My Favorite Albums: 2019 Records for the Lockdown by Chris

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Duff McKagan (second from left) and Shooter Jennings (center) with their band (Photo courtesy BWR)

It’s difficult being stuck inside, unable to interact with others face to face. We here at Parklife DC are feeling that along with everyone else. I am regularly looking at my calendar, trying to guess when I’ll be able to get back in a club or arena and do what I love, photograph concerts.

I certainly don’t have the answer to when we’ll all be back to our normal lives, but one thing that is helping me get through this time is listening to music. We are fortunate that so much great music is still being created. Even in these trying times, bands and artists are finding ways to entertain us with live streams and basic recordings from their homes.

But it can be difficult to keep track of who will be performing and when. And if you’re like me, you may just want to throw on an album and let it play. So I have put together a list of some of my favorite albums that came out in 2019.

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My Favorite Concert: Failure @ 9:30 Club — 3/28/19

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Failure playing during their tour with Swervedriver in March of 2019. (Photo by Marc Shea)

Editor’s note: Parklife asked our contributors to revisit some of the best shows they’ve ever seen in a series titled My Favorite Concert.

One of the best concerts I ever saw took place almost a year ago. Failure was co-headlining a bill with Swervedriver at 9:30 Club. I’ve been a fan of both bands since the mid-90’s and this was a chance to see two bands that I had never been able to see.

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My Favorite Artist: Duran Duran

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Duran Duran performs at The Fillmore New Orleans on Feb. 19, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Editor’s Note: Parklife DC asked its contributors to write essays about their favorite bands. These essays appear in an occasional series, My Favorite Artist, and provide our readers with insights into our bloggers, their motivations, and their approach to covering concerts.

To my ear, music is at its best when it motivates and inspires. Popular music provides a forum for catharsis, surely, but I am most excited when I hear something that stirs my soul, lifts my head, and moves my feet.

Cue Duran Duran.

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Live Review: Billy Idol @ Pearl Theater at Palms Casino Resort — 3/13/20

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Billy Idol performs at the Pearl Theater at Palms Casino Resort on March 13, 2020. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Billy Idol’s dad was a helluva salesman. He worked hard all of his life, and he never really seemed to have time for Billy’s music as his son shot up the charts in the early ’80s.

In 2014, Billy was working on Kings & Queens of the Underground, his eighth studio album, and he took a mix over to his parents to get their feedback. To Billy’s delight, his dad was not only very interested in the album, but he liked the songs quite well.

Soon after, Billy’s dad passed away at the age of 90. In his bed at the time, he was listening to Billy’s “Ghosts in My Guitar,” a song that Billy performed with considerable emotion at the Pearl Theatre at Palms Resort Casino recently.

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Live Review: The Districts @ 9:30 Club — 3/10/20

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The Districts perform at 9:30 Club on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock.)

Sometimes an album comes to life when a band needs it most, and the tour to support it is how the group actually reaps the spiritual, and financial, benefits of their work.

The Districts’ latest release — You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere — is said to have almost never happened: the band had nearly exhausted itself after an intense few years on the road and seemed to be searching for direction when founder and head singer Rob Grote isolated himself and put pen to pad to nurture the words that would comprise the newest LP.

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My Favorite Artist: Lucinda Williams

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Lucinda Williams (Photo by Danny Clinch)

Editor’s Note: Parklife DC asked its contributors to write essays about their favorite bands. These essays appear in an occasional series, My Favorite Artist, and provide our readers with insights into our bloggers, their motivations, and their approach to covering concerts.  

In 1994, Lucinda Williams won her first Grammy Award for Best Country Song for “Passionate Kisses,” a track from her self-titled 1988 turn to Americana. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s cover of the song also won for Best Country Vocal Performance.

While Mary may have taken away the hardware for her performance of the song, Lucinda’s hardcore fans — like me — will always prefer her performance of the song.

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Live Review: Dead Kennedys @ 9:30 Club — 3/11/20

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Dead Kennedys frontman Skip Greer impressed with flair and deadpan comedy at 9:30 Club on March 11, 2020. (Photo by Paivi Salonen)

Coronavirus couldn’t stop our District’s vulnerable punk population from coming out in droves to support one of the scene’s most iconic bands, Dead Kennedys. Despite increasingly dire news around the global pandemic, and a declaration of emergency from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser mere hours before doors opened, 9:30 Club was packed to near capacity with diehard DK fans eager to see these living legends in the flesh.

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