Music, The Features, We Love Music

Q&A: Nina @ 9:30 Club — 9/19/14 (Prior to Opening for Erasure)

Nina (Photo courtesy of Aztec Records)

Nina (Photo courtesy of Aztec Records)

Nina, the latest indie-dance chanteuse from the United Kingdom, opened for Erasure in two sold-out dates at the 9:30 Club on Friday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Sept. 20. If you enjoyed her show in DC or elsewhere, you’ll be pleased to know she has two solo performances coming up in New York City before she returns to London–Friday, Sept. 26, at the Pyramid Club in Alphabet City and Monday, Oct. 13, at Friends and Lovers in Brooklyn.

Watch her video for “We Are the Wild Ones” below and find out more about the artist in our interview afterward! (We talked to Nina Friday before her show at the 9:30 Club.)

Mickey McCarter: Songs like your new single “My Mistake” have a great dance beat but they are lyrically full of loneliness and regret? How do you reconcile that?

NINA: When I write, that’s mainly what I write about. It’s a lot about escape and love and melancholic things. When I write, sometimes I’m in quite a dark space; sometimes I can be in a happy space-–it depends!

I was collaborating with a band called Hunter As A Horse. We were kind of at the same level; we are very similar when it comes to writing. We write very dark lyrics about heartbreak and things like that. So it worked out really well. We also have that dance beat to it as well.

We have a new song, however, that’s slightly different. It’s a little bit more ’80s and a bit more happy. I thought I would try something happy and see how it works! It’s the last song in the set tonight. It’s called “Sweet Surrender.”

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Erasure w/ Nina @ 9:30 Club — 9/19/14

Andy Bell and Vince Clarke (Photo by Joe Dilworth)

Andy Bell and Vince Clarke (Photo by Joe Dilworth)

Erasure danced into town over the weekend for a pair of back-to-back sold-out shows at the 9:30 Club.

Well, more accurately, vocalist Andy Bell danced into town–boogied, shuffled, two-stepped–all wild entertainment and outrageous outfits that gave an ample amount of glitz to Erasure’s glossy, high-tempo synth music. His bandmate, the legendary Vince Clarke, more often stood stoically behind his synthesizer, stepping outside his box only occasionally to strum frenetically away on his guitar during super hits like “A Little Respect.”

And the show, which I caught on Friday, Sept. 19, was full of the big hits from Erasure. They opened wisely with eternal fan-fave “Oh L’Amour,” which got the room hopping. One of several nods to the band’s fourth album with the song “Star” followed before Bell introduced material from the band’s 16th studio album, Violet Flame, released literally today in the United Kingdom.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Nightbox w/ Rush Midnight @ DC9, 6/1/14


DC9 is hosting a strong bill of indie dance bands on Sunday, June 1, featuring Canadians Nightbox and Brooklyn’s Rush Midnight — both of whom have recent releases on Toronto’s Last Gang Records (notably home to Chromeo and formerly to Metric, Crystal Castles and other amazing bands).

Nightbox formed in Wicklow, Ireland, before relocating to Toronto in 2010. They have released several EPs, most recently The Panic Sequence, which the band produced and wrote with the assistance of from Al-P of MSTRKRFT and from Sebastien Grainger of Death from Above 1979.

The quintent—vocalist Jacob Bitove, drummer Nick Bitove, bassist Andrew Keyes, guitarist James Tebbitt and synths James Shelly—recently shared a video for their single “Burning” from the new EP.

I saw the band open for Albert Hammond Jr., guitarist of The Strokes while on a solo tour, at U Street Music Hall on Nov. 3. Their material is smooth and crisp, and it sounds very much like what you would expect from folks who work with dance collaborators like Death from Above and MSTRKRFT. Their sound makes them musical cousins to the likes of Holy Ghost! and Two Door Cinema Club, in my humble opinion, and their performance is very much that of a “polished” rock band.

Rush Midnight, born Russ Manning in Brooklyn, likes to keep things a little funky. He confesses to listening to Michael Jackson and Kool and the Gang when he was younger, but he also takes inspiration from likes of The Police. Rush Midnight released his first full-length, a self-titled 11-track record, only on Tuesday. He debuted a video for the song “Closer” last month.

Nightbox and Rush Midnight are joined by Philadephia’s Bel Heir. Buy tickets at Ticketfly or at the door.

w/ Rush Midnight and Bel Heir
Sunday, June 1
Doors @8pm
All ages

Music, The Features, We Love Music

The Winning Ticket: Galantis @ 9:30 Club, 4/24/14

GalantisFAs a way to say thanks to our loyal readers, We Love DC will be giving away a pair of tickets to a 9:30 Club concert to one lucky reader periodically. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to find out what tickets we’re giving away, and leave a comment for your chance to be the lucky winner!

Today, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see Galantis at the 9:30 Club on Thursday, April 24.

For your chance to win these tickets, simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between 10am and 5pm today. Feel free to leave any comment, but perhaps share your favorite song by Galantis (or one of their related projects)! One entry per email address, please. Tickets for this show are also available through Ticketfly.

Galantis! They came to dance! Galantis is Christian Karlsson of Miike Snow and Linus Eklöw aka Style of Eye. They are making their live debut at Coachella on April 12 then embarking on a brief tour that ends at the 9:30 Club on April 24. They will bring with them their self-titled debut EP, which includes dance tracks such as “Smile” and “Revolution.” Lest you wonder what these gents know about dance (I mean, other than the Miike Snow thing), Karlsson has co-produced tracks such as “Toxic” for Britney Spears and Eklöw produced “I Love It” for Icona Pop. So there you go.

For the rules of this giveaway…

Comments will be closed at 5pm and a winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email within 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner.

Tickets will be available to the winner at the 9:30 Club Guest List window one hour before doors open on the night of the concert. The tickets must be claimed with a valid ID. The winner must be old enough to attend the specific concert or must have a parent’s permission to enter if he/she is under 18 years old.

9:30 Club
Thursday, April 24
doors @10pm
All ages

Music, The Features, We Love Music

The Winning Ticket: Skylar Grey @ U Street Music Hall, 7/14/13


As a way to say thanks to our loyal readers, We Love DC will be giving away a pair of tickets to a 9:30 Club concert to one lucky reader periodically. (In this case, it’s actually a concert at U Street Music Hall presented by the 9:30 Club!) Keep your eyes open for opportunities at 9am once a week or so to find out what tickets we’re giving away and leave a comment for your chance to be the lucky winner!

Today, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see Skylar Grey at U Street Music Hall on Sunday, July 14. The Wisconsin native has wrote quite a few hit rap songs for the likes of Dr. Dre, Rihanna and Eminem. Today, Grey releases her debut album, Don’t Look Down, under her name Skylar Grey. (She previously recorded as “Holly Brook.”)

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Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: M83 @ Black Cat, 10/28/11

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

I remember when M83 released their breakthrough album Dead Cities, Red Seas, & Lost Ghosts back when I was in college. M83 easily fit in my collection with groups like The Postal Service and The Notwist, yet the album had no vocalist to connect it with mankind. The occasional words were only samples; it was like a glimpse at a dystopian future, where maybe people weren’t even around anymore. I could imagine their core member Anthony Gonzalez in his French chateau, sitting at his laptops and keyboards, writing minimalist, electronic soundtracks for lonely bedrooms.

M83 has evolved tremendously since then; while their current music retains its electro roots, it’s all in all more varied, more approachable, more poppy, more epic. Their new material makes for a hell of a live show, too. They sold out two shows at Black Cat on Friday night; I stopped by the late show to see what they had to offer. The show had exactly what I want from live electronic music – infectious beats, atmospheric lighting, and an enthusiastic crowd.
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We Love Music

We Love Music: Crystal Castles @ 9:30 Club, 3/15/11

All images courtesy of Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles is a band I haven’t quite wrapped my head around yet. They’re a duet that plays slightly off-kilter, dark, noisy electronic music. It’s a pretty strange mix of Vegas slot-machine ambience, Gameboy bleeps and bloops, and ghostly vocals. Why do people like this? Maybe because it’s so weird. Or because you can dance to it. But like Apple Jacks, I just like it, and I can’t explain why. Clearly I’m not the only one who feels this way – they sold out the 9:30 Club on Wednesday, just like the last time they came through DC in August.

Crystal Castles put on an impressive live show that perfectly complements their music. Not only did they pick a great setlist, but the entire visual aspect of the show perfectly complemented their songs. Bright LED displays surrounded by darkness added a new layer of mystery to their music. And, oh man, their singer Alice Glass knows how to get a crowd going. We danced, jumped, and clawed our way forward throughout the set.
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Entertainment, Music, Night Life

New Venue: U Street Music Hall

photo by Sam Vasfi.

Two of the hardest working DJs in DC, Will Eastman and Jesse Tittsworth, are about to drop a bomb on U Street in the form of their new 300-capacity nightclub, U Street Music Hall. Destined to become one of DC’s best dance destinations, U Street Music Hall is located at 1115 U Street NW in the very cool, basement space vacated by Cue Bar.

Eastman and Tittsworth have taken over the space and cleared everything out to make room for a massive, 60-foot long, wooden dance floor (built over cork for extra bounce and comfort), a gigantic DJ booth that is “larger than some venues in DC”, and a 40,000 Watt sound-system that is designed to “physically compel you to dance”.
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The Daily Feed

New Year Fitness for Free

courtesy of ‘cuirjean’

If your New Year’s resolutions included “get in shape” or “try something new,” you may want to check out Winter Free Week at Blue Heron Wellness in Silver Spring. Free classes run through Sunday.

They include everything from belly dancing and hoop dance to Soul Camp, a boot camp class that explores all styles of movement to unleash inner strength, to NIA, an expressive, barefooted, dance/fitness practice that combines elements from Tai Chi, Tae-Kwon-Do, jazz, Duncan dance, yoga and Aikido.

You can also learn more about MTHFR and folic acid toxicity, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, Reiki and reflexology, Shiatsu and Thai massage. And of course much more…that is, if you resolve to go.

Entertainment, Night Life, Penn Quarter, Special Events, The Daily Feed

VelocityDC Dance Festival

Image courtesy of VelocityDC

Image courtesy of VelocityDC

There are dance parties where you dance, and dance parties where you watch in awe. This Friday and Saturday for a paltry $15 you can do the latter at VelocityDC Dance Festival, where six companies will strut their stuff upon the stage of the Harman Center. It’s a wide variety – ballet, modern, flamenco, hip hop – with troupes such as The Washington Ballet, CityDance Ensemble, and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange presenting short pieces designed to introduce you to dance performance. 

Both nights start with a special street performance at 5:30pm called “Bodies in Urban Space,” which will move from the Navy Memorial through Penn Quarter to the Harman.  Stage performances begin at 7:30pm. Meet the dancers afterwards at the bars of the Harman to chat them up about their profession, one of the most grueling and athletic of the performing arts. 

And if that weren’t enough, Saturday will also feature a 10pm cabaret with performers like Furia Flamenca and Capital Movement Project, followed by DJ Ian Knight spinning in the Harman lounges. 

So, $15 for poetry in motion. Not bad.

The Daily Feed

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Photo courtesy of
‘Passion, lower section’
courtesy of ‘lepiaf.geo’

Looking for something new and different to do tonight?

Head to the French embassy starting at 6:45 for a Midsummer Night’s Parisian Dance Soiree, where you can learn to tango (yep, it takes two, but you don’t need to bring a partner) and dance the merengue and Viennese waltz. And of course they’ll have French wine, to make that dancing thing a little easier.

Advance tickets are required.

Entertainment, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, Music, Special Events, The District, We Love Arts, WMATA

We Love Arts: Cherry Blast

I think we can all agree that one of the reasons “we love DC” is the arrival of spring each year when our city is transformed from a bleak, gray land of zombies into a cheery land of fresh-faced partiers.  The harsh winter weather is behind us, the cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom, girls swap their jeans for skirts, and it’s time to start planning how you’ll enjoy every waking minute before the sweltering heat invades our city.

What better way to celebrate the disappearance of winter than checking out the National Cherry Blossom Festival?  While it officially started on March 28th, it runs until April 12th and is packed full of fun things to do, ranging from blossom tours to photo safaris to wicked awesome Japanese-themed art fashion anime parties.  Say what?  That’s right, on Friday the Pink Line Project kicks into gear again to throw a party that is sure to be the highlight of this year’s festival.  Enter stage left: Cherry Blast.

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