Around Town: H Street NE Festival, 9/17/16

H Street NE View of H Street NE (Photo by IntangibleArts)

This year’s H Street Festival takes place on Saturday, September 17th and will feature over 250 vendors, plying their food, drinks, wares and activities.

It will span a lengthy 10 blocks (bigger every year) between 4th St. NE and 14th St. NE.

Look out for the music, the beer gardens, a pie eating contest, dance performances, fashion shows, a DC Comics superhero costume contest and much more.

The festival won Washington City Paper’s Best Community Festival six years running. It does get quite crowded, with estimates of 125,000 adventurers from last year!

There is also a handy app from H Street Main Street you can download, to ensure you don’t miss anything. Search for and download ‘H Street Main Street’ from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

UPDATE on 9/15/16: The Festival app has been updated with performance/music stage locations, lineups and times. Looks like there will be nine stages and something for everyone. Download the app now. You can also find the schedule of performances here.

H Street Festival 2016
H Street NE (between 4th St. and 14th St. blocks)
Saturday, September 17, 2016
12:00-7:00pm
Free (pay for food, drink and shopping)
All ages

Don’t Miss: Dash Berlin @ Echostage, 8/19/16

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Dash Berlin (Photo courtesy Armada Music)

Since breaking through with “Til the Sky Falls Down” in 2007, Dash Berlin has been a man on the move! He’s become a mainstay in the Armada Music roster, signed by Armin Van Buuren himself, and consequently went on to win a number of top DJ awards, including honors from DJ Mag.

Well, Dash Berlin (aka DJ Jeffrey Sutorius) has been busy making new music recently, and the Dutchman comes back to DC to spin some trance, progressive house, and more with a stop at Echostage on Friday, August 19. (That’s tomorrow!)

Listen to “Without the Sun,” a new single from Dash Berlin & Luca Perra on Soundcloud:

Get ready to dance to some uplifting dance music from a DJ master of the craft. Joining Dash Berlin is Pierce Fulton, an American prodigy in electro house and downtempo electronica.

Tickets are available online.

Dash Berlin
w/ Pierce Fulton
Echostage
Friday, August 19
Doors @9pm
$30
18+

Don’t Miss: Broods @ 9:30 Club, 8/1/16

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Broods (Photo courtesy The Windish Agency)

Brother and sister musical duo Broods have come a long way in a short time! Hailing from New Zealand, Georgia and Caleb Nott released their debut album in 2014 and then toured extensively. Now they’ve returned with a second album, Conscious, and they are performing at the 9:30 Club on Monday, August 1.

The sophomore album, released June 24 via Capitol Records, boasts a few key collaborations, including a guest appearance by Tove Lo on “Freak of Nature” and co-writing from fellow New Zealander Lorde on “Heartlines,” the upcoming next single from the record.

The first single, released in April, is “Free,” a pounding R&B-tinged synth track. Watch the official music video for “Free” by Broods on YouTube:

Broods recorded the new album in Los Angeles and New Zealand with production assistance from Joel Little (Lorde, Ellie Goulding, Jarryd James) as well as Alex Hope (Troye Sivan) and Captain Cuts (Halsey, Tove Lo).

Speaking of Jarryd James, the Australian alt-R&B singer is opening for Broods on this tour! Last month, he released a new single called “1000x,” which features a guest appearance by Broods! Give it a listen on Soundcloud, and turn up early to see Jarryd:

Tickets are available online.

Broods
w/ Jarryd James
9:30 Club
Monday, August 1
Doors @7pm
$27.50
All ages

Music Park: Christine and the Queens @ 9:30 Club — 5/31/16

Christine Queens 06 Héloïse Letissier aka Christine and the Queens performs at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

“I don’t quite fit. It’s like Tetris, and I’m the wrong piece,” said Héloïse Letissier, known by her stage name Christine and the Queens, in her sold-out show at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday.

But that is okay by Christine and the Queens. And in fact, the musician has a mantra, tattooed on her arm: “We accept you.”

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Music Park: Bloc Party @ Echostage — 5/19/16

Bloc Party 2015Bloc Party (Photo Credit: Rachael Wright)

“Back home, we call that a banger.”

Kele Okereke, lead singer of Bloc Party, fired up after performing the trance-like, free flowing “Ratchet” during their 4-song encore smiled, “I told you we still had a few more rockets in our pockets!” Then they proceeded to shroud the Echostage multitude with a loud, devilish rendition of “Helicopter”.

Bloc Party started in London in 1999 and in the current formation include Kele, Russell Lissack (guitar), Justin Harris (bass) and Louise Bartle (drums). They are an alternative rock band with a heady mix of dance and post-punk. With Hymms, Bloc Party’s fifth album, they’ve lowered the decibel level, but not the intensity of their songs. Much of the new material explores personal reflections on faith and grace.

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Music Park: Dragonette @ U Street Music Hall — 11/25/15

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Dragonette (Photo by Mackenzie Duncan)

If your goal was to let loose and enjoy a night on the town before Thanksgiving since you were still in DC anyway, you could have done no better than to start famously at the U Street Music Hall. 

Martina Sorbara and Dan Kurtz, of Dragonette, were on hand to make you dance, in every way possible. With Dan’s keyboards and Martina’s golden voice, they electrified the crowd with a frenzy of their songs played to match the DJ-inspired venue, as house and club beats. 

Dragonette hails from Toronto originally, and also includes Joel Stouffer on the drums.

Let’s call much of the crowd’s response to their infectious songs, the ‘super dance’, bouncing up and down in unison.

The crowd grew to a respectable size (almost full), given that you might expect many potential revelers to be out of town for the holiday.

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Don’t Miss: YACHT @ U Street Music Hall, 11/7/15

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Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans (Photo by Ricky Tompkins)

Disco-punk duo YACHT are about to release a new album, I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, via Downtown Records — their third full-length effort operating as a band rather than as a solo project by founder Jona Bechtolt.

After the new album’s release on Oct. 16, YACHT will appear mystically at U Street Music Hall soon after on Saturday, Nov. 7, in a tour stop to support the album.

The new album finds Jona and his songwriting partner Claire L. Evans concerned about the quality of life and the future of mankind — two themes that preoccupied them in previous albums See Mystery Lights and Shangri-La, which lyrically assessed topics like the lack of an afterlife and utopia, despite mostly being earnest dance records. Aside from being an arresting performer, Claire is also a science journalist, writing and blogging about science for the likes of National Geographic, OMNI and Vice.

The first single from the new album “L.A. Plays Itself” is a love letter to their adopted city, inspired by the 2003 Thom Andersen documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself and incorporating 163 production location signs.

Watch the video for “L.A. Plays Itself” on YouTube:

YACHT cites a mind-boggling array of influences on The Future Would Be Cooler — including 80s Japanese electronic reggae (Sandii & The Sunsetz, Haruomi Hosono), 70s and 80s post-punk and no wave (Family Fodder, The Waitresses, Suburban Lawns, Killing Joke, A Certain Ratio, Devo), Norwegian disco (Todd Terje, Lindstrøm, Prins Thomas), and Grand Royal Records-era alternative music (Cibo Matto, Luscious Jackson, Money Mark).

Tickets are available online.

YACHT
w/ Larry Gus
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, Nov. 7
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages

Interview: Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds (@ U Street Music Hall, 9/26/15)

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Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds (Photo by Bliss Braoudakis)

Laura Burhenn’s project The Mynabirds released their third album Lovers Know via Saddle Creek on August 7. Laura once called DC home before she migrated to Los Angeles to start The Mynabirds, and she’s returning for a hometown show at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, Sept. 26, as part of her tour in support of the new album (which starts tonight in San Diego). Parklife DC had the sincere pleasure of chatting with Laura about her new stuff, her DC roots, and subversive pop songs.

[The transcript of this interview has been edited lightly for the sake of brevity in spots.]

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Music Park: Grand Opening @ Soundcheck — 8/20/15

Soundcheck owners address the crowd - by Joy Asico
Soundcheck partners Antonis Karagounis, Pete Kalamoutsos, and Win Sheridan toast the opening of Soundcheck. (Photo courtesy MoKi Media)

The premise of Soundcheck (1420 K St. NW, DC), a stylish new nightspot, is to bring the feel of the recording studio to the club scene. As a person who has spent a fair amount of time around recording studios, I was very pleased to have the opportunity to experience that feel firsthand at their recent grand opening party on Thursday.

From the street level entrance, one descends a staircase to the below ground facility. Few things isolate sound transmission like good old Mother Earth, so this is in keeping with the theme. The walls along the stairway and corridors are lined with Aurelex-type acoustic foam and cork, reminiscent of studio interiors (Dr. Wallace Clement Sabine, creator of the absorption coefficient for sound, would be proud).

Upon entering the main room, one is greeted by a sound system that is neither harsh or overbearing. Line array-type speakers buttress the DJ booth, complemented by a satisfying aggressive low end. Speakers are also part of the decor, inset into the glowing lucite cubes that serve as drink tables. Soundcheck Interior by Joy Asico
The interior of the Soundcheck nightclub (Photo by Joy Asico)

Thankfully the lighting system is not modeled after that of a typical recording studio, as the latter seldom have use for mirror balls. Here, we are treated to a high tech assortment of moving heads and L.E.D. PAR lights. In addition to the huge video display behind the DJ booth, there are numerous other screens lining the walls from the dance floor to the VIP room. Compliments to the people who set up the opening night promotional reel, nicely done!

On the night we attended, the music started out low to allow for conversation and mingling. It was nice to hear a P.A. system that maintains clarity and power even at low levels, such that it doesn’t drown out discussion. Clearly, the DJ was eager to break loose and drive the system a little harder, which he did as the evening progressed. At the higher levels, the system still maintained thick lows and clear high end. I predict it will keep the dancers in motion on many nights to come!
Soundcheck Interior 2 by Joy Asico
The disco balls are a welcome touch. (Photo by Joy Asico)

Parklife DC contributor Neal Keller is a professional sound engineer at Omega Studios as well as DJ of the long-running 80’s Dance Party at Tropicalia! For more on Neal, visit http://www.80sdanceparty.com.

Don’t Miss: Little Boots @ U Street Music Hall, 7/25/15

LITTLE BOOTS 2015 PRESS SHOT
Little Boots (Photo courtesy High Rise PR)

I am beyond excited that U Street Music Hall will welcome Little Boots (born Victoria Hesketh) on Saturday, July 25 as she tours in support of her new album, Working Girl, which she released last week on her own label, On Repeat Records.

I first encountered Little Boots back in 2009 with her single “New in Town” from her debut album, Hands, thanks to its regular rotation at Liberation Dance Party at DC9. I continued to be impressed by that album, which featured a duet with The Human League’s Phil Oakey as a bonus to synthpop nerds like me, and its follow-up, Nocturnes.

Working Girl may be her most exciting offering to date, however, as the bright dance album offers abundantly lovely synths and a decisive theme around which to rally — the corporate work day. All of the videos released for singles from the new album have been quite clever, and feature Little Boots adorned in the best of office fashions, such as with the latest “No Pressure.”

Watch the video for “No Pressure”:

Little Boots isn’t afraid to explore what happens after the workday either, such as with her humorous video for “Better in the Morning,” which takes her on a “walk of shame” after a night of partying too hard.

Watch the video for “Better in the Morning” (and prepare to chuckle and fall in love a little bit):

To my knowledge, this is the first performance of Little Boots ever in DC, although she is a regular visitor to Brooklyn from England, and she nearly made it here on a few previous occasions. Don’t miss what is sure to be a great performance.

Tickets are available online.

Little Boots
w/ Prinze George
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, July 25
Doors @ 7pm
$20
All ages