Live Review: Hozier @ The Anthem — 11/18/19

Hozier Hozier performs at The Anthem on Nov. 18, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)

Something happens in the mind when music washes over us, replete with that familiar sense of a life lived — of politics, of being a human, a lover, part of a family — balanced with the urge to dance and lose ourselves, if only for a moment. It feels like something real and honest, yet still somehow something almost frivolous.

I am reminded well of something Hozier’s music has long done — it treads the tenuous line between the sacred and the profane. The crowd singing along, and if I close my eyes, I can smell the scent of incense, see the stained-glass smiles of saints. Is this so different? Are the people on the rails not worthy of sainthood? Aren’t we all, in our ways, very nearly worthy? At the very least, do the sacrifices demanded of so many not reach into martyrdom? Not so much in the theistic sense, but the realistic one.

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Live Review: God Is an Astronaut @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 9/14/19

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God Is an Astronaut performs at Rock and Roll Hotel on Sept. 14, 2019. (Photo by Marc Caicedo)

“Buying records cheers me up…whenever I feel low, I buy some new records.” Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz

The ability of music to lift us from pain born of tragedy is one of its enduring qualities. Recently, God Is an Astronaut (GIAA) showed us how despair and grief can be relieved — if only temporarily — with soaring melodies, a huge backbeat, and the sort of musical intimacy between player and listener that gives solace at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

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Live Review: Fontaines DC @ U Street Music Hall — 9/11/19

FontainesDC56 Fontaines DC performs at U Street Music Hall on Sept. 11, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Stage performance defines a band — eager audiences arrive at a concert to determine if your songs are meant to be delivered live. In the case of young Irish band Fontaines D.C., the answer is a resounding yes, as seen in a sold-out show at U Street Music Hall recently, where the band dominated with pacing, presence, and something to say (which is best heard live).

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Live Review: Glen Hansard @ Lincoln Theatre — 6/3/19

GlenH27 Glen Hansard performs at the Lincoln Theatre on June 3, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)

When I listen to Glen Hansard’s music — especially songs from the new album, This Wild Willing — I can picture a man who has two feet planted firmly in the past but is stretching out across this temporal divide to grasp the future. His music often straddles the line separating old folk tradition and modern tones and feeling.

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Live Review: Fontaines D.C. @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 5/11/19

FontainesRNR12 Fontaines D.C. is a force at the Rock and Roll Hotel on May 11, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)

Fontaines D.C., the Dublin-based (the D.C. in the name reflects Dublin City) band melds poetry and punk — a sense of immediacy with hooks that are hard to shake. Grian Chatten, frontman of the group, sang/spoke in what can feel like a conversation and a call to arms in the same breath at the Rock and Roll Hotel recently. 

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