Music Park: Radio Dept. @ Black Cat — 2/15/17

The Radio Dept. at The Black Cat, Washington, D.C. 2/15/17
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.”

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Music Park: Chris Robinson Brotherhood @ 9:30 Club — 11/20/16

Chris Robinson Brotherhood at 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. 11/20/16
Chris Robinson performs at the 9:30 Club on November 20, 2016. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)

“Rock on, roll on, get off, get it on / Be one, be two, be all, be you…” 

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood share these guiding words of encouragement on “New Cannonball Rag,” the first single of their latest EP If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home Now, released last November.

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Music Park: CRX @ U Street Music Hall — 11/16/16

CRX at U Street Music Hall, Washington, D.C. 11/16/16
Nick Valensi and CRX perform at U Street Music Hall on November 16, 2016. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)

If your live performance is under 35 minutes, you better bring it. Nick Valensi and his new band CRX made every single second count — and then some. They managed to accomplish a similar feat in less time with their debut album, “New Skin,” released October 28 via Columbia Records. Their U Street Music Hall appearance Wednesday, November 16, was part of a several-month tour promoting the record.

Under the cloak of darkness, the 6’4” guitarist stepped onstage with his four bandmates and together they erupted into the power-packed track “On Edge.” All the anticipation and hype suddenly made sense. Like the venerated ’90s Honda model everyone “in your neighborhood tried to steal,” this group of guys named after that sought-after vehicle was absolutely awesome. Their rapid-fire delivery was reminiscent of the Ramones in their heyday and the basement setting couldn’t be more fittingly “alternative.”

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Music Park: Foals @ Echostage — 11/3/16

Foals, Bear Hands, & Kiev at Echostage, Washington, D.C. 11/3/16
Yannis Philippakis of Foals performs at Echostage on Nov. 3, 2016. (Photo by Theresa Sanchez)

“It’s been awhile since we played in D.C. I think, so ah, I remember the first time we played here we played to basically like to the equivalent of this nugget of people right here [points to the crowd packed in front of the stage]. Thank you so much for following the band and coming out,” said Yannis Philippakis.

If the aforementioned lead singer of Foals could stand still, would the music sound just as good? Probably. But that’s not the point of a live show. You can listen to their music on iTunes, YouTube, satellite radio, or any streaming service and you’d never come close to experiencing the way the music literally jumps off the stage and encompasses your entire being.

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Snapshots: Gang of Four @ 9:30 Club — 10/8/16

Gang of Four at the 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. 10/8/16
John “Gaoler” Sterry sings in Gang of Four (as Andy Gill plays behind him) at the 9:30 Club on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. (Photo by Theresa Sanchez)

#FBF – it’s internet slang for what some “kids” today refer to as “Flashback Friday” and is a way for people of all walks of life and interest to transport themselves back in time in an audio/visual manner.

#GoF is another acronym of sorts for a British punk band that was ahead of their time with regards to politic activism and social criticism in the late 1970s. You’d be hard-pressed to find many of rock music’s classic bands — R.E.M., the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, and Nirvana to name a few — who haven’t called them an influence over the years. 2016 couldn’t be a more appropriate time then to tour given the contentious political climate and one of them most memorable elections underway in most recent history.

The latest version of the band visited the 9:30 Club on Oct. 8 to open for The Faint. (Read our Parklife DC review of The Faint that night — ed.)  While the band has had many iterations since officially forming in 1977, they managed to retain guitarist Andy Gill is the sole original member.

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Snapshots: Violent Femmes @ Rams Head Live! (Baltimore) — 9/30/16

Violent Femmes Perform at Rams Head Live, Baltimore 9/30/16
The Violent Femmes perform at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore, Maryland on Sept. 30, 2016. (Photo by Theresa Sanchez)

The Violent Femmes played to a sold out show at Baltimore’s Rams Head Live, Saturday, September 30, 2016. It was the 5th stop on their 12-city Fall 2016 tour, which promoted their ninth studio album “We Can Do Anything.” It was released 16 years after the trio’s eighth album, “Freak Magnets” — which was published in Feburary 2000.

Bassist Brian Ritchie and drummer Victor DeLorenzo formed the band in 1981 in Wisconsin. Gordon Gano serves as lead singer, guitarist, violinist, and songwriter. Ritchie can be seen playing the xylophone, while a member of the group’s longtime back up band Horns of Dilemma hops on bass. John Sparrow is on drums. Blaise Garza manned the brass.

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