I can safely say that all the concerts I attended in 2017 exceeded my expectations, but of course I say that about all live music. I was fortunate to photograph over 80 shows in 2017, from artists both well known to those just starting out. I’m truly inspired watching these talented musicians and their courage in getting up on a stage to lay their souls bare. Or as the L.A. Times’ David Ackert so eloquently put it, “…musicians and singers are willing to give their entire lives to a moment — to that melody, that lyric, that chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul.”
The year 2017 has been full of contradictions. For many, myself included, it was a year filled with uncertainty and frustration, but to a certain degree it also woke people up. And the music that was created was some of the best in years.
The year 2017 was a good year for revisiting old friends as they returned to remind us that they truly still “got it.” In the past year, Parklife DC reviewed a great deal of musicians and bands, and the performances that really distinguished themselves often came as something of a pleasant surprise.
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.)
When I look back upon 2015, I certainly discovered my share of new favorite bands. But I have to confess, the best shows of the year were dominated by legacy bands returning to reclaim their pop thrones. And so the shows I am most excited about in 2015 were generally those shows where a genre-defining artist came back to DC and absolutely mastered their art.
But I’ll add this postscript: 2015 also was the year of the punk rock girl, as several notable bands reminded me of how much I like a woman’s voice over a bit of surf or rockabilly guitar. I’ll explain more after my official list of Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2015.