Don’t Miss: Back to the 80s Show w/ Jessie’s Girl and Rob Base @ Howard Theatre, 10/16/15

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Jenna O’Gara of Jessie’s Girl killing it at the Canal Room in New York City (Photo by Manish Gosalia)

If there’s one thing my old friends know about me, it’s that I like an ’80s dance party. (Check out my Parklife DC list of 80s parties if you want some evidence!)

And that’s one reason why I absolutely must check out a performance by New York City’s biggest ’80s cover band, Jessie’s Girl, who are visiting DC to perform at the Howard Theatre in a late show tomorrow night, Friday, Oct. 16.

And they are bringing along with them Rob Base, the hip hop artist perhaps best known for the ’80s hit “It Takes Two” with the late DJ E-Z Rock. In concert with Jessie’s Girl, Rob Base has performed his signature songs “It Takes Two” and “Joy & Pain” (…are like sunshine and rain)!

Watch Jessie’s Girl get a little new wave with their cover of “Take on Me” by A-ha on YouTube:

And lest you make the mistake of thinking that Jessie’s Girl are heavy on flash and light on talent, watch this charming acoustic studio cover of “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper:

Tickets are available online. This is a great opportunity for all of us to see this fun cover band in our own backyard. See you there for a totally awesome time!

Back to the 80s
Jessie’s Girl
Special Performance by Rob Base
Howard Theatre
Friday, Oct. 16
Show @10pm
$20
21+

Music Park: Farao @ U Street Music Hall — 9/23/15

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Farao (Photo by Kristin Slotterøy)

On her debut album Till It’s All Forgotten, Farao sings the song “Bodies” in a haunting manner over layered instrumentation that sometimes sounds like a train gaining speed. Lyrically, the song about trust, or the lack thereof, in a relationship, and the churning music adds some punch to the words.

In live performance, the native Norwegian herself gravitates toward acoustic instruments, leaving her synths to a touring bandmate. The result is much less urgent, giving the lyrics more room to breathe. In so doing, Farao, born Kari Jahnsen, emphasizes the mesmerizing quality of her voice.

Farao treated a half-full room to such a delivery at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday night, touring in support of Till It’s All Forgotten, which was released earlier this month, as the opening act for UK punk trio The Cribs.

Watch Farao perform “Bodies” for Le Bruit des Graviers on Sept. 4, 2015:

On the album, another song — “Fragments” — starts out almost like a chiptune but then blossoms into layers of instruments and voice as Farao paces herself alongside the music. Singing in almost a hushed nursery rhyme style, she uses repetition of words to mirror what is happening instrumentally to pleasing effect. The song is about not being able to see the full picture with its refrain “If you don’t believe me, no one will.”

It’s also a song ready-made for performance as its appealing structure translates well to the stage.

Watch Farao play “Fragments” live at Træna Festival 2014, published July 16 2014:

Although Farao plays many different instruments, seeing her live is truly the best opportunity to listen to her voice, which she uses to good effect in concert.

Up until last night, Farao was touring at the opening act for The Cribs. Now, she has three more dates in the United States without them — tonight in Portsmouth, NH, and Tuesday in Los Angeles and Wednesday in San Francisco. She’s a worthy opener and well worth contemplating if she happens to perform solo.

Don’t Miss: Madonna @ Verizon Center, 9/12/15

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Madonna, still the woman of dreams (Photo by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott)

In the fall of 1983, I bought my very first cassette tape — Madonna’s self-titled debut album.

I had seen the once and future Material Girl on television, most remarkably while listening to her perfect garage disco videos on Night Flight, which then aired on USA Network.

While this may signify that I’m a man of a certain age, Madonna has remained interesting and relevant even as she celebrated her 57th birthday last month. Her latest album, Rebel Heart, manages to capture all of the things that we know and love about Madonna as signified with the new hits “Living for Love” and “Ghosttown” while also catching some modern dance zeitgeist in collaborations with Diplo on house pastiche of “Bitch I’m Madonna” or with Avicii on the reggae vibes of “Devil Pray.”

All the same, it’s a solid album that has begat another incredible tour, and that tour stops at the Verizon Center in DC tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 12. And although this show is tomorrow, it’s not too late to go! Tickets are still available.

Watch Madonna deliver an intimate performance of “Ghosttown” on “Le Grand Journal” on CANAL+ on March 3, 2015:

When Madonna last visited DC three years ago (also at the Verizon Center), I then wrote for the blog We Love DC: “She went through at least four different acts over two hours, which comes to an end with a totally giddy and exuberant celebration of all of the reasons the dance floor has loved her for so long.”

She tirelessly performed a career-spanning set, occasionally addressing the audience directly during moments of downtime and forging connections with her magnetic personality.

In addition to songs from the new album, setlist reports reveal Madonna has been performing an acoustic version of “True Blue” along with other significant songs from previous albums, including “Vogue,” “Like a Virgin,” “Who’s That Girl” and “Music.”

There are still good seats available in prime 100-section seats without paying resale prices. Don’t miss out!

Madonna
Verizon Center
Saturday, Sept. 12
Doors @7pm
$43-$358
All ages