Live Review: Oh He Dead @ 9:30 Club — 9/25/21

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Oh He Dead perform at 9:30 Club on Sept. 25, 2021. (Photos by Mark Caicedo)

“Poppy enough for ya…bitch?”

Those words, spoken in jest years ago between Oh He Dead’s CJ Johnson and Andy Valenti, actually signaled a dogged determination to never compromise on their dream. Saturday night, during their headlining 9:30 Club debut, the two Oh He Dead (OHD) founders related the story of demoing one of their new songs, only to be told that it wasn’t “pop” enough. That long ago, unnamed producer might be a little humbled to find that OHD has amassed an exhaustive repertoire of original and cover songs, has legions of fans around the world, and this past Saturday played to a packed 9:30 Club (only the first, no doubt, of many such appearances to come).

And judging by the crowd of swaying, dancing, and singing fans, not a single one would accuse OHD of not being “poppy” enough.

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Preview: Oh He Dead @ 9:30 Club, 9/25/21

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Oh He Dead (Photo courtesy 9:30 Club)

DC indie band Oh He Dead “recalls the danceability of Earth Wind and Fire, the pop genius of Prince, and the seductive, soulful groove of Sade,” said Parklife blogger Mark Caicedo in his last review of this funky quintet.

Experience that sound for yourself and catch Oh He Dead live at 9:30 Club on Saturday, Sept. 25.

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Live Review: Jonny Grave w/ Elizabeth II @ Pearl Street Warehouse – 9/10/21

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Jonny Grave performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on Sept. 10, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Two of the finest DC area musicians performed this past Friday evening at Pearl Street Warehouse. Elizabeth II opened with a subdued but nonetheless passionate solo acoustic performance while Jonny Grave’s blues rock provided a raucous counterpoint.

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Live Review: Appaloosa Festival @ Skyline Ranch Resort — 8/13-8/15/21

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Flex Matthews joined Justin Trawick at the last minute to fill an emergency opening in the 2021 Appaloosa Festival. (Photo by Chester Simpson.) 

Alex and Dan Fedoryka, founding members of the band Scythian, wanted to bring their friends and fans back to their family’s hometown of Front Royal, Virginia, on the scenic Skyline Ranch Resort, nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s just a few minutes from the northern entrance to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, and less than a mile from the Shenandoah River. There is camping available on site, plus opportunities in the immediate vicinity to hike, canoe, fish, and bike.

Welcome to the perfect setting and the perfect weekend for the annual Appaloosa Music Festival, the result of the Fedoryka brothers’ dream to celebrate life and music with their friends and family, which includes you and me!

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Live Review: RoseRiot @ Jammin’ Java – 7/23/21

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Rose Riot pose for the camera at Jammin’ Java on July 23, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Anyone who’s familiar with the DMV’s music scene knows Cathy DiToro, an incandescent ball of energy whose bands So Fetch (aughts covers), The Legwarmers (’80s covers), and Party Like It’s (ska/dance) clearly don’t occupy enough of her time.

A songwriter in her own right, Cathy has assembled a fresh quartet, the aptly named RoseRiot, to perform original songs, and the band made a long-awaited return to live performance with an outdoor appearance at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia this past Friday.

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Live Review: Too Free and Exotiq Int’l @ Black Cat — 7/16/21

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Gideon Jaguar performs with Exotiq Int’l at Black Cat on July 16, 2021. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

In a recent show at Black Cat, Sister Polygon Records flexed its indie dance muscles and revealed how it’s poised to keep our feet moving with the disco and funk of lablelmates Too Free and Exotiq Int’l respectively.

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Live Review: Dominique Bianco @ Pearl Street Warehouse – 7/11/21

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Dominique Bianco performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on July 11, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

There is a unique joy to experiencing emerging musical artists. You can see their determination, feel their ambition, and hear the purity of their performance. Or as music critic David Ackert says, “[giving their] lives to a moment – to that melody, that lyric, that chord or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. Singers and Musicians are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be.” No matter the genre, or level of talent, new artists have an utter lack of cynicism, almost naivete, that embodies the drive and desire to be acknowledged and accepted on their own terms-an attitude that virtually guarantees a pure, energetic performance.

This past Sunday, an enthusiastic Pearl Street Warehouse crowd watched and heard Dominique Bianco exemplify that passion and determination. Backed by an equally talented quartet of local DC musicians, Dominique reminded us that training, hard work, overcoming setbacks, and “serving the song” are the ingredients of a successful artist.

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Preview: Too Free and Exotiq Intl @ Black Cat, 7/16/21

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Too Free (Photo by Emily Geller)

DC electronic pop trio Too Free make their first post-pandemic appearance in a show with new Sister Polygon labelmates Exotiq Intl at Black Cat on Friday, July 16.

Join these fresh breakout acts for a carefree evening of tunes that are sure to move your feet!

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Video Interview: Dear Daria (Debut Single: “Best Life”)

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Dear Daria (Photo art courtesy of the band)

DC indie music fans may well be familiar with the music of Maryjo Mattea, the effervescent local musician known for her love of The Beatles and wry lyrical observations on life and love. Over the pandemic, her solo act has grown into a band called Dear Daria, a power pop quartet that offers a catchy sonic mix of elements.

Parklife DC recently interviewed the band via Zoom about their origins and their pending debut album.

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