Don’t Miss: Mariachi Flor De Toloache (Opening for The Arcs) @ 9:30 Club, 12/14-12/15/15

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Flor de Toloache (Photo by Andrei Averbuch)

The Arcs are the new band helmed by Dan Auerbach, guitarist and vocalist of The Black Keys. They are a bit unusual in several aspects, being a kind of large garage chamber pop band.

One of the unusual aspects of the band is that they are backed by members of Mariachi Flor De Toloache in concert. The all-female mariachi band from New York City provides vocals, horns, and strings to the bluesy ensemble.

The Arcs are touring in support of their debut album, and they are bringing Flor De Toloache along with them as the opening act with two nights at the 9:30 Club on Monday, Dec. 14, and Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Founded by Mireya Ramos, Mariachi Flor de Toloache themselves released a self-titled debut album in April. The band today includes up to 13 rotating members who play traditional mariachi instruments: violin, trumpet, guitarrón (bass), and vihuela (five-string guitar). Mireya and co-leader Shae Fiol provide vocals, and Shae also designs the band’s outfits.

Watch Mariachi Flor De Toloache play Blue Note’s Subrosa in New York City for their record release party on April 4, 2015:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHy_NPd-1lI]

Taking its name from a poisonous night flower used as a love potion in Central America in the past, Flor De Toloache infuse various musical genres into their mariachi mix, including salsa, bachata, cumbia, gypsy music, and Latin jazz as well as pop, hip-hop, and soul, according to a profile of the band in the Wall Street Journal published earlier this year.

The first show on Monday, Dec. 14, sold out, but tickets are still available online for a second show on Tuesday, Dec. 15!

Mariachi Flor De Toloache
(Opening for The Arcs)
9:30 Club
Monday, Dec. 14
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Doors @7pm
$40
All ages

Music Park: Glen Hansard @ DAR Constitution Hall — 11/28/15

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Glen Hansard sings with a young lad live at Vicar Street in Dublin on Nov. 25, 2013. (Photo by Silvia Pititto)

Glen Hansard was determined.

“I have a friend who always ruins the moment,” Glen told an audience at DAR Constitution Hall on Saturday night. “He’s the kind of person that finds the fault in everything even when everything is going well. He’ll find that one thing that will ruin it for everybody.”

So to brighten his friend’s spirits, Glen said, he brought him along on tour. Glen also wrote a song dedicated his American friend, Thomas Bartlett, called “My Little Ruin,” which captures the spirit of being able to find that fault in everything.

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Don’t Miss: Ben Folds w/ The National Symphony Orchestra @ The Kennedy Center, 12/4/15

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Ben Folds (center) and the yMusic Ensemble (Photo courtesy Big Hassle)

Ben Folds has led an interesting musical career that defies stereotypes. Certainly, in the 20 years since he first collaborated with the Ben Folds Five, he’s become associated with chamber pop. And he continues to make interesting new strides in that area with his latest album, So There, released last month via New West Records.

For So There, Ben teamed up with the yMusic Ensemble, a classical music outfit in New York City, to produce a pop album built on a classical music foundation.

Watch Ben Folds and yMusic perform the title track to “So There” on CBS This Morning on Sept. 26, 2015:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3Z-bdMz6ps]

The new album also offers Ben’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in three movements. And that particular part of the album is apparently the basis for a unique concert performance as part of Ben’s current tour, as he is set to appear at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Dec. 4, with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Ben premiered the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in performance in March 2014 with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra to great acclaim.

Watch Ben Folds perform the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 2, 2014:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok3ms-yWgfQ]

Ben is know for being an innovative composer and performer, and he’s certain to bring a few surprises to his DC show at the Kennedy Center. So don’t miss out on this intriguing concert opportunity! Tickets went on sale to the public a few weeks ago, and they are going fast.

Tickets are available online.

Ben Folds
w/ The National Symphony Orchestra
The Kennedy Center
Friday, Dec. 4
Show @9pm
$39
All ages

Music Park: The Zombies @ Lincoln Theatre — 10/8/15

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Colin Blunstone (front) and Jim Rodford at The Muni Arts Centre, pontypridd, Wales, May 29, 2013 (Photo by Sean Rowe)

The Zombies had not played their song “I Want You Back Again” for a while but then they heard Tom Petty cover it.

The band then recalled what a good song it was, and they determined that they should revisit it in their live sets. This led them to record a new version of the song for their latest album, Still Got That Hunger, released Friday, Oct. 9, via Cherry Red Records.

“If it is good enough for Tom Petty, it is good enough for The Zombies,” quipped Colin Blunstone before a performance of the song at the Lincoln Theatre in DC on Thursday night. The band then launched into their new rendition of “I Want You Back Again,” a single the original band first released in 1965.

Colin sings very soulfully on the song, dedicated to a woman who should return to the lonely narrator. The Zombies cofounder Rod Argent plays some lonely blues piano and he spearheads a rather lovely musical interlude early in the song. Rod is a keyboard maestro who really gets into the zone during moments like that interlude, and it’s a pleasure to watch him behind the piano most of all.

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Don’t Miss: The Zombies @ Lincoln Theatre, 10/8/15

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The Zombies (Photo by Andrew Eccles)

Several years ago, English rockers The Zombies came to DC to play at The Howard Theatre as part of an annual tour the band now undertakes.

Their last show here, on August 9, 2012, was a smashing success. Writing for the blog We Love DC at the time, I observed, “Best known for orchestral arrangements of their classic rock songs, The Zombies played stripped down versions of their own classics, pleasing the audience of roughly 250 or more who came out to see them for a seated show at The Howard. The audience was positively pleased for folks who looked like they had been waiting for the opportunity to see the veteran rockers for some time. They were pleased enough to deliver a standing ovation after ‘Hold Your Head Up’ [originally by Argent] in particular.”

Now organist and vocalist Rod Argent along with lead vocalist Colin Blunstone are coming back to DC to perform at the Lincoln Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 8 with their bandmates guitarist Tom Toomey, Jim Rodford, and Steve Rodford.

At the Lincoln, The Zombies will perform their seminal 1968 album Odessey and Oracle in its entirety! –something they never have done in the United States prior to this tour.

Watch The Zombies perform “Time of the Season,” one of the long-enduring hits from that album, at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in Austin, Texas, during SXSW 2013 on March 16, 2013:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY2rTqD3dhk]

Tickets are available online!

The Zombies
Lincoln Theatre
Thursday, Oct. 8
Doors @6:30pm
$45
All ages

Don’t Miss: The Church @ 9:30 Club, 3/9/15

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Steve Kilbey of The Church performs at the Aladdin Theater on Feb. 25, 2015. (Photo by Eric Evans)

Australian psych rockers The Church released their 25th (!) album in October 2014. The album, Further/Deeper, was produced and engineered by longtime member Tim Powles, who joined the band in 1994.

In support of the album, founders Steve Kilbey (vocalist and bass) and Peter Koppes (guitarist) bring their latest quartet, which includes new guitarist Ian Haug (also of Powderfinger), to the 9:30 Club tonight as a stop on their U.S. tour.

The addition of Haug apparently has reignited the band, which garnered quite positive reviews for the latest album. Listen to “Vanishing Man,” a track from the new album Further/Deeper from The Church:
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/171277628″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Still, here in the United States, The Church are forever best known for the banner single from their fifth album Starfish: Under the Milky Way.

Here are The Church playing the song live in Sydney in 2013:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8sTa95rJmQ]

Given that The Church may have been on the verge of breaking up a few years ago, before finding new life, new energy and a new guitarist, this is an excellent opportunity to see them in a rare DC appearance.

New York City-based chamber pop collective The Sharp Things open for The Church. Tickets are available online and at the door.

The Church
w/ The Sharp Things
9:30 Club
Monday, March 9
7pm
$35
All ages

Music Park: Stars @ 9:30 Club — 11/14/14

_images_uploads_gallery_STARS_1_Photocredit_SHERVIN_LAINEZStars (Photo courtesy Shore Fire Media)

Torquil Campbell is a man with something to say.

And the Canadian singer often does so surrounded by the five other members of his chamber-pop band Stars, which recently released a marvelous new disco album, No One Is Lost, last month.

I confess that I was pleasantly surprised by the band’s performance at the 9:30 Club on Thursday, Nov. 13, when I learned why they have amassed a large following over a seven-album tenure. But the standout performer among the band that night was Campbell, who put passion, grit and catharsis to a powerful set of songs, the best of which hailed from the latest album, in my opinion.

First let me say that I caught a performance of Stars only once previously at the Coachella Music Festival in 2013. In that performance, I was thrown a bit by the clear new wave influences in the band’s music, as I tend to anticipate our chamber pop bands to foray more into folk pop.

But Campbell and company weren’t interested in conforming to my preconceived notions. He and co-lead singer Amy Millan poured themselves into a 22-song set that began with the lovely “From the Night” from the new album and closed (before the encore) with the same album’s title track, a musically and lyrically mighty confrontation of loss, grappling with the concepts of loneliness and death — while remaining a stunning dance track.

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