Category Archives: Music

Jason Isbell Headlines Folk Benefit

As the prevailing king and queen of Americana, it’s more likely you’ll see Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires amphitheaters or headlining big summer festivals. It’s rare to see them together in clubs these days, especially one as intimate as the Hamilton in D.C. But there they were Wednesday night, special guests on a night of [...]

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I’m With Her at the 9:30 Club

They blushed and smiled as if they couldn’t believe it. Their debut had come out less than a month before, yet here they were playing all these new songs before a sold out crowd that was as loud in their cheers as the group had been hushed in their fine harmonies. “Who are you people?” [...]

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Survey of American Music in Drag

The Kennedy Center kicked off its multidisciplinary contemporary cultural assault with something thought to embody the approach, Taylor Mac’s “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (1776-2016).” Had the cabaret history in drag been presented in its original form — a single, 24-hour concert with 246 songs — it certainly would have been the kind of [...]

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Noel Gallagher’s Birds ‘n’ Beatles

Much as he wants to get away from it, the Beatles thing continues to dog Noel Gallagher, long after his band Oasis has broken up. Of course, that group got the comparisons, in part from the younger Gallaghers in the band doing some boastful claims. Plus they had some great songs that held up British [...]

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When Sir Tim Rice Wrote for Elvis

I had Sir Tim Rice on the line the other day, to discuss the restaging of “Chess,” which he created with two members of Abba. It premieres at the Kennedy Center with a new book by Danny Strange (“Game Change,” “Empire”) tonight. But I had to ask him about some earlier songs he wrote in [...]

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First Aid Kit Come Fighting

The strongest anthem for the #MeToo movement was written and released by a couple of Swedish sisters in their mid-20s, months before Harvey Weinstein revelations in the New York Times last year. “I am so sick and tired of this world,” First Aid Kit sing, with a venom that is more spat than sung. “All [...]

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Two of The Posies at The Hamilton

For a band celebrating its 30th anniversary of making music, The Posies initial tour of 2018 is pretty austere, features only founding singer songwriters Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow on electric guitars. Later this year, three of their 90s albums, “Dear 23,” “Frosting on the Beater” and “Amazing Disgrace,” will each get reissued on vinyl [...]

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American Ballet Theatre’s ‘Whipped Cream’

It must be galling for many ballet companies that their very operation is dependent on extended holiday performances of “The Nutcracker” year after year. Why can’t there be some other pieces that could delight wide audiences in the same way the Sugarplum Fairies do, during other parts of the year? A strong candidate for that [...]

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Nas Takes ‘Illmatic’ to the Kennedy Center

Putting an orchestral score to hip hop tracks is the kind of gimmick you’d see as a one shot thing at the Grammys — staged more for the visual impact than how it all sounded. There was something very different about Nas taking the whole of his striking debut album “Illmatic” and having it scored [...]

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Remembering Dolores O’Riordan

It was shocking to hear today of the death of Dolores O’Riordan, the memorable vocalist for the Irish band The Cranberries. She was only 46. The last time I had spoken to her, in a 1999 interview amid a summer Cranberries tour, she had talked about how difficult it was in the band — at [...]

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