Howard Jones is headlining the Retro Futura Tour 2017. (Photo by Simon Fowler)
In recent months, Parklife DC has talked to the legendary Howard Jones and English Beat frontman Dave Wakeling, both of whom are excited about embarking on the summer Retro Futura Tour, now underway. (Read our interview with Howard here and our interview with Dave here.) The ’80s icons are heading to Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore, Maryland, on Sunday, July 30, along with Modern English, Men Without Hats, Katrina (formerly of The Waves), and Annabella Lwin (formerly of Bow Wow Wow.) You can win tickets to go with Parklife DC!
Howard Jones performs at The Hamilton on Sept. 3, 2016.
Tonight — don’t crack up, bend your brain, see both sides, and throw off your mental chains with Careless Memories! And dance the evening away as if we were at a summer music festival. Starting at 8pm at Dodge City, I’ll play artists like Howard Jones, The English Beat, Modern English, Men Without Hats, Bow Wow Wow, Katrina and The Waves, Thompson Twins, Midge Ure, and others, inspired by the summer Retro Futura Tour.
To get ready for all of it, I chatted with Howard Jones himself last week! Revisit our Parklife DC interview with Howard, and then join our listening party at Careless Memories tonight.
Howard Jones (Photo by David Conn)
“Do you feel scared? I do, but I won’t stop and falter.”
So, sang Howard Jones in his smashing 1985 hit “Things Can Only Get Better,” which in my opinion perfectly framed Howard’s ethos. The Englishman is unflappably upbeat and optimistic, and he makes fantastically irresistible music still today.
Howard Jones at Rewind Festival in 2013. (Photo courtesy Universal News and Sport)
Editors Note: This event was originally scheduled for May 25, but we have moved it to June 8. On May 25, we will present an evening of music dedicated to bands from Manchester in solidarity with the city after this week’s tragedy.
For the last several years, an ’80s festival called Retro Futura has presented some of our favorite artists, including Howard Jones, The English Beat, Modern English, Men Without Hats, Katrina (of The Waves), Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, Midge Ure, and many others.
We’ll celebrate the ’80s festival circuit with these artists and others, alongside your requests, at the next edition of Careless Memories: A New Wave Party, this Thursday, May 25.
Annabella Lwin at Dreamland in San Francisco on Sept. 28, 1981. (Photo by Chester Simpson)
The fascinating thing about hitting pop stardom in 1980 when you’re aged 13 — like Annabella Lwin, former lead singer of Bow Wow Wow — is that some 37 years later you might still have energy and creativity yet to tour anew. In the case of Annabella, Baltimore receives a treat when she appears on the bill of the Retro Futura Tour, replacing Paul Young on one of the dates for the traveling ’80s festival, on Sunday, July 30.
Today is a presale for the touring ’80s festival known as the Retro Futura Tour, which stops at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore on Sunday, July 30. DC folks may remember it as The Regeneration Tour, but it has been reshaped and rebranded since its visits to Wolf Trap a few years back!
Visit Live Nation and use the presale code MAGIC until 10pm today to get advance tickets to see the 2017 tour with Howard Jones, The English Beat, Modern English, Men Without Hats, Katrina (formerly of Katrina and the Waves), and Annabella Lwin (formerly of Bow Wow Wow, standing in for Paul Young on July 30). Tickets become available to the public on Friday.
Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches sings at Echostage on Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
I’ll confess that I’m a man whose taste in music is readily apparent. If you have new wave tunes to play, particularly from 1976-86, I’m going to show up and listen to them. That said, a number of incredible legacy new wave bands happened to travel through the DC metro area over the past year, and I took the opportunity to review them for our humble blog.
That said, a number of younger bands definitely broke through and seized my attention, most notably Canada’s Operators, who were the most exciting new band I’ve seen in some time. As with Operators, many of the best performances I witnessed in 2016 came from bands whose leaders are among the Masters of Synthpop, and so I have dedicated a postscript of really great synthpop shows that may have “missed” the top 10 but otherwise deserve a lot of applause.
Check out my top 10 list of concerts I saw for Parklife DC. (Click on the concert slugline to revisit the full review.)
Howard Jones performs at The Hamilton Live on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.
I didn’t see my first concert until I was an undergraduate at the University of Delaware in 1992, and that concert was a performance by Howard Jones! It was a busy time for Howard, who released a new album that year. As college kids, we were still consuming his last album, Cross That Line, which introduced two quintessential songs in Howard’s catalog — “The Prisoner” and “Everlasting Love,” both US top 40 hits.
So of course I was thrilled that Howard Jones performed both songs when he stopped at The Hamilton Live on Saturday, Sept. 3, continuing a mini-tour on the heels of wrapping up his summer travels with the Barenaked Ladies.
Stronger Sex perform at The Hamilton Live on Sept. 3, 2016.
The definition of fantastic? fan·tas·tic /fan’tastik/ [adj.] imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality.
Enter Johnny Fantastic, whose up-tempo electronic cabaret certainly fits his name — and in a good way. Let’s add to the mix Leah Gage (also of local band BRNDA), who stands beside Johnny on synthesizers and vocals, and you have a Fantastic Duo indeed in DC indie synth outfit Stronger Sex.
Ed Robertson and Jim Creeggan of Barenaked Ladies perform at Wolf Trap on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies hit the stage at Wolf Trap on Wednesday with an appropriate speculation:
“Maybe it would be cool/If I rocked it old school/Try to break a gold rule/And a sweat,” sang vocalist Ed Robertson in opening number “Testing 1, 2, 3” from the band’s 2003 album, Everything to Everyone. The refrain goes: “Testing 1, 2, 3, Can anybody hear me?” And the answer at the very full pavilion at Wolf Trap is a resounding yes!
Warmed up by openers Howard Jones and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, the roughly 7,000 people in Wolf Trap’s Filene Center were ready to party down with their favorite jangle-rock icons, who are sweeping the United States through July 24 on the strength of a new live album, BNL Rocks Red Rocks, released in February via Concord Records, in a show titled “Last Summer on Earth.”