Music Park: Mike Peters (of The Alarm) @ The Hamilton Live — 9/8/15

The Strength Tour - Bristol - Thunderbolt
Mike Peters performs in Bristol, England, in February 2015. (Photo by the Mike Peters Organization)

The congenial Mike Peters, lead singer of The Alarm, welcomed his audience to the Hamilton Tuesday night with a round of handshakes from the stage.

The Welshman explained that he likes the personal touch of the audience, and that as a younger man, he always preferred touring before stage security barriers became a common occurrence in the mid-1980s. When security barriers started popping up regularly and creating a four-foot gap between himself and the audience, Mike began setting boards across the gap between stage and barrier so that he could at least temporarily transverse it and greet the audience at the start of the show.

Unfortunately, his ingenuity worked against him at a sold-out gig at the Hammersmith in London in 1985, when a health and safety inspector forced the removal of Mike’s temporary bridge immediately before a show began.

“Everybody knew the boards were gone except me!” Mike told the crowd at the Hamilton.

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Around Town: Second Beer @ Snallygaster 2015, 9/12/15

Founders Centennial IPA
A patron studies a Founders Centennial IPA in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Photo by Fellowship of the Rich)

Now going four years strong, the Snallygaster beer festival returns to The Yards on Saturday, Sept. 12.

Snallygaster 2015 offers revelers choices among more than 300 beers, roughly 50 of which are appearing at the festival for the first time. With only three days left to go until Snallygaster 2015, Jeremy and I spotlight a beer for your tasting pleasure.

Jeremy’s Beer of the Day: Lonerider Sweet Josie: Chocolate & Chipotle Brown Ale, ABV 6.1%
Beer from Lonerider Brewery Company (in North Carolina) is for outlaws. So they claim. This version of the Sweet Josie Brown Ale is rife with chile peppers and chocolate and is making its DC debut at Snallygaster. I don’t know how sweet the Josie that is the beer’s namesake actually is, but she has inspired many varieties of their Brown Ale so far, and should appeal to all types of outlaws. This outlaw won’t fight it.

Mickey’s Beer of the Day: Founders Red’s Rye IPA: Coconut, ABV 6.6%
I’ll leave the chocolate and chiles to my friend and colleague, but one of the flavor profiles that always grabs my attention is the taste of rye! That clean finish and smack of whiskey always win the day in my book. And Founders Red’s Rye IPA (with added coconut) is making its DC debut at the Snallygaster 2015 — and doing so in style: with a cask! Few beers taste as good as those IPAs who have been imbued with the character of wood and whiskey and the addition of coconut could prove a pleasant surprise. I’ll find out Saturday when I drink this beer for the first time.

What beers will you be drinking?

Tickets are available online.

Snallygaster 2015
The Yards
Saturday, Sept. 12
Festival @1-6pm
21+ to drink

Around Town: First Beer @ Snallygaster 2015, 9/12/15

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Inside Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (Photo by Bill Dickinson)

Now going four years strong, the Snallygaster beer festival returns to The Yards on Saturday, Sept. 12.

Snallygaster 2015 offers revelers choices among more than 300 beers, roughly 50 of which are appearing at the festival for the first time. With only four days left to go until Snallygaster 2015, Jeremy and I spotlight a beer for your tasting pleasure.

Jeremy’s Beer of the Day: Hardywood Park Gingerbread Stout (Vintage 2014), ABV 9.0%
This year, I intend on giving in to the whims of the high ABV beers…especially imperial stouts, porters and pumpkin beers. Unfortunately, those will probably cost the most tickets…oh well. My first choice is the Gingerbread Stout from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (in Richmond, Va.) because it has ginger, vanilla and cinnamon. That sounds like the recipe for something amazing or something that doesn’t work. I love sweet, so I’m in.

Mickey’s Beer of the Day: Bell’s Hopsolution, Imperial IPA, 8.4%
It’s hard to go wrong with just about anything from the Bell’s Brewery, out of Kalamazoo, Mich., and it’s doubly hard to go wrong with anything offered by them as a double india pale ale. The Hopsolution provides a unique mix of hop varietals from the Pacific Northwest alongside classic German hops that give aromas of fruit, citrus and pine. It’s dry finish and caramel malts provide it with some lovely balance.

What beers will you choose?

Tickets are available online.

Snallygaster 2015
The Yards
Saturday, Sept. 12
Festival @1-6pm
21+ to drink

Don’t Miss: Alberta Cross (Opening for Heartless Bastards) @ 9:30 Club, 9/12/15

[youtube]“Crate of Gold”

This Saturday (after you’ve made your appearance at the Snallygaster Beer Festival), head over to the 9:30 Club early to catch the band Alberta Cross, who is opening for Heartless Bastards.

What started as a duo in 2006, is now just Petter Ericson Stakee (originally from Sweden) and various friends.

With Stakee’s growly voice, Alberta Cross at times could be a lighter shade of Kasabian, like in “Crate of Gold”, or even a touch of Band of Horses, like in “Lucy Rider”.

A few of their songs made it onto television shows, including Sons of Anarchy and Californication.

With two full-length albums and a few EPs under their belt, the band releases their third album, Alberta Cross, this October.

The first single from the self-titled album, “Ghost of Santa Fe”, is a catchy, horn-filled song that soars, and hopefully spells good things for the whole album.

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If you’re not going to see Madonna, Alberta Cross will be an excellent way to start your evening, capped by a performance by the Heartless Bastards.


Tickets are still available. See you there!

Alberta Cross
(Opening for Heartless Bastards)
9:30 Club
Saturday, September 12
Doors @7pm
All ages

Petter Ericson Stakee, Alberta Cross in Paradiso

Around Town: 2015 National Book Festival @ Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 9/5/15

2015 National Book Festival Poster


This Saturday, September 5th, you can check out the 15th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival. Held this year at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

It’s free to attend. This is the second year they’ve held it indoors at the Convention Center (while the renovation continues on The Mall).

This year’s theme is “I Cannot Live Without Books.” It is a quote from Thomas Jefferson, and a reference to the 200th anniversary of the Library’s acquisition of his personal library.

There will be over 170 authors, poets and illustrators featured throughout the day.

Here’s the schedule.

Find the Map and additional info here.

There is also an National Book Festival app available to help customize your personal itinerary for the day.


2015 Library of Congress National Book Festival
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Saturday, September 5
10:00am to 10:00pm
All ages

Don’t Miss: Mike Peters (of The Alarm) @ The Hamilton Live, 9/8/15

Strength Tour 2015 - Winchester - The Railway
Mike Peters on the Strength Tour 2015 in Winchester at The Railway. (Photo courtesy Mike Peters Organization)

Mike Peters of The Alarm spent much of 2014 celebrating the 30th anniversary of his band’s first full-length album, Declaration. In doing so, he made a solo visit to Gypsy Sally’s in Georgetown.

“All in all, Peters put on an incredibly satisfying and entertaining show in a venue well suited for his solo performance and witty recollections,” I reported for the sadly defunct We Love DC on the show, held August 7, 2014.

A little over a year later, Mike is back, celebrating another anniversary! This time around, it’s the 30th anniversary of The Alarm’s second full-length album, Strength. And the celebration takes place locally in a solo show at the Hamilton Live on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

As a “one-man band,” Mike will play the album Strength along with other songs while sharing stories and images to honor the album, his band and their history. The album includes such beloved classics from The Alarm as “Spirit of ‘76” and “Walk Forever by My Side.” The album and much of its material is inspired by Mike’s own fight against cancer.

Watch a somewhat recent acoustic performance of the “Spirit of ‘76” in a video for the song on YouTube:


Mike continues his own cancer fight, but he also fights to help others. Over the last four years, Mike’s Love Hope Strength Foundation:

  • found over 1,500 potentially life-saving bone marrow donor matches;
  • built the first ever children’s cancer center in Tanzania;
  • supported the Bhaktapur Cancer Center in Nepal with life-saving equipment; and
  • registered over 90,000 donors through its “Get On the List” program.

Tickets are available online.

Mike Peters
The Hamilton Live
Tuesday, Sept. 8
Doors @6:30pm
All ages


Sports Park: The Nationals’ Homestand vs. the Braves & Mets, 9/3-9/9/15

DSC02153Max Scherzer is 11-11 with a 2.89 ERA on the season

The Nationals finished a respectable 6-3 on their most recent homestand. We’ll take it.

But then they played the Cardinals on the road. No one beats the Cardinals. They did salvage one game yesterday, as Max Scherzer pitched a solid game (6 innings, 10 strikeouts, 2 runs), but he didn’t pick up the win. Rafael Martin got it.

HUGE 7-game homestand coming up! Time to find out what the Nationals are made of. They play the lowly Braves and then play the exact team they need to beat, the New York Mets. If they can’t beat the Mets now, their chances at a playoff push are pretty much over.

Throughout the month of September the Washington Nationals will celebrate their loyal fans as part of Fan Appreciation Month. Fans can win prizes during home games.

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


Thursday, September 3 vs. Atlanta Braves

  • The first 20,000 fans to enter Nationals Park through ALL GATES will receive a five-piece Nesting Doll featuring players and managers from throughout Nationals history. This item marks the first Nationals giveaway to feature Max Scherzer. Golden Tickets will be randomly placed inside 100 of the Nesting Doll boxes — redeemable for a larger, 10-piece Nesting Doll set. Once a fan finds a Golden Ticket, they will got to a special Willy Wonka-themed room to redeem their 10-piece set. Willy Wonka will also be at Nationals Park, handing out candy.
  • Nationals fans and their canine friends can enjoy the fifth Pups in the Park game from a designated Pup Zone in the Family Picnic Area. Featuring pet sitters and representatives from the Washington Humane Society and Fetch! Pet Care, owner tickets are available for $26, while dog tickets cost $10. All proceeds from the dog tickets benefit the Washington Humane Society. Visit for tickets.

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Interview: Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds (@ U Street Music Hall, 9/26/15)

Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds (Photo by Bliss Braoudakis)

Laura Burhenn’s project The Mynabirds released their third album Lovers Know via Saddle Creek on August 7. Laura once called DC home before she migrated to Los Angeles to start The Mynabirds, and she’s returning for a hometown show at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, Sept. 26, as part of her tour in support of the new album (which starts tonight in San Diego). Parklife DC had the sincere pleasure of chatting with Laura about her new stuff, her DC roots, and subversive pop songs.

[The transcript of this interview has been edited lightly for the sake of brevity in spots.]

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Don’t Miss: Eliot Sumner (Opening for ON AN ON) @ DC9, 9/15/15

Eliot Sumner (Photo courtesy Press Here)

Eliot Sumner was once “I Blame Coco.”

She’s not “Coco” any more, but she’s still the daughter of Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting — and she’s coming to DC9 on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

In 2014, Eliot released an EP, Information, as her first release under her Sting-given name, and she released a second EP, Early Reflections SMPLR, only last week.

Make no mistake: Eliot doesn’t sound like her dad, but I think you can occasionally catch her father’s cadence in some of her songs.

Watch the video for her latest single “Species,” released on August 24, 2015, on You Tube:


On her new songs, Eliot plays guitar, often accompanied by synths, bass and drums, but her distinctive voice serves as the cornerstone of her sound. The low register of her voice lends her songs a certain urgency, and she occasionally sounds trip hop. For her new material, she cites influences like the Bad Seeds, Cluster, Faust, and Kraftwerk.

Listen to the songs from Eliot’s two recent EPs on Soundcloud:

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Eliot performs at DC9 as part of a tour where she is opening for experimental Minneapolis trio ON AN ON. Tickets are available online.

Eliot Sumner
(Opening for ON AN ON)
Tuesday, Sept. 15
Doors @8pm
All ages

Music Park: King Raam @ Black Cat — 8/27/15

King Raam

King Raam took the stage at the Black Cat Thursday night, and immediately recognized he had drawn a “home crowd.”

Raam addressed the audience directly in Farsi, and indeed the very crowded room presented him with a robust audience of DC Persian music enthusiasts who responded in kind.

I of course don’t speak Farsi, so my observations on Raam’s performance are limited mostly to his musical skill and capabilities. I will say however that Raam, visiting DC on a brief US tour from Tehran, was a magnetic presence to the audience, who swayed respectfully in place, hypnotized by his rhythms.

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