Category Archives: Music

Remembering Leon Russell, 1942-2016

The sad march of death of influential rock ’n’ roll figures continues with the death of Leon Russell on Sunday at 74. Most prominent in the spectacular “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour of Joe Cocker and musical director at George Harrison’s Bangladesh benefit concert, his roots stretch back to pop songs in the 60s, when [...]

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Elvis Costello Stays Around a While

It’s not often that Elvis Costello tours without a new album to support. When he has, the super-prolific songwriter has left his setlist to fate with his always-entertaining Spinning Songbook wheel of songs. Currently, he’s taken the wheel himself, by featuring one fabled album from his career and building a show around that in the [...]

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Luna Satisfies at the Birchmere

“We miss you!” somebody yelled before Luna even started its show Thursday at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va. “We were just here,” replied the unsentimental bandleader Dean Wareham. He meant that they played D.C. at the 930 Club last summer, a booking so unexpected that many of their fans might have missed it. After all, [...]

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Live Review: The Buzzcocks Turn 40

Immediately, the number in the story-high banner and T-shirts hits you right in the solar plexus: Buzzcocks 40. Could two generations have actually passed since the start of English punk? Well, the Buzzcocks were started by Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto in early 1976. They added Steve Diggle a few months later, in time for [...]

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Billy Bragg and Joe Henry: Train Love

Capping one of the more remarkable concept recordings of 2016, the next phase of Billy Bragg & Joe Henry’s celebration of the U.S. train system, “Shine a Light: Field Recordings from The Great American Railroad” is a U.S. tour that started Wednesday at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va. The two seemed a little startled to [...]

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Death Returns for History and Rock

“Are y’all ready for Death?” Such went the call from the opening band, referring to the headliners. That it would come out as such a sobering question of mortality may have been one of the reasons the band named Death never became the stars they might have 40 years ago. The sound of Death (not [...]

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Brian Wilson’s Last ‘Pet Sounds’ Tour

Not exactly a smash when it was first released a half century ago, “Pet Sounds” has since been heralded as one of rock music’s crowning achievements — a big turn for a band known for simple surf songs that opened the door for all kinds of mad studio experimentations, orchestral collaborations and unusual sound effects [...]

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Culture Club at the Strathmore on 9/11

It was the end of a four month tour, but Culture Club hardly looked worn out in their final U.S. show Sunday at The Music Center of Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. Boy George, now 55, looked relaxed and was chatty for the show, wearing in a kind of herringbone costume (waistcoat, zoot suit pants, [...]

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Television at the 930 Club

Because they gained attention in places like CBGB’s in the mid-1970s and had as an original member Richard Hell, Television often got lumped with the punk bands, probably unfairly. Forming in 1973, the band eventually found its footing trafficking in the spare electric guitar poetics of Lou Reed, though the complex interlocking guitar work of [...]

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Kraftwerk in 3D at the Strathmore

In theory, every live appearance is a 3D concert, right? But for Kraftwerk’s current U.S. tour, which kicked off Saturday in Bethesda, patrons were given 3D glasses upon entry. The band, indeed, was live for the most part, if you count standing mainly motionless at a series of consoles. But the glasses came in handy [...]

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