Live Review: Echo & the Bunnymen @ Lincoln Theatre — 9/17/22

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Echo & the Bunnymen perform at the Lincoln Theatre on Sept. 17, 2022. (Photos by Jason Nicholson; Words by Mickey McCarter)

Echo & the Bunnymen were inevitable.

By the late ’70s, electronic instruments had become more widely available, fueling a rise of experimentation in UK cities like London, Manchester, and Liverpool. Inspired by the DIY ethos of the Sex Pistols, many bands picked up these instruments and started creating.

But in Liverpool, Ian McCuloch and Will Sergeant were admirers of The Velvet Underground and the Doors, two psychedelic bands fronted by Americans. Once those bands had recorded, Echo & the Bunnymen were going to happen regardless of flashy keyboards or electronic drum machines. Their American musical roots perhaps explain why the duo still today gets the earnest rock star treatment from packed houses and eager audiences.

Ian, Will, and their touring bandmates once again received a recent hero’s welcome in DC in a sold-out performance at the Lincoln Theatre.

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Live Review: Spiritualized @ 9:30 Club — 9/8/22

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Spiritualized perform at 9:30 Club on Sept. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

The creation of art in an attempt to connect to people is the most primal urge in pop music, I think. Even those of us who don’t create but consume mill about in the mix, hoping to feel that connection with other folks thanks to the work of the artist. We hope some of that art will wash over us and provide relief in the form of connection.

Spiritualized, the wonderfully English psychedelic rock outfit fronted by Jason Pierce, deal with this phenomenon head-on in a beautiful new song called “Let It Bleed (for Iggy).” It was one of four new songs the space rockers presented in a recent show at 9:30 Club.

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Live Review: Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band @ Lyric Opera House — 9/6/22

Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band bring peace and love to the Lyric Opera House on Sept. 6, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

Peace and love and, well, rock ‘n roll. That is what was served up Tuesday night at the first night of two completely sold-out performances by Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore. After some pandemic-related postponements, the Beatle, drummer, singer, and showman, Ringo Starr arrived just in time to push away the rain clouds that gathered in the early evening and bring some sunshine to Charm City.

I hadn’t seen a rock performance at the Lyric before, so this was a new experience for me, but as fans poured into the hall the care that the opera house had put into making this a memorable event was apparent. From the concessions to the staff directing the the crowd, it made for a comfortable place.

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Live Review: Roger Waters @ Capital One Arena — 8/16/22

Roger Waters brings “This Is Not A Drill” to the Capital One Arena Aug. 16, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

If you describe punk as a movement — a musical way of expressing the frustration of the dispossessed — then Roger Waters, co-founder of Pink Floyd, is punk, and probably more punk rock now than current popular outfits that are self-styled punk rock. And that punk ethos was in display at the Capital One Arena recenlty when Waters and his band brought the This Is Not A Drill Tour to the nation’s capital.

Creating an immersive, in-the-round experience, Roger Waters’ set was both a journey back in time (most of the set included Pink Floyd tunes) and a mirror, reflecting the state of the world we live in, and doing it all in a way only Waters could pull off.

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Live Review: Goose @ The Chrysalis in Merriweather Park — 8/12/22


Goose performs on the first of two nights at The Chrysalis in Merriweather Park the evening of Aug. 12, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

It’s difficult to keep tabs on the progress and achievements of some of the busiest and most prolific bands out there.

But you’d have to be intentionally ignoring live music news to have missed any recent updates on Goose, a group that began in earnest in 2014 and has experienced a recent rapid rise in popularity, including through the pandemic years.

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Live Review: Warpaint @ Capital Turnaround — 7/22/22

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Warpaint’s Emily Kokal shined on guitar at Capital Turnaround on July 22, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Early in their recent set at DC’s Capital Turnaround, Warpaint performed a tranquil song called “Champion,” which hails from their new album Radiate Like This. Guitarist Theresa Wayman took lead vocals, and the band unspooled the song’s weave over a hushed audience.

The song and the show were a breath of fresh air, frankly, and it was very good to see Warpaint back on tour.

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Live Review: Dead & Company @ Jiffy Lube Live — 7/8/22


Dead & Company perform at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, on July 8, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When illegitimate rumors circulated in the spring that Dead & Company would be hanging it up, Bobby Weir himself took to social media to dispel the fictitious storyline.

“News to me …,” he Tweeted in response to Rolling Stone’s incorrect April report on the modernized, legacy edition of the Grateful Dead, the band the now-grey but steadfast Weir helped steer for 30 years before it disbanded in 1995 following the death of Jerry Garcia.

In the wake of the cancellation of Dead & Company’s scheduled show in Saratoga Springs recently, buzz about a possible no-go in Northern Virginia seemed valid, as the father of star band member John Mayer had been hospitalized late in the week in an apparent medical emergency.

But, alas, Mayer’s father’s condition improved and the show would go on, as they say. And, upon announcing lot and show times on social media in the afternoon on July 8, Jiffy Lube Live was transformed a short while later into the larger-than-life celebration that follows this band wherever it goes in the same trademark fashion as the Grateful Dead.

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Live Review: Midnight North @ The 8×10 — 7/6/22


Grahame Lesh leads Midnight North in a performance at The 8X10 in Baltimore on July 6, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When you’re born the son of one of the most respected musicians of all time, it takes courage and perseverance to carve your own original path and still honor your heritage.

Grahame Lesh is navigating such an extraordinary scenario with fortitude and class as one of two leading voices and guitars driving Midnight North, a band that got its start about 10 years ago in San Francisco and honed its sound through many a night at Marin County’s late, great Terrapin Crossroads and by way of ambitious touring all across the country.

Their energetic road trips brought Midnight North to spots throughout the DMV in recent years, and at a recent stop at The 8X10 in Baltimore, Grahame showed that his band’s diligence and consideration is indeed paying off in the form of one of the most endearing and dynamic outfits on tour today.

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