Mavis Staples performs at the Lincoln Theatre in DC on Oct. 19, 2021. (Photos by Ari Strauss)
Amy Helm, perhaps, put it best Tuesday evening at the Lincoln Theatre when she said, “How deeply it moves me to stand on this stage before an American treasure” in Mavis Staples. Mavis headlined the evening, which was a fundraiser for JusticeAid.
JusticeAid is an umbrella progressive fundraising organization that raises money to support various grassroots organizations. The concert was a benefit for the Neighborhood Defender Service. The Neighborhood Defender Service is concerned with police violence, particularly against communities of color. In the evening’s opening remarks, we learned that, so far this year, JusticeAid has been able to give $300,000 to NDS and, following the successful concert, they plan to donate another $100,000 to the cause.
St. Vincent headlines the All Things Go Music Festival on Oct. 16, 2021. (Photo by Katherine Gaines/ ambienteye.com)
Parklife sent Katherine Gaines to photograph the All Things Go Music Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, and she returned with pix of SHAED, Girl in Red, Lauv, and St. Vincent, along with this blog entry about her experience at the festival.
It was a soggy grey day, not much for showing off fun festival attire. The crowd was mostly a sea of raincoats, ponchos and umbrellas. Some folks probably decided not to go, or left when it started raining but everyone who stuck it out wanted to make the most of their long awaited festival.
IDLES perform at 9:30 Club on Oct. 17, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)
You’d be hard pressed to name a better or more electrifying live band right now than Bristol, England’s IDLES. Hard and fast enough for the punk fans, heavy enough for the metal fans and progressive enough for the indie fans, IDLES hit a sweet spot that no other band can touch right now at 9:30 Club in the first of two-sold out nights on Sunday. Their songs address a wide range of topics such as politics, depression, and toxic masculinity and more importantly give listeners the release that great live music demands.
The Felice Brothers (Photo courtesy Yep Roc Records)
Hailing from upstate New York’s Hudson River Valley, The Felice Brothers began in the mid-2000s as the musical project of brothers Ian, James, and Simone Felice. They began their career as buskers, and have referred to themselves (who knows how jokingly) as “scumbags.”
Their career got a boost from another area resident, legendary Band drummer and vocalist Levon Helm, who invited them to perform at one of his Midnight Rambles in Woodstock. It’s fitting that the Brothers got a break from him, as their music owes obvious debts to The Band and Bob Dylan, in its mix of humor, surrealistic imagery, and ironic gloss on classic Americana. Their early recordings were rough — one was made in a chicken coop — but have grown more refined over the course of their career. As they toured with acts ranging from Justin Townes Earle to Old Crow Medicine Show to the Dave Matthews Band, the Brothers became more sophisticated artists.
That sophistication was on display in their unique brand of folk country-rock/ Americana in a packed house at DC9 recently.
Adam Weiner of Low Cut Connie leads a performance at 9:30 Club in DC on Oct. 13, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
If you’re looking for an emotionally advanced live music experience, you might need to roll up your sleeves to actually enjoy it once you get there. Hell, you might need to just take your shirt right off.
And if you’ve been lucky enough to see the Philadelphia-based sensation Low Cut Connie in the flesh, you know you’ll witness sweaty clothes torn to shreds, scantily clad dancers, spilled drinks, middle fingers pointed at innocent bystanders and cuss words flung in all directions. Sex, drugs, rage, grief, pain, joy, lust, love, jealousy — no topic is off limits, no subject too risqué. That’s the mentality head singer and pianist Adam Weiner brings to the keyboard, and within that kind of environment is where his crew has been groomed to thrive.
Adam and Low Cut Connie brought their best to 9:30 Club recently, delivering a dripping set of music that was uncensored, remorseless, and lasting, even in a venue that hosts as much talent as this one.
Bahamas perform at 9:30 Club on Oct. 12, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Some recording artists deserve to be admired for their commitment to enhancing their songbook, continually challenging themselves to dive deeper into a creative process that the average person can’t even begin to imagine.
A gentleman out of Ontario named Afie Jurvanen has proven himself to be exceptionally dedicated to his craft, and he recently brought his musical vehicle, Bahamas, to the 9:30 Club for what was an impressive, charming weeknight reminder that he’s one of the best individual performers hailing from north of the border — some might argue on the whole darn continent, and his collection of Juno awards and nominations supports that notion.
Alexandria’s Birchmere has long been known as a hub in this area for roots music. It recently welcomed back a frequent visitor in Patty Griffin, as well as a musician new to the venue, Gregory Alan Isakov. The two celebrated folk artists, each accompanied by a sideman, played a split set, then joined each other onstage for an encore.
Courtney Marie Andrews performs at The Miracle Theatre in DC on Oct. 8, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
The Miracle Theatre hosted a night of intimate, classic folk and Americana on Friday evening with singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews and duo The Brother Brothers. Andrews’s songwriting and vocals are clearly influenced most strongly by Joni Mitchell, but you can also hear elements of Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, and Carole King. The Brother Brothers’ style have been compared to Simon & Garfunkel, both for their close harmonies and their gentle, soothing melodies.
Dave Grohl speaks at the Lincoln Theater during his The Storyteller – Live! appearance on Oct. 7, 2021. (Photo by Deanna Escobar, Sugar Shot Media)
No one better epitomizes the coming-of-age decade that was the 1990s in America music than Dave Grohl.
With his long black hair, innocent expression and his flailing arms, Grohl came to be known by the MTV generation as the reserved but hyper-talented drummer of the now legendary grunge band Nirvana, introduced to the mainstream in earnest by way of the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in September of 1992.
He’s now 52 years old, with a well-earned tinge of grey, and has achieved more in his career and lifetime than 100 musicians might in aggregate. Dave, who grew up in and around Alexandria, recently embarked on a mission to share his life in a way perhaps unaccustomed to most of his fans.
Waxahatchee, the musical face of Birmingham native Katie Crutchfield, has been going strong for over a decade, but last year’s Saint Cloud may be Crutchfield’s masterpiece.
She has always been a strong songwriter, but these last couple of records have really showcased Katie Crutchfield’s songwriting talents comparable to the best in the business, especially in Waxahatchee’s most recent LP, Saint Cloud, which came out last year on Merge Records. It’s a ride from beginning to the ending “St. Cloud,” which sounds like it was strummed out on the front porch while the sun sinks behind the trees.