Live Review: Curtis Harding @ Black Cat — 5/2/22

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Curtis Harding leads his band in a performance at Black Cat on May 2, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

A unique path with a full spectrum of influences can lead to refreshing, innovative artistic ideas, especially in music.

By the time he released his first album in 2014, Curtis Harding had gained a wide perspective both with his ears and his eyes thanks to an uncommon upbringing and an early run of success as a member of various outfits, including working alongside some of the country’s most noteworthy rap and hip-hop artists.

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Live Review: Boy Harsher @ Black Cat — 4/10/22

Boy Harsher perform at Black Cat on April 10, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Boy Harsher have begun to break out of a niche and find a wider audience, and this is quite a good thing, as evidenced by the very crowded room in their recent show at Black Cat.

Early in their set, Boy Harsher, a duo of vocalist Jae Matthews and synthesist Gus Muller, presented “Give Me a Reason,” a song from their most recent project, this year’s soundtrack album to their film, The Runner. Left to its own devices, the song sounded 100 percent as if it could have sprung from the chart lists of eastern Europe in the very early ’80s. Jae intoned huskily over a bounding synthline, each allowing the sound plenty of room to breathe and a lot of space to mesmerize the enthralled gathering.

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Live Review: black midi @ Black Cat — 4/5/22

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Geordie Greep leads black midi in a performance at Black Cat on April 5, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Once in a while, there comes a band with a presentation so volatile, so unruly that it almost becomes an endeavor to be navigated by its members.

Since forming in 2017, the London-based group known as black midi has experienced a gigantic leap in popularity. That popularity resulted in a smashing turnout for their most recent appearance at the Black Cat in DC.

Following a period that included the release of two singles, a residency at Brixton’s popular venue The Windmill, and then a key live (and recorded) performance during the Iceland Airwaves festival, black midi was signed to Rough Trade Records in 2019 leading up to its premiere studio album, Schlagenheim, which went on to earn a nomination for that year’s Mercury Prize.

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Live Review: Andy Shauf @ Black Cat — 3/30/22

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Andy Shauf leads his band in a performance at Black Cat on March 30, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When a musician is so particular enough about their sound as to be exact, it can be heard in their recordings. Translating that approach to a live performance should be appreciated and admired for the impressive feat that is.

After two previous attempts were simply not to be due to the pandemic and travel challenges, Andy Shauf finally returned the nation’s capital to appear at Black Cat recently for a tasteful and rewarding display of the unique and flawless brand of music that has made him a sensational figure out of Western Canada.

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Preview: Boy Harsher @ Black Cat, 4/10/22

Boy Harsher (Photo by Courtney Brooke)

Boy Harsher — the duo of Jae Matthews and producer Augustus Muller — recently released the video for “Autonomy,” a standout track from their new album, The Runner (Original Soundtrack), out now via Nude Club/City Slang. The synthpop duo bring their new tunes to a show at Black Cat on Sunday, April 10.

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Around Town: Legacy New Wave/ Post-Punk Acts Performing Around DC Metro in 2022

MTV Moon Man (Photo courtesy MTV)

Your editor came to truly love music as an MTV Kid, riding the UK new wave acts that fueled the Gen X imagination with their pop hooks and colorful music videos.

The breadth of legacy new wave/ post-punk acts performing around the DC metro area in 2022 is unprecedented.

While Parklife DC won’t cover all of these shows, we are excited that these performers who started in the ’70s and ’80s are enjoying so much demand at present.

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Live Review: Del Water Gap @ Black Cat — 3/12/22

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Holden Jaffe leads Del Water Gap in a performance at Black Cat on March 12, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Grabbing listeners’ attention with music in the first place seems a tall enough task — transporting them into your own realm where they can truly absorb the stories and ideas you’re conveying requires a gift for persuasion, charisma, and maybe even a little showmanship to bring it to life on stage.

S. Holden Jaffe, the man behind indie pop-rock outfit Del Water Gap, has an otherworldly ability not just to write deep, enthralling tracks built from a slew of emotions, but to then take those songs and translate them into stunning, unabashed displays of expression in a live, intimate setting. Del Water Gap accomplished exactly that at Black Cat recently.

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Live Review: Gang of Four @ Black Cat — 3/9/22

Gang of Four perform at Black Cat on March 9, 2022. (Photos by Jason Nicholson; Words by Mickey McCarter)

Before he died in 2020, guitarist Andy Gill undertook several tours of the United States with a Gang of Four lineup that included no other original members. Since 2012, that version of the band appeared several times in DC, performing songs from two newly recorded albums as well as legacy Gang of Four selections.

With Gill’s passing, the other original members have reunited to tour behind a remastered box set, Gang of Four: 77-81, released last year by Matador Records. Original frontman Jon King and company recently burned through the Black Cat in a scorching show that gave powerful new life to the band’s post-punk classics first recorded in that period.

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Preview: Gang of Four @ Black Cat, 3/9/22

Gang of Four (Photo art courtesy of Matador Records)

Last year, Matador Records released GANG OF FOUR: 77-81, a stunning, limited edition box set curated by Jon King, Hugo Burnham, and Dave Allen gathering Gang of Four’s indelible early work. This followed the death the year previous of Gang of Four’s influential guitarist, Andy Gill.

Gang of Four now reunite to celebrate their legacy with a US tour that includes a stop at Black Cat on Wednesday, March 9.

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