Duran Duran performs at The Fillmore New Orleans on Feb. 19, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
Editor’s Note: Parklife DC asked its contributors to write essays about their favorite bands. These essays appear in an occasional series, My Favorite Artist, and provide our readers with insights into our bloggers, their motivations, and their approach to covering concerts.
To my ear, music is at its best when it motivates and inspires. Popular music provides a forum for catharsis, surely, but I am most excited when I hear something that stirs my soul, lifts my head, and moves my feet.
Cue Duran Duran.
Billy Idol performs at the Pearl Theater at Palms Casino Resort on March 13, 2020. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
Billy Idol’s dad was a helluva salesman. He worked hard all of his life, and he never really seemed to have time for Billy’s music as his son shot up the charts in the early ’80s.
In 2014, Billy was working on Kings & Queens of the Underground, his eighth studio album, and he took a mix over to his parents to get their feedback. To Billy’s delight, his dad was not only very interested in the album, but he liked the songs quite well.
Soon after, Billy’s dad passed away at the age of 90. In his bed at the time, he was listening to Billy’s “Ghosts in My Guitar,” a song that Billy performed with considerable emotion at the Pearl Theatre at Palms Resort Casino recently.
Colin Newman performs with Wire at Union Stage on March 9, 2020. (Photo by Paivi Salonen)
For over 40 years, Wire has been one of the most innovative bands to come out of the United Kingdom, if not the world. Since their 1977 debut, Pink Flag, they’ve shifted their musical style with almost every album. Beginning as a stripped-down, breakneck-paced punk affair, Wire has embraced new textures and sounds, including electronic music.
The band’s recent show at DC’s Union Stage began with a 45-minute DJ set of electronic music, with one notable composition that sounded like a fusion of Ennio Morricone and ambient electronics.
Graham Nash performs at The Birchmere on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
With a voice as powerful and pure as ever, Graham Nash gifted a full house at The Birchmere recently with a stunning two-and-a-half-hour performance. Though many of us had seen him perform with CSN (and sometimes Y), to experience a Nash solo performance was a rare privilege.
Wire (Photo courtesy Clarion Call Media)
Legendary English post-punks Wire are touring in support of their new album Mind Hive out now via pinkflag. Frontman Colin Newman and company perform at Union Stage in DC on Monday, March 9.
Bat for Lashes performs at Sixth & I on Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Nalinee Darmrong)
When Natasha Khan moved to Los Angeles not long ago, she quickly made arrangements to travel north to Santa Cruz to see The Trestle Bridge made famous by The Lost Boys movie, a favorite film. She then began reflecting on an artistic endeavor around a group of Lost Girls, and thus was born the concept for the latest album by Bat for Lashes.
Natasha reflected on the inspiration in concert at Sixth & I recently, where she presented half a dozen songs from the album along with several from her previous four records and covers of several artists who “made her the woman she is today.”
Michael Kiwanuka performs at the Lincoln Theatre on Feb. 12, 2020. (Photo by David LaMason)
To say that the music of Michael Kiwanuka is cinematic isn’t a stretch. The British songwriter and performer has been building on his song craft since his debut LP in 2012. Often compared to Bill Withers, Kiwanuka takes pop songs and creates layers, motifs, and repetition to build mood. Listening to the popular “Cold Little Heart” or “Solid Ground” or “Hero” and it’s hard to pull yourself away.