The Smithereens perform at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on Jan. 17, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
“In sickness and in health.”
Those words are normally reserved for particularly solemn occasions, but those same moments can be joyous, life-affirming and festive… much like a Smithereens concert, come to think of it. Friday night was just one of those instances with the New Jersey-based Smithereens making their 20th appearance at the State Theatre in Falls Church. For many of us battling colds, flu, and various other ailments, The Smithereens energetic, exuberant, and healing music was just the right medicine.
Near Northeast performs at Comet Ping Pong on Jan. 9, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Watching and hearing Near Northeast’s evolution has been a wonderful musical journey. Since 2016, when I first became acquainted with this DC-based quartet, I’ve become a devoted fan of their extraordinarily crafted music.
David Wax Museum performs at Union Stage on Dec. 29, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
I’ve yet to read a concert review that begins with the line: “It was a dark and stormy night…” but it would be apropos of this one. Despite the chilly rain falling on Sunday night, the hardy souls that made their way to Union Stage were rewarded with a light, lovely and warm performance by David Wax Museum.
Martin Barre performs at The Birchmere, April 22, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Editor’s Note: This year, we asked our bloggers to name their Top 10 shows of 2019 or choose their Top 10 photos of the year. We will run them over the course of mid-December as our Best of the Year posts.
How am I going to do this?! Pick 10 favorites shots, moments, concerts, etc., from a year that was packed with them. Of course, the year had its fill of frustrations and challenges, as well, but those quickly fade from memory to be replaced by the realization that I am, indeed, very fortunate to combine two loves of my life, music and photography, into something I can share.
These moments, documented in the following images, all taught me something… about photography, about the power of music, and, ultimately, about myself; what I value, what moves me, and what’s important.
People’s Blues of Richmond performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on Nov. 15, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
With their unique and face-melting blend of rock, punk, psychobilly, and psychedelia, People’s Blues of Richmond blew into Pearl Street Warehouse on a chilly recent night and proceeded to burn the place down. Known affectionately to their fans as PBR, this power trio hails from Richmond, Virginia. Described as Jimi Hendrix meets MC5, their website calls the music “psychedelic blues rock.” To the packed Pearl Street Warehouse crowd, descriptions didn’t matter; PBR simply rocked.
Mandolin Orange performs at the Lincoln Theatre on Nov. 14, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Heartbreak and joy. The words kept running through my mind. For to experience Mandolin Orange’s music is to feel those two emotions simultaneously. Their melodies and words conjure longing and loss yet, somehow, always feel hopeful and bold. Andrew Marlin writes songs that express the universality of emotion we all feel. Their delivery, though, is what makes Mandolin Orange so irresistible. The quality of their intertwining harmony vocals; pure, melancholy and perfectly attuned, creating a contrast of tension and synchronicity.
Mikaela Davis performs at Songbyrd Music House on Nov. 11, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
A true professional is one who approaches her or his craft with singleness of purpose, the ability to ignore the surrounding noise, and the will to power through when roadblocks and obstacles are blaring “stop, go back, give up!”
Life on the road for a working musician is tough enough without the unexpected breakdowns, illnesses, and logistical headaches. Thus when harpist/singer-songwriter extraordinaire Mikaela Davis and Southern Star stopped into the Songbyrd Music House and Record Café recently, they had already overcome several hurdles, including Mikaela losing her voice prior to the previous night’s gig that forced her first ever cancellation.