Music Park: Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo @ Warner Theatre — 7/8/15

A promo for the Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo 35th Anniversary Tour by American Public TV (above).

Pat Benatar told a lovely little story at the Warner Theatre in the latter half of her set on Wednesday night.

She and her band were on the road supporting their second album with a tour, and their management told them to tune into new cable channel MTV on August 1, 1981.

They tuned in via the television in their “cheap motel” and watched music history being made as their video for “You Better Run” aired as the second video ever shown on MTV, making Pat the first female artist and her husband Neil Giraldo the first guitar player to appear on the fledgling network. (The English electronic act The Buggles debuted with the first-ever MTV video, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” and without a guitar in the band, of course.)

With that intro, Pat and Neil launched into “You Better Run,” from the hit record Crimes of Passion, which became her biggest selling album, certified 4X platinum.

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Don’t Miss: SOAK @ DC9, 7/12/15


An offbeat 19-year-old girl from Northern Ireland has a haunting voice that spins soulful folk pop, and she’s bringing it to DC9 on Sunday, July 12.

Bridie Monds-Watson is known as SOAK, and she released her debut album on Rough Trade Records on June 2. The album, Before We Forget How to Dream, deals with themes of growing up in isolation

Single “Sea Creatures,” released in February, squarely deals with those feelings of loneliness and isolation with its reminder that “they don’t know what love is” in reference to people who may be like the titular sea creatures. Watch the video for the single on YouTube:

“B a Nobody,” another track from the new album, speaks of being a lost teenager, continuing the fragile streak of loneliness and isolation.

Listen via Soundcloud:

DC folk singer Marian McLaughlin opens for SOAK. Tickets are available online and at the door.

w/ Marian McLaughlin
Sunday, July 12
Doors @8:30pm
All ages

Music Park: Metric @ Verizon Center — 7/6/15

Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw perform “The Shade” acoustically for the Verge Music Lab at the Music Mansion: SiriusXM Canada on June 2, 2015.

Drummer Joules Scott-Key pounded out those familiar opening notes and vocalist Emily Haines bounded onto stage to open the set with “Stadium Love.”

And so Metric kicked off their performance at the Verizon Center Monday night, opening for Imagine Dragons in that band’s Smoke + Mirrors Tour, devoting a third of their set to their popular fourth album Fantasies.

After “Stadium Love” was appropriately performed for the enthusiastic stadium attendees, Metric introduced new track “Too Bad, So Sad,” a kinetic lament of being stuck in a bad place belied by its cheering chorus. It rings a bit of a traditional Metric song blended with Blur’s “Song 2.”

“Too Bad, So Sad” was the first of three new songs from the forthcoming album Pagans in Vegas, scheduled for release Sept. 18. Those new songs were undoubtedly the highlight of the show for longtime admirers of the Canadian quartet.

The biggest number for Metric in the concert was “Cascades,” which the Toronto new wavers have described as the heart of the upcoming album. “Cascades” is a wholly electronic affair with synths coating Emily’s sweet but sassy vocals to powerful effect — and it’s so deliriously good that it was an instant new favorite for me and also for the thousands gathered early to see them Monday.

The song, about “cascading waves of emotion,” is a welcome tidal wave that involves Emily, guitarist Jimmy Shaw and bassist Joshua Winstead trading off on three synthesizers. There are guitar and bass parts as well, and when Emily isn’t behind her synthesizer, she’s at the front of the stage in a purple cape billowing above a wind machine.

The arrangement, although simple, is extraordinarily memorable.

Give “Cascades” a listen on Soundcloud:

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Don’t Miss: Mudhoney @ Black Cat, 7/7/15

Mudhoney Mudhoney (Photo courtesy Sub Pop Records)

Mudhoney, one of the early bands in the Seattle grunge scene, is performing tonight at the Black Cat, July 7, 2015.

Formed in 1988, Mudhoney contributed to the movement that became the grunge sound in the early 1990’s.

Mudhoney started their career with the Sub Pop record label, then branched off to a major label for the better part of a decade, before finally returning to Sup Pop in 2000, where they have released their last four albums.

With nine studio albums under their belt, the most recent being the 2013 release, Vanishing Point, they have been actively producing their distinct mix of grunge, punk and blues rock for almost 30 years.

Indeed, Mark Arm, lead singer of Mudhoney, is credited with using the term “grunge” in 1981 as a description of the sound of his first band. It was later used as the moniker of the whole sub genre of alternative music coming out of Seattle.

I grew up near Seattle, and become a huge fan of seminal grunge bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. I largely missed out on Mudhoney during the first half of the 1990’s, but have come back to them over the last few years.

Let’s see what I missed.

Kid Congo Powers and Pink Monkey Birds open. Tickets are available online and at the door.

w/ Kid Congo Powers and Pink Monkey Birds
Black Cat
Tuesday, July 7
Doors @7:30pm
All ages

Don’t Miss: Metric (Opening for Imagine Dragons) @ Verizon Center, 7/6/15

Metric (Photo by Norman Wong)

Imagine Dragons perform at the Verizon Center tonight, Monday, July 6, and just as exciting is that the Vegas quartet are bringing along Toronto quartet Metric — in all of their Canadian new wave glory.

Metric have scheduled their sixth studio album, Pagans in Vegas, for release on Sept. 18, and last month they began a tour as openers for Imagine Dragons to expose audiences to the new material. How appropriate that the blokes from Vegas are helping Metric to promote their Vegas-referencing album!

Vocalist Emily Haines has said the album draws heavily from primary Metric influences Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Underworld. Metric has released two singles from the album so far — “The Shade” in May and “Cascades” in June — and the increased focus on synthesizers is evident from those two tracks alone.

While the music sounds even more electronic, Emily’s sweet voice definitely give the songs a sense of continuity between the new tracks and Metric’s bigger guitar-driven numbers.

Listen to “Cascades” on YouTube (with a minimalistically animated video):

If “Cascades” is representative of the rest of the album, this will be an amazing albeit different record for Metric. And all the more amazing undoubtedly will be the live show tonight. So show up early and don’t miss Metric!

Astralwerks’ recording artist Halsey kicks off the show as first opener, and she’s scheduled to go on at 7:30pm. Metric will follow, and then Imagine Dragons. Synchronize your watches!

Tickets are available online and at the box office.

opening for Imagine Dragons
Verizon Center
Today, Monday, July 6
Doors @6:30pm
Show @7:30pm
All ages

Music Park: Def Leppard @ Jiffy Lube Live — 7/2/15

Def Leppard
Def Leppard (Photo courtesy the band)

There was a remarkable moment in the latter half of the Def Leppard concert at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va., on Thursday.

It was toward the end of the main set of the show, and the famous hard rocking quintet were shaking things up a bit with an instrumental number, “Switch 625” from their second album, High ‘n’ Dry.

The song comes to a close with a stomping drum solo from Rick Allen, who infamously lost his left arm in an auto accident on New Year’s Eve in 1984. It’s one thing to hear the tale of the well-regarded one-armed drummer from Def Leppard, but let me assure you that it’s another entirely to see the man in action.

I wish there were official, or even good quality unofficial, video to show you because it’s a thing of grace to see Rick projected on the big screen as he bangs away at the end of the song with his right arm and his left leg providing fluid drumming throughout the song. To see and hear the flawless piece of work is to admire the symmetry of the human body and to fully appreciate the hard work and pride that Rick puts into his drumming.

Rick’s “Switch 625” drum solo was one of many high points during a solid show from the heavy metal men from Sheffield, England. They performed many perennial favorites including “Foolin’” from hit third album Pyromania, which really first made them a household name in the United States, and “Love Bites” from its powerful follow-up Hysteria.

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Music Park: PINS @ DC9 — 6/29/15

“Thank you, we’re PINS from Manchester.”

The (now) five member women rock band, PINS, then laid into a series of post-punk flavored songs from their first album, “Lost Lost Lost” and “Get With Me”.

Styled with blue hair (Anna Donigan on bass), black boots, skirts, glitter and eye decals (especially prominent on Faith Holgate, lead singer), they took the medium-sized crowd at DC9 on an entertaining 14-song journey through their first two albums.

PINS released their second full length album, Wild Nights, in early June 2015. It was co-produced by Dave Catching from Eagles of Death Metal. Their first album, Girls Like Us, was released in 2013.

As they performed the catchy, “Young Girls”, the second single from the new album, by the time they opined, “What will we do when our dreams come true?”, the crowd had largely transformed from standing to dancing.

“Molly”, their third single from Wild Nights, was among my favorite songs they performed. Listening to the first single, “Too Little Too Late”, you could dismiss them as too laid back. But that assumption disappears with “Molly” and the line “you are the perfect storm, you are where I belong”. If this is where they belong, let’s get more of it.

Their overall sound is pop with heavy guitars and drums, which they have described as ‘dark pop’. The post-punk label might reflect their early work, but not really the new album.

Comparing the PINS to other all-female bands, if you like the Dum Dum Girls, they should certainly be on your radar. They also recently opened for Sleater-Kinney during the UK leg of their tour.

Their show marked their first ever appearance in DC. Hopefully, it will not be the last.

Pick up Wild Nights and have a listen. With Molly.