Music Park: The Fleshtones @ U Street Music Hall — 10/20/17

Fleshtones 04 Peter Zaremba sings with The Fleshtones at U Street Music Hall on Oct. 20, 2017. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: ConspiracyCaptures/GrillworksBen)

Lower Manhattan long will be regarded as one of the epicenters of great American rock music, in particular for the bands that came out of New York in the mid-to-late ’70s. The likes of Blondie, the Talking Heads, and the Ramones burst from CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City, putting Manhattan on the musical map.

While many of Blondie’s contemporaries have faded, it came as some small surprise to me that one of the better groups of the era never took a break and still tour strong today. The Fleshtones performed at U Street Music Hall to correct my oversight on Oct. 20, and I was easily won over by their ear for really great tunes and their eye for smart stagecraft.

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Music Park: Depeche Mode @ Capital One Arena — 9/7/17

warpaint_dm-19 Dave Gahan fronts Depeche Mode at Capital One Arena on Sept. 7, 2017. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: ConspiracyCaptures/GrillworksBen)

Depeche Mode opened a stunning show with a new song called “Going Backwards” in DC on Thursday. But nearly 18,000 people at Capital One Arena (formerly Verizon Center) found themselves leaping forwards with renewed love and appreciation for a band that commands unparalleled admiration from a deeply loyal following.

For their part, Depeche Mode did not let anyone down, surpassing expectations in a blockbuster concert, where charismatic frontman Dave Gahan in particular blazed through a 22-song set with a brightness in his eye that often glittered more than his shiny rockstar boots.

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Music Park: English Beat @ 9:30 Club — 3/1/17

English Beat-030217-05 English Beat perform at 9:30 Club on March 1, 2017. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)

Dave Wakeling arrived in DC Wednesday in good spirits. With a mischievous grin and a boisterous attitude, Dave and his band in The English Beat appeared at 9:30 Club to enthrall a very full house with Dave’s time-tested ska, reggae, and new wave hits, which had the whole room skanking.

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Snapshots: The Specials @ The Fillmore Silver Spring — 9/10/16

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The Specials lead singer Terry Hall performs at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Sept. 10, 2016. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)

The sprawling ska band The Specials visited the Fillmore Silver Spring last month, and our friend Ben Eisendrath was there!

Ben sent over a few cool snaps he took during the show, which was a hit among all of the rude boys and girls who went on Saturday, Sept. 10. According to Setlist.fm, The Specials played several of their high-profile hits that night, including “Ghost Town,” “Friday Night, Saturday Morning,” and “Stereotype,” which are enduring dance staples that serve as reason enough to keep The Specials coming back around in their various iterations!

Revisit the official music video for “Ghost Town” by The Specials on YouTube:

The Specials wrapped up their latest US tour in Las Vegas on Sept. 30, and they are about to embark on a UK tour starting Oct. 19. Quite a few of their UK dates are sold out through October and November, but catch them if you can!

Below, The Specials guitarist Lynval Golding performs at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Sept. 10, 2016. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)IMG_5525

Music Park: Electric Six @ Black Cat — 10/2/16

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Dick Valentine fronts the Electric Six at the Black Cat on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)

The Electric Six are a band that gets straight to the point.

“Buy our new album so the Electric Six can continue touring,” said Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine at the Black Cat on Sunday night. “Buy our new album so that we can buy gas and pay tolls on our way to Philadelphia — including that one expensive toll over that bridge in Maryland where you don’t know why you have to pay a toll.”

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Snapshots: In the Whale @ Black Cat — 10/2/16

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In the Whale perform at the Black Cat on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)

In the Whale, a punk rock duo from Denver, Colorado, performed at the Black Cat on Sunday night as the opening act for the Electric Six. They played loud and fast, and they left a good impression on folks who turned up for the main act.

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Music Park: High Waisted @ Black Cat — 4/17/16

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Jess Dye sings with High Waisted at the Black Cat on Sunday, April 17. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)

Sunny waves of dazzling surf roll out over the audience as High Waisted start to play.

The band waste no time in getting down to business on Sunday night at the Black Cat. Singer Jessica Louise Dye and her three bandmates are there to open for soul trickster Har Mar Superstar, but quite a crowded room has turned up early to see the surf rock quartet from New York City.

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