Snapshots: Parklife DC More Best Pictures of 2016

Savages @ 930 Club 26 Savages at 9:30 Club on March 27, 2016 (See the full blog)

As we wrap up 2016 here at Parklife DC, we looked back on our best concert photos of the year, where reviewed our 10 (actually 11) favorite photos on our blog.

But while Paivi and Kristie considerably brightened up our blog with their pictures, Theresa C. Sanchez and myself also have been out there photographing some concerts. So now we are rounding up the best of the rest to present some cool photos that Theresa and I captured over the year as well.

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Music Park: Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2016 by Mickey

CHVRCHES 008 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.)

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Music Park: Pet Shop Boys @ Warner Theatre — 11/11/16

Pet Shop Boys 08
Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys makes his entrance at the Warner Theatre on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

The Pet Shop Boys have a terrific new album, and they toured it in style at the Warner Theatre on Friday.

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe brought the songs from SUPER to DC as part of a talented five-piece band that relied heavily on fine musicianship over stage trappings. In previous tours, the Pet Shop Boys presented us with some dazzling stagecraft and dancers. But this time around, their focus was more toward singing some great songs and playing some great synths accompanied by some costume changes and an admittedly spectacular lightshow.

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Don’t Miss: Pet Shop Boys @ Warner Theatre, 11/11/16

Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys at the first night of four sold-out shows at London’s Royal Opera House on July 20, 2016. (Photo by Ken McKay)

The ever-fabulous Pet Shop Boys have been feeling particularly creative lately, releasing a series of very very good albums.

Neal Tennant and Chris Lowe always have been somewhat restless musicians, setting high marks for their disco-oriented synthpop. Their recent work with producer Stuart Price, pop king of modern disco producers, really has raised the bar, however, particularly with their latest and 13th album Super, published in April via their own x2 label.

Pet Shop Boys launched a US tour in support of the new album in Las Vegas last month, and the tour arrives in DC on Friday, Nov. 11 in a sold-out show at the Warner Theatre. (Resale tickets are available for DC, and a few tickets remain for surrounding dates in New Jersey, New York, and elsewhere.)

Like the very best of the Pet Shop Boys’ catalog, Super is stuffed full of cheeky observations on society as well as substantive ruminations on who we are — all set to extremely appealing disco and house beats. Super opens with the outstanding “Happiness,” an addictive house composition that carries a great deal of weight with its minimalism without at all leaving us empty.

“Twenty-something” is one of those tracks full of cheeky observations, assessing the cockiness of youth. The lyrics of the song are offset by a cinematic video that depicts an unfortunate young man in San Diego caught in an unforgiving cycle of life as a criminal.

Watch the official music video for “Twenty-something” by the Pet Shop Boys on YouTube:

The new PSB songs sit very well beside older numbers while seeming like a sharpening of the vision displayed on some of the duo’s ’90s material like the Nightlife album, while improving upon it immensely.

Parklife DC is so excited about this show, that we dedicated our monthly new wave party, Careless Memories (which happens second Thursdays at Dodge City!) to the inimitable Pet Shop Boys. This is going to be a great show.

The show is sold out, but resale tickets may be available!

Pet Shop Boys
Warner Theater
Friday, Nov. 11.
Show @8pm
Sold out
All ages

Music Park: The Go-Go’s @ Warner Theatre — 8/5/16

Go-Go's 01 Belinda Carlisle sings at The Go-Go’s concert at the Warner Theater on August 5, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

“We’re going to play a few songs from a time before the producers got a hold of us,” said Belinda Carlisle to the audience at the Warner Theatre on Friday.

It was a favorite moment in a concert that was honestly a string of favorite moments. With that pronouncement, The Go-Go’s launched into the fiery punk “Screaming,” which they dutifully followed up with “Fun with Ropes,” a song about a little bit of innocuous if kinky fun. The two songs appeared in live versions previously on the 1994 compilation Return to the Valley of The Go-Go’s, which I’ve noted previously is a prized possession in my music collection, but otherwise always remained unreleased in a nod to the band becoming more radio-friendly.

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Don’t Miss: The Go-Go’s @ Warner Theatre, 8/5/16

The Go-Go’s (Photo courtesy Primary Wave)

It was 1996. I had recently relocted to DC, and I was digging through the stacks of discs at CDepot in College Park, Md., for a specific prize. I heard The Go-Go’s had released a new single in the previous years when I was at sea, and I was determined to add it to my collection.

The Go-Go’s! Isolated from commercial radio for a bit in the early to mid-’90s, I had missed out on the introduction of Britpop to US shores, and I previously hadn’t found many personal favorites among grunge musicians. But with the five ladies from Los Angeles, I knew I would find fantastic new wave tunes to reignite my collecting passions.

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