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: Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy @ Birchmere — 1/14/16

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Glenn Gregory (foreground) and Tony Visconti put their souls into a performance of Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Midway through a concert performance at The Birchmere on Thursday, Tony Visconti paused to share a memory of his time playing bass for David Bowie with the very full house.

Doing a warm impersonation of David’s famous voice, Tony recalled how Bowie instructed him to play like Jack Bruce, the Scottish bass player known for his work with Cream. Tony impressed Mr. Bowie well enough, and he joined up with drummer Woody Woodmansey and guitarist Mick Ronson to form a Bowie backing band that most famously performed on the Bowie album The Man Who Sold the World (TMWSTW).

Woody was the heart of that operation, and Mick the soul, Tony said. “But the brains and the beauty and the creativity was a great man who left us recently — Mr. David Bowie.”

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Music Park: Celebrate David Bowie @ Birchmere, 1/14/16

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David Bowie has died.

As tributes to a great man continue to fill the news, Bowie’s friends and bandmates from his early albums have confirmed that a previously scheduled show highlighting early Bowie albums like The Man Who Sold the World and Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars will go forward.

Drummer Woody Woodmansey, the man behind Bowie tribute band Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy, confirmed today his band will finish their current tour of the United States and Canada, including a stop at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. The band includes Tony Visconti, one of Bowie’s dearest friends and producer of many of his albums, including his last several (such as the new album Blackstar, released Friday, Jan. 8).

Quoting Woody:

“I am in shock as is everyone else. Woken with the news in the early hours this morning as we are in Canada on tour. Myself and Tony Visconti with our band Holy Holy are here preparing for our 4th concert of our east coast USA/Canada tour, playing Toronto tomorrow night, It’s a huge personal loss, as I know it is for millions of fans worldwide. We’ve lost one of the world’s greatest artists, My thoughts are with his family at this time.

As for the shows, David always had the attitude that ‘the show must go on,’ hence Blackstar, so we want the fans to help us celebrate his life and music, that’s what he would have wanted. — love Woody”

I can think of no better way to celebrate Bowie’s life and legacy than to enjoy a great show by these extraordinary musicians, who will be accompanied by Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 on vocals.

Tickets are available online.

Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy
w/ Jessica Lee Morgan
Birchmere Music Hall
Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016
Show @730pm
$39.50
All ages

Don’t Miss: Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy @ Birchmere, 1/14/16

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Perhaps the single greatest modern musician ever to draw a breath, much less play a note, is David Bowie.

Our little blog has been an unabashed admirer of the UK shapeshifter — the godfather of glam, the nexus for new wave — for as long as we can remember. I personally have made it a point to scour the concert halls for the musical statesmen that carry Bowie’s inspiration forward (such as Spandau Ballet, Midge Ure, and Mike Peters) as well as new bands that demonstrate an affection for The Thin White Duke (such as Gardens & Villa and Jack Ladder).

And so it is remarkable that a fiendishly clever Bowie-related project that took root in London is actually coming to the United States to perform for at least 11 dates in 2016. The DC area welcomes Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy to the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.

Now wait a sec — Woody Woodmansey, you say? Who is this fellow?

Well, you can call him David Bowie’s drummer! Yes, Woody was a founding member of Bowie’s backing group The Hype, which transformed into a little band you might have heard of called The Spiders from Mars. They performed on Bowie albums The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and Aladdin Sane before calling it a day as a performing group.

The band also featured superproducer Tony Visconti (who produced Bowie, T. Rex, and many others) on bass and the late Mick Ronson on guitar. Woody and Tony are part of the Holy Holy project, and they have recruited other musicians (like guitarist James Stevenson) to fill in for their old bandmates. Their goal: To perform Bowie songs from that period where they were active, and now to do it here in our area!

Watch Holy Holy perform “Five Years” from Ziggy Stardust live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London on June 30, 2015, on YouTube:

Oh, and of course they don’t have David along with them, so they have recruited an able substitute as part of their collective — Glenn Gregory, best known as the vocalist for another Bowie-inspired outfit, Heaven 17.

Tickets are available online! Don’t miss out on this incredible show, which I still cannot believe is touring to perform for us Americans! What an opportunity.

Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy
Birchmere Music Hall
Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016
Show @730pm
$39.50
All ages