The Dead Tongues perform at Jammin Java on Feb. 17, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
I walked around Jammin Java on Sunday, its brick walls reflecting the stagelights, crowd slowly filling in. My wife asked if I wanted a beer; we went to the bar, where a gaggle of musicians ordered drinks, special opener Molly Sarlé holding a bouquet of white and yellow flowers. Ryan Gustafson, also known by his stage name The Dead Tongues, walked away last, but not before I could say, “I’m really looking forward to the show.” He stopped, turned, looked me in the eyes, telling me “Thanks so much,” with a hand on my shoulder.
HC McEntire at Jammin Java on Feb. 2, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
I remember when I first saw HC McEntire play on a stage with Mount Moriah, knees shivering with the music, her voice echoing off the tin ceiling and walls of Boot and Saddle in Philly. Cavernous, passionate, and ultimately transformative, in many ways. I read my journal from around that show and it has a quote I think is worth sharing – “Shimmying, we are alive,” which is a reference to the song, “Hail, Lightning” from their eponymous album.
Her recent show at Jammin’ Java was equally transformative.
Sylvan Esso dazzles a packed The Anthem on July 26, 2018. (Photo by David LaMason)
There’s a magic that Amelia Meath (vocals) and Nick Sanborn (producer/sound engineer) create. It’s an infectious feeling generated by Amelia’s compelling voice and energetic dance moves — itself buoyed by the soundscapes formed and molded by Nick’s panel of sounds. Over the past two LPs (2014’s self-titled Sylvan Esso and last year’s What Now), the North Carolina-based Sylvan Esso created beat-soaked tunes that stick in your head. But it’s their live show that’s a force to behold.
On Thursday night at The Anthem, the duo pulled no punches.
Sylvan Esso (Photo courtesy Paradigm Talent Agency)
Sylvan Esso, the electropop duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, released What Now, their second studio album in 2017, and this year the band released a new single — “PARAD(w/m)E.” Sylvan Esso soon start a summer tour, and they will perform at The Anthem on Thursday, July 26.
Alex Zhang Hungtai in a video still from “Pierrot” (Photo courtesy WFS Communicatons)
Alex Zhang Hungtai, the nomadic musician formerly known as Dirty Beaches, settled down for at least an evening at Moogfest 2018 recently to play a set of avant-garde jazz.
Little Boots performs at The Carolina Theatre in Durham during Moogfest on May 18, 2018. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
When last I saw Little Boots in DC, I recommended Moogfest book the triple threat performer, DJ, and businesswoman, giving her opportunities to sing, spin, and lecture. Last week, she fulfilled part of that destiny with a live concert and a DJ set, crediting Moogfest for inspiring her to “rebuild” a live show after a successful year or so behind the decks.
Tess Roby performs at Motorco Music Hall during Moogfest on May 18, 2018. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
In her first concert in the United States, Canadian Tess Roby played expressive yet crystalline synthpop at Motorco Music Hall for Moogfest 2018 in Durham, North Carolina.