Music Park: CHVRCHES @ The Anthem — 10/18/18

Chvrches-26 Lauren Mayberry fronts Chvrches at The Anthem on Oct. 18, 2018. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Lauren Mayberry, ever chipper, bantered with the audience during the sold-out show by Chvrches at The Anthem recently, making reference to an unkind review from earlier in the band’s career.

“It said, the only thing standing between Chvrches and stardom is the person standing at the front of the stage,” Lauren said, pausing while the audience groaned appropriately. “Well, how do you like me now, motherfucker?”

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Music Park: Death Cab For Cutie @ The Anthem — 10/17/18

Death Cab for Cutie ft. Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES - Northern Lights live at The Anthem (Photo by Anna Moneymaker)
Lauren Mayberry performs with Death Cab for Cutie at The Anthem on Oct. 17, 2018. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker; video by Jordan Grobe)

It was a night filled with nostalgia for many people in the audience, as Death Cab for Cutie played The Anthem recently to a packed crowd.

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Snapshots: Parklife DC More Best Pictures of 2016

Savages @ 930 Club 26 Savages at 9:30 Club on March 27, 2016 (See the full blog)

As we wrap up 2016 here at Parklife DC, we looked back on our best concert photos of the year, where reviewed our 10 (actually 11) favorite photos on our blog.

But while Paivi and Kristie considerably brightened up our blog with their pictures, Theresa C. Sanchez and myself also have been out there photographing some concerts. So now we are rounding up the best of the rest to present some cool photos that Theresa and I captured over the year as well.

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Music Park: Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2016 by Mickey

CHVRCHES 008 Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches sings at Echostage on Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

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.)

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Music Park: CHVRCHES @ Echostage — 10/17/16

CHVRCHES 000 Lauren Mayberry sings at Echostage in DC on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Chvrches’ plan now that they have completely finished touring the album Every Open Eye?

“We’re going to go home and nap for a long time,” said singer Lauren Mayberry during her performance at Echostage on Monday, Oct. 17. “Then, we are going to start writing another album!”

The declaration that Chvrches would return in a few years drew a happy cheer from the sold-out Echostage, where Chvrches finished an epic tour on their sophomore album with two DC shows on Oct. 17 and 18. On the first of those two shows, the crowd swelled into every corner of the warehouse venue to show their appreciation for Chvrches, dancing excitedly to every one of 17 songs performed by the band.

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Don’t Miss: Thrival Innovation + Music Festival @ Carrie Furnaces, Pittsburgh, Pa., 5/23-24

CHVRCHES 04
Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches performs in Baltimore, Md., on June 12, 2016.

Much of Pittsburgh has been embracing a new economy that encompasses industries outside of its traditional steel-town past. Thrill Mill Inc., a nonprofit that provides local entrepreneurs with free resources to grow business, supports the growth of Pittsburgh companies in new frontiers.

To call attention to its mission and raise some money to fund these resources, Thrill Mill this week presents the Thrival Innovation + Music Festival. Starting on Tuesday, Thrival Innovation + Music Festival presents programming around the city to position Pittsburgh as the world leader in post-industrial economic development, and the festival caps the week with a two-day music festival. (Check out all of the programming online.)

Thrival executive producer Dan Law said in a statement, “Recently, Pittsburgh finds itself on a number of ‘top’ lists, but so much of our city remains undiscovered to a broader audience. The festival offers that unique opportunity to witness why Pittsburgh is a modern comeback story.”

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Don’t Miss: CHVRCHES @ Echostage, 10/18/16

CHVRCHES 07 Chvrches perform in Baltimore on June 12, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Glaswegian trio Chvrches announced a fall tour, scheduled a date in DC for Monday, Oct. 17, at Echostage, and promptly sold it out.

Thankfully, the synthpop band announced a second date, Tuesday, Oct. 18, which goes on sale to the public on Friday, August 5 at 10am. If you missed out the first time, don’t pass up this second opportunity to see these fantastic new wavers in our fair city. Echostage holds about 6,000 people, which seems like a lot, but that first night sold out awfully fast!

Remind yourself of why Chvrches are so damn good by watching this animated video for “Bury It,” featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore (well, cartoon Hayley), on YouTube:

I caught Chvrches last in Baltimore on June 12, and frontwoman Lauren Mayberry proved to be an outstanding, hypnotic performer. Here are a few of my observations on what was one of the best shows of the year so far (read my full review here):

“Chvrches carry forward the buoyant, uplifting tone of their show with excellent songs from the new album like ‘Make Them Gold’ and ‘Empty Threat.'”

“The lyrical optimism is reinforced by some fine synthesizer work from the Glaswegian trio, as Iain Cook and Martin Doherty dazzle with some truly soaring synths. Iain occasionally takes up guitar, and Martin occasionally lends vocals, expanding the sound of Chvrches’ synthpop. Together, the three really continue to blaze a trail that was marked by some of my favorite bands in the ’80s like a soulful Bronski Beat or a latter-day Eurythmics.”

“Lauren’s Scottish lilt is absolutely addictive, and it’s remarkable to see how she has grown as a performer since the band first appeared with ‘The Mother We Share’ roughly four years ago. She’s matured into a confident dynamo like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis — and for me, her glam eye makeup reinforces the idea of a butterfly.”

Tickets are available online, starting at 10am on August 5.

Chvrches
Echostage
Tuesday, Oct. 18
Doors @7pm
$35
All ages

CHVRCHES 20

Music Park: CHVRCHES @ Rams Head Live! — 6/12/16

CHVRCHES 15 Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches sings at Rams Head Live on Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Spritely Lauren Mayberry bounds onto the stage at Rams Head Live! on Sunday night, and she looks as buoyant as her music sounds.

As Lauren dashes from side to side of the stage, she seems like she has an urgent message to deliver to the very full house. And the message is a good one! It’s like Lauren has discovered a truth about being yourself, and about being happy, and she is bursting to the edges of the stage to share that message.

Lauren and her bandmates in Chvrches open the show with “Never Ending Circles,” a song about finding freedom through escaping cycles from Chvrches’ album, Every Open Eye, their self-produced second record released last year via Virgin EMI Records and Goodbye Records.

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Music Park: Bands Performing at Firefly Music Festival Playing Nearby, June 2016

The Backyard Stage at night at Firefly Music FestivalThe Backyard Stage at night at Firefly Music Festival (Photo Credit: Danilo Lewis)

We all know the 5th Annual Firefly Music Festival is coming to Dover, Delaware from June 16-19.

We all know you want to go (and there are still passes here).

But for whatever reason, you can’t make it. Well, not to fret, you can still catch many of the artists and bands nearby in the DC area!

 

For those of you going, this also serves as a good list of bands to catch at Firefly.

Two Door Cinema Club
Local show: Black Cat, Tuesday, June 7
Firefly: Thursday, June 16 @ 10:00pm

CHVRCHES (preview)
Local Show: Rams Head Live!, Sunday, June 12
Firefly: Saturday, June 18 @ 6:00pm

Ellie Goulding
Local Show: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Monday, June 13
Firefly: Friday, June 17 @ 8:30pm

Whilk & Misky
Local Show: U Street Music Hall, Wednesday, June 15
Firefly: Thursday, June 16 @ 8:30pm

Tame Impala and M83 (together)
Local Show: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Thursday, June 16
Firefly: Friday, June 17 @ 9:30pm (Tame Impala)
Firefly: Saturday, June 18 @ 9:00pm (M83)

AlunaGeorge
Local show: 9:30 Club, Friday, June 17
Firefly: Thursday, June 16 @ 9:45pm

Fitz & the Tantrums
Local show: 9:30 Club, Saturday, June 18
Firefly: Friday, June 17 @ 6:15pm

Oh Wonder
Local show: 9:30 Club, Tuesday, June 21
Firefly: Thursday, June 16 @ 8:00pm

Silversun Pickups and Blink-182 (together)
Local show: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Kerfluffle), Saturday, June 26
Firefly: Saturday, June 18 @ 8:15pm (Silversun Pickups)
Firefly: Sunday, June 19 @ 6:45pm (Blink-182)

 

If I find others, I’ll add them!

Don’t Miss: CHVRCHES @ Rams Head Live! (Baltimore), 6/12/16

CHVRCHES_Credit-Danny-Clinch-1-print
CHVRCHES (Photo by Danny Clinch)

Synthpop trio CHVRCHES are quite popular on the festival circuit lately, and they are indeed heading to the Firefly Festival in Dover, Del., this month. But on the way, they’ve booked some independent shows, including a newly announced concert at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore on Sunday, June 12.

What a fantastic time and place to see CHVRCHES, who released one of the best albums in 2015 with their sophomore effort, Every Open Eye, on Sept. 25 via Glassnote. With their second album, they accomplished the rare feat of making an album better than their excellent debut, The Bones of What You Believe.

Glasgow’s favorite sons and daughter — Iain Cook, Martin Doherty and Lauren Mayberry — recorded both albums in a hometown studio (their own Alucard Studios), and the second time around they found even more gold in the sparkling synthesizers of the gents and the lilting, pleasing voice of the lady.

Check out the results in the official music video for “Clearest Blue” by CHVRCHES on YouTube:

One of the things I love about CHVRCHES is that they write, record, and produce everything themselves. Not to say there isn’t room for collaboration in the future, in my opinion, but I enjoy their focus and purity of vision.

New songs are about getting over heartbreak (“Leave a Trace”) — and making your own way unapologetically (“Bury It,” “Never Ending Circles,” “Playing Dead”) — and moving on to better things (“Down Side of Me,” “Afterglow,” “Clearest Blue” [above!]).

All in all, it’s fantastic synthpop, very much evocative of New Romantic synthpop from the early ’80s and groups like the Eurythmics, Cocteau Twins, and even Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

Tickets are available online.

CHVRCHES
Rams Head Live!
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Show @8pm
$29.50
All ages