The year started out typically enough. But the way it began and how it’s ending are startlingly different. By the end of March, so many plans and hopes were dashed that now, as we race toward 2020’s conclusion, many of us feel they may never be realized.
Like so many others in this Year of Covid, I’ve had a chance to reflect, reassess, and reset for the coming year, sorting out what is, and isn’t, important. I enjoy photographing people, whether it be portraiture, cultural documentation, or musical performance. As a photographer, I strive to become invisible and capture moments as they are, not as I or the subject, would like them to be. Although photographing live music has been challenging as of late, I’ve been afforded the luxury of time to go through my archives and, as a result, have made a belated but important discovery: the final image must also render the photographer invisible.
I wasn’t sure what the experience of a concert would be like when I attended my first show since early March at The Birchmere on Monday evening. I knew that the concert hall would be a half-capacity, sold out for blues guitarist extraordinaire and singer-songwriter Samantha Fish. But I wasn’t sure what kind of energy such a crowd would generate.
Tommy Emmanuel, the acclaimed and Grammy-nominated acoustic guitarist, singer, and songwriter, hosts two livestream events with a portion of the proceeds benefiting two prominent independent venues in America. The first event on Saturday, Aug. 15, benefits The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia.
“Without some support, we are in danger of losing some of the independent venues that are a part of our culture and our local communities,” Tommy said.
A sight for sore eyes appeared on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia, this past weekend as the iconic Birchmere sign light up with news that it is once again open for business.
After a four-month hiatus since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legendary Northern Virginia music venue reopened recently at a limited capacity using enhanced health and safety measures set forth by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Parklife DC’s Ari Strauss went to see the Daryl Davis Band perform on July 11 and reviews his experience with photos of the performance.
Virginia rockabilly band Jumpin’ Jupiter has been entertaining the DC region for decades! They are always a welcome sight — and sound! — and never more so as area clubs begin to carefully welcome the return of bands to their stages.
Jumpin’ Jupiter next rocks down The Birchmere on Saturday, July 18.
You may have heard tales of an eloquent Black man who surprisingly engages with the Ku Klux Klan, occasionally convincing its members to abandon the group by expanding their awareness of brotherhood and human rights for all men.
That man is musician Daryl Davis, a Bluesman and scholar ever there were one, and he’s heading to The Birchmere to boogie down for a show on Saturday, July 11.
DMV concert venues in Virginia continue to lead the way in reopening as The Birchmere in Alexandria returns after its COVID-19 closure with the Billy Price Charm City Band on Friday, July 10.
Required Reading is Parklife DC’s essay series on music appreciation.
“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” — Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our worlds, collectively and individually, in ways that we are struggling to grasp. For those of us who cherish live music — artists, fans, writers, and photographers — the pandemic has made concerts impossible for the time being and the heartache at what has been lost is becoming a fear (irrational perhaps, but…) that they could be gone forever.
The abrupt, and traumatic, end to live music performances for the foreseeable future has left a sadness in me that I did not anticipate, nor with which I’m prepared to cope. I’m a diehard enthusiast of live music — from the traditional large venue concert experience to the small bars and clubs where local musicians perform for anyone who’ll listen.
But what they all have in common is talent, desire, and an otherworldly drive to share, as Los Angeles Times music critic David Ackert says, “that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart.”