Interview: Jim Babjak of The Smithereens (@ State Theater, 1/18/19 )

Smithereens with Robin Wilson1
The Smithereens for the State Theatre show, left to right: Jim Babjak (guitar), Robin Wilson (lead vocals), Dennis Diken (drums), and Mark Mesaros (bass) (Photo courtesy Lappen Enterprises)

Power pop aficionados think of the ’70s and ’80s as the genre’s heyday — an era that included performers like Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, years that saw the emergence of bands like Big Star and Cheap Trick, and a time that culminated with the Gin Blossoms and Matthew Sweet.

For many music lovers (myself included), The Smithereens captured all the salient characteristics of a classic power pop band: the jangly ringing Byrds-like guitars, the Beach Boys’ high harmonies, the Beatles melodic lyricism… and perhaps the crunching heaviness of Black Sabbath? But The Smithereens added an East-Coast, Jersey Shore roots-rock sensibility.

Mark Caicedo of Parklife DC recently chatted with Jim Babjak, guitarist of The Smithereens, in anticipation of the band’s show at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on Jan. 18.

Continue Reading

Live Review: Welles @ Union Stage — 12/6/18

Welles 13
Jesse Wells fronts Welles at Union Stage on Dec. 6, 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth)

Named after lead singer Jesse Wells, Welles combines a mix of rock genres — classic, hard, and southern — into a musical style that brings a timelessness to their songs. Welles bundled that mix into part of Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement Tour at Union Stage recently.

Continue Reading

Music Park: Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening (JBLZE) @ The Fillmore Silver Spring — 11/25/18

JBLZE01
Jason Bonham performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Nov. 25, 2018. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

“This is the most fun anyone could have fully clothed standing in front of an audience.”

That was Jason Bonham describing Sunday night at The Fillmore Silver Spring as he led his band, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening (JBLZE) in a revival (not a tribute) of the 1970’s preeminent rock band. The music project he refers to as the “band I play in for fun” performed over two hours of Zeppelin’s music to a faithful and adoring sold-out audience.

Continue Reading

Snapshots: Burton Cummings of The Guess Who @ Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center — 11/16/18

parsons_vinyl_DSC02964_20181116 Burton Cummings of The Guess Who performs at Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center on Nov. 16, 2018. (Photo by Jason Nicholson)

From 1965-75, Burton Cummings was the lead singer and keyboardist for Canadian rock band The Guess Who. He sung a heap of the songs by The Guess Who that he made famous (including “American Woman”) at Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, recently.

Continue Reading

Snapshots: Tenacious D @ The Anthem — 11/7/18

TenaciousD Tenacious D performs at The Anthem on Nov. 7, 2018. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Acclaimed comedic rock duo Tenacious D, comprised of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, performed to a capacity crowd at The Anthem recently when they were in town to promote Post-Apocalyto — The Series and The Album.

Continue Reading

Music Park: Richard Thompson @ Lincoln Theatre — 11/8/18

Richard Thompson, Under The Stars festival, Cawthorne
Richard Thompson performs during the Under the Stars Festival in Cawthorne, England, on July 27, 2014. (Photo by Bryan Ledgard)

As a music writer, I see a lot of concerts. And I can say honestly say that from the opening act to the second encore, British folk rocker Richard Thompson’s concert Thursday night at the Lincoln Theatre was among the very best I have ever seen.

Continue Reading