What can be said for a year that began with so much promise but ends, well, like we are all feeling stuck in an alternate dimension. Looking back on my calendar which went so off the rails after two and a half months in, it really does look like a glimpse into a world that should have been but one that’s now alternate history.
But even in this bizarro world of COVID-19 there was some great music created at homes, online, socially distanced, and even on the streets! There is nothing that can beat the feel of a crowded show, the thrill of being there, and the joyous exhaustion that follows, but this past year we saw people pulling together – giving what they could – to keep live music alive despite every roadblock tossed in its way.
Since these lists are often limited by “best of” or Top 10, I want to include, well, all of those performances I caught this past year. There weren’t many, but each one I relive when I hear a song from a brilliant artist I’ve seen or go through photos from the past year. Here are my Top 12 Musical Moments of 2020 in chronological order.
The year started out typically enough. But the way it began and how it’s ending are startlingly different. By the end of March, so many plans and hopes were dashed that now, as we race toward 2020’s conclusion, many of us feel they may never be realized.
Like so many others in this Year of Covid, I’ve had a chance to reflect, reassess, and reset for the coming year, sorting out what is, and isn’t, important. I enjoy photographing people, whether it be portraiture, cultural documentation, or musical performance. As a photographer, I strive to become invisible and capture moments as they are, not as I or the subject, would like them to be. Although photographing live music has been challenging as of late, I’ve been afforded the luxury of time to go through my archives and, as a result, have made a belated but important discovery: the final image must also render the photographer invisible.
Parklife DC today announces the best in DC concerts with our annual awards program, named for our mascot, DC’s own state bird — the Wood Thrush. Our Thrushie Awards salute bands and venues in line with our mission to review live music concerts.
Parklife DC will name the DC best local music venue of the year with your input. The Thrushie Awards are open to DC-area music venues that host touring bands. These venues must be occupied by its owner-operator and not a “for-rent” concert hall operated by an independent agent.
Learn more about each nominee by clicking on their name in keywords. Or name your own candidate!
Vote for the best music local music venue in the DC metro area now through Dec. 11.
In support of the #BlackLivesMatter protests, 9:30 Club will be open from 1-6pm on Saturday, June 6, as a safe space for protesters heading to/from marches. We will have water, clean restrooms, basic first aid, hand sanitizer, and outlets for charging your phone. We will allow 10 people at a time into the building, masks and social distancing are required.
Indie rockers Whitney released Forever Turned Around, the band’s sophomore album last year, prompting Playboy to declare it “finds the pair once again at ease with and in complete control of their sound.”
National Independent Venue Association just formed and already has more than 450 charter members in 43 states, including 9:30 Club in D.C., First Avenue in Minneapolis, Chicago Independent Venue League, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee, Red River Cultural District in Austin, and Exit/In in Nashville.
Failure playing during their tour with Swervedriver in March of 2019. (Photo by Marc Shea)
Editor’s note: Parklife asked our contributors to revisit some of the best shows they’ve ever seen in a series titled My Favorite Concert.
One of the best concerts I ever saw took place almost a year ago. Failure was co-headlining a bill with Swervedriver at 9:30 Club. I’ve been a fan of both bands since the mid-90’s and this was a chance to see two bands that I had never been able to see.