Category Archives: Review

Rufus Wainwright Looks Back

Rufus Wainwright is an accomplished enough figure in music, having just opened his second opera, that he needn’t resort to nostalgia. Lucky for his longtime fans that he is, marking his 20th anniversary in show business with a tour that showcases his first two albums, which made for an elegant and stirring evening Saturday at [...]

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Celebrating ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’

“One hundred years from this day,” Gram Parsons once wrote. “Will the people still feel this way?” Alas, he wouldn’t live to find out. Twenty-two when he wrote it, he was dead at 26. But half a century since it was recorded for a game-changing Byrds album, maybe the people do feel different. A flop [...]

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Another Final Show of ‘Pet Sounds’

It’s been two years since Brian Wilson’s 50th anniversary tour of the Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” started doing their “final performances” across the states and around the world. But the masterpiece of rock expression has never worn out its welcome. Another one of the so-called “final performances” came Monday at the Kennedy Center, this one [...]

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Elvis Costello Does DAR Constitution Hall

Normally super-prolific, Elvis Costello went five years between new albums recently, going so far as to tour an old album, “Imperial Bedroom” last year rather than release a new set of songs. But a memoir, a health scare and that tour with the Imposters reminded how much he liked performing with the snap of Pete [...]

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‘Anastasia’ Musical at the Kennedy Center

So many Romanovs these days! There’s Matthew Weiner’s Amazon series in which various supposed survivors of the doomed royal line emerges in modern day, with a new episode every Friday. And now there’s “Anastasia,” the popular musical that was just installed for a month-long run at the Kennedy Center. It’s based on the 1997 animated [...]

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A New Orleans ‘Take Me to the River’

It’s less than a half a year to Fat Tuesday, but the heart of Mardi Gras is on the road, in the form of the “Take Me to the River” tour. The caravan, headlined by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and featuring such figures as Ivan Neville and George Porter Jr., is built around the [...]

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Guided By Voices Hits Its Target

They were playing Captain Beyond before the Guided by Voices’ super marathon at the Black Cat Friday and that was about right: post psychedelic, pre-prog rock Brit/American mix with all kinds of fanciful medieval references. The kind of thing that ancient GBV leader Robert Pollard would relish, in other words, or put out on his [...]

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Bottle Rockets Share With Sarah Borges

The Bottle Rockets have always had a flinty, no-nonsense way of expressing the very concrete things of everyday life that sets it apart from most bands. There’s a hard-won Midwestern honesty to their hard-charging songs about defining the limitations of life and accepting them (or at least naming them clearly). And when Brian Henneman and [...]

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Death Cab for Cutie Rolls In

Despite its jokey name, lifted from a Bonzo Dog Band song title, Death Cab for Cutie have been releasing intriguing, largely wistful albums for 20 years now. Their latest, Thank You For Today, its ninth, continues the traditions of complex, brainy lyrics often reflecting loss and heartache, in catchy little melodies. The band’s big show [...]

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‘How I Learned to Drive’ in the #MeToo Era

What was it like 21 years ago when Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” premiered off Broadway? It was more shocking, maybe; probably more balanced with laughs; and perhaps challenging in presenting audiences with a story of ongoing, predatory pedophilia from a family member. The D.C.-born playwright had developed it with another D.C. theater [...]

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