Best of the Year: Top 10 Musical Moments of 2021 by Mark C.

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The Allman Betts Band performs at The Birchmere in June. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

2021 saw a gradual return to live music as venues and musicians did their best to return to “normalcy” and keep everybody safe. Things didn’t always go according to plan: People still got sick, tours were canceled or postponed, and attendance to indoor shows still sometimes lagged.

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Live Review: Oh He Dead @ 9:30 Club — 9/25/21

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Oh He Dead perform at 9:30 Club on Sept. 25, 2021. (Photos by Mark Caicedo)

“Poppy enough for ya…bitch?”

Those words, spoken in jest years ago between Oh He Dead’s CJ Johnson and Andy Valenti, actually signaled a dogged determination to never compromise on their dream. Saturday night, during their headlining 9:30 Club debut, the two Oh He Dead (OHD) founders related the story of demoing one of their new songs, only to be told that it wasn’t “pop” enough. That long ago, unnamed producer might be a little humbled to find that OHD has amassed an exhaustive repertoire of original and cover songs, has legions of fans around the world, and this past Saturday played to a packed 9:30 Club (only the first, no doubt, of many such appearances to come).

And judging by the crowd of swaying, dancing, and singing fans, not a single one would accuse OHD of not being “poppy” enough.

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Preview: Oh He Dead @ 9:30 Club, 9/25/21

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Oh He Dead (Photo courtesy 9:30 Club)

DC indie band Oh He Dead “recalls the danceability of Earth Wind and Fire, the pop genius of Prince, and the seductive, soulful groove of Sade,” said Parklife blogger Mark Caicedo in his last review of this funky quintet.

Experience that sound for yourself and catch Oh He Dead live at 9:30 Club on Saturday, Sept. 25.

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Best of the Year: Top 10 Musical Moments of 2020 by Mark C.

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The year started out typically enough. But the way it began and how it’s ending are startlingly different. By the end of March, so many plans and hopes were dashed that now, as we race toward 2020’s conclusion, many of us feel they may never be realized.

Like so many others in this Year of Covid, I’ve had a chance to reflect, reassess, and reset for the coming year, sorting out what is, and isn’t, important. I enjoy photographing people, whether it be portraiture, cultural documentation, or musical performance. As a photographer, I strive to become invisible and capture moments as they are, not as I or the subject, would like them to be. Although photographing live music has been challenging as of late, I’ve been afforded the luxury of time to go through my archives and, as a result, have made a belated but important discovery: the final image must also render the photographer invisible.

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Live Review: Oh He Dead @ Jammin’ Java — 7/3/2020

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Oh He Dead performs at Jammin’ Java on July 3, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

More than once it’s been said that, despite our differences, music’s greatest gift is its ability to break down barriers, bring people together, and unite us in common cause. In this age of pandemic lockdowns, economic uncertainty, and just plain fear of the future, that those in need, particularly struggling local musicians, would work to support causes larger than themselves, is a beautiful testament to the power of song.

Oh He Dead recently performed for a packed, but socially distanced, crowd as part of Jammin’ Java’s “A Song & A Slice: A Socially Distanced Outdoor Concert Series.”

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Preview: Oh He Dead @ Jammin’ Java, 7/3/20

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Oh He Dead performs in Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 25, 2020 (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Jammin’ Java’s Summerfest continues this Friday, July 3, with Oh He Dead. Originally founded as a duo in 2014 by Andy Valenti and CJ Johnson, the band now consists of five players: CJ on vocals and Andy on rhythm guitar with Alex Salser (lead guitar), John Daise (bass), and Adam Ashforth (drums). A healthy mix of classic R&B, funk, and folk, the Washington Post calls Oh He Dead’s music an “infectious and soulful sound.”

The show is currently sold out, but read on to see what you can expect if you’re going!

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Livestream Preview: Oh He Dead @ Jammy Jamz, 4/7 + 4/10/20

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Oh He Dead (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

DC’s own Oh He Dead is getting in on the streaming game… with a twist!

CJ and Andy will perform in their jammys. Folks watching are asked to post a pic of themselves in their nighttime attire to their Instagram story, and tag @Ohhedead and #JammyJamz.

Oh He Dead streams the Jammy Jamz via Facebook Live on Tuesday, April 7, and Friday, April 10.

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Don’t Miss: Biscuit Jam @ Industrious Ivy City Warehouse, 8/6/17

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Biscuits! (Photo by Lucas Richarz)

Hey there’s a great way to spend your day this Saturday that involves eating biscuits, listening to music, and generally just having a great time.

Go to Biscuit Jam, presented by the Mason Dixie Biscuit Co., in Ivy City for all of this and more! Mason Dixie is throwing the big biscuit bash to celebrate its second year, and you are invited!

Come out to celebrate at Biscuit Jam and dance the day away with these bands on Saturday, August 6:

  • Jonny Grave & The Tombstones
  • The Bumper Jacksons
  • Justin Trawick & The Common Good
  • Oh He Dead
  • Jahnel Daliya
  • Brian Farrow & What Got Over
  • Ampersand Stringband

One Love Massive will present live graffiti, 3-D expositions, and art installations. Food providers other than Mason Dixie include Amavi Sweets, Arepa Zone, Black Pearl Tarts, BBQ Bus, The Big Cheese Truc, Capitol Kettle Corn, Capital Candy Jar, Confluence Coffee, DC Brau, Dorpare Tea, Gouter, Ivy City Smokehouse, Krave Jerky, Milk Cult, Momme Meals, PinUp Preserves, Popcorn Queens, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Singer’s Significant Meats, Southern Efficiency, The Ugly Mug, and more.

Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. specializes in made-to-order gourmet biscuit sandwiches, platters, and spreads. Founded in 2014, the Kickstarter-funded and Launch Pad winning company has since been operating with much acclaim out of pop-ups around the city, through app-based delivery services UberEATS and Caviar, and a location at Union Market. The brand recently released their signature line of ready-to-bake biscuits across Whole Foods Markets Mid-Atlantic, as well as local groceries across the DC metro area.

Biscuit Jam is sponsored by The Washington Blade, DC Brau Brewing Co., Lyft, Coldwell Banker and Thomas Burns Realtor, and Bicycle Space.

Tickets are available online! Packages include general admission, beer and wine tickets, and an open bar VIP package experience.

Biscuit Jam
Industrious Ivy City Warehouse
1900 Kendal St. NE, DC
Saturday, August 6
12-10:30pm
$0-$125
All ages
21+ to drink