Music Park: Madonna @ Verizon Center — 9/12/15

madonna
Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour

“The problem with being married is that when you’re married — your husband think you only belong to him!” Madonna exclaimed from the stage at Verizon Center Saturday night. “But I belong to all of you. I’m married to all of you!”

The rapturous applause following Madonna’s proclamations made the not-quite-sold-out show at Verizon Center sound larger than life. Madonna certainly had the crowd eating out of her hand as she delivered a show that was part Cirque du Soleil-style spectacle and part acoustic concert.

Moving from staged set to stage set, Madonna traveled through four different configurations for her concert, kicking off with a string of songs drawn heavily from her latest album, Rebel Heart, which she is touring worldwide through March 2016. DC was her second stop after launching the tour last week in Toronto, Canada.

The show began with a bang to the heavily choreographed Iconic, which introduced a scene where backup dancers masqueraded as a sort of Egyptian-styled religious cult with video that made effective use of guest spoken-word contributor Mike Tyson. This quasi-religious theme would run through a number of songs and fuel a kinetic display that included acrobatics and dancing nuns on stripper poles (as Madonna herself put it, nothing too “provocative,” eh?)

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

American History (After Hours): Brewing Up History
Beer Director Greg Engert of Bluejacket and beer historian Mike Stein of DCBeer.com talk beer at the National Museum of American History on Jan. 23, 2015. (Photo courtesy National Museum of American History)

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, at least 50 of which are appearing at the festival for the first time. With only one final day left to go until Snallygaster 2015, Jeremy and I spotlight a beer for your tasting pleasure.

Jeremy’s Beer of the Day: Bluejacket Whiskey Barrel-aged Double Mexican Radio, Imperial Sweet Stout, ABV 11.0%
I wanted to include at least one beer from a brewery in the city. There are about 24 beers available from our DC breweries (seven represented in total), but not many of the dark, high ABV beers that I want to partake in. So I picked Bluejacket’s whiskey barrel-aged version of their Mexican Radio, which is an imperial sweet stout with cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla and chiles. I may need someone to cart me home if I actually have the fortitude to drink all these beers. Game on. (Editor’s note: Bluejacket, of course, is owned by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which also produces the Snallygaster Beer Festival.)

Mickey’s Beer of the Day: Atlas Wet Hop American Summer (2nd Anniversary Ale), Fresh Hop Pale Ale, 5.1%
If we’re going local, my favorite of the new breweries to open in the city in the past five years has to be Atlas Brew Works. The brewery simply makes some tasty beer. And with Atlas about to celebrate its second anniversary, it’s time to drink their second anniversary pale ale, clearly named in honor of the David Wain/Michael Showater comedy that recently found new life on Netflix. Anyway, I haven’t tried this beer yet, but it’s sure to be a winner following in the footsteps of dependable go-to beers like the District Common and the Rowdy Rye.

Party local? Drink local! Check out the full list of Snallygaster beers.

Advance ticket sales end at midnight tonight! It’s your last chance to buy tix online.

Snallygaster 2015
The Yards
Saturday, Sept. 12
Festival @1-6pm
$35
21+ to drink

Don’t Miss: Madonna @ Verizon Center, 9/12/15

Madonna_Credit-Mert-Alas-and-Marcus-Piggot1-e1437448394368-crop
Madonna, still the woman of dreams (Photo by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott)

In the fall of 1983, I bought my very first cassette tape — Madonna’s self-titled debut album.

I had seen the once and future Material Girl on television, most remarkably while listening to her perfect garage disco videos on Night Flight, which then aired on USA Network.

While this may signify that I’m a man of a certain age, Madonna has remained interesting and relevant even as she celebrated her 57th birthday last month. Her latest album, Rebel Heart, manages to capture all of the things that we know and love about Madonna as signified with the new hits “Living for Love” and “Ghosttown” while also catching some modern dance zeitgeist in collaborations with Diplo on house pastiche of “Bitch I’m Madonna” or with Avicii on the reggae vibes of “Devil Pray.”

All the same, it’s a solid album that has begat another incredible tour, and that tour stops at the Verizon Center in DC tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 12. And although this show is tomorrow, it’s not too late to go! Tickets are still available.

Watch Madonna deliver an intimate performance of “Ghosttown” on “Le Grand Journal” on CANAL+ on March 3, 2015:

When Madonna last visited DC three years ago (also at the Verizon Center), I then wrote for the blog We Love DC: “She went through at least four different acts over two hours, which comes to an end with a totally giddy and exuberant celebration of all of the reasons the dance floor has loved her for so long.”

She tirelessly performed a career-spanning set, occasionally addressing the audience directly during moments of downtime and forging connections with her magnetic personality.

In addition to songs from the new album, setlist reports reveal Madonna has been performing an acoustic version of “True Blue” along with other significant songs from previous albums, including “Vogue,” “Like a Virgin,” “Who’s That Girl” and “Music.”

There are still good seats available in prime 100-section seats without paying resale prices. Don’t miss out!

Madonna
Verizon Center
Saturday, Sept. 12
Doors @7pm
$43-$358
All ages

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

Schlafly PUMPKIN Ale
It’s that time of year. (Photo by Chris Romer)

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 two days left to go until Snallygaster 2015, Jeremy and I spotlight a beer for your tasting pleasure.

Jeremy’s Beer of the Day: Schlafly Imperial Pumpkin Ale, ABV 8.0%
Part of what I like about Snallygaster is, to me, it signals the beginning of the pumpkin beer season. I know, I know, many breweries are releasing their pumpkin offerings earlier and earlier every year. Well, I haven’t had any yet. This Saturday will kickoff what I trust to be a productive season of imbibing all the pumpkin beers. By my count, there are at least 27 different pumpkin beers set to be available, as of today. I choose Schlafly’s version here, because a) I’m hoping to go to St. Louis in a couple weeks and invade the brewery, and b) it is consistently among the best pumpkin beers out there. I also like the Southern Tier Pumking and am seriously looking at the Avery Rumpkin (Vintage 2014), which has a 18.1% ABV!

Mickey’s Beer of the Day: Saucony Creek Captain Pumpkin’s Maple Mistress, ABV 9.5%
I’m sure glad Jeremy punctured the envelope around pumpkin beers first, as I know quite a lot of beer snobs hate them. He and I both love them, however, but I’ll blame him for bring them up first! I first drank a Saucony Creek Captain Pumpkin’s Maple Mistress, hailing from Pennsylvania, at Snallygaster 2014. Many of the good pumpkin beers taste quite a bit like pumpkin pie — like Schlafly above, Dogfish Punkin and the lovely Maple Mistress. Cinnamon, honey and of course maple wound out the package for this boozy beer. The Snallygaster beer list also has several pumpkin beers represented twice as they appear alongide their 2014 vintages. (I’m looking at you Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin and Southern Tier Pumking.)

C’mon! You know you want a pumpkin beer (or two).

Tickets are available online.

Snallygaster 2015
The Yards
Saturday, Sept. 12
Festival @1-6pm
$35
21+ to drink

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
$35
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
$35
21+ to drink