Live Review: She & Him @ The Anthem — 12/5/19

SheHim17 Zooey Deschanel sings with She & Him at The Anthem on Dec. 5, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Personally, I sort of love that time of year when you can dip into a local radio station and it has become 24/7 Christmas tunes. You can take it or leave it, but whenever I take it, I am eventually infused with a big dose of holiday cheer when I tune in. As She & Him, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward delivered the live version of that very experience with their winning Christmas show at The Anthem recently as part of the DC101 Office Party series.

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Live Review: Cage the Elephant @ The Anthem — 12/3/19

Cage the Elephant perform in Washington, D.C.
Cage the Elephant performs at The Anthem on Dec. 3, 2019. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

It’s been a good year for Cage the Elephant fans in DC. The band has been through town twice this year, playing Merriweather over the summer with Beck and Spoon and also headlining the recent DC101 holiday shindig at The Anthem. Add in October 2018 performance at the new Entertainment and Sport Arena, and that’s three shows in just over a year. Not too shabby.

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Live Review: Hozier @ The Anthem — 11/18/19

Hozier Hozier performs at The Anthem on Nov. 18, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)

Something happens in the mind when music washes over us, replete with that familiar sense of a life lived — of politics, of being a human, a lover, part of a family — balanced with the urge to dance and lose ourselves, if only for a moment. It feels like something real and honest, yet still somehow something almost frivolous.

I am reminded well of something Hozier’s music has long done — it treads the tenuous line between the sacred and the profane. The crowd singing along, and if I close my eyes, I can smell the scent of incense, see the stained-glass smiles of saints. Is this so different? Are the people on the rails not worthy of sainthood? Aren’t we all, in our ways, very nearly worthy? At the very least, do the sacrifices demanded of so many not reach into martyrdom? Not so much in the theistic sense, but the realistic one.

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Live Review: Angie McMahon @ The Anthem — 11/18/19

Angie McMahon Angie McMahon performs at The Anthem on Nov. 18, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)

Something strange happens when traveling new paths, when getting a little lost. There is a fervor, a little fear, and plenty of excitement. This sensation, this blush of discovery, so often pervades the experience of new music.

And so it was for me with Angie McMahon’s music. I remember the first time I played Salt, well-past the sun’s setting but not yet in the black of night, her dusky powerhouse voice soaring out my car’s windows. I felt a little something break inside.

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