Rachael & Vilray perform at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Dec. 12, 2019 (Photo by Ari Strauss)
As soon as jazz-vocal duo Rachael & Vilray took the stage recently, the audience at DC’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue made known its love for Lake Street Dive frontwoman Rachael Price. While singer/guitarists and principal composer Vilray took a moment before the first song to tune his guitar, a few fans broke the silence with complimentary greetings.
Martin Barre performs at The Birchmere, April 22, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Editor’s Note: This year, we asked our bloggers to name their Top 10 shows of 2019 or choose their Top 10 photos of the year. We will run them over the course of mid-December as our Best of the Year posts.
How am I going to do this?! Pick 10 favorites shots, moments, concerts, etc., from a year that was packed with them. Of course, the year had its fill of frustrations and challenges, as well, but those quickly fade from memory to be replaced by the realization that I am, indeed, very fortunate to combine two loves of my life, music and photography, into something I can share.
These moments, documented in the following images, all taught me something… about photography, about the power of music, and, ultimately, about myself; what I value, what moves me, and what’s important.
Rachael & Vilray (Photo by Jonno Rattman)
Lake Street Dive singer-songwriter Rachael Price and composer, singer, and guitarist Vilray teamed up as the duo Rachael & Vilray. Rachael & Vilray released a self-titled debut album on Nonesuch Records recently, and they perform at Sixth & I in DC on Thursday, Dec. 12.
Debbie Harry and Chris Stein arrive at Sixth & I on Dec. 4, 2019. (Photos by Ari Strauss; Words by Mickey McCarter)
Debbie Harry had a memory to share of performing in DC, recalling that she was at the old 9:30 Club.
Prior to performing, Debbie left her small dog alone in the green room. She returned after her show to find the frightened dog perched upon the furniture, chased to higher ground by rats big enough to challenge her.
Debbie recounted the anecdote at Sixth & I on Wednesday while on a book talk tour to promote her memoir, Face It, which was published in October via Dey Street.
Bettye Lavette (Photo courtesy APA)
Five-time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette got off to a rocky start when she opened for David Bromberg recently at the Historic Sixth & I Synagogue. After her first number, she pleaded for the tech to turn down the echo and reverb. With it its high ceilings — Bettye called the room a cavern — Sixth & I’s sanctuary provides its own echo. As Bettye remarked, with echo on her mic, it sounded a bit too much like “heaven,” and not in a good way.
David Bromberg (Photo by Joe del Tufo)
Noted roots artist David Bromberg appeared in a big band format at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue recently. His band included a horn section—trumpet, trombone, and sax — and strings — fiddle and banjo. But David honored his roots in the blues — he’s a protégé of the Rev. Gary Davis — growling and howling through numbers like his opener, which I think, was Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues.”
Anoushka Shankar (center) performs at Sixth & I on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
“You are like a hurricane, there’s calm in your eye, and I’m getting’ blown away…” — “Like a Hurricane,” Neil Young
You may wonder why a review about virtuoso sitar player would start with lyrics from a classic Neil Young rocker but bear with me. It will become clear soon enough. You see, Anoushka Shankar appeared at Sixth and I Synagogue for two shows recently.