may not have been worthy of a Game of Thrones plotline, I nonetheless felt a sense of desperation, as I raced the clock, and New Jersey Turnpike, attempting to make the 6+ hour trip from Connecticut to Virginia in five hours.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse perform at the James L. Knight Center, Miami, Florida, on Oct. 29, 1986. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Editor’s Note: Parklife DC asked its contributors to write essays about their favorite bands. These essays appear in an occasional series, My Favorite Artist, and provide our readers with insights into our bloggers, their motivations, and their approach to covering concerts.
“It sucks! It’s just a fucking racket. I get totally lost when I’m playing guitar. I’ll just play a melody over and over again and change the tone, bend a string, do all that. But I’m totally engrossed in what I’m doing. At one with it. But I suck! I have melodies, and I have a sense of rhythm and drive. But it’s not about me, anyway — it’s about the whole band. It’s about everybody being there at once. When I play I’m listening for everything, trying to drive it all with my guitar. My guitar is the whole fucking band.” — Neil Young, Guitar World, October 2009