Music Park: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings @ The Lincoln Theatre – 12/8/15

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Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings perform in May, 2014 (Photo by wcmickle)

You haven’t seen Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings until you’ve seen Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. By which I mean that you’ve heard the music and the voice, and seen some videos or clips of live shows, but that isn’t really seeing her. Because to see Sharon Jones is to feel her. The energy, the presence, the command that she brings into a room. And I’m not speaking of just any room, but a sold out, standing room only night at The Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC.

This past Tuesday marked one of just two live performance scheduled for this holiday season and Jones brought a dynamic collection of originals, holiday standards, and holiday originals, which were released on her first holiday album, It’s a Holiday Soul Party. The audience hung on every soulful word she sang and every tight, clean note that The Dap-Kings played.

 

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Don’t Miss: Mariachi Flor De Toloache (Opening for The Arcs) @ 9:30 Club, 12/14-12/15/15

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Flor de Toloache (Photo by Andrei Averbuch)

The Arcs are the new band helmed by Dan Auerbach, guitarist and vocalist of The Black Keys. They are a bit unusual in several aspects, being a kind of large garage chamber pop band.

One of the unusual aspects of the band is that they are backed by members of Mariachi Flor De Toloache in concert. The all-female mariachi band from New York City provides vocals, horns, and strings to the bluesy ensemble.

The Arcs are touring in support of their debut album, and they are bringing Flor De Toloache along with them as the opening act with two nights at the 9:30 Club on Monday, Dec. 14, and Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Founded by Mireya Ramos, Mariachi Flor de Toloache themselves released a self-titled debut album in April. The band today includes up to 13 rotating members who play traditional mariachi instruments: violin, trumpet, guitarrón (bass), and vihuela (five-string guitar). Mireya and co-leader Shae Fiol provide vocals, and Shae also designs the band’s outfits.

Watch Mariachi Flor De Toloache play Blue Note’s Subrosa in New York City for their record release party on April 4, 2015:

Taking its name from a poisonous night flower used as a love potion in Central America in the past, Flor De Toloache infuse various musical genres into their mariachi mix, including salsa, bachata, cumbia, gypsy music, and Latin jazz as well as pop, hip-hop, and soul, according to a profile of the band in the Wall Street Journal published earlier this year.

The first show on Monday, Dec. 14, sold out, but tickets are still available online for a second show on Tuesday, Dec. 15!

Mariachi Flor De Toloache
(Opening for The Arcs)
9:30 Club
Monday, Dec. 14
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Doors @7pm
$40
All ages

Ticket Giveaway: Darwin Deez @ Black Cat, 12/9/15

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Darwin Smith (Photo by Krista Schlueter)

Brooklyn-based quartet Darwin Deez released a third studio album, Double Down, in September via Lucky Number — and the band, led by Darwin Smith, has been touring in support of it. They hit DC with a stop at the Black Cat on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

Last month, Darwin Deez produced a clever video for the single “The Mess She Made,” which features Darwin singing as various international currency is superimposed over his head.

Watch the official video for “The Mess She Made” on YouTube:

Joined by Charly Bliss on the current tour, Darwin Deez promises smart choreography and high energy to accompany their blend of soulful and bluesy pop.

And you have a chance to see it for yourself, as Parklife DC is giving away a pair of tickets for this show. To win, follow us on Twitter, or retweet or like the tweet announcing this ticket giveaway. (You can follow us at http://www.twitter.com/ParklifeDC!)

For the rules of this giveaway–

We will choose a winner at random from Twitter follows, retweets, and likes by 5pm on Wednesday, Dec. 2. The winner will be notified by Twitter! The winner must respond to our communication within 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets, and we will pick another winner.

Tickets also are available online!

Darwin Deez
w/ Charly Bliss
Black Cat
Wednesday, Dec. 9
Doors @7:30pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: Young Empires @ U Street Music Hall — 11/25/15

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Matthew Vlahovich of Young Empires at Royal Athletic Park during Rifflandia/BreakOut West on Sept. 19, 2015 (Photo by Tyson Elder/Used with permission/See more of Tyson’s photos)

Vocalist Matthew Vlahovich has some charisma to spare, and he was ready to share it as he danced to his own music at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Matthew and his band Young Empires performed as openers for Canadian trio Dragonette, providing a smooth, soulful counterpoint to the sparkling house compositions of their countrymen. Technically a trio themselves, Matthew, bassist Jacob Palahnuk, and drummer Taylor Hill toured as a quintet with the support of a touring guitarist and keyboardist.

The total group produced waves of deep sound that benefited the numbers on the debut album by Young Empires, The Gates (released in September) — numbers that generally were uplifting electropop punctuated by worldbeat rhythms and carried by Matthew’s pleasing voice.

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Music Park: Gin Wigmore @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 9/11/15

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Gin Wigmore performs in London on June 10, 2015 (Photo by The 405)

You could very much appreciate Gin Wigmore as you might Amy Winehouse.

The Los Angeles singer, born in New Zealand, has a sad bluesy voice that simply grabs you. And that voice did indeed grab a sold-out room full of eager listeners at the Rock and Roll Hotel Friday night as the audience marveled at her soulful yet girlish sound and struggled to catch a glimpse of the lithe, tattooed blonde behind it.

Similar to the late, great Ms. Winehouse, Gin often sings of bad love and despair. Her powerful voice belies her small frame, and her striking blue eyes look as if they are peering through you from some otherworldy place while she sings as transfixed as you might be.

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Music Park: Madonna @ Verizon Center — 9/12/15

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Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour

“The problem with being married is that when you’re married — your husband think you only belong to him!” Madonna exclaimed from the stage at Verizon Center Saturday night. “But I belong to all of you. I’m married to all of you!”

The rapturous applause following Madonna’s proclamations made the not-quite-sold-out show at Verizon Center sound larger than life. Madonna certainly had the crowd eating out of her hand as she delivered a show that was part Cirque du Soleil-style spectacle and part acoustic concert.

Moving from staged set to stage set, Madonna traveled through four different configurations for her concert, kicking off with a string of songs drawn heavily from her latest album, Rebel Heart, which she is touring worldwide through March 2016. DC was her second stop after launching the tour last week in Toronto, Canada.

The show began with a bang to the heavily choreographed Iconic, which introduced a scene where backup dancers masqueraded as a sort of Egyptian-styled religious cult with video that made effective use of guest spoken-word contributor Mike Tyson. This quasi-religious theme would run through a number of songs and fuel a kinetic display that included acrobatics and dancing nuns on stripper poles (as Madonna herself put it, nothing too “provocative,” eh?)

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Don’t Miss: Madonna @ Verizon Center, 9/12/15

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Madonna, still the woman of dreams (Photo by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott)

In the fall of 1983, I bought my very first cassette tape — Madonna’s self-titled debut album.

I had seen the once and future Material Girl on television, most remarkably while listening to her perfect garage disco videos on Night Flight, which then aired on USA Network.

While this may signify that I’m a man of a certain age, Madonna has remained interesting and relevant even as she celebrated her 57th birthday last month. Her latest album, Rebel Heart, manages to capture all of the things that we know and love about Madonna as signified with the new hits “Living for Love” and “Ghosttown” while also catching some modern dance zeitgeist in collaborations with Diplo on house pastiche of “Bitch I’m Madonna” or with Avicii on the reggae vibes of “Devil Pray.”

All the same, it’s a solid album that has begat another incredible tour, and that tour stops at the Verizon Center in DC tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 12. And although this show is tomorrow, it’s not too late to go! Tickets are still available.

Watch Madonna deliver an intimate performance of “Ghosttown” on “Le Grand Journal” on CANAL+ on March 3, 2015:

When Madonna last visited DC three years ago (also at the Verizon Center), I then wrote for the blog We Love DC: “She went through at least four different acts over two hours, which comes to an end with a totally giddy and exuberant celebration of all of the reasons the dance floor has loved her for so long.”

She tirelessly performed a career-spanning set, occasionally addressing the audience directly during moments of downtime and forging connections with her magnetic personality.

In addition to songs from the new album, setlist reports reveal Madonna has been performing an acoustic version of “True Blue” along with other significant songs from previous albums, including “Vogue,” “Like a Virgin,” “Who’s That Girl” and “Music.”

There are still good seats available in prime 100-section seats without paying resale prices. Don’t miss out!

Madonna
Verizon Center
Saturday, Sept. 12
Doors @7pm
$43-$358
All ages