The captivating José González brought the Berlin and Gothenburg-based String Theory, an experimental chamber orchestra, to turn his prolific musical output into an unforgettable experience at the Lincoln Theatre.
Throughout life, we are often given the opportunity to witness events and experiences that transform and shape us, and what Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds is accomplishing on his re:member tour is one of those opportunities. Arnalds began his set at Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Theatre in silence with two spotlights highlighting his seat at the grand piano. Ever so gently, the darkness of the room shifted to light as a symphony of sound resonated throughout the historic venue.
In the guide to the essential indie synth-pop musicians of the 2010s, Penguin Prison will absolutely make an appearance. Since 2009, Chris Glover’s one-man music-making and remixing operation has put out two albums alongside remixes for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Rey, and Imagine Dragons. He’s got an ear for knowing how to get the masses to dance, and his latest EP keeps the streak going. Turn It Up is a compact quartet of toe-tapping tunes that deal with topics that are more introspective than songs past, focusing on adversity and uncertainty about the future. Sure, the lyrics are growing up, but the melodies are as catchy as ever.
Calexico are unique in today’s indie music scene. The Tucson, Arizona-based band blends rock and roll and Americana with influences of the American Southwest and the Mexican border, in particular from the Tejano and Mariachi traditions, to create a sound that is all their own and instantly recognizable. Core members Joey Burns and John Convertino have been at it for quite some time now, with over two decades in the band under their belts. They released The Thread That Keeps Us, their ninth regular album (not counting their many EPs, self-released side projects, soundtracks, and live albums over the years), earlier this year to universal critical acclaim. Their tour brought them to Washington, DC on Friday, where they played at the Lincoln Theatre to a dedicated crowd of fans.
In 1987, it was virtually impossible to go anywhere without hearing Rick Astley. The then 21-year-old released his debut single “Never Gonna Give You Up” that summer, and it went on to top the charts in 25 countries and become the best-selling single of the year in his native UK. His debut album Whenever You Need Somebody spawned several more singles, including a second number one hit in “Together Forever.” But peaking so early meant that there was nowhere to go but down, and though his next two follow-up albums, 1988’s Hold Me In Your Arms and 1991’s Free, were far from failures, they didn’t manage to match the heights of his debut. After his fourth album, 1993’s Body & Soul, failed to even make a dent in the charts, Astley retired from the music business.
The acoustic tour is almost an inevitability. Serving as a retrospective (see: Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill Acoustic tour and Peter Frampton’s Acoustic Classics tour), artists will take it on after a one-off performance garners rave reviews (see: crowd demand to see an old favorite, or T-Pain post-Tiny Desk Concert). But still, the question begs, “Why go on an acoustic tour after only two albums?” Lucius’s live show has always featured an acoustic element, but only for one song before going back to their usual setup. Their debut album Wildewoman also toyed with Americana-tinged singer-songwriter music, like “Two of Us on the Run.” But after two albums, vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig have decided to take that fan favorite moment of their show and expand on it. Their third album Nudes features acoustic versions of select Lucius tracks from previous albums as well as a few covers, including a collaboration with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. It’s Lucius as fans have only received a sample of up to now, but at their sold-out Lincoln Theatre stop, they performed a fully-acoustic set that was nothing short of captivating from start to finish.
Swedish sisters Klara and Johana Söderberg formed First Aid Kit when they were just teenagers, releasing their first EP when Johana was 17 and Klara was 15. Ten years later, the duo is still going strong, having released their fourth album Ruins in January. The record shows them maturing even further in their songwriting, and more deeply exploring the country music influences which have flavored their previous releases. Their tour for the record brought them to the Lincoln Theatre on Friday, where they performed for a sold-out audience.
Colin Hay has been a performing worldwide as a musician for nearly four decades now, but most people know him from a brief, five-year period of his career when he fronted one of the biggest bands of the early 80s, Men at Work. With their chart-topping hits “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Down Under,” two international hit albums Business as Usual and Cargo, and a Grammy award in 1983 for “Best New Artist,” the band seemed for a brief time to be at the top of the world. But tensions in the band led to a breakup during the recording of their third record, Two Hearts, and the album was a commercial failure. Hay went on to start a solo career with the release of his 1987 solo album Looking for Jack, but it took him, as he noted at one point during his show at the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday evening, quite some time to find his audience again.
Paul Weller has been in the music business for over four decades now, and shows no sign in his ever-growing catalog of work. The singer and guitarist started his career as a member of seminal mod/punk rockers The Jam, who released their first album In the City five days before his nineteenth birthday in 1977. Since then, his output has been steady – six albums with The Jam, six albums with his follow-up band The Style Council, and a solo catalog that extended this year to his thirteenth studio record, A Kind Revolution. On Saturday Weller came to the Lincoln Theatre, where he and his band played a lengthy, 29-song set to a roomful of devoted fans.
For your soul-tinged pop music fix, one of the first bands you should turn to is Lake Street Dive. Thanks to some well-deserved word of mouth, most notably a 2012 cover of Michael Jackson’s “I Want You Back,” the quartet of Rachel Price on vocals, Bridget Kearney on stand-up bass, Mike Olson on guitar and trumpet, and John Calabrese on drums have taken their act from the Boston Conservatory of Art to venues around the world, including both 9:30 Club and Wolf Trap in the DC area last year. The quartet returned to DC with a sold-out set at Lincoln Theatre that included old favorites, sing-along covers, and even a few new songs from their still-unannounced fourth album.
The Naked and Famous have been known for their fist-in-the-air, 80s new wave-tinged anthems since their 2011 hit single, “Young Blood”. Their latest album, Simple Forms, doubles down on that sound to impressive results. They last played in the DC area this past spring at the more intimate Rock & Roll Hotel to try out some new songs, but with a new album out, they sold out the Lincoln Theatre on their return trip for a night of loud and triumphant music.
Leave it to an English singer how to show Americans how to do electro-soul the right way. With two critically-acclaimed albums and a highly-anticipated third album, The Colour in Anything, on the way, crooner James Blake had no problem selling out the Lincoln Theatre the same day tickets went on sale. And it’s easy to see why: His one-of-a-kind vocals combined with live instrumentation, an LED backdrop, and the occasional chest-rattling bass made the Lincoln Theatre show a multi-sensory experience.
Bryan Ferry is 70 years old, but to watch him perform on the stage, you wouldn’t know it. The singer, known for both his solo career and his time fronting art rock band Roxy Music, has had a long and storied career, and he continues on with it to this day with a passion for it that shows that it’s not just a job to him, it’s what he wants to be doing. It hasn’t been without hitches – his last scheduled appearances in DC (along with several other dates on the tour) back in 2014 were cancelled due to laryngitis – and he appears to have sensibly adopted a one night on/one night off schedule to give himself time to rest up between shows in response to it. But even if he may be slowing down at bit, he shows no sign of stopping. This week he finally came back to the area, playing two shows at the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday and Monday.
Oxford, England’s Foals have transformed over the course of the last decade, starting off with angular math rock on their 2008 debut album Antidotes, but slowly shedding the more esoteric parts of their initial sound over the course of the next two albums to take on a more streamlined, arena-friendly sound. While for many bands this kind of transition would have been a death-knell for credibility, Foals have seemed to grow into it naturally and without compromise. 2010’s Total Life Forever saw the beginning of the transition, shedding much of the raw dance-punk of their debut for a more subdued, post-punk style. 2013’s Holy Fire took that sound and extended it, adding the bombast and expansiveness of a band looking to fill the air in much larger spaces. With this year’s What Went Down, the band has fully matured into their sound, displaying a confidence which has brought back some of the edge of their earlier days while still forging ahead. On Wednesday evening, the band brought their tour for this latest album to DC, for a sold-out show at the Lincoln Theatre.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Beirut, with the band’s last album, The Rip Tide, having been released over four years ago. That’s nearly an eternity in the always-changing music business, and many artists might be afraid to drop off of the radar for so long, for fear of finding that their audience had turned fickle and disappeared in the intervening years. Yet bandleader Zach Condon has never been one to rush anything out – a similar interval passed between The Rip Tide and the album before it, The Flying Cup Club – and with the release of the band’s fourth album No No No in September, he’s been proven right in his decision. With two back-to-back sold out shows at the Lincoln Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday last week to open the east coast leg of their tour, it appears that fans of the band haven’t forgotten.
Monday night at the Lincoln Theater two veteran bands came together to give DC audience members their first "live" taste of a new collaboration.
FFS is a simple acronym for Franz Ferdinand + Sparks, a short-stack of artists that consists of the Scottish indie band Franz Ferdinand and the electronic duo from LA, Sparks. While both bands have such distinct personalities separately, together they seem to extract only the best parts of both, forming something beyond the sum of their parts.
After years of planning for their debut album, it’s been said that this super group of sorts recorded their recent studio effort in just three weeks. The self-titled endeavor, released earlier this year, is an impressive mix of unfamiliar sounds and repetitive pop based grooves. While the album certainly marks a high point of recent work for both acts, its appeal is the openness and creativity of everyone involved.
One of my fondest Bonnaroo memories (and there are many after attending five consecutive years) is singing along with thousands of other festival-goers to The Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife 1 & 2” as it played over the PA system in between sets in That Tent. Talk about a sublime reminder of the power of music. We want you to experience the same thing (just with a few thousand less people) when Decemberists ringleader Colin Meloy plays Lincoln Theatre on Tuesday, November 5.
Meloy, who has studied theater and creative writing, makes music both solo and with The Decemberists that maintains folk traditions like epic storytelling. A few years ago, Newport Folk Festival appointed Meloy to the festival's Board of Advisers, saying, "...we couldn’t think of many artists better suited to the task of maintaining the integrity of the festival – as an adviser and as a performer. He embodies the old and the new of folk tradition, continuing a musical legacy while carving out his own.” Whatta guy.
For your chance to celebrate all things folk with Meloy on his upcoming solo tour, please do the following:
Leave a comment below telling us your favorite folk song. Be sure to use a valid email address and the name under which you'd like tickets to be held should you win.
The lucky winner will be chosen randomly TONIGHT, so be sure to enter before them!
Didn't win? Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning!
As you may have heard, historic Lincoln Theatre recently came under new management and is now operated by none other than Seth Hurwitz of I.M.P and 9:30 Club fame. Right off the bat, Hurwitz and I.M.P revealed the first round of artists to play the cultural landmark - Laura Marling, Travis, KT Tunstall, Matt Nathanson, and Neko Case. According to Mayor Vincent Gray, "Coming out of the gate with five-sought after artists demonstrates that I.M.P. is indeed beginning the revitalization of this important cultural asset.”
Pretty awesome, right? Luckily for you, we have a pair of tickets to give away to the first show at Lincoln Theatre under I.M.P.'s management! For your chance to see British folk songstress Laura Marling on Wednesday, September 4th, please do one of the following:
1. Leave a comment below telling us your favorite Laura Marling album and why. Please be sure to use a valid email address and the name under which you'd like tickets to be held should you win.
2. Retweet this or tweet the following:
I'm entering to win tix to see Laura Marling at Lincoln Theatre! @ChunkyGlasses #MarlingLincoln
The very lucky winner will be chosen THIS THURSDAY AT NOON, so be sure to enter before then!
Luck isn't on your side? Tickets for the show go on sale Friday, July 12 at 10 a.m. through Ticketfly.