I can safely say that all the concerts I attended in 2017 exceeded my expectations, but of course I say that about all live music. I was fortunate to photograph over 80 shows in 2017, from artists both well known to those just starting out. I’m truly inspired watching these talented musicians and their courage in getting up on a stage to lay their souls bare. Or as the L.A. Times’ David Ackert so eloquently put it, “…musicians and singers are willing to give their entire lives to a moment — to that melody, that lyric, that chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul.”
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.)
Midway through a concert performance at The Birchmere on Thursday, Tony Visconti paused to share a memory of his time playing bass for David Bowie with the very full house.
Doing a warm impersonation of David’s famous voice, Tony recalled how Bowie instructed him to play like Jack Bruce, the Scottish bass player known for his work with Cream. Tony impressed Mr. Bowie well enough, and he joined up with drummer Woody Woodmansey and guitarist Mick Ronson to form a Bowie backing band that most famously performed on the Bowie album The Man Who Sold the World (TMWSTW).
Woody was the heart of that operation, and Mick the soul, Tony said. “But the brains and the beauty and the creativity was a great man who left us recently — Mr. David Bowie.”
As tributes to a great man continue to fill the news, Bowie’s friends and bandmates from his early albums have confirmed that a previously scheduled show highlighting early Bowie albums like The Man Who Sold the World and Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars will go forward.
Drummer Woody Woodmansey, the man behind Bowie tribute band Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy, confirmed today his band will finish their current tour of the United States and Canada, including a stop at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. The band includes Tony Visconti, one of Bowie’s dearest friends and producer of many of his albums, including his last several (such as the new album Blackstar, released Friday, Jan. 8).
“I am in shock as is everyone else. Woken with the news in the early hours this morning as we are in Canada on tour. Myself and Tony Visconti with our band Holy Holy are here preparing for our 4th concert of our east coast USA/Canada tour, playing Toronto tomorrow night, It’s a huge personal loss, as I know it is for millions of fans worldwide. We’ve lost one of the world’s greatest artists, My thoughts are with his family at this time.
As for the shows, David always had the attitude that ‘the show must go on,’ hence Blackstar, so we want the fans to help us celebrate his life and music, that’s what he would have wanted. — love Woody”
I can think of no better way to celebrate Bowie’s life and legacy than to enjoy a great show by these extraordinary musicians, who will be accompanied by Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 on vocals.