Institution. If there’s any word to describe The Nighthawks, it’s one that connotes longevity, durability, strength, maturity, and endurance. And of all Washington DC’s institutions, none has the grace, consistency and joy that The Nighthawks delivered on a recent Friday night at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia.
Originally planned as a free outdoor show, the threat of rain moved the performance indoors. With the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, for many of us the concert became an impromptu, and welcome, return to indoor live music.
Sam C. Jones performs at Jammin’ Java on May 23, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Sam C. Jones is a threat. Or better said, a triple threat. After experiencing his two-set performance at Jammin’ Java this past Sunday evening, I was blown away by his singing and guitar chops, his dance moves, and the ease with which he commands a stage.
Myles Kennedy performs at the Baltimore Soundstage on May 16, 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth)
As the United States continues its process of opening back up and getting back to normal, the world of music is working to do much of the same. Records are being released and tours are starting back up. What had grinded to a halt is moving once again.
But in the downtime without live music, many musicians used that time to write and record new music. That includes Alter Bridge — and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators — frontman Myles Kennedy, who will release his second solo record, The Ides of March, on May 14. In a conversation with Parklife DC’s Chris Smyth, Myles discusses the process of creating his new record, what a return to the stage will look like for him, plus what lies ahead for both of his bands.
Samantha Fish performs at The Birchmere on Oct. 19, 2020. (Photo by Ari Strauss)
I wasn’t sure what the experience of a concert would be like when I attended my first show since early March at The Birchmere on Monday evening. I knew that the concert hall would be a half-capacity, sold out for blues guitarist extraordinaire and singer-songwriter Samantha Fish. But I wasn’t sure what kind of energy such a crowd would generate.
David Goodrich performs at Gray Ghost Vineyards on Sept. 6, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Live performances are returning to the DC metro area. The return to “normalcy,” though, has been achingly slow and many argue we are still nowhere near normal. But despite the continued shutdown of many of the region’s larger indoor music venues, the past few weeks have seen many local artists performing outdoor gigs at Jammin’ Java and the State Theatre. In addition, ever resourceful musicians have been performing sidewalk and porch shows, at drive-in concerts and even outdoor shopping malls. Of course, live streaming continues unabated, but as I’ve written before, watching a performance on the screen just doesn’t compare to being in the same room, in front of the players, enveloped by the music.
Bobby Thompson performs at Jammin’ Java on Sept. 20, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Famed American multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter David Bromberg wrote, “you gotta suffer if you wanna sing the blues.” The irony, of course, is that when the bluesman (or woman) sings, everybody else feels good. So it was when local blues musician Bobby Thompson performed recently on a brilliant late afternoon show at Jammin’ Java.
Guitarist Bobby Thompson has been keeping the blues alive during these DC-area pandemic days, and he continues to do so with a performance by the Bobby Thompson Trio in an outdoor show at Jammin’ Java on Sunday, Sept. 20.