Live Review: Dawes w/ Erin Rae @ Warner Theatre — 9/15/21

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Dawes performs at the Warner Theatre on Sept. 15, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When she opened for Dawes at the Warner Theatre recently, singer-songwriter Erin Rae complimented the venue’s beauty. She’s absolutely right: it’s a gorgeous place, beautifully restored, one of the most attractive in the area. And while you might expect an event in such a elegant room to be a bit staid, this show was anything but: led by frontman Taylor Goldsmith, Dawes play jammed-out versions of both their most popular songs and deep cuts, and they got the crowd involved throughout their performance.

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Interview: Bob Mould (@ 9:30 Club, 9/18/21)

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Bob Mould Band (Photo courtesy Big Hassle)

When he plays the 9:30 Club on Saturday, Bob Mould will be making a homecoming of sorts. For nearly a decade, he lived in the District, and he has a long history with the club. For a number of years at 9:30 Club, he DJ’ed at a dance party (called Blowoff) for DC’s gay community.

Over his 40-plus year career, Bob covered wide ground and left an indelible imprint on the American musical scene. A native of upstate Malone, New York, Mould left to attend Macalester College in Minneapolis, where he would found the seminal band Hüsker Dü in 1979. A fast, aggressive punk trio, their music was a bridge between the punk era and the alternative and underground scenes that formed in the early to mid ’80s. Their influence was especially potent in their base in the Twin Cities (on the Replacements, Soul Asylum, and Guided by Voices) but extended to bands as diverse as, on the one hand, Dinosaur Jr. and Nirvana, and, on the other, Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown. New Day Rising was listed in Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums, and several of their albums are considered classics.

After the breakup of Hüsker Dü, Bob embarked on a solo career, moving into more singer-songwriter oriented territory with the well-received, mostly acoustic Workbook. In the early ’90s, he helmed the alternative band Sugar to some of his most commercially successful work. In the 25 years since Sugar disbanded, he has continued to grow and expand his range, running the gamut from his completely self-made, distortion-filled, eponymous 1996 release, to explorations in electronic music, District’s Lines variety of styles and genres, and more pop-oriented material like Life and Times. As he describes in this interview, his latest record, last year’s Blue Hearts, is a return to his punk roots.

Parklife DC’s Mark Engleson recently spoke with Bob Mould in advance of his show at 9:30 Club on Saturday, Sept. 18. They touched on a number of subjects, including his history with the venue, his creative cycle, and what still keeps him creatively refreshed and moving forward in his career.

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Live Review: Carsie Blanton @ The Hamilton Live — 9/3/21

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Casie Blanton (Photo by Jason Albus)

Carsie Blanton’s show at The Hamilton Live on was 18 months in the making. On Friday evening, she finally made it to the venue, and had a whole new album of songs, Love & Rage, to share with the audience. The title of the album, she told the audience, is a statement of purpose, a summation of the two themes that run through her work.

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Live Review: Todd Snider w/ Aaron Lee Tasjan @ The Birchmere — 8/31/21

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Todd Snider performs at The Birchmere on Aug. 31, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Two of the most unique singer-songwriters working today graced the stage of The Birchmere recently — Todd Snider and Aaron Lee Tasjan. Both, in some sense, are part of the alt-country/Americana scene, though putting them into this genre box is far too reductive.

While both draw on classic songwriting traditions, they put a modern — perhaps even a postmodern — twist on them. They share a delightfully warped, witty sense of humor, perhaps connected to their fondness for psychedelics.

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Live Review: Brandi Carlile w/ Amythyst Kiah @ Wolf Trap — 8/28/21

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Brandi Carlile performs at Wolf Trap on Aug. 28, 2021. (Photo by Marc Shea)

Wolf Trap is back to full capacity shows — and when Brandi Carlile played there Saturday night, the venue was absolutely packed. The show started with a dynamite opening solo set by Amythyst Kiah, a singer-songwriter from Johnson City, Tennessee, whose style is based in the blues and folk music.

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Interview: Willie Nile (@ The Hamilton Live, 8/28/21)

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Willie Nile (Photos by Cristina Arrigoni)

Willie Nile is a man all about New York City, his longtime home. The man about town was in the process of releasing an album about New York City, titled New York at Night, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world and put things on hold.

In May 2020, Willie released that album. Not long before he did so, he chatted with Parklife DC’s Mark Engleson. Now, Willie is back with another album about the place he loves to live — The Day the Earth Stood Still, his 14th studio album, which was released on Aug. 13.

Willie is on tour again with a stop at The Hamilton Live in DC on Saturday, Aug. 28. But Parklife has been sitting on this unpublished interview from when Willie was promoting New York at Night. And in this interview, Willie chats about how much he also loves DC. So with no further ado, we present this chat and strongly suggest you catch Willie live at The Hamilton this weekend.

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Live Review: Elizabeth Cook with Waylon Payne @ Union Stage — 8/14/21

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Elizabeth Cook (Photo courtesy the artist)

Elizabeth Cook and Waylon Payne had two of my favorite albums released last year — Aftermath and The Queer, The Harlot, the Pusher and Me — so I was extremely excited about Saturday evening’s show at the Union Stage. Payne opened the show with a 45-minute solo acoustic set, and Cook headlined with her full band, Gravy.

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