Snapshots: Parklife DC More Best Pictures of 2016

Savages @ 930 Club 26 Savages at 9:30 Club on March 27, 2016 (See the full blog)

As we wrap up 2016 here at Parklife DC, we looked back on our best concert photos of the year, where reviewed our 10 (actually 11) favorite photos on our blog.

But while Paivi and Kristie considerably brightened up our blog with their pictures, Theresa C. Sanchez and myself also have been out there photographing some concerts. So now we are rounding up the best of the rest to present some cool photos that Theresa and I captured over the year as well.

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Music Park: Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2016 by Mickey

CHVRCHES 008 Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches sings at Echostage on Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

I’ll confess that I’m a man whose taste in music is readily apparent. If you have new wave tunes to play, particularly from 1976-86, I’m going to show up and listen to them. That said, a number of incredible legacy new wave bands happened to travel through the DC metro area over the past year, and I took the opportunity to review them for our humble blog.

That said, a number of younger bands definitely broke through and seized my attention, most notably Canada’s Operators, who were the most exciting new band I’ve seen in some time. As with Operators, many of the best performances I witnessed in 2016 came from bands whose leaders are among the Masters of Synthpop, and so I have dedicated a postscript of really great synthpop shows that may have “missed” the top 10 but otherwise deserve a lot of applause.

Check out my top 10 list of concerts I saw for Parklife DC. (Click on the concert slugline to revisit the full review.)

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Music Park: Pet Shop Boys @ Warner Theatre — 11/11/16

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Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys makes his entrance at the Warner Theatre on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

The Pet Shop Boys have a terrific new album, and they toured it in style at the Warner Theatre on Friday.

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe brought the songs from SUPER to DC as part of a talented five-piece band that relied heavily on fine musicianship over stage trappings. In previous tours, the Pet Shop Boys presented us with some dazzling stagecraft and dancers. But this time around, their focus was more toward singing some great songs and playing some great synths accompanied by some costume changes and an admittedly spectacular lightshow.

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Don’t Miss: Pet Shop Boys @ Warner Theatre, 11/11/16

Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys at the first night of four sold-out shows at London’s Royal Opera House on July 20, 2016. (Photo by Ken McKay)

The ever-fabulous Pet Shop Boys have been feeling particularly creative lately, releasing a series of very very good albums.

Neal Tennant and Chris Lowe always have been somewhat restless musicians, setting high marks for their disco-oriented synthpop. Their recent work with producer Stuart Price, pop king of modern disco producers, really has raised the bar, however, particularly with their latest and 13th album Super, published in April via their own x2 label.

Pet Shop Boys launched a US tour in support of the new album in Las Vegas last month, and the tour arrives in DC on Friday, Nov. 11 in a sold-out show at the Warner Theatre. (Resale tickets are available for DC, and a few tickets remain for surrounding dates in New Jersey, New York, and elsewhere.)

Like the very best of the Pet Shop Boys’ catalog, Super is stuffed full of cheeky observations on society as well as substantive ruminations on who we are — all set to extremely appealing disco and house beats. Super opens with the outstanding “Happiness,” an addictive house composition that carries a great deal of weight with its minimalism without at all leaving us empty.

“Twenty-something” is one of those tracks full of cheeky observations, assessing the cockiness of youth. The lyrics of the song are offset by a cinematic video that depicts an unfortunate young man in San Diego caught in an unforgiving cycle of life as a criminal.

Watch the official music video for “Twenty-something” by the Pet Shop Boys on YouTube:

The new PSB songs sit very well beside older numbers while seeming like a sharpening of the vision displayed on some of the duo’s ’90s material like the Nightlife album, while improving upon it immensely.

Parklife DC is so excited about this show, that we dedicated our monthly new wave party, Careless Memories (which happens second Thursdays at Dodge City!) to the inimitable Pet Shop Boys. This is going to be a great show.

The show is sold out, but resale tickets may be available!

Pet Shop Boys
Warner Theater
Friday, Nov. 11.
Show @8pm
Sold out
All ages

Around Town: Careless Memories @ Dodge City, 10/13/16

PET SHOP BOYS | 13.05.2013
Neil Tennant at Movistar Arena on May 13, 2013. (Photo by Claudio Poblete)

Whether you’re dressed up or dressed down, you’ll find a comfortable place to land and have a drink at Dodge City this Thursday. And if you happen to like the synthpop disco stylings of the Pet Shop Boys, all the better, as Careless Memories: A New Wave Party will toast the English duo and their long career with a DJ set dedicated to Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, along with their peers and contemporaries, on Thursday evening!

The Pet Shop Boys arrive in DC on Veteran’s Day next month to perform at Warner Theatre, and while that show is sold out, you can still celebrate the pending arrival of the Pet Shop Boys with Parklife DC at Dodge City tomorrow, Oct. 13.

We will play selections from the very first Pet Shop Boys album, the groundbreaking Please, and all the way to their latest, the stupendous Super. Along the way, we’ll add other groups that cross the new wave, house, and disco lines like the Pet Shop Boys.

Get in the mood with the memorable music video for “Always on My Mind,” a popular cover by the Pet Shop Boys on YouTube:

In our opinion, noted British actor Joss Ackland really makes that video.

Anyway, you’re formally invited to join us for a night of very literate disco and the likes of the Pet Shop Boys, The Human League, ABC, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Marc Almond, New Order, the Associates, Saint Etienne, Giorgio Moroder, Bronski Beat (*and* The Communards), Wham!, and probably quite a bit of various projects by Vince Clarke. Oh, and some David Bowie.

You can RSVP on Facebook or simply show up — admission is free!

A Toast to the Pet Shop Boys
Careless Memories: New Wave Party
Dodge City
Thursday, Oct. 13
Show @8pm
Free admission
21+

Don’t Miss: Careless Memories @ Dodge City, 10/13/16

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The Pet Shop Boys recently released a new album, Super — and it lives up to its name! Thanks in part to some catchy synths and some keen insights from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe but also thanks to the golden touch of superproducer Stuart Price (that man knows his stuff!).

As you may know, the Pet Shop Boys will visit DC to perform at the Warner Theater on Nov. 11… and the show is super sold-out. Well, we cannot help you with that. But we can toast the arrival of the Pet Shop Boys with a special edition of our Careless Memories: A New Wave Party.

Join Parklife DC on Thursday, Oct. 13 at Dodge City for a Toast to the Pet Shop Boys to celebrate the hits of the Pet Shop Boys and to hear some of that new album as well. While we’re at it, we will use the Pet Shop Boys as a reference point to explore the intersections of new wave, disco, house, techno, and more! (Okay, we won’t have a lot of techno per se, but you’ll be surprised how some of our wave artists lean into techno on occasion, no?)

Enjoy the classic music video for “Opportunities” by the Pet Shop Boys on YouTube:

Be prepared for a night of listening to the Pet Shop Boys, The Human League, ABC, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Marc Almond, New Order, the Associates, Saint Etienne, Giorgio Moroder, Bronski Beat (*and* The Communards), Wham!, and probably quite a bit of various projects by Vince Clarke. Oh, and some David Bowie. It’s a night of very literate disco!

You can RSVP on Facebook or simply show up — admission is free!

A Toast to the Pet Shop Boys
Careless Memories: New Wave Party
Dodge City
Thursday, Oct. 13
Show @8pm
Free admission
21+