Live Review: Midnight North @ The Hamilton Live – 10/7/21

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The Midnight North perform at The Hamilton Live on Oct. 7, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

After a two-year absence, Midnight North recently made a much-anticipated return to the DC area, even briefly renaming The Hamilton on the strength of the two “Graham(e)” bandmembers. The show featured an appearance by Phil Lesh, beloved Grateful Dead bassist and father of Midnight North guitarist and founder, Grahame Lesh. For two-plus hours, the “Gramilton” felt like an extended family reunion with fans from differing generations and bands reuniting after a too-long pandemic hiatus.

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Live Review: Counting Crows w/ Frank Turner @ MGM National Harbor — 10/1/21

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Counting Crows perform at MGM National Harbor on Oct. 1, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

A few months ago, I found myself in a discussion with singer-songwriter Kasey Anderson and music critic Craig Jenkins. The point was raised that many of the alternative acts in the late ’80s and early ’90s were, if not in the Americana genre, at least adjacent to it. The Counting Crows certainly fit this description, with influences that include that include the Byrds, The Band, and Van Morrison, in addition to REM. Their brand of alternative meets folk-rock created a sound that, by appealing not only to young audiences, who favored the grunge of the early ’90s, but also to fans of classic rock.

The Counting Crows certainly attracted legions of devoted fans, many of whom packed into the theater at MGM Harbor on Friday night to see them on their tour behind the new Butter Miracle Suite EP.

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Live Review: Katie Toupin @ Club 603 — 9/28/21

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Katie Toupin performs at Club 603 in Baltimore on Sept. 28, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

House shows saw a bit of a surge during these strange times and sensibly so, as musicians and fans try to find a way to connect in small, safe, sterile environments. And for all anyone knows, this is a common manner by which music goers will be engaging with artists moving forward.

Well, there’s a local “house show venue” that has already built an impressive list of artists it’s hosted for intimate, in-home performances that should be considered special treats for those who’ve been in attendance. And this week, Club 603 — situated just off the Northern Parkway — hosted what was its 107th show, a number that even the hosts — Scott and Jean Vieth — admitted is quite extraordinary.

A singer-songwriter, keyboardist and guitar player working out of Los Angeles but with connections in music far and wide, Katie Toupin made a stop in Baltimore Tuesday night at Club 603 for what turned out to be an explosive and emotional full-band house performance.

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Live Review: Dawes w/ Erin Rae @ Warner Theatre — 9/15/21

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Dawes performs at the Warner Theatre on Sept. 15, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When she opened for Dawes at the Warner Theatre recently, singer-songwriter Erin Rae complimented the venue’s beauty. She’s absolutely right: it’s a gorgeous place, beautifully restored, one of the most attractive in the area. And while you might expect an event in such a elegant room to be a bit staid, this show was anything but: led by frontman Taylor Goldsmith, Dawes play jammed-out versions of both their most popular songs and deep cuts, and they got the crowd involved throughout their performance.

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Live Review: Lord Huron @ MECU Pavilion — 9/13/21

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Lord Huron performs at MECU Pavilion on Sept. 13, 2021. (Photo by David LaMason)

I have to admit that until a good friend of mine turned me onto them a few years ago, Lord Huron wasn’t on my radar. But one spin of Strange Tails and I was hooked. I hadn’t been able to catch them on stage however — that is until Monday night at the MECU Pavilion in Baltimore.

There’s something to the music of Lord Huron that flows from aesthetics of great fiction, whether it be pulp novels of the turn of the last century in Strange Trails; idealized visions of the future in Vide Noir; or the imagined world of early variety television that inhabits Long Lost, the most recent release from this LA-by-way-of-Lansing quartet. There’s a mystic quality that takes the listener along for a ride and keeps them coming back. So, on a hot afternoon overlooking the Baltimore Harbor, I had the great fortune to witness Lord Huron as they took the stage on their first tour since music touring stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Live Review: Lindsey Buckingham @ Warner Theatre — 9/14/21

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Lindsey Buckingham performs at the Warner Theatre on Sept. 14, 2021. (Photo by Jason Nicholson)

Lindsey Buckingham took to the stage at the historic Warner Theater in DC yesterday, with his four-piece band covering great ground with six songs from his expansive solo career works from four different albums: Under The Skin, Seeds We Sow, Out of the Cradle, and Go Insane.

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Live Review: Sunny War @ City Winery — 9/9/21

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Sunny War performs at City Winery DC on Sept. 9, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Creatively illustrating heartbreak and other crucial, even if paralyzing, human emotions is the sign of a masterful musician. And there’s no way to fabricate any level of that understanding — only persevering through hardships can empower someone with such an apprised view of this world.

Sunny War, a 30-year-old rising star out of Los Angeles, casually strolled into City Winery DC the night of Sept. 9 to deliver an inspirative and inventive set of music crafted from sounds of blues, folk and punk and built from the challenges she’s overcome along her path.

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Live Review: Dead & Company @ Jiffy Lube Live — 8/18/21

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Dead & Company performs at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, on Aug. 18, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

What’s not to be appreciated about a musical act — more so a community and now essentially a culture — that has stood the test of more than 55 years? Nearly six decades after a band calling itself The Warlocks randomly switched its name to Grateful Dead, the most current amalgamation of some of the group’s original members and carefully chosen friends can still draw thousands of people together for a kaleidoscopic celebration of music.

Dead & Company rolled into Bristow, Virginia, last week for a show at Jiffy Lube Live, their second stop of the current tour, and created two robust sets of songs that not only paid tribute to the large family of musicians and songwriters that is the Grateful Dead, but gave many of the band’s songs a refreshing new twist that brought out the best in the group gathered on stage.

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Live Review: Julian Lage @ Jammin’ Java – 8/13/21

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Julian Lage and Jorge Roader perform at Jammin’ Java on Aug. 13, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

The evening threatened to be a major disappointment. Crawling along the beltway under ominous skies, dodging felled trees from the day’s earlier storms, a late arrival seemed inevitable. Pulling up to Jammin’ Java just before showtime, we were greeted by a gloomy, darkened venue — apparently the power had gone out! Although prospects for the show actually happening remained in doubt, we entered the venue with hopes checked.

Despite glum prospects, harried servers scurried about, attending to the chatty sold-out crowd, who nonetheless remained in high spirits.

Then, as if by divine intervention, the lights popped back on 10 minutes before showtime. And they stayed on. Friday the 13th turned out lucky after all and for the next two and a half hours we enjoyed expert, soothing, and truly mind-blowing guitar performances from opener Luke Brindley and headliner Julian Lage.

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