Music Park: The Go-Go’s @ Warner Theatre — 8/5/16

Go-Go's 01 Belinda Carlisle sings at The Go-Go’s concert at the Warner Theater on August 5, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

“We’re going to play a few songs from a time before the producers got a hold of us,” said Belinda Carlisle to the audience at the Warner Theatre on Friday.

It was a favorite moment in a concert that was honestly a string of favorite moments. With that pronouncement, The Go-Go’s launched into the fiery punk “Screaming,” which they dutifully followed up with “Fun with Ropes,” a song about a little bit of innocuous if kinky fun. The two songs appeared in live versions previously on the 1994 compilation Return to the Valley of The Go-Go’s, which I’ve noted previously is a prized possession in my music collection, but otherwise always remained unreleased in a nod to the band becoming more radio-friendly.

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Don’t Miss: The Bangles @ 9:30 Club, 8/21/16

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The Bangles at the start of their career (Photo by Karen Filter)

If you were alive and watching television in 1986, and you previously did not know of The Bangles, MTV introduced them to a wider world with the music video for their hit “Walk Like an Egyptian,” which features a famously “sexy stare” from guitarist and co-vocalist Susanna Hoffs. In particular, if you were a young man of a certain age, those eyes were forever seared into your brain (in a good way).

Revisit the moment in the official music video for “Walk Like An Egyptian” (with famed stare around 2:45 mark):

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv6tuzHUuuk]

The Bangles formed as a quartet in Los Angeles and released their debut album in 1984, hooking many of us with their famous cover of “Going Down to Liverpool” by Katrina and the Waves. Embracing the psych-folk of the Paisley Underground, the ladies burned up the radio with other hits like “Manic Monday,” “Eternal Flame” and “A Hazy Shade of Winter,” a terrific cover of the Simon & Garfunkel number recorded for the film Less Than Zero.

Today, sisters Vicki Peterson and Debbi Peterson, along with Susanna, are revisiting their early days of the band with a collection, titled Ladies and Gentlemen… The Bangles! The album is a 16-track collection of remastered ’80s-era rarities, demos, live recordings, and more, including The Bangles’ debut single and all of the tracks from their self-titled EP (which has been unavailable since its initial release on vinyl in 1982).

Watch a cool trailer for the album!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbYTwylFm3s]

To celebrate the June 24 release of the album on CD via Omnivore Recordings, The Bangles have hit the road once again as a trio, and they will visit the 9:30 Club on Sunday, August 21, to play songs from across their amazing catalog.

Said Susanna of the new compilation: “I feel a very special connection to our early recordings. The garage of my parents’ house was our musical laboratory, and we took all the flavors of our favorite bands and mixed up a concoction of jangly guitars, McCartney-inspired bass parts, grooves powered by punk energy, and harmonies galore! These songs and recordings were our musical manifesto — all that mattered and inspired us, fueled by youthful energy, hope and blind ambition.”

L.A. rock trio Cardiac open for The Bangles. Tickets are available online.

The Bangles
w/ Cardiac
9:30 Club
Sunday, August 21
Doors @7pm
$35
All ages

Don’t Miss: The Go-Go’s @ Warner Theatre, 8/5/16

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The Go-Go’s (Photo courtesy Primary Wave)

It was 1996. I had recently relocted to DC, and I was digging through the stacks of discs at CDepot in College Park, Md., for a specific prize. I heard The Go-Go’s had released a new single in the previous years when I was at sea, and I was determined to add it to my collection.

The Go-Go’s! Isolated from commercial radio for a bit in the early to mid-’90s, I had missed out on the introduction of Britpop to US shores, and I previously hadn’t found many personal favorites among grunge musicians. But with the five ladies from Los Angeles, I knew I would find fantastic new wave tunes to reignite my collecting passions.

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Music Park: Okay Monday @ Supersonic (Paris, France) — 6/24/16

Okay Monday 01
Okay Monday at Supersonic on June 24, 2016.

Well, readers, I was on vacation in Paris over the weekend. So of course I’m going to review a performance by a fantastic band I saw there!

To my surprise on Friday night, I ended up at a small club in the 11th arrondissement called Supersonic (9 Rue Biscornet, 75012 Paris, Frankreich). There, a set of bands performed prior to a DJ taking over. Stumbling into the space around 11pm, it reminded me a great deal of our own DC9 — it could hold about 200 people, and it was comfortable and unpretentious. Supersonic had taps, however, and it seems to me that all of the “cool places” in France and Switzerland have either a Brewdog or a Brooklyn Brewery on tap. (Supersonic indeed served up Punk IPA.)

To my even greater surprise, I arrived in time to see three well-dressed French lads take to the stage and belt out terrific English-language numbers that take a page perhaps from a young Elvis Costello or The Jam. To my ear, their music also follows occasional cues from the likes of Go West or Nick Heyward. Their style was truly quite mod; their sound, very power pop! They call themselves Okay Monday.

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Music Park: Free Gift from Dot Dash

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Dot Dash (Photo courtesy of the band)

Power poppers Dot Dash have made a video for their song “Flowers,” a single from their latest album Earthquakes & Tidal Waves, released in March via The Beautiful Music.

“Flowers” is a sunny, jangly guitar-driven tune, and the DC-based quartet shot themselves in performance on the street outside the restaurant Southern Hospitality (at Columbia and 18th Sts. NW, DC) in Adams Morgan, breaking up their live rendition of the song with amusing graphics that mirror its lyrics.

Watch the official music video for “Flowers” on YouTube:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWsOcmyeCbo]

And in the spirit of the holiday season, the members of Dot Dash — vocalist and guitarist Terry Banks, guitarist Steve Hansgen, bassist Hunter Bennett, and drummer Danny Ingram — are giving away a free MP3 of the song!

You can download “Flowers” on Bandcamp for free:
[bandcamp width=400 height=120 album=1914878428 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small track=1579107664]

You also can buy the full album, Earthquakes & Tidal Waves, from Bandcamp as well as all four Dot Dash albums! They are having a bundling sale where their entire catalog is 25 percent off at $17.97.

Dot Dash don’t have any shows scheduled at the moment, but they surely soon will announce some dates in 2016.

Tonight! Ex Hex @ 9:30 Club – Go!

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Laura Harris, Betsy Wright, and Mary Timony of Ex Hex. (Photo courtesy Merge Records)

Somehow in mid-’90s, friends of mine were clued into some good female-fronted indie rock bands — quite a few of them from Boston (including the likes of the Blake Babies and Belly).

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Don’t Miss: Ed Schrader’s Music Beat (Opening for Ex Hex) @ 9:30 Club, 12/10/15

Skoal Kodiak, Ed Schrader's Music Beat, Aminal Lover
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat perform at Cause in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 8, 2013. (Photo by Sharyn Morrow)

If you’ve heard DC power pop trio Ex Hex, a favorite band of us here at Parklife DC, you know the ladies occasionally capture an early punk vibe from the mid-’70s a la Blondie. While not a punk band per se, Ex Hex are certainly “punk friendly.”

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Music Park: Jessie’s Girl @ Howard Theatre — 10/16/15

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Jenna O’Gara leads the girls on stage for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” at the Howard on Oct. 16, 2015.

“Jessie is a band/
Yeah, I know it’s been a good 80s cover band.”

Usually closely held by denizens of New York City, Jessie’s Girl brought its brightly lit guitar solos to the Howard Theatre on Friday night to an ardent audience happy to dance their hearts out.

The seven-person ensemble rocks out with a wide variety of tunes from the ’80s, ranging from artists like Prince, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, A-ha, Loverboy, and more. Friday, they bound onto the stage with intro music borrowed from “The Final Countdown” by Europe and then proceeded to dive headlong into kinetic tributes to musicians who defined a decade.

Early in the show, the band jumps into “Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy, encouraging the crowd to hop around the room, hands raised in celebration. Singers Jenna O’Gara and Mark Rinzel trade off vocal duties for the song, pumping up the shamelessly lyrical fun of the song’s mission statement: Take a few days off to party!

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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:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0vktzLKAP0]

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:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB-cHlJxk2k]

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: Watch Ex Hex @ Pitchfork Music Festival — 7/18/15

Ex Hex
Mary Timony and Betsy Wright jam at NOS Primavera Sound on June 6, 2015. (Photo by Ana Viotti)

Ex Hex, DC’s top power pop trio, performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park in Chicago on Saturday, July 18. They next perform in DC at the Landmark Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26.

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