Preview: Gregory Porter @ Strathmore Music Center, 2/15/19

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Gregory Porter (Photo courtesy Universal Music Group)

Jazz master Gregory Porter most recently released Nat King Cole and Me, a personal tribute to the great Nat King Cole, via Decca Records/Universal Music Group. He’s now coming to perform at the Strathmore Music Center on Friday, Feb. 15.

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Music Park: Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th Anniversary w/ Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman of The Byrds and Marty Stuart @ Jefferson Center (Roanoke, VA) — 10/10/18

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Roger McGuinn and Marty Stuart perform at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke, Virginia, on Oct. 10, 2018. (Photos by Chester Simpson; Words by David Edwards)

There were two overriding themes to the Sweetheart of the Rodeo concert at Roanoke’s Jefferson Performance Center recently — a theme of Americana music and a theme of Tom Petty.

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Music Park: Tony Bennett @ Strathmore Music Center — 5/6/17

Tony Bennett BW 10 Tony Bennett sings at Stathmore Music Center on May 6, 2017.

Mr. Tony Bennett regaled a full house at Strathmore Music Center on Saturday, taking his audience on a timeless journey from his very first song to one of his most recent for the annual Strathmore Spring Gala.

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Music Park: Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2016 by Mickey

CHVRCHES 008 Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches sings at Echostage on Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

I’ll confess that I’m a man whose taste in music is readily apparent. If you have new wave tunes to play, particularly from 1976-86, I’m going to show up and listen to them. That said, a number of incredible legacy new wave bands happened to travel through the DC metro area over the past year, and I took the opportunity to review them for our humble blog.

That said, a number of younger bands definitely broke through and seized my attention, most notably Canada’s Operators, who were the most exciting new band I’ve seen in some time. As with Operators, many of the best performances I witnessed in 2016 came from bands whose leaders are among the Masters of Synthpop, and so I have dedicated a postscript of really great synthpop shows that may have “missed” the top 10 but otherwise deserve a lot of applause.

Check out my top 10 list of concerts I saw for Parklife DC. (Click on the concert slugline to revisit the full review.)

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Music Park: Culture Club @ Strathmore Music Center — 9/11/16

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Boy George sings at Strathmore Music Center on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.

Boy George has embraced a new level of maturity, inspired in part by one of his heroes, funk musician Sly Stone.

Recalling a magazine interview with Sly during a performance by Culture Club on Sunday night, George quoted Sly as saying, “I have many regrets, but none that I can remember right now.”

George discussed personal growth during a show at Strathmore Music Hall in Bethesda, Maryland, in the introduction to new Culture Club song “Different Man,” which will tentatively appear on a new album set for 2017 on Culture Club’s own label, Different Man Music. (There’s a theme for you!) George emphasized that you don’t become a different person like Sly, who may have done some reckless things in his youth, simply by growing older. Wisdom doesn’t simply manifest itself, and people must have the will to change, like Sly — or like George.

“You have to decide to change and become a different man,” George acknowledged. With that, George launches into the soulful song about turning a new leaf. We understand clearly that George is apologizing for his own past behavior, and that he’s here now with his bandmates in Culture Club for the better.

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Interview: Stephen Salisbury of GROVES (@ Strathmore Music Center, 9/11/16)

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Groves (Photo by Chris Sullivan)

Three musicians. Two tracks. One relentless engineer.

A chance encounter is sometimes the only thing standing between center stage and obscurity. For an alt-rock trio hailing from the tiny town of Groves, Texas (population 16,144) attempting to make it big in the City of Angels, Courtney Ballard was that celestial savior -– if of course you believe in that sort of thing.

Groves does. In fact, they told Live Nation TV earlier this month in a tour diary that “taking that meeting was one of the best decisions they’ve made yet” in their career. That encounter has led to a tour with Culture Club that ends tonight at Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Don’t Miss: Culture Club @ Strathmore, 9/11/16

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Culture Club (Photo courtesy the band)

Culture Club eyed releasing a new album in 2016, but they seem to have cooled off on it for the time being.

That said, the soulful UK quartet has been hard at work on touring! The original members — including bassist Mikey Craig, guitarist Roy Hay, drummer Jon Moss, and vocalist Boy George — have been traveling the world together in the last few years, and they appear to be having the time of their lives.

As evidence of how good touring has been for the group, Parklife DC gave their live show a very positive review when it stopped by Wolf Trap in 2015, and Boy George himself came around again with his friend Cyndi Lauper (again at Wolf Trap) in June. But the local touring doesn’t end there! The restless band now are planning to hit the Music Center at Strathmore on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Watch Culture Club perform their classic hit “Miss Me Blind” for Jimmy Kimmel Live! on June 28, 2016:

Last year, we wrote, “It’s a miracle — that we were able to witness the reformation of these remarkable musicians, and I say that because Culture Club doesn’t work when it’s just the Boy George show. Surely, the flamboyant vocalist is a key ingredient of the act, but he needs his compatriots to pull it off. For their part, the other three were in remarkably good spirits, waving, shaking hands, smiling along with the audience. Their high spirits buoyed a strong performance and fed into making the band seem like a band.”

Tonight, Culture Club perform in San Antonio, Texas, hitting the road on the journey to their DC-area show. Don’t miss them blind — go see them in concert!

Tickets for the DC show are available online. (Check out the VIP package as well for a meet and greet with Culture Club!)

Culture Club
Strathmore Music Center
Sunday, Sept. 11
Show @8pm
$65-$165
All ages