Music Park: Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2016 by Mickey

CHVRCHES 008 Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches sings at Echostage on Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

I’ll confess that I’m a man whose taste in music is readily apparent. If you have new wave tunes to play, particularly from 1976-86, I’m going to show up and listen to them. That said, a number of incredible legacy new wave bands happened to travel through the DC metro area over the past year, and I took the opportunity to review them for our humble blog.

That said, a number of younger bands definitely broke through and seized my attention, most notably Canada’s Operators, who were the most exciting new band I’ve seen in some time. As with Operators, many of the best performances I witnessed in 2016 came from bands whose leaders are among the Masters of Synthpop, and so I have dedicated a postscript of really great synthpop shows that may have “missed” the top 10 but otherwise deserve a lot of applause.

Check out my top 10 list of concerts I saw for Parklife DC. (Click on the concert slugline to revisit the full review.)

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Ticket Giveaway: G. Love & Special Sauce @ 9:30 Club, 1/29/17

GLovePressPhoto Garrett Dutton aka G. Love (Photo courtesy Mason Jar Media)

Christmas is on Sunday! While not a holiday we often associate with the blues, sometimes that’s just how Christmas goes. And sometimes only a good bluesy song can capture our mood.

Garrett Dutton aka G. Love is a blues musician who also happens to love Christmas! He recently contributed a track to Amazon Music’s Acoustic Christmas, released Nov. 22. Give a listen to G. Love’s “Merry Christmas to You” on Soundcloud:

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Snapshots: The Reminders @ 9:30 Club – 12/16/16

The Reminders @ 9:30 Club, Washington DC, 12/16/2016
The Reminders perform at the 9:30 Club on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (Photo by Paivi)

Big Samir hails from Brussels, Belgium, and Aja Black was born in Queens, New York. Together, they are The Reminders, a hip hop/soul duo who got a lot of attention with their first two albums -– 2008’s Recollect and 2012’s Born Champions.

More immediately, The Reminders joined DC’s Thievery Corporation for a run of dates as an opening act on Thievery’s 20th anniversary tour, which ended with three sold-out shows at the 9:30 Club on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. (Check out Paivi’s pictures of Thievery Corporation from Friday night’s show.)

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Snapshots: Thievery Corporation @ 9:30 Club — 12/16/16

Thievery Corporation @ 9:30 Club, Washington DC, 12/16/2016
Thievery Corporation performs at the 9:30 Club on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 (Photo by Paivi)

Thievery Corporation will release a new studio album, The Temple of I & I, on Feb. 10, 2017, via their own ESL Music. In the run-up to that release, Eric Hilton and Rob Garza recruited collaborators new and old for a 20th anniversary tour, which culminated in three sold-out shows at the 9:30 Club on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday last week.

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Don’t Miss: At the Drive-In @ 9:30 Club, 3/20/17

At the Drive-In (Photo courtesy Fearless Records)

After a long silence following their last album, post-hardcore stalwarts At the Drive-In released a new song “Governed by Contagions” on Dec. 8 via Rise Records.

The new song marks a remarkable turn in developments for the El Paso punk quintet, which originally broke up in 2001 and eventually returned to touring in 2012. But now it seems like they are really back with a brief headlining tour in 2017, which includes a stop at the 9:30 Club on Monday, March 20, along with the promise of new music. Indeed, the new full-length album, produced by ORL and Rich Costey, to be released in 2017 will be the band’s first since third album Relationship of Command in 2000.

Watch a lyric video for “Governed by Contagions” by At the Drive-In on YouTube (or download a free MP3 at

With original guitarist Jim Ward departing the band, At the Drive-In members Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Paul Hinojos, Tony Hajjar, and Keeley Davis carry on without him. Still, SPIN magazine hailed the new song, saying “The fierce, stuttering anthem is pretty classic ATDI.”

At the Drive-In initially eyed some US dates in June, but the band canceled that tour while Cedric recovered from voice problems. But now they are back for a run of dates that starts in DC and ends in Toronto on March 29.

Tickets are available online.

At the Drive-In
9:30 Club
Monday, March 20, 2017
Doors @7pm
All ages

Don’t Miss: AFI @ 9:30 Club, 2/7/17

AFI (Photo by Jiro Schneider)

Northern California punk rockers AFI return with a 10th studio album on Jan. 20 via Concord Music Group. The self-titled album is alternatively titled the “Blood Album” because of its cover artwork (featuring drops of blood), and it will include four limited vinyl color variants matching the four blood types (A | O | B | AB), according to a press release from the band.

Meanwhile, the quartet will launch “The Blood Tour” in Los Angeles on the day the album drops, and they will hit DC to perform at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

A week ago, AFI released a video for “White Offerings” from the Blood Album. Watch the official music video on YouTube:

Vocalist Davey Havok, guitarist Jade Puget, bassist Hunter Burgan, and drummer Adam Carson have been going strong since their sixth studio album, Sing the Sorrow, raised their national profile in 2003. The gents certainly have their own sound derived from hardcore punk, but they are first and foremost rock-n-rollers who put on a lively show.

Davey said AFI developed the Blood Album without an initial concept, noting, “No, that’s never really the case for us. We sit down and we begin writing and whichever direction the writing leads us, we follow, and if something comes out of us that we feel is too familiar, we generally don’t gravitate towards it, and conversely, when we’re writing something that comes out that is fresh and different for us within the context of AFI, we generally go in that direction, and that leads us to different places and different songs, and that was the case with the ‘Blood Record.'”

Tickets are available online.

w/ Souvenirs
9:30 Club
Tuesday, Feb. 7
Doors @7pm
All ages

New Release: “The Temple of I & I” by Thievery Corporation, 2/10/17

Thievery Corporation
Thievery Corporation (Photo by Jen Maler)

If you’re heading to one of three sold-out shows at the 9:30 Club to see Thievery Corporation tonight, Friday, or Saturday, you’ll hear some new songs from the collective from their upcoming new album.

Thievery Corporation are set to release their Jamaican-inspired studio album The Temple of I & I on Feb. 10, 2017, via their own ESL Music. The band recently debuted two songs from the album, “Let the Chalice Blaze” and “Letter to the Editor.”

Said Thievery’s Eric Hilton of the record, “The innovation, spirit and power of Jamaican music is a constant source of creative manna for us. On the musical map, Jamaica is an entire continent. Frankly, we could have spent a year there, soaking up the vibes in the air and the strength and resilience resonating from the people. And for us, the only way to connect with this rich source of inspiration was to work in that environment — to feel the pulse of the place.”

Listen to “Let the Chalice Blaze” by Thievery Corporation on YouTube:

Listen to “Letter to the Editor” by Thievery Corporation on YouTube:

Thievery Corporation went to Geejam Studios in Port Antonio, Jamaica, to record the new album in February 2015. Eric and Rob Garza took along with them contributors like guitarist Robbie Myers.

Other tracks on the album include “Thief Rockers,” featuring new vocalist Racquel Jones, who livens up the album considerably!

“We’ve been waiting years to find a conscious, brilliant, female Jamaican singer and MC. As a model and former Miss Jamaica contestant, you’d never expect the pure lyrical fire and tough delivery could come out of her. It’s impressive,” said Eric.

Keep your ears peeled for those new songs and more at the 9:30 Club!

Thievery Corporation
9:30 Club
Thursday, Dec. 15-Saturday, Dec. 17
Doors @7pm/8pm/8pm
Sold out
All ages