Music Park: The Charlatans @ Howard Theatre — 11/12/15

The Charlatans
The Charlatans perform a surprise show at Glastonbury 2015 on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Paul Carless)

Tim Burgess is the man who never ages!

Since the UK vocalist founded his band The Charlatans, he’s always had an air of pleasant youthfulness about him — and it simply hasn’t gone away in the 25 years since The Charlatans released their first album, Some Friendly, which produced the monster hit “The Only One I Know.” Much earlier this year, the band released its 12th studio record, Modern Nature, and undertook a US tour in support of it, including a stop at the Howard Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 12.

Tim didn’t disappoint the ardent audience that turned up for the gig at the Howard. With his classic blonde mop haircut, sunny vibes, and carefree attitude, he invited everyone to dance and sing along with him as The Charlatans (commonly and somewhat unnecessarily known also as The Charlatans UK) bounced through 18 songs that capture Britpop at its catchiest, even if the setlist was heavy on the new songs.

New songs like “Let the Good Times Be Never Ending” capture The Charlatans at their best with an overtly ’60s psychedelic tone preferred by some of the best Britpoppers. Tim’s voice is as pleasing as ever, and the band really comes together with some very strong material. In concert at the Howard, bassist Martin Blunt was a standout performer, bringing tremendously relaxed confidence to every song he played.

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Don’t Miss: The Charlatans (UK) @ Howard Theatre, 11/12/15

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The Charlatans (Photo courtesy Motormouth Media)

We tend to think of the Britpop era of the ’90s as largely defined by bands that made big tunes, got big heads and then imploded.

But a lot of talented folks continued right on working, even if we in the United States weren’t paying particularly close attention at the time. Enter The Charlatans, the talented quartet led by Englishman Tim Burgess, which continued to release new albums every several years since 1990 — taking their biggest break only recently.

After five years, The Charaltans returned with new album Modern Nature, released in January via BMG, and they began a US tour in support of the album last Saturday with an appearance at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas. And they bring their tour to DC this Thursday to perform at the Howard Theatre!

New songs like “Let the Good Times Be Never Ending” have a psychedelic vibe and make for a soothing, pleasing listening experience.

Watch The Charlatans perform “Let the Good Times Be Never Ending” live on the Late Late Show with James Corden on Nov. 6, 2015:

Hailing from Portland, Ore., indie rock quintet Eyelids open for The Charlatans. Tickets are available online.

The Charlatans
w/ Eyelids
The Howard Theatre
Thursday, Nov. 12
Show @8pm
$29.50-$60
All ages

Music Park: Dave Davies of The Kinks @ Howard Theatre — 10/20/15

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Dave Davies (Photo by Rebecca G. Wilson)

Dave Davies is a weathered soul, but one who has been through the storm to soak up the rays of sunshine that emerge afterward.

And the positively sunny Dave played host to a very full house at the Howard Theatre on Tuesday night, when he charmed the crowd with some solo material but largely with some top selections from the vast catalog of his trendsetting band The Kinks.

Some 50 years ago, Dave and his brother Ray began a rock journey that inspired thousands of musicians and spawned even more imitators. But all of that seemed far behind the man with the guitar Tuesday, who repeatedly called for the spotlight to be shined upon his dinner-crowd audience so that they too shared the limelight as they sang along to their favorite songs by The Kinks.

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Music Park: The Zombies @ Lincoln Theatre — 10/8/15

Live at the Muni Art Centre, Pontypridd - The Zombies
Colin Blunstone (front) and Jim Rodford at The Muni Arts Centre, pontypridd, Wales, May 29, 2013 (Photo by Sean Rowe)

The Zombies had not played their song “I Want You Back Again” for a while but then they heard Tom Petty cover it.

The band then recalled what a good song it was, and they determined that they should revisit it in their live sets. This led them to record a new version of the song for their latest album, Still Got That Hunger, released Friday, Oct. 9, via Cherry Red Records.

“If it is good enough for Tom Petty, it is good enough for The Zombies,” quipped Colin Blunstone before a performance of the song at the Lincoln Theatre in DC on Thursday night. The band then launched into their new rendition of “I Want You Back Again,” a single the original band first released in 1965.

Colin sings very soulfully on the song, dedicated to a woman who should return to the lonely narrator. The Zombies cofounder Rod Argent plays some lonely blues piano and he spearheads a rather lovely musical interlude early in the song. Rod is a keyboard maestro who really gets into the zone during moments like that interlude, and it’s a pleasure to watch him behind the piano most of all.

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Music Park: Ultimate Painting @ Comet Ping Pong — 9/21/15

Ultimate Painting at Rough Trade
Ultimate Painting perform at Rough Trade East in London on Oct. 31, 2014. (Photo by Paul Hudson)

Ultimate Painting take their name from a piece of artwork created by Drop Artists of the Drop City commune of Colorado in 1966. Around the same time in New York City, Lou Reed and John Cale formed the Velvet Underground.

Just a few years back, James Hoare of Veronica Falls and Jack Cooper of Mazes formed a third band, drawing its name from the colorful piece of art and its sound from guitarwork by Reed, Cale and Sterling Morrison. The result is a jangly, occasionally bluesy, sort of psychedelic rock that pays tribute to the ’60s quite masterfully while sounding fresh.

The duo played a show at Comet Ping Pong on Tuesday as a stop on their tour in support of their new album, Green Lanes, released in August by Trouble in Mind. They kicked off their set with some songs from their debut, a self-titled album released in 2014.

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Music Park: King Raam @ Black Cat — 8/27/15

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King Raam

King Raam took the stage at the Black Cat Thursday night, and immediately recognized he had drawn a “home crowd.”

Raam addressed the audience directly in Farsi, and indeed the very crowded room presented him with a robust audience of DC Persian music enthusiasts who responded in kind.

I of course don’t speak Farsi, so my observations on Raam’s performance are limited mostly to his musical skill and capabilities. I will say however that Raam, visiting DC on a brief US tour from Tehran, was a magnetic presence to the audience, who swayed respectfully in place, hypnotized by his rhythms.

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Don’t Miss: King Raam @ Black Cat, 8/27/15

King Raam - Tirgan 2011
King Raam performs in Toronto as a part of Tirgan 2011 Festival. (Photo by Reza Vaziri)

King Raam, the lead singer of Iranian band Hypernova, has gone solo. In doing so, he’s been indulging a taste for psychedelic melodies and exploring solitary journeys through video imagery.

Now based in Tehran, King Raam is hitting four dates in the United States along the east coast, starting at the Black Cat on Thursday, August 27. (The tour will include a stop in New York, traditional home to Hypernova.)

Singing in both Farsi and English, Raam is encouraging progressive music in his homeland, releasing the album Songs of the Wolves in 2011, and a new single “Closing Credits” only last month.

Watch the video for “Closing Credits” on YouTube:

You can listen to and purchase Raam’s solo debut Songs of the Wolves on Bandcamp:

L.A.-based soul duo Smoke Season, consisting of Gabrielle Wortman and Jason Rosen, open for King Raam. Tickets are available online and at the door.

King Raam
w/ Smoke Season
Black Cat
Thursday, August 27
Doors @7:30pm
$15
All ages