Entertainment, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, The District

Hot Ticket: Escort @ Blackcat, 11/22/13


Do you like dancing? Do you like disco? Do you like flashing lights? Do you like live ensemble bands? Then Escort at the Blackcat this Friday is for you.

The ensemble (we’re talking like 17 people!) released their first album last year and made it onto Rolling Stone’s top 40 albums of 2012, so they’re legit. The album is chock full of disco-based tracks that artfully take the musical genre modern with tribal beats, synth-based remixes and electrifying energy. But make no mistake this is a disco, so if that’s not your thing, this isn’t your show. If you’re looking to get your weekend started with a live music dance party, then I’ll see you there.

London escorts can be absolutely hilarious, provocative, just perfect, surprisingly good… I guess, rather like sex itself,” is what Jenn wrote in an e-mail after we got word that the Air Sex World Championships Tour were thrusting its way into H-Street’s Rock & Roll Hotel this past weekend. I’ve heard of the event before, if you think the idea of an Air Guitar Championship is silly, I don’t want to know what you think of the idea of pretending to have sex on a stage. In front of a crowd of people.

What I saw that night was more than petty stage humping or imaginary love-making, honestly I don’t know how to describe what I saw that night.



Concert Roundup, Entertainment, Essential DC, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, Night Life, The Daily Feed

October Concert Round Up

October has shaped up to be a killer month in the DC music scene – largely delivering tried and true favorites to a wide variety of Washington-era venues for a live music fan. So Mickey (our resident music buff) and myself (avid concert goer/reviewer in training) are offering up our thoughts on the acts you should put on your schedules and get your little tucki (plural of tuckus???) out there to see.

Details on Daryl Hall and John Oates, The Naked and the Famous, Islands, Sparks and more after the jump. Continue reading

Entertainment, Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Black Hills @ Black Cat, 5/23/2012

Black Hills: Air apparent? photo by author

Earlier this week I chatted with DC-based Aaron Estes about his latest musical project Black Hills. Last night I got the chance to see the group play at Black Cat, along with openers Reindeer and The Fire Tapes.

I go to a lot of shows. I consider myself a music-lover. In my experience it doesn’t happen often that I am blown away by a band, especially one that is new to me. Last night Black Hills blew me away with their eight-song-set on the backstage of the Black Cat. Now, I wasn’t completely surprised that this happened- I was kind of hoping for it.

I first saw Estes and some of his musical cohorts perform at Run for Cover, a benefit show that has happened for many years at the Black Cat. The show featured all one-off cover bands, made up of DC musicians, to varying degrees of musical success, silliness, and spectacle. The acts Estes was a part of were far-and-away the most spectacular and musically spot-on, two years in a row: a C+C Music Factory cover band in 2010 and a Daft Punk group in 2011. After seeing him at Run for Cover I knew he was one to watch. Fast forward to last week, when I stumbled across the ad for Black Hills on the Black Cat website. After listening to the four songs he has up on Bandcamp, I was giddy.

For a frame of reference, there are a lot of musical comparisons that can be drawn to Black Hills. The influence of Air is apparent, with the lush synths/synth strings and the groovy bass, but at times I was also reminded a little of Genesis, and to make a more current comparison- Gotye.

Though Black Hills’ recorded music is produced by Estes as a solo effort, the live show includes four other very talented musicians. Estes plays synths and sings, and is backed by guitar, more synth, bass and drums.

The lush sounds heard on the recordings were brought to life onstage well, with added sparks from electric guitar, and extra bounce from groovy bass and drums. Highlights of the set included the beautiful “The Good News”, the infectious “In my Dreams”, and the celestial “Glass.” I must also admit that my heart skipped a beat (or three) when they played spot-on, gorgeous covers of Air’s “Run” and Goldfrapp’s “Clowns.”

The only disappointment was that they didn’t have any more songs to play at the end of their set. At least it gives me something to look forward to…

Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Horrors @ Black Cat, 9/30

photo courtesy of The Horrors.

Our friend Ali Lieberman covered The Horrors concert at The Black Cat for us on Friday night.

It’s incredible what three years can do. In 2009, the British band The Horrors opened for the Kills at the 9:30 Club with a presence that could barely fill the stage. They had a unique, campy, goth persona with teased black hair, eyeliner, and death-driven pseudonyms. Fast forward to last Friday night at the Black Cat where they were barely recognizable as the black-clad, emo quintet they once were.

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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Echo & The Bunnymen @ The Black Cat 4/30/10

Echo & The Bunnymen, Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant
courtesy of Echo & The Bunnymen.

Echo & the Bunnymen played to a sold out Black Cat on Friday night. It was a rescheduled date from their canceled Fall 2009 tour.

Ian McCulloch wore sunglasses and a long coat over his sweatshirt. He smoked many cigarettes and told many, many indecipherable anecdotes. His singing voice sounded spot on and mentally he held it together through most of the set (contrary to what I have heard of earlier Bunnymen tours this century). It was during the encore that Ian began to ramble on with medleys and tributes that stretched some of Echo’s best songs to their breaking points. I won’t say that this aging post-punk genius isn’t due his eccentricities though. All told, minus the encore nonsense, he gave us an excellent show chock full of fan favorites. Original member Will Sergeant was there too, killing it on guitar. The backing band was very tight. If you closed your eyes you would think you were listening to the 80’s line-up. Except for the keyboards which seemed to disconnect slightly in the set’s later half.

I last saw Echo & The Bunnymen play in 2003 in Spain in front of a massive crowd (50k?) at the Festival Internacional de Benicassim. That show was totally rock star. It looked and sounded epic. Friday night’s show was intimate and informal. Ian and the band hardly seemed to be putting on a show at all. The feel was very relaxed as if the band were playing for old friends rather than paying customers. Judging from the very warm reception the band received, in a way I guess they were.
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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Wedding Present @ The Black Cat 4/9/10

The Wedding Present play Bizarro at the Black Cat courtesy of Frank Bors Jr.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of The Wedding Present’s seminal, break-up album, “Bizarro“; and to celebrate, band founder David Gedge is touring the U.S. playing the album in full. On Friday night The Wedding Present stopped in at The Black Cat to play a handful of non-“Bizarro” tracks and then the album proper from beginning to end. While the current Wedding Present line-up skews slightly younger than the blokes that originally played this material, the crowd on Friday night was definitely composed of first generation fans judging by the abundance of middle-aged and soon to be middle-aged men in attendance. It was certainly a night for reliving passionate youth for many as “Bizarro” is one of the great relationship-angst albums of all time. So great in fact that Gedge’s heart-wounded lyrics can still inspire a crowd of grown men to scream along with him even now, twenty years removed from the soul-crushing trials of youthful romance and the debut of the perfect soundtrack for them.

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