From the opening moments of “Appropriate” by Priests at 9:30 Club on Friday, the very full house could tell this was a different sort of Priests show.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
It is a delightful thing to walk into a room when Furniteur are playing.
The cool chill of their synthesizers and the sultry vocals of their chanteuse leaves a distinct impression upon you. You are ready to forget about your cares and relax with a cocktail or two. And that’s exactly what I did when I walked into Songbyrd Music House to catch Furniteur in a late show on Sunday night.
Brittany Sims, Mike Toohey, and Kevin Bayly (the two men of synth also in the band Brett) make smart music for cocktails at twilight as they inject an old school charm into their music. As for their music, Furniteur released a new EP featuring a cover of Julee Cruise’s “Falling,” the theme to “Twin Peaks” (yes, the David Lynch TV show), in February.
Touring guitarist, bassist Ally Einbinder, and vocalist/guitarist Abby Weems (with a peek of drummer Victoria Mandanas) of Potty Mouth perform at DC9 on Feb. 26, 2016. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)
Girl band trio Potty Mouth have become more focused and crisp, and their music and performance have benefitted, as evidenced by a very full show at DC9 on Friday.
The Massachusetts-based band released a self-titled EP in August, and the ladies are on tour in support of it. In the two years since I saw them last, they lost a permanent member when they decided to focus on the work of their band and keep it growing despite finishing up at their women’s-only college. Vocalist/guitarist Abby Weems, bassist Ally Einbinder, and drummer Victoria Mandanas now tour with a rotating fourth member, and their continued dedication to their craft has born some fruit as the new songs are among their best live.