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Rosslyn Bonfire Concert Series: Trailer Grass Orchestra

Trailer Grass Orchestra played at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park on Thursday night. Guests celebrated autumn by enjoying the live music, seasonal brews, ciders and wine. Drink proceeds each week go to A-SPAN, a charity organization striving to end homeless in Arlington. Photos: Mike Kim

Photo: Colleen Callahan, One Nation
Photo: Colleen Callahan, One Nation

Sam Hunt and Maren Morris Go Full Speed for 15 in a 30 Tour

Country fans in the DMV swarmed Jiffy Lube Live on Saturday evening for a show-stopping night of feel-good music from Sam Hunt’s 15 in a 30 tour. Saturday’s concert in Bristow, Virginia was the thirtieth show for the tour, but Sam Hunt, Grammy-nominated Maren Morris, and openers Chris Janson and Ryan Follese performed as if it was their first-ever performance, with hot guitar solos, covers and constant crowd interaction.

The crowd ranged from teenagers to 30 somethings, with some older couples mixed in, but it was clear that age was just a number when the whole audience sang every word to Travis Tritt’s 2000 hit, “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive,” which Hunt covered. Opener Chris Janson left the crowd feeling pumped up for the rest of the show as he closed his setlist with “Truck Yeah,” Tim McGraw’s hit song that Janson cowrote.

Maren Morris followed the opening act and played an impressive set, including almost every song from her album Hero. The crowd was singing right along to one her more popular songs that’s not a single, “Rich,” and her female fans lost their minds when she sang “Second Wind” mashed up with Beyoncé’s hit “Halo.” Morris is always praising pop and hip-hop artists on social media and in interviews; she even sang “Once” with Alicia Keys at this year’s Grammy Awards, so it’s no surprise that she covered a legendary artist like Beyoncé during her performance.

Her set showcased her fiery, raspy vocals and her relatable, honest lyrics. She was both emotional and amazed when she held the mic out for the audience to sing her most well-known single, “My Church,” at the end of her set.

Jiffy Lube Live has seen tons of headliners pack the amphitheater summer after summer, and Sam Hunt was another to add to that list when he delivered one of the liveliest performances of the year at the classic Northern Virginia venue. He opened with one of his most loved, feel-good songs, “Leave the Night On,” and his high energy carried throughout his whole set. He was running and dancing across the stage and into the crowd, keeping everyone on their feet; he really never stopped moving (except for when he stripped down an acoustic version of “Come Over,” the song he wrote for country superstar Kenny Chesney).

Most people don’t know – unless they’re hardcore fans who’ve followed every step of his booming career – that he’s written several hit songs for other artists in the industry that have gone on to become well-known songs in country music. He played a handful of those songs in the middle of his setlist, including Keith Urban’s “Cop Car,” William Michael Morgan’s “I Met a Girl” and Billy Currington’s “We Are the Night.” Hunt is not afraid to blend genres and draws inspiration from R&B and hip-hop; he even gave the crowd an acoustic cover of R. Kelly’s “Ignition,” making hearts melt all across the amphitheater.

Hunt gave the crowd a glimpse into his personal life, aside from his storytelling song lyrics, by sharing moving anecdotes from his past. His upbeat single that has taken over both country and pop radio this year, “Body Like a Back Road,” was the crowd favorite. Naturally, the amphitheater echoed with booming female voices when he let fans take over the last chorus. You don’t need to be a country music fan to know all the words to his number one song. He covered all the hits from his Montevallo album, closing with “Break Up in a Small Town,” and stayed bold and engaging throughout his performance.

Maren Morris and Sam Hunt’s music pulls on your heart strings, makes you embrace youthfulness and gives you experiences to relate to. There’s always something to root for when these artists take the stage, as they continue to share their personal lives through their self-written, emotionally charged songs.

Learn more about these talented artists at www.marenmorris.com and www.samhunt.com.

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Lloyd Dobler Effect at Nationals Park

The Dodgers were in town to play the Nationals on Friday night, and fans came out to enjoy the Budweiser Terrace pre-game show put on by rock cover band Lloyd Dobler Effect. Photos: Devin Overbey

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Rhett Miller and Anthony D’Amato at The Hamilton

Anthony D’Amato brought his folk pop-tinged Americana and delightful in between song banter to The Hamilton Live stage last Thursday. His latest release is a charity collection titled Won’t You Be My Neighbor?  with all profits benefiting the International Rescue Committee‘s refugee aid work around the world.

Headliner Rhett Miller gave the audience what we came for: Texas cowboy melodies and philosophy with lines like, “You will not go to heaven, you’ll go to Champaign, Illinois.” The Old 97’s frontman is currently on a solo tour that will take him out west to Colorado and Texas in November.

Photos: Mark Caicedo

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Country Day at Nationals Park

Nationals fans enjoyed a pre-game country themed party before the game against the Braves, with live music from country singer Shane Gamble, a mechanical bull and tons of ballpark snacks. Fans enjoyed plenty of ice cold Bud and Bud Light. Photos: Kayla Marsh

Photo: Bradley Garner
Photo: Bradley Garner

Brian Jonestown Massacre Goes Home Alone After 9:30 Club

Brian Jonestown Massacre was slow to begin their show at 9:30 Club on Friday night – not hesitant, but almost as if they couldn’t be bothered despite the restless shuffling of the crowd. They’ve been doing this for so long c combining the raw energy of garage rock with a sound bordering on jam band – that the stage is home, and they’d be damned to move at anything but their own pace. And in whichever direction their sound leans, it’s unapologetic – just like their persona.

Even their latest albums have been well-received, so one could take their dilatory start for well-earned swagger. But even once they began, the sludge wasn’t replaced by focus. The group would seem to forget the set list, or just not care. They took long breaks between songs, during which they would ignore the audience and talk to one another off mic. Some of the more restless attendees even started to boo, and others left.

Despite this litany of errors, the show was not to be missed. Sure, the set was bad, but I’d be lying if I said I expected much more. At the very least, I was able to see Joel Gion live, who is a saint in the music genre religion I’ve proudly converted to. Brian Jonestown Massacre has been around so long at this point (since 1990), and had so many members (more than 40), that they are referred to as a musical outfit rather than a band. To understand the distinction, you have to see them live. It’s hard to imagine them as nuanced individuals, each with their own inner life.

Far and away though, their live shows rest on Gion. If you don’t know the band, he resembles a homeless person who wandered onstage at the start of the show and was handed a tambourine – as well as a handful of Percocet. He seems to stare without seeing, and when he turns, you can literally watch as his new vista comes into focus. He’s also a beautiful animal, and a revelation.

At the start of the show, he kept it simple, rattling the tambourine or striking it on the offbeat. However, in short order, it became apparent that it is possible to genuinely play the tambourine, and that the gulf between those who can and those who can’t is massive. Gion can play, and by the end of the show he had the crowd mesmerized by the almost melodic character of his playing and by the way he managed to dance even as the room spun in his eyes.

This latest incarnation of Brian Jonestown Massacre was simply not well put together, but Gion didn’t fail to entertain, and the rest of the crew was full of characters. I didn’t even mention the too-tall Keebler Elf roadie who played mandolin on one number and had the standout solo of the show.

All of the tracks leading up to the finale were forgettable, but the concluding song was inspired. They spent several minutes playing on the dominant, building the tension while members distorted their amps to uncomfortable levels. The band members then walked off one by one while the amps still shook the room. It’s a fitting end to show that largely feels a like f–k you to the audience. But by then, I’d developed a newfound appreciation – rather than a newfound respect – for Gion and his band. 

Learn more about Brian Jonestown Massacre here.

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6th Annual Wiener 500

Kick off Oktoberfest at the Sixth Annual Wiener 500! 1pm – 5pm on Saturday, September 30 on the boardwalk at The Yards Park in the Capitol Riverfront. $500 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the speediest dogs! Over 96 dogs raced in 2016!

Don’t have a dog? Come listen to live music by 7 Deadlies, drink coldSamuel Adams Octoberfest Beer, participate in the official Sam Adams stein hoisting competition, munch on great food and watch the funniest race around on a 17 foot jumbotron! Wes Johnson, voice of the Washington Capitals will be calling the play-by-play.

This is a family-friendly, FREE event, but you must be 21+ to drink beer, no outside alcohol allowed. Race proceeds will be donated to Humane Rescue Alliance.

Don’t have a Dachshund? You can still take part in the excitement with the all breed contest for best dressed dog! Plus, there will be local vendors and giveaways from DC’s best pet friendly businesses.

For more information and to sign up your Dachshund to race, visit www.wiener500.com!

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Adams Morgan Day 2017

For it’s 39th year, the people of Adams Morgan came together for a grassroots celebration of Adams Morgan’s eclectic history, culture, businesses and residents at Adams Morgan Day 2017 on Sunday. It is Washington’s longest running neighborhood festival, and stayed family-friendly with music, art and activities for all ages. Photos: Michelle Goldchain

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DC Wine Fest 2017

Saturday afternoon introduced the DC Wine Fest, an elevated wine tasting experience that aims to stimulate all of your senses. Festival-goers enjoyed some great food, art and live music performances, while tasting some of the best varietals from all over the world at The National Union Building. Photos: Michelle Goldchain

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End of Summer Pool Party at The Daley

The Daley at Shady Grove Metro hosted an end of summer pool party with complimentary light fare from Botanero, Paladar Latin Kitchen and Union Jacks, and beer from Corona. Guests enjoyed exploring their courtyard, pool deck, abundant amenities and model units.  It was a perfect afternoon to savor delicious food and sip on a beer or wine while listening to music on the pool deck and experience what it’s like to live at The Daley. Photos: Drü Thomas