Category Archives: Review

Flesh Eaters’ Ace Lineup at Union Stage

The poet and writer Chris Desjardins created the Flesh Eaters in the heyday of L.A. punk scene of the late 1970s, enlisting many of his friends to be among the revolving roster in the band over a handful of albums. The most potent lineup was the one in 1981 that produced the band’s strongest album [...]

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A Couple Takes the Gershwin Prize

It was the 10th Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, but winners Emilio and Gloria Estefan represent two firsts — the first married couple to be so honored, and the first of Latin heritage. The award comes with a presentation with a big Congressional delegation in Washington and an all-star concert at the [...]

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A Stirring Salute to the Queen of Soul

Any time is a good time for a salute to Aretha Franklin music. But the Queen of Soul did it so well herself, it’s hard to pay tribute and come close. The music special “Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul” (CBS, 9 p.m.) tries its best, but in the end succeeds largely [...]

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An Untimely Concert from the Jacksons

It was an auspicious moment in Jacksons history Friday, happening in a snowy and frozen remote corner — a rural Minnesota casino, in one of just a couple of scheduled U.S. dates this year. Only two days later, a world of Michael Jackson fans would be confronted with some ugly accusations in a long, thoughtful [...]

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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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