Music Park: Spandau Ballet @ 9:30 Club — 4/28/15

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Tony Hadley sings in New York City on May 2, 2015.

Wow, Spandau!

Golden-voiced Tony Hadley jumped to the stage of the 9:30 Club Tuesday night and nailed the lyrics of more than two dozen amazing songs by his band Spandau Ballet into the collective consciousness of everyone within earshot.

In the process, Tony and his bandmates *almost* had more fun than the audience at the very so nearly sold-out show. And they most certainly made certain that after a decades-long absence from the United States that they would not be forgotten here generally or in DC specifically any time soon.

Buoyed by the confidence of a band in the thick of strong friendships and camaraderie and confident in a catalog of songs unmatched in their strength and appeal, Spandau Ballet stormed the 9:30 Club with soulful new wave tunes that left men and women aged 20 to 50 screaming for more.

Spandau Ballet weren’t just good — they were superb.

Tony hit the right note immediately with new song “Soul Boy,” also the title track of a new documentary Soul Boys of the Western World, about the band, premiering tonight, April 29, at the IFC Center in Manhattan with the band’s participation. During the song, the audience gets its first taste of the indefatigable Steve Norman on saxophone.

Steve is everywhere — almost always with his trademark sax in one hand — appearing on bongos in one song, slinging a guitar in another and trading his sax for an oboe in a big finale. The man is a one-man band, and perhaps the strongest player in Spandau Ballet if not the entire history of rock and roll. (If that sounds like glib hyperbole, I dare you to watch him in action and then challenge me on that statement.)

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Music Park: Marrow @ Black Cat — 4/23/15


“She Chose You” and “Mother of Maladies” from Marrow’s Two EP

Marrow, hailing from Chicago, played an inspired show in the Black Cat’s Backstage to a small, but enthused crowd.

Lane Beckstrom, on bass and vocals, chatted with the crowd on whether Bill Cosby’s mural was still displayed at Ben’s Chili Bowl, claiming that he was still going after the show either way. Someone said ‘there will be tears’, to which he quipped ‘Delicious tears’.

That fit the mood of the show as well. An entertaining set, but not nearly enough people to fill out the venue.

They performed a good cover of Mott the Hoople’s, “All the Young Dudes”, noting that they loved David Bowie (who wrote the song) too much not to play it. And they were right.

Marrow’s first full length album, The Gold Standard, will be out soon. The mellow two-song EP they previously released, Two, will be remastered and included in the album. These songs and “Paulson”, the first single from the new album, give the focus to the sultry voice of Macie Stewart, on keyboard and vocals. The pattern of the video for “Paulson” flows like a weird work-out tape, but the song itself is about loss and how relationships don’t always last. Maybe?

All and all, a fine show and worth your time to check out the band when you have the chance.

The Black Cat marked the end of their multi-city East Coast tour, but be on the look out for when they visit DC again. Or if you’re in Chicago.

Phantomweight, a local DC band, started off the night with an infectious bit of funk, showcasing their two-piece horn section with a trombone and a saxophone. They’ve played recent shows at DC9 and Galaxy Hut.

Don’t Miss: Hall & Oates @ Warner Theatre, 4/29/15

Visiting Artist: John Oates
John Oates visits the Berklee College of Music on April 14, 2015.

Daryl Hall and John Oates, the dynamic duo who kept breaking records since their first album in 1972, return to DC to perform at the Warner Theatre on Wednesday, April 29.

I last caught Hall and Oates, as they are colloquially known, at the Warner on Oct. 2, 2013, in a damn fine show. The gents and their band raised blue-eyed soul to a whole new level that night, as they ran through about 14 songs in their catalog with a heavy focus on their material from the 1970s.

In that show about a year and a half ago, Hall and Oates performed “She’s Gone” from platinum album “Abandoned Luncheonette” with so much power and passion that it literally brought the entire audience to its feet. The entire house literally responded with a standing ovation to the ever-popular and equally passionate “Sara Smile.”

The duo made me happy as well when they hit some of their tunes from the 80s, including “Private Eyes” and “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do).” Their six-man band rose to the occasion, particularly sax player Charles DeChant, who has been performing with the guys for many years (and who proves to be a draw himself).

Dig Charles DeChant’s sax solo in the video for “Maneater” below:

Tickets are available online and at the box office. Based on my last time seeing Hall and Oates, you absolutely shouldn’t miss this show. Soul and reggae singer Mutlu, who hails from Philadelphia like our heroes, opens the show.

Daryl Hall and John Oates
w/ Mutlu
Warner Theatre
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Doors @7pm
$73-148
All ages

Music Park: Spandau Ballet @ 9:30 Club, 4/28/15

SPANDAU BALLET live in Italy
Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet sings in Italy on March 27, 2015.

I’m amazed to report that tickets are still available for tomorrow’s concert by Spandau Ballet at the 9:30 Club!

The Soul Boys of the Western World (to borrow the title of a new documentary about them) began the latest leg of their U.S. tour in Chicago on Saturday, April 25. Tonight, they perform in Toronto before returning to the United States Tuesday, April 28, for their show at the 9:30 Club. The reinvigorated quintet have been tearing up the concert circuit, earning great reviews, and generally wowing audiences with strong performances.

Their setlist at the House of Blues in Chicago on Saturday included new songs like “This Is the Love” as well as old favorites like “Chant No. 1,” “To Cut a Long Story Short,” “Gold” and of course “True.”

After Spandau Ballet leave DC, they will go to New York City Wednesday to host a special Q&A about their documentary, Soul Boys of the Western World, at the IFC Center in Manhattan. Although it doesn’t have a DC date, Soul Boys of the Western World will play around the country and be available for download through iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and YouTube, as well as other platforms, on Wednesday, April 29.

Listen to the bandmates in Spandau Ballet talk about touring the United States and other subjects in a clip from the U.K. interview show “Loose Women”:

And here’s a full show from London in 2009, the year the band reunited after being apart for about 19 years:

If you need more fuel in your fire to see the band, check out our brief recap of Spandau Ballet’s history. We were absolutely chuffed that the 9:30 Club linked to it in its weekly newsletter last week!

Spandau Ballet
9:30 Club
Tuesday, April 28
Doors @7pm
$45
All ages

Music Park: Martha Davis and The Motels w/ Greg Hawkes @ The Hamilton Live — 4/21/15

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Martha Davis of The Motels

The song “Party Professionals” moves with a little bit of a faster cadence than the typical number by Martha Davis and The Motels, but otherwise it captures a lot of the essence of the band.

Ms. Davis sashays onto the stage and breaks into its celebratory lyrics, which include refrains like, “And we will dance/’Til the dawn’s early light/And I will drink to you/And you to I.”

In a musical interlude, Marty Jourard, the band’s other remaining original member, takes to the saxophone for an extended solo that leaves the audience feeling quite romantically wistful during a performance of the song, which opened a show at The Hamilton Live in DC on Tuesday night.

Marty has a penchant for writing sad, romantic songs like “Take the L,” from the band’s third album “All Four One,” which comes up later in the set. “Take the L” is representative of the kind of wordplay for which both Marty and Martha have an affinity as she croons, “Take the L out of ‘lover’ and it’s ‘ooooooover.’”

And of course nostalgia for lost love is a regular visitor to the lyrics of The Motels, whose signature songs include “Suddenly Last Summer” (which they hit early in the show) and “Only the Lonely” (which appeared in the encore), both written by Martha. The Motels hit perfect notes of sophistipop in these numbers, effortlessly blending calypso, blues, rock, jazz and new wave (certainly a genre that initially gave Martha a lot of inspiration when starting out).

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Music Park: Voltheque @ Philadelphia, Pa., TBA

voltheque

Circa 1978 or so, like-minded musicians across England made a stand and decided they would chart their own future — and in so doing embraced an attitude not shared by many of their contemporaries.

Their future was one of love, self-determination and optimism. It was a message that was counter-intuitive to some of the youth culture of the time, but these bands — these New Romantics — believed in themselves, and they made a powerful statement about life and love. This scene gave birth to bands we came to love in the United States — bands like Duran Duran and Culture Club.

Voltheque, a collective of young adults from Philadelphia, Pa., weren’t even alive when this happened. But they share a kinship nonetheless. Anchored by Marko Shinko and Simone Strange, Voltheque have proven themselves as musically savvy as any of their new romantic counterparts in the United Kingdom, who were facing economic strangulation and limited opportunities more than 35 years ago.

You see, many of their U.K. inspirations were driven by a desire for a better life and the thrush of creativity that came with the newfound affordability of synthesizers, still a relatively young technology. And in Philadelphia, the kids are good and happy people who also embrace technology and like to dance — and know how to make music by which to dance.

And so it is in the strongest possible terms that I recommend to you Voltheque, a group of young musicians with cool hair who sound really damn great together. They have to date produced two self-released indie albums available via Bandcamp at https://v0ltheque.bandcamp.com, which are completely worth checking out — particularly with the fantastic debut album, Voltheque, and its songs like “Dialogue,” “Heart Attack” and (ahem) “Der Sexer Roboter” (which I’ll confess is all kinds of amazing).

And although they have a penchant to get a bit artsy poetic at times, you’ll never hear me complain about such a thing when they produce lush results like “The Bells” on their second album, I’ve Known All Along. (I have after all been kicked out of many the same drinking establishments between Baltimore, Md., and Newark, Del., as Edgar Allan Poe… 😉 )

Anyway, these ladies and gents are amazing, and most certainly deserve your attention. Follow them at https://www.facebook.com/Voltheque, and catch them in their next show, which may happen as soon as June in Philadelphia. They are a refreshing antidote to many other bands that may have more angst but less vision.