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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.