Music Park: CRX @ U Street Music Hall — 11/16/16

CRX at U Street Music Hall, Washington, D.C. 11/16/16
Nick Valensi and CRX perform at U Street Music Hall on November 16, 2016. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)

If your live performance is under 35 minutes, you better bring it. Nick Valensi and his new band CRX made every single second count — and then some. They managed to accomplish a similar feat in less time with their debut album, “New Skin,” released October 28 via Columbia Records. Their U Street Music Hall appearance Wednesday, November 16, was part of a several-month tour promoting the record.

Under the cloak of darkness, the 6’4” guitarist stepped onstage with his four bandmates and together they erupted into the power-packed track “On Edge.” All the anticipation and hype suddenly made sense. Like the venerated ’90s Honda model everyone “in your neighborhood tried to steal,” this group of guys named after that sought-after vehicle was absolutely awesome. Their rapid-fire delivery was reminiscent of the Ramones in their heyday and the basement setting couldn’t be more fittingly “alternative.”

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Don’t Miss: CRX (Nick Valensi of The Strokes) @ U Street Music Hall, 11/16/16

CRX-main-color-photo-2-credit-Amanda-de-Cadenet
CRX (Photo by Amanda de Cadenet)

Nick Valensi of The Strokes has a new band CRX, and they dropped their debut album only a few short weeks ago. New Skin, released by Columbia, was produced by Josh Homme of Queens of The Stone Age (who also did some great work with Iggy Pop recently).

CRX are touring in support of the album, and they visit U Street Music Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 16. (That’s tomorrow!) Their sound definitely has echoes of garage rock of The Strokes, but it takes a life of its own as a sort of hard power pop.

Check it out for yourself, and watch the official music video for “Ways to Fake It” by CRX on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8Wq2mO5XyM]

With the band based in Los Angeles, Nick on vocals and guitar is joined by Ralph Alexander (drums), Richie Follin (guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Jon Safley (bass), and Darian Zahedi (guitar, backing vocals). The gents cite The Cars, Cheap Trick, and Elvis Costello as influences, according to Wikipedia. (I think you can certainly hear that!)

Streets of Laredo and The Gloomies open for CRX. Tickets are available online.

CRX
w/ Streets of Laredo and The Gloomies
U Street Music Hall
Wednesday, Nov. 16
Doors @7pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: Squeeze @ 9:30 Club — 10/11/16

Squeeze 20 Glenn Tilbrook performs with Squeeze at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Wow, how fresh and invigorating is the live music of Squeeze? I somehow had missed the band live in all of this time, given changes in the band’s membership over the past 40 years and various periods of hiatus, so I was not fully aware of just how powerful a band they remain in concert.

But I caught my first-ever Squeeze show at last at the 9:30 Club, where the latest iteration of the band sold out the night on Tuesday, Oct. 11 in short order. The crowd was practically bouncing off the walls in anticipation of a full Squeeze show, and boy did the band fulfill those expectations.

Founders Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are clever songwriters who know how to hook you, and once you revisit their catalog, you will find yourself drawn into a series of remarkable hits characterized by a compelling narratives and intricate melodies.

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Don’t Miss: Switchfoot @ The Fillmore Silver Spring, 10/26/16

Switchfoot
Switchfoot (Photo by Robbie Jeffers)

Over the summer, San Diego rock quintet Switchfoot returned with their 10th studio album, Where the Light Shines Through, via Vanguard Records. Like LeBron James dashing down the court to a basket, Switchfoot slam dunked that album into the Billboard charts, where it reached #3 on the Rock, Alternative and Overall Digital Albums charts and #10 on the Billboard Top 200.

Well, of course, that called for a tour, and to sweeten the pot, Switchfoot teamed up with Relient K to launch the “Looking for America” tour. That tour has been underway, and it is set to hit the Fillmore Silver Spring on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Watch the official music video for “Float,” the lead single from Where the Light Shines Through, by Switchfoot on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Euf3uk0QIaY]

Switchfoot have been remarkably consistent for the past 20 years, since its establishment by the brothers Jon and Tim Foreman. They are of course joined by Jerome Fontamillas (keys, guitar), Drew Shirley (guitar), and Chad Butler (drums), as they continue to produce uplifting power pop.

Switchfoot have found very appropriate tour partners in Relient K, who recently released their eighth record, Air for Free.

Tickets are available online.

Switchfoot
w/ Relient K
Fillmore Silver Spring
Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016
Doors @7pm
$33
All ages

Live Review: Midge Ure @ Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club — 10/4/16

Midge Ure  18
Midge Ure performs at Bethesda Blues and Jazz on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.

The magnificent Midge Ure brought passion and pathos to Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club on Tuesday, performing locally with a backing band for the first time in quite some time!

Early last year, Midge warmed our hearts in Bethesda on his Fragile Troubadour Tour, where he came only with an acoustic guitar in hand and songs in his heart. This time around, he was “Live and Electric” with the able assistance of drummer BC Taylor and guitarist Tony Solis, who also played keyboards.

Midge shined in a 75-minute set that covered highlights from his years as lead singer of Ultravox, as well as some of his solo hits and the ever-remarkable “Fade to Grey,” the famed UK #1 hit he wrote for his former band Visage. Midge’s voice soared with rich liveliness as he roared or whispered the words to the amazing, powerful songs that have become his signature.

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Ticket Giveaway: Teenage Fanclub @ 9:30 Club, 10/14/16

TeenageFanclub_Flyer

The Scottish quintet Teenage Fanclub return with their first new album in six years, and that album, Here, appeared on Sept. 9 via Merge Records.

Over at Merge, they sure like their power pop, and Teenage Fanclub is right at home on their roster. But singer Norman Blake certainly leads his band through their own sunny, jangly sound. Listening to Teenage Fanclub is like having a great conversation with an old friend: You may know where it’s going but you’ll enjoy the ride.

Teenage Fanclub are touring in support of their new album, and they visit the 9:30 Club on Friday, Oct. 14. Parklife DC is giving you a chance to go!

Watch Teenage Fanclub perform “Thin Air” from the new album for BBC Radio 6 Music on Sept. 13, 2016 on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33lc6CmgIEw]

Parklife DC is giving away a pair of tickets to see Teenage Fanclub. To win, simply leave a comment on this blog. You can leave any comment but perhaps tell us your favorite song by Teenage Fanclub.

For the rules of this giveaway–

Comments will be closed at 5pm on Friday, Oct. 7, and a winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email within 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner. We will email you instructions on claiming your ticket. Good luck!

If you don’t win, tickets also are available online!

Teenage Fanclub
w/ Skylar Gudasz
9:30 Club
Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
Doors @8pm
$25
All ages

Interview: Midge Ure (@Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, 10/4/16)

MIDGE URE
Midge Ure (Photo courtesy Erika Tooker)

Midge Ure may have famously sang, “This means nothing to me” in the Ultravox song “Vienna,” but don’t be fooled. The influential musician and humanitarian invests quite a lot of himself in his music and his causes, touring the world and arranging endeavors like Live Aid, Band Aid, and Live 8 concert festivals. After being away from the United States for a very long time, Midge has been returning regularly in recent years, performing material from his solo albums, from Ultravox, and from other projects.

Midge’s next US tour starts on Sept. 30 in Amityville, NY, and ends Oct. 15 in Atlanta. (Find tickets for Midge’s shows via Songkick.)

On this tour, Midge performs in the DC area on Oct. 4 at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club — the same venue he visited when he was last here in early 2015. Joining Midge in a three-piece band are drummer BC Taylor and keyboard player Tony Solis, both of whom will also play other instruments for this “Live and Electric” tour.

Parklife DC was honored to catch up with Midge to ask him about the tour and his other current projects as well as the future of Ultravox and meaning in a world without David Bowie.

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Music Park: EZTV @ Lincoln Theatre, 9/18/16

EZTV 02 EZTV perform at the Lincoln Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Ms. Jenny Lewis toured the 10th anniversary of her seminal album Rabbit Fur Coat recently and brought her friends EZTV along to open for her when she and The Watson Twins stopped at the Lincoln Theatre in DC on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18.

Frontman Ezra Tenenbaum played guitars alongside Shane O’Connell and Michael Stasiak as the trio delighted the very full room with some bright, jangly guitars. Maybe it was the influence of their headliner, but the Brooklyn power pop trio delivered a sunny set of songs that were overall a bit more folky than what might have been anticipated. That was more than fine by our audience, who were bopping and grooving along to EZTV’s easy-going vibes by the end of their show.

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Ticket Giveaway: Buzzcocks @ 9:30 Club, 9/28/16

Buzzcocks Buzzcocks (Photo by Leone Collinane)

Punk exploded in the United Kingdom in 1976, and nowhere was that more true than specifically on June 4, 1976, when the Sex Pistols played at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall. Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto — the two men who would form the Buzzcocks, Manchester’s most enduring punk band — organized that gig for the Sex Pistols.

In the film 24 Hour Party People, Factory Records impresario Tony Wilson, portrayed by the actor Steve Coogan, estimates that are 42 people in the room during a recreation of the show, and many of them went on to form monumental bands like Joy Division, The Fall, and even The Smiths.

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Music Park: Haley Bonar @ Black Cat — 9/14/16

Haley Bonar 01 Haley Bonar plays guitar at the Black Cat on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016.

Haley Bonar struck the perfect note from opening with new song “Hometown” in concert on Wednesday at the Black Cat. It’s sweet and melancholic yet peppy all at the same time. Her music will feel empowering to you but also haunting in ways that make you consider your past.

“Hometown goes wherever you go,” she warns with her signature cool Midwestern flavor, voicing the thought that your past follows you from place to place. In a similar manner, the past of Haley’s music follows it. The pep in her step comes from an embrace of synthesizers and other materials that build her folk and slowcore songs into power pop — an energizing move that suits her well.

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