Music Park: Donald Cumming @ Echostage, 7/29/15

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Donald Cumming (Photo by Kat Villacorta)

Catching a show by Donald Cumming is sort of like hanging out with a casual friend that you really like and want to get to know better.

The unassuming former frontman of The Virgins visited DC from New York City to perform at Echostage Wednesday, opening for Brandon Flowers, himself a displaced frontman.

Donald performed his first single, “Game of the Heart,” singing of the struggles of love, fixed to the center of the stage with his guitar and surrounded by a simple but talented band — guitar, bass and drums, which spun jangly and affable psych rock.

The singer-songwriter is a very precise guitarist, taking care to craft intricate melodies that might sound a little bit like Elvis Costello or a little bit like Tom Petty on occasion. He’s perfectly relaxed and comfortable in his own skin, which lends itself to his own unhurried identity, however. Although Donald only started performing solo this year, we have to keep in mind indeed that he toured two albums with his former band before he officially gave up on the outfit in 2013.

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Don’t Miss: Donald Cumming (Opening for Brandon Flowers) @ Echostage, 7/29/15

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Donald Cumming, Out Calls Only (Photo courtesy Tell All Your Friends PR)

When I last saw Donald Cumming, he was on tour with his former band, The Virgins. And the band was opening for The Killers at Merriweather Post Pavilion in August 2013.

Now Brandon Flowers, frontman of The Killers, is coming around to Echostage on Wednesday, July 29 in a tour to support his solo efforts, and he’s bringing newly solo Donald around with him. Donald released his first solo album, Out Calls Only, in June on Razor & Tie subsidiary Washington Square.

As a solo artist, Donald’s voice and his guitar remain distinctive. And his songs still sound to me like they carry hallmarks of early Elvis Costello. (And I still think of The Cars when I hear Donald play for some reason!) But on Out Calls Only, Donald certainly sounds more lovelorn, and perhaps more grown up?

Donald recently released a video for his latest single, “Game of the Heart,” a jaunty song that suggests “Somebody wins everybody else loses” in the struggle of love.

Watch the video for “Game of the Heart” on YouTube:

I had the pleasure of interviewing Donald in 2013 when I was blogging for We Love DC, and he said his meeting with The Killers and then Brandon came about quite unintentionally.

All the same, it’s good to have one of New York City’s finest guitar players in town, so get to Echostage early on Wednesday and catch Donald in his DC solo debut.

Donald Cumming
(Opening for Brandon Flowers)
Echostage
Wednesday, July 29
Doors @7pm
$43.45
All ages