Yukimi Nagano fronts Little Dragon at 9:30 Club on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)
Good things come in small packages.
Standing just barely 5 feet tall, the Swedish singer-songwriter Yukimi Nagano is no exception. Last Tuesday and Wednesday night, Little Dragon fans in attendance at the 9:30 Club were transported to the future, and not just the weekend. Attendees accustomed to rock and roll gigs might also argue the neon kaleidoscope-colored lighting and the mobile-like twinkling backdrop also transformed the space into that of a rave. The soulful, electro pop quartet who formed in 1996 (while still in high school) played back-to-back shows promoting their much-anticipated fifth studio album, Season High. They added an additional performance following the quick sellout of their first night.
Britt Daniel fronts Spoon at Merriweather Post Pavilion on July 30, 2017. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)
Neil Young was right. “Rock and roll will never die.” And no, that’s not an allusion to the seemingly myriad musical festivals or anniversary tours featuring reunited elders of sound like 2016’s Desert Trip — affectionately dubbed “Oldchella” — or most recently, the bicoastal weekend-long fêtes Classic East and Classic West last month. “Rock and roll is here to stay,” thanks to bands like Spoon (whose title is not a reference to the culinary utensil, but an homage to the 1970s German avant-garde collective called Can #themoreyouknow). These indie musicians heralding from the capital of the Lone Star State embody the notion that evolution is a form of revolution.
With the March 2017 release of their ninth studio album, Hot Thoughts, a promotional tour was sure to follow and it did. Their July 30 appearance at the newly renovated Merriweather Post Pavilion was not a solo headlining gig, but they most certainly performed like it was.
Jack Johnson performs at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 11, 2017. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)
Jack Johnson Radiates Chill on a Hot June Night
The accordion. That’s right — the box-shaped instrument used by everyone from The Who and R.E.M. to Arcade Fire and Gogol Bordello is something you wouldn’t normally associate with the folk rock singer-songwriter Jack Johnson. A Cole Clark acoustic guitar? Definitely. A Pepe Romero Jr. ukulele? Sure. He’s even auctioned a few off for the Kōkua Hawai’i Foundation he co-founded with his wife Kim in 2003 to support environmental education in schools all over the Aloha State. But a squeeze box?
Black Francis fronts the Pixies at the Lincoln Theatre on May 16, 2017. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire — or in this case, the Pixies.
The Zombies perform at 9:30 Club on March 23, 2017. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)
The Zombies Continue Banner Year
If the “Modfather” hands you one of his all-time favorite albums and tells you to listen, it would behoove you to do so.
Paul Weller helped transform the sound of British rock during the 1970s with his former punk rock-new wave band The Jam and later with The Style Council in the 1980s. When he’s not recording new music on his own (his 13th solo album “A Kind of Revolution” drops May 12) or performing live, you can find him at a record store collecting vinyl like it’s his job. His musical appetite is varied and oftentimes obscure, but always on point, so it’s no surprise a critically acclaimed commercial flop like Odessey and Oracle (misspelling courtesy artist Terry Quirk) is at the top of the tastemaker’s list.
Nouvelle Vague perform at the Howard Theatre on March 21, 2017 (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)
Triple threat. Third time’s the charm. Rule of three. The Holy Trinity. Three-part harmony. 3-D.
The Radio Dept. perform at Black Cat on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)
America has a lot to thank Sweden for. The Scandinavian land across the Atlantic to the northeast brought us everything from the modern-day zipper and the three-point seatbelt to the TetraPak and ABBA. The neutral European country also introduced us to the dream pop outfit known as The Radio Dept. The band performed to a crowded house at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. this past Wednesday in support of their new album “Running Out of Love.” It’s the fourth studio album release and their first LP since 2010’s “Clinging to a Scheme.”