Music Park: Moogfest 2016 Pt. 1 (of 3) (Durham, NC) — 5/19/16

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Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange performs at Motorco Park in Durham, NC, on Thursday, May 19.

As I disembarked a shuttle to downtown Durham outside The Carolina Theatre, the sounds of a protest against North Carolina’s House Bill 2 greeted me last Thursday. A group on the corner shouted out against a new law they saw as discriminatory against sexual identity.

As I peered up and down the street, a growing yet small southern city unfolded before me. I wasn’t in DC any longer.

Moogfest, the premier music festival dedicated to the synthesizer, moved across North Carolina to a new home in Durham this year for four days of performances, classes, talks, and exhibits over May 19-22, 2016, and it drew me there largely to cover many of its concert performances. But it’s impossible to ignore the time and place of such a festival, particularly when the Moogfest organizers themselves protested the passage of HB 2 and particularly when the attendees for the “festival of the future” are as diverse as those descending upon Durham.

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Music Park: VinoFest Wine and Music Festival 2016 @ Yards Park — 5/7/16

Vinofest 21 Jon Batiste leads Stay Human in a march across Yards Park during VinoFest on Saturday, May 7, 2016.

Jon Batiste saw an opportunity, and he took it.

The natural-born band leader leapt from the stage and onto the field at VinoFest 2016, after he and his band Stay Human performed a full set of originals and classics. And they began to jam out in a spot first at stage right, but then they took advantage of the layout of the space around them.

Winding around the stage and between pavilions serving wine tastings, Jon Batiste and Stay Human led a merry parade across the field and back again, playing music all along.

For those who know Jon and Stay Human, this comes as no surprise as the band are famous for their “love riots” where they take their show to the streets or even the subways. All the same, the audience at VinoFest were delighted and enthusiastic at the prospect of interacting with Jon as he played his famous melodica and the band kept pace, playing right alongside him, in a little whirlwind of zippy musical activity.

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Ticket Giveaway: VinoFest @ Yards Park, 5/7/16

Jonathan Batiste and Stay Human
Jon Batiste and Stay Human (Photo courtesy VinoFest)

VinoFest, the DC metro’s top festival for bringing together music and wine, returns for a third year this Saturday, May 7, from 3-10pm at Yards Park. And you have a chance to win a pair of tickets to go with Parklife DC!

VinoFest DC Wine and Music Festival has been at a different location each year so far, first at Union Market, then at Storey Park, but its new home in the attractive and well-maintained Yards Park is the best location for the festival yet! Yards Park is big, clean, and easily accessible by public transportation.

The 2016 edition of VinoFest also features its most ambitious music lineup to date, with the likes of The Original Wailers, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, and Trouble Funk, among others, providing the festival’s entertainment! And of course, guests enjoy eight 2-ounce wine tastings from a selection of 20+ vineyards with their admission.

Here is the full VinoFest music lineup:

  • Jon Batiste and Stay Human
  • The Original Wailers
  • Trouble Funk
  • Paperhaus
  • Tigers are Bad for Horses
  • Anastasia Antoinette

You can buy tickets online, but Parklife DC is giving you a chance to win a pair of general admission tickets right now!

For your chance to win these tickets, simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between now and 5pm on Wednesday, May 4. Feel free to leave any comment, but perhaps share your favorite song from the festival musicians! One entry per email address, please. Tickets for VinoFest are also available online.

For the rules of this giveaway…

Comments will close on Wednesday, May 4, at 5pm, and we will randomly select a winner. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email within 24 hours, or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner.

Tickets will be available to the winner at the check-in desk at VinoFest 2016. The tickets must be claimed with a valid ID. The winner must be old enough to drink (21+ years of age as of Friday, May 6). You can see the full list of wine offerings on the VinoFest Eventbrite page.

Good luck!

VinoFest
Yards Park
Saturday, May 7
3-10pm
General admission $55
VIP $99
21+

Music Park: Tortoise @ Black Cat — 3/19/16

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John McEntire of Tortoise plays the drums at Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., on March 14, 2016. (Photo by Greg Scranton)

Tortoise held sway over the attention of a very crowded room at the Black Cat Saturday night, engrossing the audience in waves of progressive jazz and post-rock melodies.

Seriously, for a show that wasn’t technically “sold out,” the Tortoise concert was among the most full I’ve experienced on the mainstage of the Black Cat, which has been proud to be the DC home to Tortoise since the Chicago-based quintet started coming around in the days of the Cat’s original location.

Promoting their new album The Catastrophist, Tortoise delivered a long and winding set that drew heavily from the latest record, technically their seventh studio full-length although the band has released other recordings of live performances and special projects since its formation in 1990.

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Don’t Miss: Tortoise @ Black Cat, 3/19/16

Tortoise by Andrew Paynter
Tortoise (Photo by Andrew Paynter)

Post-rock quintet Tortoise released a new album, “The Catastrophist,” in January via Thrill Jockey Records, and they are returning to the Black Cat while on tour to support it this Saturday, March 19.

Tortoise have played the Black Cat a few times over the years since their formation in 1990. The band largely has specialized in instrumental numbers, and the new album is no different. However, on “The Catastrophist,” they recruited Georgia Hubley from Yo La Tengo on vocals for a soulful, dreamy single “Yonder Blue.”

Watch the official music video for “Yonder Blue” by Tortoise on YouTube:

“The Catastrophist,” the seventh studio album from Tortoise, garnered generally favorable reviews, according to Metacritic. Heather Phares of AllMusic distilled the essence of the album: “Fittingly, the title track has some of the closest ties to the album’s beginnings, holding together shifts between knotty, busy electro-funk and the kind of brooding post-rock Tortoise helped define in the ’90s with nimble drumming indebted to jazz.” John McEntire, also known for his drumming with The Sea and Cake, again engineers the album. It seems like a good time to catch the gents in action!

Mind Over Mirrors, a meditative music project by Chicago musician Jaime Fennelly, opens for Tortoise. Tickets are available online.

Tortoise
w/ Mind Over Mirrors
Black Cat
Saturday, March 19
Doors @9pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: Ed Schrader’s Music Beat @ 9:30 Club — 12/10/15

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Ed Schrader and Devlin Rice of Ed Schrader’s Music Beat (Photo courtesy Infinity Cat Recordings)

Ed Schrader was switched on.

“I wanna give it up for Stoli,” he proclaimed at the 9:30 Club Thursday night, raising his glass. He pauses for a beat. “Oh, I mean Crystal Geyser.”

As he continued to have fun with things he’s “not supposed to do,” he flipped off his shirt, noting he was stopped from doing so in Texas, and introduced “a song about joining the military.”

Ed Schrader and his partner in crime Devlin Rice form Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, and the band were in DC to open for hometown heroes Ex Hex. With the lively pace of a human metronome, Ed dove into his songs with gusto, playing 90 second bursts of punk songs that were distinguished by their surprisingly engaging rhythms.

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Music Park: Parov Stelar @ 9:30 Club — 11/4/15

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Parov Stelar (Photo by Stefan Sappert)

Once the exotic and kinetic Cleo Panther stepped on stage to add vocal to the jazz meets electroswing meets house beats of Parov Stelar, the audience knew full well they were in for a sophisticated if unusual show for our city.

From the first song, the Parov Stelar Band brought some remarkably fresh energy — and I daresay ideas — to the 9:30 Club in their debut US performance as a full band. And the nearly sold-out crowd welcomed them with open arms. The audience clearly was full of people who knew their modern swing superband but rarely got the opportunity to see them perform live, as they are a European phenomenon not as well known in the United States.

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