Earth Wind & Fire dance at MGM National Harbor on Feb. 18, 2017. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
If you ever have heard Philip Bailey sing, you know what an amazing voice the gent has. But I would say you really have to see him live to get the full effect of how he turns on a dime to raise a falsetto and drop it into a baritone, such as when he sings “Betcha by Golly, Wow,” made famous by Philadelphia soul group The Stylistics. Thankfully, you have an opportunity to do just that as Philip’s powerhouse disco and funk group Earth, Wind & Fire are here in DC Wednesday, Aug. 9, for a show at Verizon Center.
And even better, they are teaming up with their contemporary Nile Rodgers, who is bringing the CHIC collective along with him.
Depeche Mode (Photo by Anton Corbijn)
Depeche Mode have launched the Global Spirit Tour in support of their new album, Spirit, published March 17 via Columbia Records. The iconic band are touring Europe currently, with their next stop in Athens, Greece, on May 17, and they are due to arrive in North America in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 23.
Depeche Mode will hit DC for a show at Verizon Center on Thursday, Sept. 7, and some tickets are still available. If that weren’t exciting enough, they are bringing along psych rock quartet Warpaint to open.
Daryl Hall and John Oates (Photo by Mick Rock)
Daryl Hall and John Oates broke through in the early ’70s with undeniably catchy songs of blue-eyed soul, and went on to create 18 studio albums, selling more than 40 million records. Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith formed Tears for Fears in the early ’80s, creating alternative synthpop, which also produced #1 hits (they had two while Hall and Oates had six, if we are keeping count).
The Americans and the Englishmen were both very popular in the mid-1980s, as their songs climbed the charts and their videos were in heavy rotation on MTV. Now, the two bands are touring together, and they perform at the Verizon Center in DC on Monday, June 26.
Concept art for the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience (Art courtesy Live Nation Entertainment)
Will you sit in the House of Lannister? Or will you sit in the House of Stark?
Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches sings at Echostage on Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
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.)
John Taylor signs my copy of his autobiography during a soiree at Il Gattopardo in New York City on Nov. 4, 2013. (Photo by Eddie Malluk)
Observers of Duran Duran, as well as the band itself, have often cited its primary inspirations as English glam band Roxy Music and New York disco funksters Chic. Listening to the sounds of boyhood friends Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, you can even discern how the primal elements of the two bands fused into the new wave gem of a band they started in 1978: Nick, stylish to synthy; John, fun to funky.
As John noted in his 2012 autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran, his prized possession is the bass left to him by the late Chic bassist Bernard Edwards, who helped him form Power Station while on a break from Duran Duran circa 1985. It is of course then absolutely meta that Nile Rodgers, the artistic mastermind behind Chic, opened for the band on its latest tour, The Paper Gods Tour, undertaken in celebration of the 14th album by the UK trendsetters.
Nile, for his part, knows what makes Duran Duran tick, and he mixed “The Reflex,” which became Duran Duran’s first #1 hit in the United States. And of course, Nile took to the stage with Duran Duran for several songs Friday night in a big, bright show at the Verizon Center to play two incredible songs he produced for the band — “Notorious” from the 1986 album of the same name and “Pressure Off” from last year’s Paper Gods (but sadly not “The Reflex,” despite an intense audience rally from the very full house on behalf of the ever-popular song).
Roger Taylor, John Taylor, Simon LeBon, and Nick Rhodes (Photo by Stephanie Pistel)
On Nov. 4, 2013, I traveled to New York City to meet and mingle with Duran Duran at an exclusive party, where I was able to chat with my long-time musical heroes prior to a screening at the Museum of Modern Art of their concert film, Duran Duran Unstaged, directed by David Lynch.
After the film, my perpetual concert date and best friend Yasmin and I were able to spend some more time at a question and answer panel with the four main members of the band — vocalist Simon LeBon, synthmaster Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor. It wasn’t the only time Yasmin and I engaged the band, but it was perhaps the most memorable.