Don’t Miss: King Raam @ Black Cat, 8/27/15

King Raam - Tirgan 2011
King Raam performs in Toronto as a part of Tirgan 2011 Festival. (Photo by Reza Vaziri)

King Raam, the lead singer of Iranian band Hypernova, has gone solo. In doing so, he’s been indulging a taste for psychedelic melodies and exploring solitary journeys through video imagery.

Now based in Tehran, King Raam is hitting four dates in the United States along the east coast, starting at the Black Cat on Thursday, August 27. (The tour will include a stop in New York, traditional home to Hypernova.)

Singing in both Farsi and English, Raam is encouraging progressive music in his homeland, releasing the album Songs of the Wolves in 2011, and a new single “Closing Credits” only last month.

Watch the video for “Closing Credits” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9w6wMkVVMY]

You can listen to and purchase Raam’s solo debut Songs of the Wolves on Bandcamp:

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3876242304 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

L.A.-based soul duo Smoke Season, consisting of Gabrielle Wortman and Jason Rosen, open for King Raam. Tickets are available online and at the door.

King Raam
w/ Smoke Season
Black Cat
Thursday, August 27
Doors @7:30pm
$15
All ages

Stars and Bars: Second Anniversary Party @ 2 Birds 1 Stone — 8/24/15

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A simple sign marks the subterranean entrance to 2 Birds 1 Stone.

A modest crowd gathered for the second anniversary party of 2 Birds 1 Stone (Lower Level, 1800 14th St NW, DC), the approachable yet intimate cocktail bar established by Adam Bernbach in Shaw.

From 7pm-midnight on Monday evening, the bar served up $5 punches and $6 pina coladas and dark & stormys. There were consistent opportunities to get seats at the small bar, which holds seats perhaps a dozen people.

The crowd may have remained light due to the waning days of August in DC or due to the torrential rain then struck in the first 90 minutes of the party.

“If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain, then the 2 Birds 1 Stone party is for you,” this blogger quipped after enjoying a pina colada special at the bar. IMG_8938
Do you like pina coladas? And rain? Then last night was for you.

2 Birds 1 Stone actually offered two $5 punch specials: one with peach, bourbon, sherry, and cava; a second with watermelon, tequila, Hefeweizen, and lime. Both were light and refreshing.

Cheers to Adam and two years of offering weary travelers a welcome respite in the quiet den of 2 Birds 1 Stone. Since its opening, the bar has operated with integrity and transparency, and it always just seems a little bit more pleasant than many other cocktail destinations.
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Peach and bourbon punch was a crowd-pleaser.

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Happy birthday, 2 Birds 1 Stone!

Music Park: Grand Opening @ Soundcheck — 8/20/15

Soundcheck owners address the crowd - by Joy Asico
Soundcheck partners Antonis Karagounis, Pete Kalamoutsos, and Win Sheridan toast the opening of Soundcheck. (Photo courtesy MoKi Media)

The premise of Soundcheck (1420 K St. NW, DC), a stylish new nightspot, is to bring the feel of the recording studio to the club scene. As a person who has spent a fair amount of time around recording studios, I was very pleased to have the opportunity to experience that feel firsthand at their recent grand opening party on Thursday.

From the street level entrance, one descends a staircase to the below ground facility. Few things isolate sound transmission like good old Mother Earth, so this is in keeping with the theme. The walls along the stairway and corridors are lined with Aurelex-type acoustic foam and cork, reminiscent of studio interiors (Dr. Wallace Clement Sabine, creator of the absorption coefficient for sound, would be proud).

Upon entering the main room, one is greeted by a sound system that is neither harsh or overbearing. Line array-type speakers buttress the DJ booth, complemented by a satisfying aggressive low end. Speakers are also part of the decor, inset into the glowing lucite cubes that serve as drink tables. Soundcheck Interior by Joy Asico
The interior of the Soundcheck nightclub (Photo by Joy Asico)

Thankfully the lighting system is not modeled after that of a typical recording studio, as the latter seldom have use for mirror balls. Here, we are treated to a high tech assortment of moving heads and L.E.D. PAR lights. In addition to the huge video display behind the DJ booth, there are numerous other screens lining the walls from the dance floor to the VIP room. Compliments to the people who set up the opening night promotional reel, nicely done!

On the night we attended, the music started out low to allow for conversation and mingling. It was nice to hear a P.A. system that maintains clarity and power even at low levels, such that it doesn’t drown out discussion. Clearly, the DJ was eager to break loose and drive the system a little harder, which he did as the evening progressed. At the higher levels, the system still maintained thick lows and clear high end. I predict it will keep the dancers in motion on many nights to come!
Soundcheck Interior 2 by Joy Asico
The disco balls are a welcome touch. (Photo by Joy Asico)

Parklife DC contributor Neal Keller is a professional sound engineer at Omega Studios as well as DJ of the long-running 80’s Dance Party at Tropicalia! For more on Neal, visit http://www.80sdanceparty.com.

Music Park: Marina V @ The Hamilton Live – 8/18/15

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqnOFCMNe1M]

Growing up in Moscow, singer-songwriter Marina V eagerly learned English in part from a mix tape she received with Beatles songs.

She thought she had discovered a whole world of music all her own with The Beatles, Marina told a very full house at the Hamilton Live Tuesday night, and as a child she would listen and learn the words to the songs voraciously.

Later, she discovered other bands that were contemporaries of The Beatles in the ’60s, and harboring a fondness for the period, she wrote a new song “Sunshine Guaranteed,” an ode to what it may have been like to have been alive and making psychedelic music during the period.

The song provides the listener with the “happy mindset of an LSD trip without the drugs,” Marina V quipped when introducing the song. No less than Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash appreciated the song and lent his studio and guitar to her for the making of her 2008 album, Modern Fairytale.

In performance Tuesday, Marina V made a bit of a medley with her song and The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer” to the delight of the audience.

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Sports Park: The Nationals’ Homestand vs. the Brewers, Padres & Marlins, 8/21-8/30/15

Bryce Harper

Wow. What a difference a few weeks make. The Nationals are on an epic, uncontrolled tailspin in August with little end in sight. They did win two out of three against the Rockies. And now they have a nine-game homestand to look forward to.

From first place and a joyous time for us fans to second place and a dip below .500.

The Nationals are four games behind the Mets, who seem to be on a mission to make Jon Stewart the happiest man on Earth (as a Mets fan). Jon, I want you back at the Daily Show immediately, but I hope your Mets crash and burn.

The Nationals have gone 6-13 in August, including a four-game sweep by the Giants. Bah.

I repeat. Bah. It’s time to put up or shut up.

Yet, I still believe. Plus, if you plan on attending any games next week, look out for a Rendon Gnome, a Werth Bobblehead and even an ’80’s night.

For game tickets and more information, call 202.675.NATS(6287) or visit nationals.com/tickets.

Friday, August 21 vs. Milwaukee Brewers

  • The first 15,000 fans (21 years and up) to enter Nationals Park through ALL GATES will receive a Nationals cap presented by Miller.
  • As fans exit the ballpark, Good Humor will provide complimentary samples of an array of Good Humor ice cream novelties outside Center Field Gate on N Street. Available while supplies last.

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Don’t Miss: Ruby Rose @ Echostage, 9/4/15

Ruby Rose to Perform at Echostage on September 4

Australian actress and musician Ruby Rose is best known for her role in the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” but she’ll bring her musical chops to Echostage on Friday, Sept. 4.

In a live performance, Ruby Rose will perform a few singles, including “Guilty Pleasure” and “Break Free.” Then she’ll hit the decks as a DJ.

Ruby Rose first recorded “Guilty Pleasure,” an EDM-inspired dance marathon, with well-regarded U.K. collaborator Gary Go in 2013. It’s

Watch the video for “Guilty Pleasure” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM9J1BZai_k]

Her more recent solo number “Break Free,” a ballad that concerns itself with gender roles. Over the course of the video, Ruby Rose changes from overtly feminine garb into something quite more androgynous.

Watch the video for “Break Free” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFjsSSDLl8w]

Joining Ruby Rose is English producer and DJ Michael Woods. Tickets are available online.

Ruby Rose
w/ DJ Michael Woods
Echostage
Friday, Sept. 4
Doors $
$25 and up
Ages 18+

Stars and Bars: Grand Opening @ Mad Fox Taproom — 8/17/15

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Mad Fox Brewing Co. Taproom (2218 Wisconsin Ave., NW, DC) opened Monday in the Glover Park neighborhood of DC, offering beer from 10 different kegs and two casks.

The taproom also offered appetizers, salads, sandwiches and a few meals on opening day, showcasing a menu that featured nine “sociables” (apps) and six “handhelds” (sandwiches) as well as three plated meals.

A typical beer runs about $7 at the taproom, an extension of the main Mad Fox microbrewery in Falls Church, Va. (444 W Broad St., Falls Church, Va.). The taproom discounts beers by $2 each for happy hour, which runs Monday through Friday from 3-7pm.

The opening of the taproom came after roughly two years of renovations to the restaurant, which provides a cozy old-style pub space for visitors to drink beer and watch sports on flatscreens behind the bar.

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The timing of the opening seemed purposefully to come on a day when it would draw a lighter volume. DC Beer Week occurred last week, exhausting the beery revelries of many, while the latter half of August is traditionally a slow time in the city as many leave for extended vacations while Congress and other institutions are closed for a spell.

That said, the Mad Fox Taproom had moderate traffic as mostly local guests sampled both beer and food.

The beers offered yesterday included:

Draft tap
Kellerbier Kolsch
Defender American Pale Ale
Borad Street IPA
The Maneuver IPA
Big Chimney’s Porter
Orange Whip IPA
Cabernet Oaked Reynard Black Saison
Bacth 500
English Summer Ale
Oaked Wee Heavy 2014

Cask pump
Defender American Pale Ale
Big Chimney’s Porter

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Don’t Miss: Gin Wigmore @ Rock and Roll Hotel, 9/11/15

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Gin Wigmore (Photo courtesy Girlie Action)

Gin Wigmore seems like she was custom-tailored for a Quentin Tarantino movie.

I say that because Gin has a penchant for gritty cinematic capers where something clearly has gone awry in the story as depicted in new videos for her third album, Blood to Bone.

The striking 29-year-old New Zealander also seems like she would be at home in a modern Tarantino gangster flick with her intense eyes and bluesy voice. Indeed, Gin sings some bluesy folk tunes on her new album, due out on August 28 via Mercury Records.

But Gin gets a bit edgier than some in depicting things like the sensation of falling for someone such as in the song “New Rush,” which plays out like a mad version of “The Most Dangerous Game.”

Watch the video for “New Rush” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDNSQ7ccTGA]

Gin is touring in support of the new album, and she visits the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC on Friday, Sept. 11.

Blood to Bone marks a change in direction for Gin, and I think she’s going to find a receptive audience next month.

“The whole idea for this album was to write songs that pushed me beyond my comfort zone. There were so many genres of music that I was not ready to appreciate prior to making this album. It’s like a whole new part of my palette and appetite for music opened up before embarking on the writing of Blood to Bone,” Gin said in a press release.

“I liken it to when you’re a kid and can’t bear the thought of Brussel sprouts and mushrooms. With maturity, you find ways to make it work in your life to often be one of the tastiest items on your plate — you just have to be ready,” she said.

Tickets are available online.

Gin Wigmore
w/ Patrick Park
Rock and Roll Hotel
Friday, Sept. 11
Doors @8pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: Switchfoot @ Wolf Trap — 8/11/15

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_5oE0ijhKg]
“Dark Horses”

On a pleasant evening at Wolf Trap, Switchfoot gave the waiting multitudes camped out on the lawn and seated in the orchestra sections their money’s worth.

This show marked the first time that Switchfoot was not the headliner. They ceded that distinction to NEEDTOBREATHE, as part of what was dubbed, Tour de Compadres. Also playing were Colony House and Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors. More on that later.

The forecast said rain, but there was palpable relief it didn’t live up to the prediction. So instead, we got an almost perfect night to sit outside on the lawn or grab a seat close to the stage.

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Don’t Miss: Marina V (Opening for Howard Jones) @ The Hamilton Live, 8/18/15

MarinaV-lights-WEB
Marina V (Photo compliments of the artist)

Singer-songwriter Marina V may have immigrated to Los Angeles from Moscow, but the redheaded siren sings universally buoyant songs that sound as if they could have come from a chirpier Tori Amos if it weren’t for the sometimes barely detectable European accent in her voice.

Born Marina Verenikina, she moved to the United States as a teenager and began making music. Her most recent album, Inner Superhero, features 10 upbeat songs of asserting yourself and living life to its fullest. Marina V is touring in support of the new album, and she makes a few stops on the tour as the opener for UK synthpop legend Howard Jones.

One such stop occurs tomorrow, Tuesday, August 18 at the Hamilton Live.

Watch the official video for single “Enjoy the Ride” on YouTube: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt7GzKzhayk]

As you can see from her video, Marina still has strong ties to Moscow, and she films videos and performs there regularly. Don’t miss this international chanteuse when she opens for Howard Jones at the Hamilton. Tickets are available online.

Listen to clips from Inner Superhero on Soundcloud:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/4382404″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Marina V
(Opening for Howard Jones)
The Hamilton Live
Tuesday, August 18
Doors @6:30pm
$30-$35
All ages

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