Live Review: Carsie Blanton w/ Lilli Lewis @ The Birchmere — 5/11/22

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Carsie Blanton (Photo courtesy Fleming Artists)

Carsie Blanton grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, and she came to The Birchmere many times as a teenager. Since becoming a professional musician, she’s played the venue several times in an opening slot, beginning with a performance with the late Leon Redbone. Carise recently headlined the historic Northern Virginia venue for the first time.

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Live Review: PEARS @ Pie Shop — 4/23/22

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PEARS (Photo courtesy Fat Wreck Chords)

“Well, this is a blasty blast.”

For the past couple rotations around the Sun, that thing got in the way of live music for me. It had been over two years since I had seen a band perform in the flesh…to be more specific, 773 days have come and gone since I saw Dead Kennedys rock the shit out of 9:30 Club. So I don’t need to tell you just how goddam excited I was that one of my favorite Fat Wreck Chords bands, PEARS, was gonna be playing at one of my favorite (and crustiest) venues the District has to offer, the Pie Shop.

Not to paint too crass a picture, but like, we’re talking full-on, pre-pubescent hormones excitement level. And boy oh boy, PEARS did not disappoint.

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Live Review: Tank and the Bangas @ 9:30 Club — 3/21/22

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Tarriona “Tank” Ball leads Tank and the Bangas in a performance at 9:30 Club on March 21, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

It takes an extraordinary relationship between a group of musicians — colleagues or friends who inevitably become tight-knit like family — in order to produce and sustain some of the most cutting-edge sounds coming off any stage.

The glorious result of a durable and flourishing dynamic between the large number of members in this propulsive funk-soul-hip-hop-poetry vehicle, Tank and the Bangas has thrived through the pandemic thanks largely in part to the groundwork laid before it — and the proof was on display at 9:30 Club recently.

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Live Review: David Shaw @ Union Stage — 12/18/21

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David Shaw brings the heat to the Union Stage on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. (Photo by David LaMason)

In the nearly two years of no live music, the act of witnessing someone who has a mastery of the stage puts everything into perspective. The importance of live music and the strength of what an artist can make you feel in that moment which makes what could be lost all the more tangible. Watching David Shaw, singer for the band The Revivalists, performing the final show of his debut solo album release at the Union Stage Saturday night I couldn’t help but think how vital live music is to -– if anything -– the emotional strength of so many.

Produced by Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys, Solange, Valerie June, St Paul and the Broken Bones), Shaw’s self-titled debut is filled with personal songs but ones that can make you move. And on a chilly Saturday night, David Shaw and his band did just that — got things moving — at Union Stage in DC.

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Preview: David Shaw (Of The Revivalists) @ Union Stage, 12/18/21

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David Shaw (Photo by Alysse Gafkjen)

The Revivalists frontman David Shaw stops at Union Stage on Saturday, Dec. 18, to perform songs from his new solo album!

Earlier this year, David released his debut self-titled solo album, available via his own imprint Yokoko Records in partnership with C3 Records, and it’s “full of songs that tell stories with a full heart and a dance-able beat,” said NPR World Café.

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Live Review: Tab Benoit @ The Birchmere — 10/21/21

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Tab Benoit (Photo by Jerry Moran)

“I consider myself a live artist, not a recording artist,” the Louisiana blues guitarist told the audience at The Birchmere last week. A native of Baton Rouge currently residing outside of New Orleans, Benoit’s playing has earned well-deserved comparisons to iconic virtuosos like Albert King and Albert Collins. A member of his home state’s Cajun community, Benoit is one the foremost exponents of the style known as “swamp blues.”

To understand what I mean by “swamp blues,” I want to take a step back for a moment and talk about the blues more generally. If you’re not particularly familiar with this kind of music, you may have the misconception that the blues is monolithic, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The genre’s history stretches further back than we have recorded music, to a time when the only music people would hear is the music that they heard played live. The music that people heard live was determined by where they lived; music was distinctly regional in that era.

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