Category Archives: Review

Weezer, Briefly, at the Black Cat

Days before a new album was to come out, a week before another arena tour, Weezer played the cozy Black Cat in Washington, D.C. Wednesday for a Sirius XM broadcast Thursday, and naturally the free ticket giveaway brought a line down the block to the venerable 700-capacity club. As well-positioned for maximum promotion as it [...]

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James McMurtry’s ‘State of the Union’

The stage couldn’t be much more bare than it was for James McMurtry’s return visit to The Birchmere Music Hall. A couple of guitars, a table with a bottle of water and that’s it. McMurtry’s songs as well are often as stark, painting indelible scenes of domestic impasse, bleak pictures of heartland economic woe and [...]

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Chuck Prophet, Almost Solo in Virginia

A whirlwind tour in Spain with Charlie Sexton playing the whole of The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” may not be the best practice for a solo tour, but it may have given Chuck Prophet a little extra slashing on his acoustic guitar at the start of a quite different tour. It was a solo tour, [...]

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Not Really ‘Live From Here’

After having soured over the years on “Prairie Home Companion” and its tropes, I was still only mildly interested in its renamed replacement “Live from Here” when it emerged on Saturday afternoon public radio. But having had a chance to attend a performance Friday I’ve changed my mind about the whole thing. First of all, [...]

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Alejandro Escovedo and a Touch of Italy

“Are you ready for some romantic Italian music?” guitarist Antonio Gramentieri calls out to the audience. Well, honestly, no. The crowd at City Winery was actually there for the more Tex-Mex flavored ballads and rockers from longtime songwriter Alejandro Escovedo, who has toured with all kinds of configurations over the years, from bands to duos [...]

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‘Hitmaker’ Jon Spencer at the Black Cat

When Jon Spencer took the stage arranging his amps before his latest band started playing Saturday night at the Black Cat in D.C., nobody much responded. Maybe they didn’t recognize him with glasses. But when he doffed the glasses, Clark Kent-like, suddenly he was the mercurial rocker, with an Elvis Presley voice, a rock ’n’ [...]

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Practically New NRBQ Carries Its Mantle

Those who haven’t seen the long-running NRBQ for a decade or two (or five) might have been surprised at the pre-New Year’s show at the Hamilton in D.C. to find that it is almost entirely a different band. And while it may be unsettling for fans of Joey and Johnny Spampinato, the late Tommy Ardolino [...]

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Margo Price Carries New Year’s Baby

To start her short tour leading up to New Year’s Eve, Margo Price rewrote the old Loretta Lynn tune “One’s On the Way.” Fitting, since she’s showing off her own pregnancy – five months along – with husband and band member, Jeremy Ivey. But she’s also topical enough to adapt that old country hit (written [...]

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Possibly Cat Power at the 9:30 Club

The music starts up minutes before Cat Power strides on stage. Her backing trio is conjuring up a kind of soundscape of pointillist notes, more structured than tuning up, but not entirely melodic either. They are providing an atmosphere in which Chan Marshall can immerse. In her beguiling show at the 930 Club Sunday, Marshall [...]

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Riding Rev. Horton Heat’s Holiday Hayride

The Rev. Horton Heat issued his Christmas album 13 years ago, but only for the last few years has he loaded up a big holiday revue that includes a few other acts equally worthy of headline status — Junior Brown and The Blasters. They all packed into the Black Cat in D.C. Saturday, playing a [...]

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