Jake Shimabukuro (Photo coutesy Jensen Communications)
With a hearty “Aloha!” ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro greeted the crowd at Strathmore Music Center last night. “This hall sounds amazing,” he said. “It’s such an honor playing in this hall. You can’t play a bad note in this hall or, if you do, you hear it for a long time.”
Jake Shimabukuro performs at The Birchmere on Sept. 18, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Yeah, the name is tough to pronounce, but Jake Shimabukuro’s talent is easy to see. The Hawaiian-born ukulele performer and composer brought his gift to The Birchmere recently in a show that featured both brilliance and a beloved, special guest.
Amanda Palmer performs at National Theatre in DC on April 5, 2019.
Amanda Palmer made a deal with her audience at the National Theatre on Friday. If ever anyone became too sad during the course of her music and conversation presentation, he or she could simply exclaim, “Amanda, I’m too sad!” and the artist would respond to brighten things up with the opening chords of “Coin-Operated Boy” by her band The Dresden Dolls.
By our count, she was called upon to play those chords at least five times, which might not be so bad for a 4.5 hour show.
Grace VanderWaal performs at 9:30 Club on Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)
Kids say the darnedest things, especially when prompted by a pint-sized pop star.
“Make them say Ring Pops.”
Martha Davis of The Motels
The song “Party Professionals” moves with a little bit of a faster cadence than the typical number by Martha Davis and The Motels, but otherwise it captures a lot of the essence of the band.
Ms. Davis sashays onto the stage and breaks into its celebratory lyrics, which include refrains like, “And we will dance/’Til the dawn’s early light/And I will drink to you/And you to I.”
In a musical interlude, Marty Jourard, the band’s other remaining original member, takes to the saxophone for an extended solo that leaves the audience feeling quite romantically wistful during a performance of the song, which opened a show at The Hamilton Live in DC on Tuesday night.
Marty has a penchant for writing sad, romantic songs like “Take the L,” from the band’s third album “All Four One,” which comes up later in the set. “Take the L” is representative of the kind of wordplay for which both Marty and Martha have an affinity as she croons, “Take the L out of ‘lover’ and it’s ‘ooooooover.’”
And of course nostalgia for lost love is a regular visitor to the lyrics of The Motels, whose signature songs include “Suddenly Last Summer” (which they hit early in the show) and “Only the Lonely” (which appeared in the encore), both written by Martha. The Motels hit perfect notes of sophistipop in these numbers, effortlessly blending calypso, blues, rock, jazz and new wave (certainly a genre that initially gave Martha a lot of inspiration when starting out).