Don’t Miss: Ed Schrader’s Music Beat (Opening for Ex Hex) @ 9:30 Club, 12/10/15

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Ed Schrader’s Music Beat perform at Cause in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 8, 2013. (Photo by Sharyn Morrow)

If you’ve heard DC power pop trio Ex Hex, a favorite band of us here at Parklife DC, you know the ladies occasionally capture an early punk vibe from the mid-’70s a la Blondie. While not a punk band per se, Ex Hex are certainly “punk friendly.”

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Don’t Miss: 9:30 World’s Fair @ 9:30 Club, 1/5-1/7/16

The 930 Club!
The 9:30 Club itself (Photo by Dan Reed)

For days, the 9:30 Club posted cryptic notice of a big event, scheduled to happen during the first full week of January, a traditionally dead time for nightclubs.

Well, yesterday on Facebook, the 9:30 Club revealed its plan to liven up that week with a three-day observance of its 35th anniversary called 9:30 World’s Fair.

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Don’t Miss: Mariachi Flor De Toloache (Opening for The Arcs) @ 9:30 Club, 12/14-12/15/15

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Flor de Toloache (Photo by Andrei Averbuch)

The Arcs are the new band helmed by Dan Auerbach, guitarist and vocalist of The Black Keys. They are a bit unusual in several aspects, being a kind of large garage chamber pop band.

One of the unusual aspects of the band is that they are backed by members of Mariachi Flor De Toloache in concert. The all-female mariachi band from New York City provides vocals, horns, and strings to the bluesy ensemble.

The Arcs are touring in support of their debut album, and they are bringing Flor De Toloache along with them as the opening act with two nights at the 9:30 Club on Monday, Dec. 14, and Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Founded by Mireya Ramos, Mariachi Flor de Toloache themselves released a self-titled debut album in April. The band today includes up to 13 rotating members who play traditional mariachi instruments: violin, trumpet, guitarrón (bass), and vihuela (five-string guitar). Mireya and co-leader Shae Fiol provide vocals, and Shae also designs the band’s outfits.

Watch Mariachi Flor De Toloache play Blue Note’s Subrosa in New York City for their record release party on April 4, 2015:

Taking its name from a poisonous night flower used as a love potion in Central America in the past, Flor De Toloache infuse various musical genres into their mariachi mix, including salsa, bachata, cumbia, gypsy music, and Latin jazz as well as pop, hip-hop, and soul, according to a profile of the band in the Wall Street Journal published earlier this year.

The first show on Monday, Dec. 14, sold out, but tickets are still available online for a second show on Tuesday, Dec. 15!

Mariachi Flor De Toloache
(Opening for The Arcs)
9:30 Club
Monday, Dec. 14
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Doors @7pm
$40
All ages

Music Park: English Beat @ 9:30 Club — 11/25/15

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Dave Wakeling of The English Beat performs at Bumbershoot 2010 in Seattle on Sept. 6, 2010. (Photo by Dave Lichterman)

Calling all rude boys and rude girls!

The venerable English Beat have been revitalized this year with a new toaster — King Schascha. For a 2-tone band, a toaster isn’t mechanical, but in King’s case, he’s certainly electric.

The reggae rhymer from San Diego effectively got the very full house at the 9:30 Club dancing right away on Wednesday, Nov. 25, paving the way for band leader Dave Wakeling and his time-tested repertoire of ska and reggae. They kicked things off with “Rough Rider” from the debut album by the English Beat, 1980’s I Just Can’t Stop It, and the entire audience was moving and grooving from the very first note.

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Music Park: Rachael Yamagata @ 9:30 Club — 11/12/15

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Rachael Yamagata (Photo by Laura Crosta)

You know you’re in for an interesting evening when Rachael Yamagata and her five-member band walk on stage accompanied by an instrumental rendition of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name Of”. The incongruity is enough to make you smile (and nod along), as many of Rachael’s songs are actually about break-ups, and sadness and moving on, with sultry, piano-driven melodies. But maybe in using Rage’s song you could find a deeper nod to the current state of our country.

Rachael Yamagata, born in Arlington, Virginia, played a full range of atmospheric and melancholy laced songs for the intimate 9:30 Club crowd on Thursday, November 12th.

She is working on her next album, due in 2016, and as she told us, “The new record is super close. It’s a positive record, so you’re going to think, ‘What happened to her? She got happy.'”

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Don’t Miss: The English Beat @ 9:30 Club, 11/25/15

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Dave Wakeling (Photo by Bryan Kremkau)

The English Beat are perennial favorites in the DC metro area. They turned up at the State Theatre not long ago, and now they have a show slated for the 9:30 Club.

But wait! Not only are the [English] Beat hitting our premiere concert destination on Wednesday, Nov. 25, they also are preparing to release a new album, tentatively titled Here We Go Love! The ska/reggae collective famously published three albums in the early ‘80s, and they haven’t released a new studio album since Special Beat Service in 1982.

Special Beat Service, of course, spawned some of the English Beat’s greatest hits, such as “I Confess” and “Mirror in the Bathroom,” fueling the capability of Dave Wakeling and company to continuously tour the world for years.

Watch the official video for “Mirror in the Bathroom” on YouTube:

If you haven’t seen the English Beat in a while, or somehow you have never done so (you saved it for later?), this is a perfect opportunity to see them. After all, they are playing the night before a holiday, so you have all of the time in the world to beat to the Beat.

Tickets are available online!

The English Beat
9:30 Club
Wednesday, Nov. 25
Doors @7pm
$25
All ages

Music Park: Parov Stelar @ 9:30 Club — 11/4/15

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Parov Stelar (Photo by Stefan Sappert)

Once the exotic and kinetic Cleo Panther stepped on stage to add vocal to the jazz meets electroswing meets house beats of Parov Stelar, the audience knew full well they were in for a sophisticated if unusual show for our city.

From the first song, the Parov Stelar Band brought some remarkably fresh energy — and I daresay ideas — to the 9:30 Club in their debut US performance as a full band. And the nearly sold-out crowd welcomed them with open arms. The audience clearly was full of people who knew their modern swing superband but rarely got the opportunity to see them perform live, as they are a European phenomenon not as well known in the United States.

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