The Smithereens perform at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on Jan. 17, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
“In sickness and in health.”
Those words are normally reserved for particularly solemn occasions, but those same moments can be joyous, life-affirming and festive… much like a Smithereens concert, come to think of it. Friday night was just one of those instances with the New Jersey-based Smithereens making their 20th appearance at the State Theatre in Falls Church. For many of us battling colds, flu, and various other ailments, The Smithereens energetic, exuberant, and healing music was just the right medicine.
The above pic of Anderson .Paak was Will Colbert’s “top shot” of 2019. (Photo by Will Colbert)
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.
Thinking ahead often begins by looking back. It’s a humbling exercise to reflect on the ups and downs from a year reaching its end. The decisions we made, the consequences, and how we can do things better next time.
Buddy Guy (Photo courtesy The State Threatre)
“Don’t let them goddam blues die,” Muddy Waters once told Buddy Guy. That was over three decades ago, but the eight-time Grammy award-winning blues guitarist and singer hasn’t forgotten. Buddy spent a recent night reminding fans at The State Theatre in Falls Church that the blues are very much alive.
STS9 (Photo courtesy the band)
For the first time ever, STS9 brings their acoustic Axe the Cables show to DC metro! The instrumental psychedelic funk band performs for three nights at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on Thursday, Sept. 26, Friday, Sept. 27, and Saturday, Sept. 28, dedicating the first evening of the residency to Axe the Cables. All three nights are available at one special price.
Robbie Grey fronts Modern English at the State Theatre on Aug. 25, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
At some point during the past several years, Modern English entered the upper echelon of bands that I must see every time they visit the DC area.
Mike Peters fronts The Alarm at the State Theatre on Aug. 25, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
Guitar-wielding swashbuckler Mike Peters and his rockstar crew highjacked the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, recently on the strength of sheer charisma. Mike, a seasoned showman, wailed and strummed his way through a dramatic set celebrating the summer release of a new album, Sigma, and all of the Celtic power of the post-punk band’s famous numbers.
Gin Blossoms perform at State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on Feb. 16, 2019. (Photo by Chester Simpson)
Now in 2019, Gin Blossoms are celebrating 30 years since their debut album Dusted. And that celebration came to the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, recently.
The Smithereens perform at State Theatre on Jan. 18, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Much has been written about the redemptive power of rock and roll; its ability to transport us to another place and time or to a cherished memory — as well as its power of community and the way a widely disparate audience can revel in a shared moment of unparalleled spontaneous joy. Those moments repeated themselves over and over at the State Theatre recently when The Smithereens featuring Robin Wilson dropped into town for their 19th performance at the historic Falls Church music venue.
The Smithereens for the State Theatre show, left to right: Jim Babjak (guitar), Robin Wilson (lead vocals), Dennis Diken (drums), and Mark Mesaros (bass) (Photo courtesy Lappen Enterprises)
Power pop aficionados think of the ’70s and ’80s as the genre’s heyday — an era that included performers like Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, years that saw the emergence of bands like Big Star and Cheap Trick, and a time that culminated with the Gin Blossoms and Matthew Sweet.
For many music lovers (myself included), The Smithereens captured all the salient characteristics of a classic power pop band: the jangly ringing Byrds-like guitars, the Beach Boys’ high harmonies, the Beatles melodic lyricism… and perhaps the crunching heaviness of Black Sabbath? But The Smithereens added an East-Coast, Jersey Shore roots-rock sensibility.
Mark Caicedo of Parklife DC recently chatted with Jim Babjak, guitarist of The Smithereens, in anticipation of the band’s show at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on Jan. 18.
Chemlab performs at the State Theatre on Sept. 15, 2018. (Photo by Paivi)
Jared Louche once again donned the mantle of Chemlab to mark the 25th anniversary of the project’s debut album, Burn Out at the Hydrogen Bar, at the State Theatre on Saturday. Paivi saw the show and shot some pictures!