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

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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.

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Music Park: Pete Yorn @ Howard Theatre — 9/26/18

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Pete Yorn performs at the Howard Theatre on Sept. 26, 2018. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

From the moment he walked out into the darkened stage and the lights slowly came up, Pete Yorn had the audience in the palm of his hand. With just a guitar, harmonica, his distinctive voice, and two dozen songs, Pete delivered a satisfying and heartfelt show at the Howard Theatre recently.

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Don’t Miss: Nicole Atkins @ Wolf Trap, 8/18/18

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Nicole Atkins (Photo courtesy Girlie Action)

Nicole Atkins released Goodnight Rhonda Lee, her fourth full-length album, via Single Lock Records last year. She’s been touring a lot, and next she comes to Wolf Trap on Saturday, Aug. 18, to open The Avett Brothers. The show is sold out, but arrive early to catch Nicole if you’re going!

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Music Park: Retro Futura Tour (Part 1 of 2) w/ Limahl, Tony Lewis, Modern English @ Bergen Performing Arts Center — 7/14/18

ModernEnglish14 Modern English performs during the Retro Futura Tour on July 14, 2018. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

The Retro Futura Tour regularly brings together popular artists from the ‘80s for a circuit through the United States, although it has skipped the DC area in recent years. Nevertheless, the tour got off to a great start last week and then visited Englewood, New Jersey, for a performance at the Bergen Performing Arts Center on Saturday with a terrific roster of talented folks — Limahl, Tony Lewis of The Outfield, Modern English, Belinda Carlisle, and ABC starring Martin Fry.

Parklife DC was there for the concert, and below we share our reflections on Limahl, Tony Lewis, and Modern English. Check back tomorrow for our review of Belinda Carlisle and ABC.

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Snapshots: Gaslight Anthem @ 9:30 Club — 5/27/18

Gaslight Anthem @ 930 Club, Washington DC, 05/27/2018
The Gaslight Anthem perform at 9:30 Club on May 27, 2018. (Photo by Paivi)

The Gaslight Anthem is going all out in celebration of the 10th anniversary their seminal album, The ’59 Sound. The gents will release The ’59 Sound sessions, a companion to their classic album with nine rare unreleased songs and a 60-page booklet on June 15 via via SideOneDummy Records on June 15.

Along the way, the Gaslight Anthem are performing shows in celebration of the album as well, including two sold-out nights at 9:30 Club. Paivi was there to shoot the first of the two on Sunday, May 27.

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