Live Review: Arlo Parks @ Union Stage — 10/26/21

Arlo Parks performs at Union Stage in Washington, D.C
Arlo Parks sings at Union Stage in DC on Oct. 26, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

A good, general rule to live by is when a recent winner of the Mercury Music Prize comes to your town, go see them. This certainly held up well for Arlo Parks’ sold-out appearance at Union Stage recenlty.  Fresh off of an appearance at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta over the previous weekend, Parks displayed talent and charisma well beyond what I expected from this 20 year-old.

Her debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams, is a fun, airy vibe of trip-hop beats (supplied by producer Gianluca Buccellati) and Parks cooler-than-ice-cold vocals. She has an ear for a hook as well, I’m still trying to get the chorus of “Caroline” out of my head days after the show. I swear to God I tried.

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Live Review: John Craigie @ Union Stage — 10/6/21

John Craigie - Union Stage DC - 10.06.21 CVock 5
John Craigie performs at DC’s Union Stage on Oct. 6, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Standing on stage as a performing musician is likely daunting enough for anyone who is brave enough to put themselves out there. Imagine also tasking yourself with trying to earnestly engage and entertain an audience in between each and every song?

It’s a lesser-embraced style these days, but there’s one gentleman who has built his reputation and his career on the same kind of performances as those that defined the careers of the most famous proponents of the talking blues, men like Woodie Guthrie decades ago, and maybe someone like a Todd Snyder these days. That man is John Craigie, and he brought that style to Union Stage recently.

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Live Review: Heartless Bastards @ Union Stage — 10/2/21

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Erika Wennerstrom fronts Heartless Bastards at Union Stage on Oct. 2, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Erika Wennerstrom, lead singer and songwriter for the Austin-based band Heartless Bastards, may just have the perfect rock ‘n’ roll voice. It’s deep, powerful, and rich, with some similarity to another great singer originally from the Buckeye State, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. As one fan called out between songs, “I would listen to you read the phone book.” (I suppose this would require finding a phone book, which presents a challenge, as they’ve gone the way of the dodo.)

When Erika and the Bastards headlined at DC’s Union Stage recently, that incredible voice was on display for a meaty, two-hour set.

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Live Review: The Ocean Blue @ Union Stage — 9/5/21

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The Ocean Blue perform at Union Stage on Sept. 5, 2021. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

In a very well-received show at Union Stage recently, The Ocean Blue, the dreampop quartet originating from Hershey, Pennsylvania, favored their sophomore album Cerulean, choosing to showcase five of its songs.

In introducing one of those songs — “When Life Was Easy” — frontman David Schelzel reflected on how some songs take on a new meaning for the writers as they get older.

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Preview: The Ocean Blue @ Union Stage, 9/5/21

The Ocean Blue (Photo Darin Back)
The Ocean Blue (Photo by Darin Back)

The Ocean Blue, the much admired dream pop act from Hershey, Pennsylvania, was always one of those American bands that sounded more like an English act. The band continued that streak with their newest album, Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves, released in 2019.

The band resumes touring their fan-favorite early material alongside their consistently terrific new songs in a show at Union Stage on Sunday, Sept. 5.

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Live Review: Elizabeth Cook with Waylon Payne @ Union Stage — 8/14/21

ElizabethCook
Elizabeth Cook (Photo courtesy the artist)

Elizabeth Cook and Waylon Payne had two of my favorite albums released last year — Aftermath and The Queer, The Harlot, the Pusher and Me — so I was extremely excited about Saturday evening’s show at the Union Stage. Payne opened the show with a 45-minute solo acoustic set, and Cook headlined with her full band, Gravy.

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Poll: What Is the Best Music Venue in DC for 2020?

Grott @ SO36 - 40 Years
A band on stage! (Photo by Montecruz Foto)

Welcome to the 2020 Thrushie Awards!

Parklife DC will name the DC best local music venue of the year with your input. The Thrushie Awards are open to DC-area music venues that host touring bands. These venues must be occupied by its owner-operator and not a “for-rent” concert hall operated by an independent agent.

Learn more about each nominee by clicking on their name in keywords. Or name your own candidate!

Vote for the best music local music venue in the DC metro area now through Dec. 11.