Live Review: Echo & the Bunnymen @ Lincoln Theatre — 9/17/22

Echo & the Bunnymen perform at the Lincoln Theatre on Sept. 17, 2022. (Photos by Jason Nicholson; Words by Mickey McCarter)

Echo & the Bunnymen were inevitable.

By the late ’70s, electronic instruments had become more widely available, fueling a rise of experimentation in UK cities like London, Manchester, and Liverpool. Inspired by the DIY ethos of the Sex Pistols, many bands picked up these instruments and started creating.

But in Liverpool, Ian McCuloch and Will Sergeant were admirers of The Velvet Underground and the Doors, two psychedelic bands fronted by Americans. Once those bands had recorded, Echo & the Bunnymen were going to happen regardless of flashy keyboards or electronic drum machines. Their American musical roots perhaps explain why the duo still today gets the earnest rock star treatment from packed houses and eager audiences.

Ian, Will, and their touring bandmates once again received a recent hero’s welcome in DC in a sold-out performance at the Lincoln Theatre.

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Live Review: Alejandro Escovedo @ The Hamilton Live — 9/17/22

Alejandro Escovedo (Photo courtesy Prevent Cancer Foundation)

Alejando Escovedo has been playing music for a long time — longer than I’ve been alive. He recently told the audience at The Hamilton Live that he first came to DC in 1978 as part of the punk band The Nuns. They played the Atlantis with The Fleshtones. The club had an apartment — which he emphasized was terrible — and, after the show, Patti Smith came to visit.

When a veteran performer knows an intimate venue and comes with a plan, an audience can get an incredible show. That was the case Saturday evening, as Alejandro performed songs and delved into the stories behind them. The highlight of the show came when he and his band left the stage and went into the crowd to perform “I Wish I Was Your Mother” and “I Was Drunk” totally acoustic, no mics, just instruments and voices. It was Alejandro on guitar, with his bandmates on fiddle and tambourine. The former song, he mentioned, was one he wrote to take part in Austin song swaps.

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Live Review: Dawes and Bahamas @ Baltimore Soundstage — 9/13/22

Dawes and Bahamas perform together at Baltimore Soundstage on Sept. 13. 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

The USA and Canada have shared in arts and entertainment for just about as long as the two countries have existed, but this late summer the fruitful relationship between these two countries has yielded one of the most fascinating international collaborations live music has seen in some time.

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Live Review: Modern English @ The Birchmere — 9/14/22

Modern English performs at The Birchmere on Sept. 14, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Modern English visited The Birchmere recently to play through their album After the Snow in its entirety, in tracklist order.

Well, they didn’t play *the one song* everyone wanted to hear in the tracklist, saving it for the end of the show. “Half of you would bugger off home” after Modern English performed “Melt With You,” in the estimation of frontman Robbie Grey.

As it turned out, no one in the very full concert hall wanted to be anywhere else other than fully immersed in the atmospheric brilliance of a very sharp collection of pop songs. Dancing broke out in front of the stage and in the aisles.

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Live Review: Arlo Parks @ 9:30 Club — 9/12/22

Arlo Parks
Arlo Parks performs at 9:30 Club on Sept. 12, 2022. (Photo by Katie Child)

Arlo Parks is an idol to many. Her tendency to inspire, in combination with her often painfully relatable lyricism, Parks is the spitting image of what many of us aim to “grow up” to become.

A ray of sunshine through and through, Parks’ tour was not one to pass up. Coupled with the lovable crowd of DMV natives that she brought out for her show, Arlo lit up the 9:30 Club for two nights last week with a sense of warmth and comfort that we already miss.

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Live Review: Julia Jacklin @ 9:30 Club — 9/15/22

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Julia Jacklin (Photo by Nick Mcck)

Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin walked onstage at the 9:30 Club recently to Celine Dion singing “My Heart Will Go On.” “Just having a bit of fun,” she told the audience, who had come to see the native of the Blue Mountains’ first North American tour since before the Covid pandemic hit. The joke, of course, is that deep emotional conflicts and introspection in Jacklin’s lyrics contrast so powerfully with the cheap emotional string-pulling of a love theme engineered for the blockbuster Titanic

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Snapshots: Lacuna Coil @ The Fillmore Silver Spring — 9/15/22

Lacuna Coil
Lacuna Coil performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Sept. 15, 2022. (Photo by Katherine Gaines)

Italian goths Lacuna Coil are sweeping the United States with tour dates that landed them at The Fillmore Silver Spring recently. Katherine Gaines was there to photograph the show!

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Live Review: IDLES @ The Anthem — 9/14/22

IDLES perform at The Anthem on Sept. 14, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / @kgustafson)

Are IDLES the hardest working band in show business? 140 shows in 2018, 119 in 2019, 48 in post-pandemic 2021, and 91 and counting so far in 2022. They’ve played DC proper six times since 2019 (seven if you count their Tiny Desk appearance) and released two albums in that time. This is a band that’s always on the move.

Their live show is still electric and they show no signs of slowing down. After seeing them absolutely destroy the Rock n Roll Hotel in 2019 I wondered how they’d do at a place as large as The Anthem. As seen at The Anthem recently, basically the only change was there were now a lot more people going bananas during the punk bit at the end of show opener “Colossus.”

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Snapshots: Marcus King and Neal Francis @ MGM National Harbor — 9/10/22

Marcus King performs at the theater at MGM National Harbor on Sept. 10, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

It’s not every day you see musicians and comedians team up on stage, but when it happens, it can offer a refreshed approach for both types of entertainers to connect with their audiences.

Longtime friends, ascending guitar god Marcus King and comedian Dean Delray, well known on the national comedy circuit, had said to one another for years that they would one day tour together.

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