Live Review: Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown @ Wolf Trap — 6/18/22

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Trombone Shorty headlines Voodoo Threauxdown 2022 at Wolf Trap, June 18, 2022. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Fresh off the recent release of Lifted, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Anderson’s second album for Blue Note Records, his traveling mini-festival of funk that is Voodoo Threauxdown made its way to Northern Virginia for a nearly four-hour show at Wolf Trap. The recent performance headlined by Trombone Shorty included four bands whose members span the history and the future of New Orleans music.

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Live Review: EarthGang @ The Fillmore Silver Spring — 5/20/22

Olu of EarthGang performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring on May 20, 2022. (Photo by Will Colbert)

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transferred. I’m no Einstein, but I’m confident that principle was proven during EarthGang’s recent performance at The Fillmore Silver Spring.

The Atlanta hip-hop duo, consisting of Olu (aka Johnny Venus) and WowGr8 (born Eian Parker), engaged fans in call-and-response — “when I say earth, you say, gang” — doused them with water guns and enthusiastically rhymed verses from their catalog. The charged-up audience returned their energy at every opportunity.

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Live Review: Eli “Paperboy” Reed @ The Hamilton Live — 5/6/22

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Eli “Paperboy” Reed performs at The Hamilton Live in DC on May 6, 2022. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

If you go back in the history of roots music, you’ll find that genres that are harshly separated today were not so clearly distinct in an earlier time. Up to the ’50s and ’60s, country and folk were closely tied to blues, and the word often appeared in the title of country songs. In the late ’60s and ’70s, there was a distinct overlap between country and the burgeoning genre of soul music, centered on Memphis and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. (For a fascinating, book-length study of this, see Charles Hughes’ excellent Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South.)

Eli “Paperboy” Reed has dedicated his career to vintage soul sounds, but as he showed in his performance at The Hamilton Live recently, he’s a fan of old-school country, too.

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Live Review: LP @ The Anthem — 5/6/22

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LP brings it all back to The Anthem on May 6, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)

What do you get when you mix one part brilliant songwriter, one part jaw-dropping voice, and two generous portions of unmatched stage presence? You get the indomitable LP, whose new album, Churches, brings personal and universally relatable songs front and center.

And I have to say, as a fan who has seen this artist perform over the years, their live shows are to die for, so it was tough to see tours get pushed back or canceled during the pandemic. But on Friday, LP was back in DC, and at The Anthem, no less, to bring it all back.

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Live Review: Jeff “Skunk” Baxter @ The Birchmere — 5/4/22

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Jeff “Skunk” Baxter performs at The Birchmere on May 4, 2022. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is one of those “first call” guys, the musician you call first when you need someone who can play just about anything.

Although he’s most famous for his stints in Steely Dan (1972-74) and The Doobie Brothers (1975-79), Jeff has had a long career lending his considerable multi-instrumentalist talents (guitar, pedal steel, keyboards, percussion) supporting artists as diverse as Les Paul, Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell, Dolly Parton, Hoyt Axton, Rod Stewart Eric Clapton, Donna Summer, and Linda Ronstadt (for whom he played congas on “You’re No Good”).

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Preview: Aaron Shneyer @ Pearl Street Warehouse — 5/15/22

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DC musician Aaron Shneyer will host an album release event for “Love Rebellion,” at Pearl Street Warehouse, Sunday, May 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of aaronshneyer.com)

DC-based soul/roots musician Aaron Shneyer recently released his new album Love Rebellion, which culminates a 12-year journey jumping worlds between Israelis and Palestinians, jumping to some other continents, meeting himself, and finding life’s partner. 

Aaron will hold his official album release concert at Pearl Street Warehouse in DC’s wharf neighborhood on Sunday, May 15.  He will be joined on stage by a powerhouse group of DC’s finest jazz, gospel, funk, world music and reggae musicians.

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Live Review: Curtis Harding @ Black Cat — 5/2/22

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Curtis Harding leads his band in a performance at Black Cat on May 2, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

A unique path with a full spectrum of influences can lead to refreshing, innovative artistic ideas, especially in music.

By the time he released his first album in 2014, Curtis Harding had gained a wide perspective both with his ears and his eyes thanks to an uncommon upbringing and an early run of success as a member of various outfits, including working alongside some of the country’s most noteworthy rap and hip-hop artists.

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Live Review: Daryl Hall w/ Todd Rundgren @ MGM National Harbor — 4/16/22

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Daryl Hall performs at The Theater at MGM National Harbor on April 16, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Daryl Hall finished a rousing performance of his solo hit “Dreamtime.” And from the center of the stage, he looked to his monitors to leap into his second number during his recent DC-area concert performance.

But the monitors were out, and they stayed out a long minute before Daryl took matters into his own hands. He moved slightly to stage left, where a keyboard sat alone, monitors fully functional, and he went off-script for a soulful delivery of “Rich Girl” by Daryl Hall and John Oates.

The bustling Theatre at MGM National Harbor went wild.

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Live Review: Tank and the Bangas @ 9:30 Club — 3/21/22

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Tarriona “Tank” Ball leads Tank and the Bangas in a performance at 9:30 Club on March 21, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

It takes an extraordinary relationship between a group of musicians — colleagues or friends who inevitably become tight-knit like family — in order to produce and sustain some of the most cutting-edge sounds coming off any stage.

The glorious result of a durable and flourishing dynamic between the large number of members in this propulsive funk-soul-hip-hop-poetry vehicle, Tank and the Bangas has thrived through the pandemic thanks largely in part to the groundwork laid before it — and the proof was on display at 9:30 Club recently.

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