Don’t Miss: Metric (Opening for Imagine Dragons) @ Verizon Center, 7/6/15

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Metric (Photo by Norman Wong)

Imagine Dragons perform at the Verizon Center tonight, Monday, July 6, and just as exciting is that the Vegas quartet are bringing along Toronto quartet Metric — in all of their Canadian new wave glory.

Metric have scheduled their sixth studio album, Pagans in Vegas, for release on Sept. 18, and last month they began a tour as openers for Imagine Dragons to expose audiences to the new material. How appropriate that the blokes from Vegas are helping Metric to promote their Vegas-referencing album!

Vocalist Emily Haines has said the album draws heavily from primary Metric influences Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Underworld. Metric has released two singles from the album so far — “The Shade” in May and “Cascades” in June — and the increased focus on synthesizers is evident from those two tracks alone.

While the music sounds even more electronic, Emily’s sweet voice definitely give the songs a sense of continuity between the new tracks and Metric’s bigger guitar-driven numbers.

Listen to “Cascades” on YouTube (with a minimalistically animated video):

If “Cascades” is representative of the rest of the album, this will be an amazing albeit different record for Metric. And all the more amazing undoubtedly will be the live show tonight. So show up early and don’t miss Metric!

Astralwerks’ recording artist Halsey kicks off the show as first opener, and she’s scheduled to go on at 7:30pm. Metric will follow, and then Imagine Dragons. Synchronize your watches!

Tickets are available online and at the box office.

Metric
opening for Imagine Dragons
Verizon Center
Today, Monday, July 6
Doors @6:30pm
Show @7:30pm
$29.50-$69.50
All ages

Music Park: Men Without Hats @ World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, Pa. — 6/15/15

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Ivan Doroschuk leads Men Without Hats during a performance at NXNE 2011.

The audience got the message and the message was clear in Philadelphia on Monday, June 15: Men Without Hats are still great.

Vocalist Ivan Doroschuk was in fighting trim at the World Cafe Live as he paraded through his band’s greatest hits as well as selections off a 2012 album, Love in the Age of War, recorded with his relatively new bandmates.

Knowing that the crowd would enjoy a good thing when it heard it, Ivan opened this show with a stripped down, ballad version of “Safety Dance,” which brought surprising poignancy to the old favorite.

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Don’t Miss: Men Without Hats + China Crisis @ World Café Live, Philadelphia, Pa., 6/15/15

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The new-look Men Without Hats, with iconic frontman Ivan Doroschuk (Photo courtesy Cobraside)

We at ParklifeDC like to do our bit to cover the waterfront as far as bands performing in our fair city.

But sometimes, we just have to get out of town to see some old favorites, you know?

And so it is that on Monday, June 15, we are at the World Café Live in Philadelphia, Pa., for the amazing Men Without Hats, featuring iconic frontman Ivan Doroschuk in what is certain to be an entertaining performance.

About five years ago, Ian recruited a new backing band, and they released a terrific new album in 2012, Love in the Age of War, produced by Dave Ogilvie, who also has famously produced for the likes of Nine Inch Nails and engineered for Carly Rae Jepsen on “Call Me Maybe.”

How satisfying then that Men Without Hats fall squarely between the two – poppy, upbeat and wholly synthy.

I saw the new-look Men Without Hats at the State Theatre on Nov. 29, 2012, and “the new lineup sounded amazing with James Love on guitar and duo synthesizers played by Lou Dawson and Rachel Ashmore — a killer duo with impressive synth skills,” I reported on We Love DC at the time.

I added: But part of the appeal of Men Without Hats is that the songs only fans could name are really terrific songs — songs like “I Like,” “Living in China,” and “Where Do The Boys Go?” The first two appeared along with “The Safety Dance” on the Men Without Hats debut album, Rhythm of Youth in 1982 and still sound sharp today.

Philadelphia, Men Without Hats are worth your time tonight. Because, as the saying goes, we can dance if we want to, and we can leave your friends behind. Everyone wants to “Safety Dance,” and Men Without Hats are certain to fulfill that desire.

Watch the very famous video for “Safety Dance”:

Men Without Hats appear with New Romantic Brits China Crisis. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Men Without Hats + China Crisis
World Café Live
3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Monday, June 15
Doors @7pm; Show @8pm
$16-23
All ages

Music Park: The Wombats @ 9:30 Club — 4/30/15

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Matthew Murphy of The Wombats performs at the 02 Academy in Oxford, England on April 15, 2015.

“We have a roadie named Grossman,” said Matthew Murphy, the lead singer of The Wombats. “He eats four chocolate muffins a day.

“He’s the only man who can eat four chocolate muffins a day and still get thinner!” Matthew declared.

The audience caught and ran with the irreverent banter about Mr. Grossman during the sold-out show at the 9:30 Club on Thursday evening. At various points throughout the evening, they would shout, “Grossman!” — both spontaneously at the beginning of a song or at the behest of the lead vocalist.

“Actually, Grossman isn’t even his real name,” Matthew said later. “We keep calling him that in hopes that it will stick — like Reek in Game of Thrones.”

Erudite and entertaining, Matthew had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand as he led his band through a merry romp of songs from the three albums by The Wombats to date, including the latest Glitterbug, released last month. The new songs were very well received, and much of the audience already knew the words to quite a few of the songs.

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Music Park: Spandau Ballet @ 9:30 Club — 4/28/15

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Tony Hadley sings in New York City on May 2, 2015.

Wow, Spandau!

Golden-voiced Tony Hadley jumped to the stage of the 9:30 Club Tuesday night and nailed the lyrics of more than two dozen amazing songs by his band Spandau Ballet into the collective consciousness of everyone within earshot.

In the process, Tony and his bandmates *almost* had more fun than the audience at the very so nearly sold-out show. And they most certainly made certain that after a decades-long absence from the United States that they would not be forgotten here generally or in DC specifically any time soon.

Buoyed by the confidence of a band in the thick of strong friendships and camaraderie and confident in a catalog of songs unmatched in their strength and appeal, Spandau Ballet stormed the 9:30 Club with soulful new wave tunes that left men and women aged 20 to 50 screaming for more.

Spandau Ballet weren’t just good — they were superb.

Tony hit the right note immediately with new song “Soul Boy,” also the title track of a new documentary Soul Boys of the Western World, about the band, premiering tonight, April 29, at the IFC Center in Manhattan with the band’s participation. During the song, the audience gets its first taste of the indefatigable Steve Norman on saxophone.

Steve is everywhere — almost always with his trademark sax in one hand — appearing on bongos in one song, slinging a guitar in another and trading his sax for an oboe in a big finale. The man is a one-man band, and perhaps the strongest player in Spandau Ballet if not the entire history of rock and roll. (If that sounds like glib hyperbole, I dare you to watch him in action and then challenge me on that statement.)

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Music Park: Martha Davis and The Motels w/ Greg Hawkes @ The Hamilton Live — 4/21/15

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Martha Davis of The Motels

The song “Party Professionals” moves with a little bit of a faster cadence than the typical number by Martha Davis and The Motels, but otherwise it captures a lot of the essence of the band.

Ms. Davis sashays onto the stage and breaks into its celebratory lyrics, which include refrains like, “And we will dance/’Til the dawn’s early light/And I will drink to you/And you to I.”

In a musical interlude, Marty Jourard, the band’s other remaining original member, takes to the saxophone for an extended solo that leaves the audience feeling quite romantically wistful during a performance of the song, which opened a show at The Hamilton Live in DC on Tuesday night.

Marty has a penchant for writing sad, romantic songs like “Take the L,” from the band’s third album “All Four One,” which comes up later in the set. “Take the L” is representative of the kind of wordplay for which both Marty and Martha have an affinity as she croons, “Take the L out of ‘lover’ and it’s ‘ooooooover.’”

And of course nostalgia for lost love is a regular visitor to the lyrics of The Motels, whose signature songs include “Suddenly Last Summer” (which they hit early in the show) and “Only the Lonely” (which appeared in the encore), both written by Martha. The Motels hit perfect notes of sophistipop in these numbers, effortlessly blending calypso, blues, rock, jazz and new wave (certainly a genre that initially gave Martha a lot of inspiration when starting out).

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