Live Review: Mavis Staples w/ Amy Helm @ Lincoln Theatre — 10/19/21

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Mavis Staples performs at the Lincoln Theatre in DC on Oct. 19, 2021. (Photos by Ari Strauss)

Amy Helm, perhaps, put it best Tuesday evening at the Lincoln Theatre when she said, “How deeply it moves me to stand on this stage before an American treasure” in Mavis Staples. Mavis headlined the evening, which was a fundraiser for JusticeAid.

JusticeAid is an umbrella progressive fundraising organization that raises money to support various grassroots organizations. The concert was a benefit for the Neighborhood Defender Service. The Neighborhood Defender Service is concerned with police violence, particularly against communities of color. In the evening’s opening remarks, we learned that, so far this year, JusticeAid has been able to give $300,000 to NDS and, following the successful concert, they plan to donate another $100,000 to the cause.

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Live Review: Jungle @ The Anthem — 10/4/21

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Jungle perform at The Anthem on Oct. 4, 2021. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

The most remarkable thing about Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland is that they seem like two very approachable and laidback — if more hip than most — guys who would be really cool to chat with over a few pints.

Their breezy demeanor, however, hides the fact that the two Brits are fine tunesmiths who have a keen ear for hooks and beats in their work as electronic duo Jungle. As evidence, Jungle pulled a host of those tunes from their three studio albums at The Anthem recently, spinning the crowded venue into dancefloor mania with their upbeat and funky music.

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Live Review: Heartless Bastards @ Union Stage — 10/2/21

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Erika Wennerstrom fronts Heartless Bastards at Union Stage on Oct. 2, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Erika Wennerstrom, lead singer and songwriter for the Austin-based band Heartless Bastards, may just have the perfect rock ‘n’ roll voice. It’s deep, powerful, and rich, with some similarity to another great singer originally from the Buckeye State, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. As one fan called out between songs, “I would listen to you read the phone book.” (I suppose this would require finding a phone book, which presents a challenge, as they’ve gone the way of the dodo.)

When Erika and the Bastards headlined at DC’s Union Stage recently, that incredible voice was on display for a meaty, two-hour set.

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Live Review: Durand Jones and the Indications @ 9:30 Club — 9/11/21

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Durand Jones and the Indications play to a sold-out crowd at 9:30 Club on Sept. 11, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock.)

The line stretched around the corner and down the block from 9:30 Club the night of Sept. 11, and for good reason, as Durand Jones and the Indications came to town for one of the first major shows at the nationally recognized club since it recently began hosting shows in earnest and with safety protocols in place.

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Live Review: Too Free and Exotiq Int’l @ Black Cat — 7/16/21

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Gideon Jaguar performs with Exotiq Int’l at Black Cat on July 16, 2021. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

In a recent show at Black Cat, Sister Polygon Records flexed its indie dance muscles and revealed how it’s poised to keep our feet moving with the disco and funk of lablelmates Too Free and Exotiq Int’l respectively.

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Live Review: Dominique Bianco @ Pearl Street Warehouse – 7/11/21

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Dominique Bianco performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on July 11, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

There is a unique joy to experiencing emerging musical artists. You can see their determination, feel their ambition, and hear the purity of their performance. Or as music critic David Ackert says, “[giving their] lives to a moment – to that melody, that lyric, that chord or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. Singers and Musicians are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be.” No matter the genre, or level of talent, new artists have an utter lack of cynicism, almost naivete, that embodies the drive and desire to be acknowledged and accepted on their own terms-an attitude that virtually guarantees a pure, energetic performance.

This past Sunday, an enthusiastic Pearl Street Warehouse crowd watched and heard Dominique Bianco exemplify that passion and determination. Backed by an equally talented quartet of local DC musicians, Dominique reminded us that training, hard work, overcoming setbacks, and “serving the song” are the ingredients of a successful artist.

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Song of the Day: “Rain” by grandson and Jessie Reyez

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grandson and Jessie Reyez (Photo by Jonathan Weiner)

Alt-rocker grandson and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez have teamed up for “Rain,” the brand-new and exclusive single for writer/director James Gunn’s all-new movie, The Suicide Squad.

“Rain” is also featured in the new official trailer for the upcoming film, which will be released Aug. 6.

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