Music Park: Kopecky @ U Street Music Hall — 6/26/15

“Quarterback” by Kopecky

The USA was in a good mood last Friday, 6/26. A landmark decision, so why not a landmark celebration?

Kopecky, in a fine mood themselves, gave the celebration-ready audience at U Street Music Hall more than they could ask for.

When the final song of Kopecky’s set pealed from the stage and the crowd sang along with the perfect refrain for the day “Don’t tell me that you love me! Just tell me that you want me!”, from Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”, there was little more that could have been done. Except stay to listen to The Shadowboxers. If you had the energy.

To appreciate the end, let’s go back to the beginning.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 (United States v. Windsor) that same-sex marriage was legal in all 50 states. Many celebrated.

The Walking Sticks opened the night at UHall and charmed many (could just be me) with songs like “Send the Night” and “One Sweet Thing”. We got want we wanted.

Kopecky started the celebration as audience members, enjoying lead singer Chelsea Lee and The Walking Sticks, before re-materializing on stage for a sound check.

They began their set with the groovy “My Love” and whistled to the tune of ‘Are You Listening’. We were indeed, listening.

Then they played their latest single, “Quarterback”, which could be something Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend might sing.

Kopecky, an indie-rock band formed in Nashville, released their second full length album, Drug for the Modern Age, in May.

Listening to their 11-song set, and comparing it to the many new songs they played from the album, it was easy to like their rock and pop sound both live and recorded.

Co-founders Kelsey Kopecky and Gabe Simon met at Belmont University (Nashville) in 2007 and started The Kopecky Family Band. Certainly not because the members share no familial relation, they later shortened the name to Kopecky.

On to another new song, “Real Life”, where Kelsey shouted, “This song is about dancing!”. So we did. There was no stopping this crowd.

The energy level continued to rise as they played the toe-tapping, “Heartbeat”, before finally taking us out with the aforementioned “Tusk”.

When it was over, I could have pleaded, “Why don’t you ask them if they’re going to stay?” in my best Lindsey Buckingham voice (since I don’t have one, I refrained).

Kopecky was fun and enjoyable. And worth celebrating with. Thanks Nashville.

Around Town: Get Ready for July Part 2

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DC, so much to do in July!

From Dave Grohl celebrating 20 years of Foo Fighters, to the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg bobblehead night, to the start of Screen on the Green, there are infinite options to keep you occupied this month. See Part 1 of this list here.

Music
Just a few of the many concerts we like in July.

Foo Fighters 20th Anniversary Blowout @ RFK Stadium, 7/4/15
Enjoy the 4th of July with Dave Grohl and gang, along with Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, LL Cool J, and more.

Metric and Imagine Dragons @ Verizon Center, 7/6/15

Mudhoney @ Black Cat, 7/7/15

Little Boots @ U Street Music Hall, 7/25/15

Friday Night Concert Series @ Yards Park – July

  • Almost Journey (Journey Tribute), 7/3/15
  • Hand Painted Swinger (Pop Hits), 7/10/15
  • Wesley Spangler (Crossover Country), 7/17/15
  • Justin Trawick (Indie Folk Rock), 7/24/15
  • White Ford Bronco (’90’s Covers), 7/31/15

Sports
Nationals’ Home Games @ Nationals Park
The Nats are hot. It’s not a weather thing. Take yourself out to the ballgame. Get a bobblehead.

  • vs. Gaints, 7/3-7/5/15 (Strasburg bobblehead alert, 7/5)
  • vs. Reds, 7/6-7/8/15
  • vs. Dodgers, 7/17-7/19/15
  • vs. Mets, 7/20-7/22/15

Movies and Shows
Screen On the Green @ The National Mall
The Screen on the Green kicks off another season with a few classic movies.

  • North By Northwest, 7/20/15
  • Poseidan Adventure, 7/27/15

Book of Mormon @ The Kennedy Center – July
Laugh. Be offended. Or both. A must see while it’s still in DC!

Don’t Miss: Kopecky @ U Street Music Hall, 6/26/15

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Kopecky, an indie-rock band from Nashville, hits the U Street Music Hall on Friday, 6/26/15.

They released their second album in May, Drug for the Modern Age, with the single “Quarterback”, that has a bit of a Vampire Weekend flavor mixed in.

They started in 2007 as The Kopecky Family Band. Vocalists Kelsey Kopecky (keyboards, bass) and Gabe Simon (guitar, horns) lead the way with a range of rock, pop and groove laden songs.

Repeated listens will get your head nodding and toe tapping, especially to the songs “Are You Listening” and “Heartbeat”.

Additional members include; Steven Holmes (guitar, lap steel guitar), David Krohn (drums), Markus Midkiff (cello, guitar and keyboards), and Corey Oxendine (bass, guitar and horns).

Come out to UHall on Friday and catch them live. It should be a good time.

They co-headline with The Shadowboxers.

Kopecky
w/ The Shadowboxers and The Walking Sticks
U Street Music Hall
Friday, June 26
Doors 6:30pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: The Juan MacLean @ U Street Music Hall — 5/1/15

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John MacLean and Nancy Whang of The Juan MacLean

Anticipation. That’s what happens before a The Juan MacLean show.

Doors opened at 10:00pm at the U Street Music Hall for the modest line that had formed outside. Once inside, the sign at the ticket counter hinted the band was scheduled to go on at 11:30pm.

With time to kill, with a drink and a conversation, one could groove to Tommy Cornelis owning the DJ booth. He gave the growing crowd, many fitted with full backpacks, amble reason to dance.

And dance they did, because 11:30 came and went. Tommy kept the momentum going. Finally, just after midnight, the members of The Juan MacLean, including it’s namesake John MacLean, took positions. After building even greater anticipation, Nancy Whang, formerly of the disbanded LCD Soundsystem, appeared on stage and began to sing in earnest.

Yet it was as if the sound was on mute. Singing was evident, but none of the lyrics escaped the stage.

Partway through the second song, something snapped and the sound came alive. The crowd let out a riotous cheer. Dancing took over, and unconvinced head nodding was a thing of the past.

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Music Park: Funk Parade @ U Street, 5/2/15

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Members of Batala Percussion band performing at 2014 Funk Parade in DC on May 3, 2014 (Photo by Pabak Sarkar)

The second annual Funk Parade promises to be even funkier than the first.

The street and music festival certainly impressed enough people in its inaugural year to convince Mayor Muriel Bowser to close U Street NW on Saturday, May 2 for the daylong festival.

“The U Street Funk Parade embodies the spirit of the District,” said Mayor Bowser in a press release on April 3. “It brings our communities together and honors the city’s cultural heritage that we’ve all come to know and love.”

The Funk Parade organizers sought to close down U Street for their parade last year as well, but they were denied by then-Mayor Vince Grey. With this year’s closing, U Street will shut down for the first time in 17 years, according to reports.

“We’re grateful to the city and Mayor Muriel Bowser for acknowledging U Street’s historic significance to the District as the soul of music, culture and celebration, a place that’s unlike anywhere else in the city,” said Justin Rood, co-founder of Funk Parade, in the press release.

Rood and fellow co-founder Chris Naoum of Listen Local First have been running an Indiegogo campaign to raise $15,000 for the Funk Parade. As of this morning, it has raised roughly $9,300 toward that goal with only four days of fundraising remaining.

The organizes estimate last year’s Funk Parade drew more than 25,000 participants with more than 100 hours of music programming from more than four dozen acts in 30 locations throughout the day. The literal Funk Parade marched down V Street NW last year after Grey denied its application to march down U Street.

Funk Parade activities planned for May 2 include a day fair, the parade, and a music festival.

The following info is from the Funk Parade Indiegogo site:

Day Fair (12-5pm): Before the parade, the neighborhood will host a day fair, full of music, dance, art, and spontaneous acts of soul and creativity. It’s a chance to gather and celebrate and prepare for the mighty parade!

The Main Event – Funk Parade (5-7pm): See dancers, your friends and neighbors, a marching band behind them, and a drum corps. See costumes and getups and shiny things. Hear beat-boxers and junkyard drummers. See pot-bangers and clappers and kids on their parents’ shoulders. Horn players wander in and out of the crowd. A thunderous syncopated procession of groove, winding its way through the neighborhood, calling the city to the funk.

Music Festival (7-10pm): After the parade winds down, the U Street neighborhood’s historic venues open their doors for the city to hear some of the best music DC has to offer. One night, one city, one groove: the subatomic particle of love.

The Funk Parade
U Street Corridor
Saturday, May 2
12-10pm
Free
All ages

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Don’t Miss: Bliss w/ The Juan MacLean @ U Street Music Hall, 12/27/14

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Nancy Whang and Juan MacLean of The Juan MacLean (Photo by Tonje Thilesen)

Of course, you probably already know that DJ Will Eastman hosts his personal dance party Bliss on the last Saturday of every month at U Street Music Hall, which he co-owns and manages.

And of course, U Street Music Hall has become the place to experience exciting new house music.

But I would say they’ve really taken it up a notch with the Christmas edition of Bliss on Saturday, Dec. 27, by hosting DJ sets from The Juan MacLean, the duo of Juan MacLean and Nancy Whang (she formerly of LCD Soundsystem).

This means an unparalleled amount of DFA Records-inspired goodness will drop on DC this weekend. The production-savvy MacLean and Whang know how to make the most of sounds great and small, transcending subgenres from electroclash to deep house.

Of the two as a band, DFA Records says, “Throughout, Nancy is the triumphant leader–front and center; Juan works his magic with the arrangements and production, quoting freely from house, techno, and disco, yet surpassing genres all together. Together, Juan and Nancy play with the lyrics and melodies, as well as the arrangements, creating an interplay remindful of classic disco records. The sounds you’re just not supposed to reach for, the Juan always reaches for.”

If that wasn’t enough, the lineup for Saturday night also features Ben Browning, bassist for Australian new wave/house band Cut Copy. Browning has formed a special relationship with DC, spending some time here in general and spinning specifically at U Street Music Hall.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

Bliss
w/ Juan MacLean, Nancy Whang and Ben Browning
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, Dec. 27
Doors @10pm
$10 (Free for 21+ before midnight)
18+ (Advance tickets required for 18-20)

Music Park: Paperhaus Tribute to Kraftwerk @ U Street Music Hall — 12/14/14

Kraftwerk Trans-Europe Express with Sheldon Cooper
DC’s own Paperhaus paid tribute to Kraftwerk Sunday night

Wow, Paperhaus knocked it out of the park last night at U Street Music Hall.

The psych rock quartet were joined by Erik Sleight of Br’er and Stronger Sex to stage a performance of the Kraftwerk album Trans Europe Express. I had little to prepare my expecations for the experience, but it didn’t matter. Even if I had the highest of expectations, the band would have exceeded them easily!

First and foremost, of course, Paperhaus augmented their synthesizer arsenal. Alex Tebeleff, normally on guitar and vocals, dedicated himself to a synthesizer while Erik supplemented him. Eduardo Rivera took occasional synth duties in addition to his guitar and backing vocals.

After a brief introduction, the band ably leapt into the first track, Europe Endless, and they sounded great! Alex enunciated his words in such a way as to lend them a Kraftwerkesque aura, while Eduardo occasionally sang into a vocoder.

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Music Park: Paperhaus to Perform Kraftwerk @ U Street Music Hall, 12/14/14

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DC psychedelic band Paperhaus are set to perform the entire Kraftwerk album Trans Europe Express at U Street Music Hall on Sunday, Dec. 14.

Lead vocalist Alex Tebeleff took a few minutes out of a busy day today to tell ParkLifeDC how the show came about.

“We are doing Kraftwerk because we love their music!” Alex said. “It’s truly some of the most innovative, interesting, and beautiful music I can think of.

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Music Park: New Build @ U Street Music Hall — 12/2/14

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New Build: Felix Martin, Joy Joseph and Al Doyle at U Street Music Hall

Al Doyle and Pat Mahoney are rather moved to be sharing a stage again.

Not that the two men share a band any longer since the dissolution of LCD Soundsystem. But their two new bands are touring together in a perfect pairing, forming something of a double bill for a tour that kicked off Tuesday night at U Street Music Hall in DC. And of course Doyle and Mahoney took time during their respective sets to voice their appreciation for each other and their new bands.

“He’s like my twin brother except I’m the balder, fatter one,” Mahoney joked of his relationship with Doyle.

Doyle’s new band New Build recently released a second album, and Mahoney’s band Museum of Love have released a debut. The plan generally is for Museum of Love to open for New Build, but a car accident prompted New Build to play first last night. (Fear not, as apparently no one was hurt!)

New Build includes Doyle and Felix Martin, both of Hot Chip. And the New Build music, although its own unique form of ambient pop, sometimes resembles the slower songs from their other shared band.

They opened their show with “The Sunlight,” the first track from the new album, Pour It On. And it’s a good opening number as it slowly builds and draws you in with its sweet synths and light drums. Doyle sings gently and slowly as he references themes that recur throughout many of New Build’s songs: the struggle of people to find themselves through analogies of lightness and darkness.

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Don’t Miss: New Build @ U Street Music Hall, 12/2/14

NEW BUILD PHOTO 2014

Guitarist Al Doyle, bassist Felix Martin (both of Hot Chip) and composer Tom Hopkins make up ambient synthpop band New Build, which is headlining at U Street Music Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 2. New Build are joined by Museum of Love, which features Pat Mahoney (of LCD Soundsystem) and Dennis McNany.

New Band recently released a second full-length album, Pour It On. Doyle, who also was in LCD Soundsystem, took time to talk to publicists about his past in LCD and his future with New Build

Q: What was your favorite LCD gig?

Al Doyle: Probably the one which I thought was my last ever gig, at the end of the Sound of Silver tour when James said he wasn’t making another record. We played “New York, I Love You” and I was totally in tears, just broken down and sobbing, and to add to it James started singing “Al Doyle, I Love You” and that was just too much. Never been so mushed up on stage before or since — actually, talking about it now it probably wasn’t my “favorite” gig, but it was a singular experience. Very grainy footage here:

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