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A Taste of Chevy Chase: The Lindley Grand Opening Celebration

The Lindley’s Grand Opening Celebration featured a live jazz trio, fare from local restaurants like La Ferme, Tavira Restaurant, Manoli Canoli and PassionFish Bethesda, tours of the luxury space and raffle opportunities. Photos: Mike Kim, Devin Overbey

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Rosslyn Farmers Market with Trailer Grass Orchestra

Rosslyn Farmers Market at Central Place Plaza with FRESHFARM Market featured Trailer Grass Orchestra playing bluegrass covers of hits, free hot cider, and the local produce at the market. Photos: Devin Overbey

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Hippo Campus and The Districts at 9:30 Club

“Why even try to change?”

The crowd sang as Hippo Campus played a sold out show at 9:30 Club on October 24. Following up on their successful debut album Landmark, Hippo Campus is touring on their latest release Bambi. The show’s set list was a nice mix of old favorites and new tunes. It started with their new album title track “Bambi,” proving the band’s sound diversity. The track adds a new layer of electronica and synths to their already upbeat indie rock.

Songs like “Suicide Saturday,” and “Way it Goes,” were performed beautifully thanks to Nathan Stocker’s bright guitar sound and DeCarlo Jackson’s amazing saxophone and trumpet solos.  The band closed off the set with hit song “Buttercup,” but came back with an encore of “Violet.” As Hippo Campus walked off the stage, all the audience could talk about was where they would take their music next.

The Districts opened, touring on their 2017 album Popular Manipulations. They showed energetic performance through Rob Grote’s raw voice and super-distorted guitar riffs. While they played music from previous releases, the performance was more experimental, as they are currently writing for their new record. Photos/write-up: Mike Kim

Photo: Nicholas Ciafolo, iHeart Media
Photo: Nicholas Ciafolo, iHeart Media

LOCASH Brings Energy to Pepsi Tailgate Tour Experience at FedExField

The Redskins/Cowboys rivalry alone is enough to get a crowd out to Maryland’s FedExField for the 4:25 p.m. kick-off, but one thing about Sunday’s game-day parking lot party was different from the past four 2018 Washington Redskins home games. Fans were welcomed with an ultimate tailgate experience thanks to the Pepsi Tailgate Tour, which has amplified game days at five NFL stadiums so far this season with three more to go, including the Army vs. Navy game on December 8 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The popular beverage brand’s tailgate experience features live music from LOCASH, classic outdoor tailgating games like cornhole and surprise guest appearances by NFL cheerleaders and players. At Sunday’s tour stop, guests were treated to an upbeat, energetic set from country duo LOCASH, and appearances by former wide receiver Santana Moss and retired running back Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins.

Baltimore-native Chris Lucas and Preston Brust of LOCASH are giving football fans something to be excited about on this Pepsi Tailgate Tour. Their one hour pre-game set features new single “Feels Like A Party,” their 2016 hit “I Love This Life,” a cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and more, and this line-up of songs couldn’t be more perfect for the occasion. “We’re positive, upbeat country,” Lucas said. “A good time is what it’s all about.”

The tailgate lot filled up fast before the duo took the stage due to the lively atmosphere. “You got the cheerleaders doing their routines, live music from us, food, former sports stars stopping in, it’s crazy,” Brust said. “It’s celebrity central because it’s Pepsi, such a classy organization. Everybody wants to be around Pepsi.” Lucas and Brust noted that this particular stop might have been the best one yet, despite the chilly weather. “The tailgating we’ve seen for this Redskins game is incredible. It reminds me a lot of a college tailgate.”

The experience elevates the pre-game fun for fans by even introducing them to a new genre of music that they might not be familiar with, which sets the tone so well for this kind of sporting event. “This is putting us in front of different clientele,” Lucas said. “A lot of people that don’t come to football games [regularly] and don’t know about country music and our brand are having a good time. It’s football, it’s fun, it’s music. It doesn’t get better than that.”

LOCASH couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Pepsi – being husbands and fathers it’s important to them to maintain a tight-knit vibe on the tour. “It’s like having family everywhere we go, it really is. They stick with us, they watch our songs, they ask how our kids are doing. It’s an amazing feeling to have such a huge marketing team,” Brust said. “It’s been a great learning experience, we know what they need from us, we know what we need from them and we execute together perfectly.”

Though LOCASH is newer to the country radio scene than other artists, they’re really just enjoying the ride and soaking in the opportunities to expand since recently signing with Broken Bow Records and planning an album drop in January. The two are enjoying “just experiencing it and showing NFL and country music together. It works, it fits,” Lucas said.

You can catch LOCASH performing three holiday tunes at the National Christmas Tree Lighting on Wednesday, November 28 on the National Mall, or on the rest of the Pepsi Tailgate Tour. Visit www.pepsitailgate.com for more details on the exclusive football experience.

FedExField: 1600 Fedex Way, Landover, MD; www.redskins.com/stadium

Photo: Jim McGuire
Photo: Jim McGuire

Banjo Legend Béla Fleck Part of Terrific Trio

With 16 Grammy Awards to his name, Béla Fleck is not your average banjo player. He’s known throughout the world for redefining the instrument, and sits proudly in the American Banjo Hall of Fame alongside notable players like Jim Henson, Steve Martin and Pete Seeger.

“I first heard the banjo on the Beverly Hillbillies theme,” Fleck says about the bluegrass stylings of banjoist Earl Scruggs, who famously played the tune. “Something about the sound hooked me as a little kid, and then my grandfather unexpectedly got me one just before high school. I became obsessed and still am.”

In 1973, Fleck began at New York City’s High School of Music and Art where he studied the instrument seriously. It didn’t take him long to discover he’d play the banjo for the rest of his life.

“I took no steps to do anything else once I got into it, so there was no escape,” he continues. “No colleges were submitted to, I trained for no jobs. I just came out of high school and right into bands. I was fortunate that my mom was surprised and distracted with a new baby when I was a senior in high school, otherwise I never could have gotten away with it.”

His group Béla Fleck and the Flecktones have been touring for 30 years and have released a plethora of music, most famously, the landmark three-disc Little Worlds. Recently, Fleck also moved into the teaching side, inspiring future youngsters to pursue the instrument professionally.

“I’ve just returned to teaching after not doing it for many years. I just hosted my first banjo camp  The Blue Ridge Banjo Camp – and it went very well, with 100 students.”

On November 10, Fleck will join forces with bassist Edgar Meyer and tabla performer Zakir Hussain for a trio performance presented by Washington Performing Arts at GW’s Lisner Auditorium. While each member of the group is expected to play some solo pieces, Fleck notes there won’t be any individual sets as they’ll perform as a band.

“We are adding a wild card this time: an incredible bansuri player named Rakesh Churasia. The music will be sometimes beautiful and sometimes very exciting. There will be a strong groove, with Zakir’s incredible percussive abilities, and a lot of melody and warmth coming from Edgar’s bowed bass and the rich sounds of the flute. And I’ll be fitting my banjo in there somewhere in the middle.”

The trio has known each other for awhile and play together periodically.

“Rakesh is new to the group, but Edgar and I go way way back, and Zakir and Edgar and I go back 10 years or longer. We got together to create a triple concerto to celebrate the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home of the Nashville Symphony. After that, we loved playing together and toured quite a bit with the trio.”

They even found time to record The Melody of Rhythm: Triple Concerto & Music for Trio in 2009. The tour marks the first time they’ll reunite on stage since 2013.

“I would say that Edgar and Zakir have both impacted my music making immensely,” he says. “I can learn from everyone, and that always keeps me intrigued and on my toes.”

Once the tour ends in December, Fleck will start performing again with his wife, clawhammer banjoist Abigail Fleck, who recently gave birth to their second child in June. Together, the two won the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk album.

“I have lots of things brewing, too early to say much, except more touring with the Flecktones and Chick Corea. There is something very powerful about the experience of improvising in front of an audience. There are things that I can only pull off in front of a crowd. They are part of the collaboration.”

Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain will play the Lisner Auditorium on Saturday, November 10 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$50. Learn more about the performance here, and about Fleck here.

Lisner Auditorium: 730 21st St. NW, DC; 202-994-6800; www.lisner.gwu.edu

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11th Annual Night at The Point

The 11th Annual Night at The Point on the Buzzard Point waterfront celebrated the important work of Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region with a dynamic live performance by The James Brown Dance Party, and delicious food and drinks from some of the best DC area restaurants and caterers. Photos: Mike Kim

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Warner Theatre, Washington, DC, October 19, 2018
Lindsey Buckingham . Warner Theatre, Washington, DC, October 19, 2018

Lindsey Buckingham at National Theatre

“We love you, Lindsey!”

“Fleetwood who!?

“I’ll have all your babies!”

Although Lindsey Buckingham’s show at the Warner Theatre on October 19 wasn’t quite sold out, those in attendance showered love and support for Fleetwood Mac’s former singer, songwriter and lead guitarist extraordinaire. Performing songs from a catalog going back 35 years, both from solo work as well as his days with Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham turned in a stellar and moving performance.

The concert opened quickly with “Don’t Look Down,” “Go Insane” and “Surrender in the Rain.” But soon enough, Buckingham addressed the matter on everybody’s mind: his recent, and untimely, ousting from Fleetwood Mac, saying slyly “one of the reasons” for this tour was because Warner Brothers had asked him to put together a compilation of his solo work.

“Although I’ve never been one to look back, this was an opportunity to examine a body of work that’s stood up pretty well, and perform some songs we’ve never done live.”

Most fans are now well aware of the controversial and acrimonious aspects of Buckingham’s departure from his former band, but he was in a generous and contemplative mood, saying the situation should be viewed with compassion.

For the man who wrote, arguably, the angriest break-up song ever, “Go Your Own Way,” I found Buckingham’s philosophical attitude revealing, and something to aspire to. Addressing the break-up early on may also have been Buckingham’s way of getting the “unpleasantness,” out of the way so we could concentrate on the music.

After years of performing, Buckingham is an expert at pacing a concert. The first third of the 22-song set was generally fast-paced, up-tempo material culminating with the mega-hit, “Trouble,” from his 1981 debut solo album Law and Order.

The concert’s middle section began with a few solo acoustic numbers before seguing back to lesser known, quirkier pop tunes, including the evening’s first Fleetwood Mac songs.

The slower music demonstrated the breadth and width of Buckingham’s songwriting abilities. Contrasting light melody “Slow Dancing,” with the stunning, deep and dark “Street of Dreams,” the artist’s songwriting mastery was obvious.

“Tusk,” signaled the final third of the performance, its heavy percussion urging the audience to its feet. The Fleetwood Mac slow-burner “I’m So Afraid,” climaxed in a jaw-dropping Buckingham guitar solo. He has a truly unique guitar playing style that uses a combination of finger picking and strumming to perform his solos, a technique that affords incredible range, versatility and intensity.

The finale, “Go Your Own Way,” with its incredible guitar solo, was the one song many of us, including me, was there to hear, and it was awesome.

The three-song encore began with “Turn it On,” followed by a stunning “Down on Rodeo.” The surprise, spontaneous final encore, a sublime “Rockaway Blind,” was performed solo acoustic for a “few friends” in the crowd. After profusely thanking the audience, as he’d done repeatedly throughout the night, Buckingham was finished, and the adoring audience went home, deliriously happy. Photos/write-up: Mark Caicedo

Photo: Courtesy of St. Pete Holland
Photo: Courtesy of St. Pete Holland

New Single from an Artist to Watch: St. Pete Holland’s “Different Hymn”

Every now and then, dads are right.

Last March, mine told me to check out a new musician – a friend’s son – who had a song on Spotify. Yeah, yeah, sure okay, Dad. Since when did he know what Spotify was?

A month or so later, I needed a procrastination aid and finally got around to looking up, Who was it? [scrolls through emails] St. Pete Holland. By this point, the song Dad had referenced evolved into a seven-track EP entitled Seven Deadly Hymns, which included that first studio-finished single “Yours and Mine.”

Preparing to be underwhelmed by another Romeo and Juliet ballad, I hit the play button on “Capulets.” I was not underwhelmed. In fact, I was kind of whelmed. A whistled intro led me into a perfect little not-love song.

Folksy but not folk and with a little bit of funk, St. Pete Holland is exactly what you want from a modern acoustic act out of Nashville. There is sweet naiveté in the lyrics and singalong beat, but clean progression, clever transformations and educated instrumental references make the earnestness more alluring than maudlin.

A combination of songwriting and guitar skills and a voice tinged with The Fray’s Isaac Slade and The Tallest Man on Earth won the act’s lead – who at the moment goes only by his musical moniker St. Pete/Pete Holland – Demolition Music’s 2017 Nashville Songwriters Competition.

It was also in Nashville where he met the other two core performers on the Seven Deadly Hymns EP, Jackson Bruck (Dukes of Hume) and Patrick Fuller (son of country rock’s Craig Fuller). “Nashville is incredible,” St. Pete says. “It’s porch-sitting. It’s open and vulnerable unlike anywhere else I’ve lived – NYC, Philly, London, L.A…”

St. Pete says he knows what he’s supposed to be doing is music, and soon enough, it’s going to be his main focus.

“When I was about 13, I started playing the guitar. I had stumbled on a Led Zeppelin remastered box set. I went crazy with it and thought it was the greatest thing in the world. I just wanted to be Jimmy Page.”

While his personal style has veered away from Zeppelin, the musician says to be a good songwriter you have to listen to what inspires you. By listening, and paying attention to the ideas that float by, he can sit down and build a song from the inside out to “come up with something that has a pulse when it’s done.”

“I wrote 100 songs in Nashville. Now it’s time to record.”

He has done a bit of recording recently – the latest single from St. Pete Holland, “Different Hymn,” dropped today.

St. Pete is currently based in Los Angeles, but frequently travels back east for musical collaboration (and because we all know that “best coast” thing is bullshit). Take a listen. Maybe we can get him to swing through the District.

For more information on St. Pete Holland and Seven Deadly Hymns, click here.

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Avenir Pumpkin Festival 2018

The Avenir Pumpkin Festival showcased the shops at Avenir Place, and featured live music from Justin Trawick & The Common Good, a beer garden with six different breweries to raise money for the Alexandria Aces, pumpkin decorating and trick or treating. Photos: Beauty By Photography

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Chvrches at The Anthem

Chvrches performed in front of a sold out crowd at The Anthem on October 18. Lo Moon opened. Photos: Shantel Mitchell Breen