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Snapshots: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead @ The Anthem — 11/18/23


Acclaimed Grateful Dead cover band Joe Russo’s Almost Dead played two funky sets of songs recently at The Anthem, and Mark Raker was there to photograph the show.

Preview: A Flock of Seagulls @ The Fillmore Silver Spring, 12/2/23


Everyone knows the hit song “I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock of Seagulls. But even a passing listen to the band’s catalog reveals a wealth of amazing tunes, any one of which could become an instant earworm.

A Flock of Seagulls, still fronted by original vocalist Mike Score, performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Saturday, Dec. 2, and it’s a show not to be missed if you love stylish, moody synthesizers.

Interview: Valerie June (New Book: Light Beams)


Valerie June is one of the bright young stars of the Americana world, admired by folks like Bob Dylan. In addition to her music, she’s written poetry and a children’s book. Valerie was kind enough to answer a few questions for Parklife DC’s Mark Engleson, who corresponded via email. Her latest book, Light Beams, is an interactive journal.

Valerie June recently toured with Rachael Davis, Thao and Yasmin Williams. Tickets to her upcoming shows can be found here.

Live Review: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark @ House of Blues Anaheim — 11/19/23


English synthpop greats Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark recently were the toast of the inaugural Darker Waves Festival in sunny Southern California, where they presented 10 of their very best singles to the gratification of swarming attendees ready to dance. With a one-two punch, the quartet followed that day with an engrossing evening that spotlighted the shifting nuances of their sound for the raucous clamor of a sold-out show at the House of Blues in Anaheim.

Live Review: Ha Ha Tonka w/ Sam C. Jones & The Sinners @ Jammin’ Java — 11/19/23


Sometimes, with all the seriousness that comes with consuming music as a critic, one can forget that all of this is supposed to be fun. Music is art, but it’s also entertainment. Ha Ha Tonka, who take their name from a park near their hometown of Springfield, Missouri, in the Ozarks, never forgets to have fun on stage. On a recent night at Jammin’ Java, their joy at playing for their fans was palpable.

This shouldn’t be taken to imply they don’t write great songs. They do, and they’ve consistently earn strong reviews for their albums. These original songs made up almost their entirety of their Jammin’ Java set, but they ended the night with a “song you all know,” RamJam’s late ’70s southern rocker “Black Betty,” which is one of those songs that doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but it has a great groove and makes you feel pumped.

Snapshots: LEISURE @ 9:30 Club — 11/18/23


Though not everyone on the planet has yet learned of or heard the sounds of LEISURE, a powerhouse electronic posse out of New Zealand, it’s inevitable that any fun-loving listener will adopt this group and its invigorative dance music when it so beneficially presents itself — as it did recently at 9:30 Club.

An all-star cast of known creators who found success through other projects before this one, LEISURE came to be in Auckland back in 2015 with the cryptic Soundcloud release of the group’s first single, “Got It Band,” which essentially exploded without much of a clue to who was actually behind it.

Snapshots: Ocie Elliott @ Jammin’ Java — 11/16/23


Live and recorded music has seen a long list of duos captivate the hearts and minds of listeners, especially in recent times as the means for making songs and sharing them are more accessible than ever before.

As a result, the waters can be a bit more competitive than some might think. But one especially captivating tandem out of Western Canada seems to have forged a meaningful alliance through music that is therapeutic, heartrending, and truly beautiful to the ear of many.

Jon Middleton and Sierra Lundy got started in 2017 and so far have released one full studio album and a series of EPs as Ocie Elliott, but they’ve already amassed a large, impassioned listener base with their sincere and tender recordings, as seen recently at Jammin’ Java.

Ticket Giveaway: La Goony Chonga @ The Atlantis, 12/5/23


Cuban-American rapper La Goony Chonga performs at The Atlantis in DC for her Goonyverso Tour on Tuesday, Dec. 5. You can win tickets to go with Parklife DC!

Live Review: Liz Longley w/ Sarah Peacock @ Jammin’ Java — 11/18/23


I once heard a musician say, about the music business, “Love the music, hate the business.” When an artist or band is signed to a record label, the label can choose, for any reason or no reason whatsoever, not to release an album.

The executives at record companies aren’t infallible when it comes to either artistic or commercial judgments. A record label declined to release Wilco’s seminal Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and they were wrong about that, commercially and artistically. They were wrong, too, about their decision not to release Liz Longley’s latest album, Funeral For My Past.

Interview: Ron Holloway (@ The Hamilton Live, 11/24/23)

Ron Holloway: Funksgiving at The Hamilton Live
Words By Dan Rozman
Photos by Mark Raker

Ron Holloway has established himself as one of today’s most in-demand tenor saxophonists across multiple genres. Renowned jazz critic Ira Gitler has described Holloway’s versatile playing style as both “hard-bop” jazz and smooth R&B ballads “with warm, blue feeling.” Holloway strives to push the limits of the tenor saxophone’s range using special fingering techniques, demonstrating extraordinary control across nearly five octaves. His passion and dynamic style create an exciting and signature sound.

Holloway is a saxophone legend in the DC area jazz and funk scene. He has received over 40 Washington Area Music Awards, including two for Musician of the Year. Holloway aims to honor the tenor saxophone’s illustrious history in his playing. As Ron puts it, “There’s much to be done!” And indeed he is busy doing it.