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Music & Concerts

Lauper soars, while Scissor Sisters stumble

2 new albums deliver wildly different results



Madonna is to Cyndi Lauper what Britney Spears is to Christina Aguilera.

With more than a decade to get to know the latter two, comparisons of Madge and Britney seem more laughable as time goes on while Lauper and Aguilera seem to share some cosmic sisterhood — they both have fabulous voices (Lauper’s is underrated, Aguilera’s overrated) and have tackled unexpected genres with aplomb.

I couldn’t help but ponder the comparisons when copies of new albums from both landed on my desk at the same time a couple weeks ago. Aguilera’s (“Bionic”) is an unfocused, over-produced mess but Lauper’s new project “Memphis Blues,” while ultimately a curiosity piece, has real merit.

Lauper, the most gay-supportive of any mainstream pop star, enjoys dabbling in specialty projects, which in the last decade or more have outnumbered her more mainstream albums. “Blues,” which enjoyed an unexpectedly high Billboard chart debut at 26, finds her working with several of the most respected players in the field (pianist Allen Toussaint, guitarist B.B. King and prodigy Jonny Lang chief among them) on a covers album that gives her plenty of space to sink her teeth into the most tried-and-true blues formulas of all time.

Hypnotically languid chord progressions, executed with tinkling pianos, swampy B-3 organs and ringing electric guitars, are the foundations of most of the tracks. There’s nary a dud in the batch but standouts abound such as the down-and-out Lang duet “How Blue Can You Get,” the sax-ridden showstopper “Don’t Cry No More” and a tougher, almost rockified “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” which is given heft by gritty soul vocals from Ann Peebles (of “I Can’t Stand the Rain” fame).

Coming on the heels of 2008’s dance record “Bring Ya to the Brink,” it’s great to see Lauper, whose career has meandered at times with eons between releases, back in a regular routine of inspiration. She uses her voice, often kittenish and playful here, to great effect. The record is much like her 2003 standards set “At Last”: it’s conceptually great and has some lovely moments, but ultimately is a bit too gimmicky to be considered a masterpiece. 

Joey DiGuglielmo


“Night Works” is the second version of Scissor Sisters’ third album. A previous version, on which they had worked for 18 months, was scrapped due to the band being unhappy with the finished product. This new version was inspired by frontman Jake Shears’ clubbing in Berlin.

The album was co-produced by Stuart Price of Zoot Woman, who has also worked with Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Gwen Stefani and Frankmusik. This is the first time that Scissor Sisters have worked with another producer.

“Fire With Fire” finds them returning to their Elton John influences of their first album, though with a pop treatment.

“Invisible Light” with its New Order-styled production, is pop perfection. It also has Sir Ian McKellen with a spoken word interlude at the song’s end sounding reminiscent in style to that on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Unfortunately, that’s where anything remotely original ends. The rest of this album sounds tired and clichéd. Whether it was intentional that they tried to sound retro or they were trying to be cute, the result lacks originality.

The one positive highlight of “Night Works” is Ana Matronic. She needs to try a solo effort, as it seems Scissor Sisters has run out of new ideas.

Rob Boeger


Music & Concerts

New dance single pays tribute to Town Danceboutique

Local musicians pen ‘Town’ in honor of shuttered club



Bryce Bowyn (Photo by Clarissa Villondo)

The closing of the LGBTQ nightclub Town Danceboutique in the summer of 2017 was heartbreaking to local musician Bryce Bowyn. He and his Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter friend Lexie Martin decided to honor its legacy in their new single, “Town.”

For Bowyn, who moved to the District about a decade ago to attend school at American University, the memories he has from Town Danceboutique are endless. And when it closed, it was a massive loss to Bowyn and many others. 

“It was such a cool space,” Bowyn said. “It was just disappointing to see a place that brought so many people together become part of the landscape again.” The building Town Danceboutique used to be housed in is now home to upscale apartments and a CVS. 

Town Danceboutique was a formative place for Bowyn and Martin, and it was Bowyn’s first experience in an open and accepting LGBTQ environment. His favorite memories at the club were always on Halloween, he said. Patrons, including Bowyn, would go all out with their costumes to look their very best. 

Bowyn and Martin met while they were both in the musical theater program at American University. Despite their years-long friendship, “Town” is the first song they have written together. They sat down over FaceTime and got to work. It was Martin’s idea to pay homage to Town Danceboutique, and the song follows the story of pre-gaming, going out, and hitting the dance floor. 

But the single also serves as a hype song for going out in any city, at any place. 

“It was important to me for the song to remain relatable and accessible,” Bowyn said. “So the whole foundation of the chorus, ‘Let’s go to town,’ can either mean Town Danceboutique, or painting the town red and having the night of your life.”

Bowyn started writing and producing his own music in 2018. He released an EP titled “A Rosy Retrospect” in 2022, and most recently released a single “A Bridge Burned Down” in June. His music is inspired by late 2000s pop and ‘80s synthpop, influenced by stars like Madonna and Charli XCX. Lexie Martin released her self-titled EP in 2019 and most recently came out with her single “SUPERPOWER” in 2021. 

Bowyn has been a lifelong pop music enthusiast. He distinctly remembers watching Britney Spears perform “Oops!…I Did It Again” at the MTV Video Music Awards when he was a kid and thinking “That was what I wanted and what I was set to do in life.”

“My heart was always with pop music,” Bowyn said. 

“Town” is available now for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

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Music & Concerts

From Monáe to Madonna, fall will rock in D.C.

Local venues hosting array of queer artists in coming months



Madonna’s delayed tour is slated to hit D.C. Dec. 18 and 19. (Screen capture via YouTube)

The D.C. area has many LGBTQ musical acts to look forward to this fall. Starting with pansexual and nonbinary actor and R&B singer Janelle Monáe, performing at the Anthem on Sept. 24-25 with ticket prices ranging from $135 to $301 on StubHub.

Janelle Monáe comes to the Anthem later this month. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Singer Hozier’s “Unreal Unearth Tour” is coming to the Anthem on Sept. 26-27. Tickets are available on StubHub starting at $324.

On Sept. 28 the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore will see lesbian pop artist SZA’s “SOS Tour” with tickets starting at $165 on Ticketmaster. 

Queer indie pop singer Ashnikko is coming to the Anthem on Sept. 29 to perform their “Weedkiller Tour.” Tickets available on StubHub range from $49 to $279.

Coming to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., is the All Things Go Festival. Performing are lesbian singers Tegan and Sara, alt-pop singer Lana Del Rey, pop singer Carly Rae Jepson, and more. The festival will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 1 with two day passes starting at $397 on SeatGeek.  

Rock band Queen will perform “The Rhapsody Tour” at the CFG Bank Arena along with Adam Lambert on Oct. 4-5. Tickets are starting at $181 on Ticketmaster. 

Pop star and trans woman Kim Petras’ “Feed the Beast World Tour” will reach the Anthem on Oct 12. Tickets range from $72 to $817 on StubHub. 

Kim Petras brings the ‘Feed the Beast World Tour’ to the Anthem in October. (Photo by Thom Kerr)

Queer pop singer Kesha is coming to the Anthem on Oct. 29 to support her new album, “Gag Order.” Tickets go from $86 to $261 on Event Ticket Center. 

Queer pop rapper Shygirl is co-headlining with bisexual singer Tinashe for the “Nymph” tour at the Anthem on Nov. 5. Tickets range from $45 to $145 on Ticketmaster.

Indie band Men I Trust is performing at Echostage on Nov. 15. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster for $30. 

Nonbinary rapper Lil Uzi Vert’s “PINK TAPE TOUR” will be at the Anthem on Nov. 21. Tickets start at $90 on StubHub. 

Doja Cat’s “The Scarlett Tour” will reach Capital One Arena on Nov. 27. Tickets start at $100 on Ticketmaster. 

Madonna will bring her highly anticipated and delayed “The Celebration Tour” to the Capital One Arena Dec. 18 and 19. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster starting at $110.

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Music & Concerts

Tom Goss to perform at Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend

Out singer entertains at the Sands Hotel



Tom Goss (Photo by Dusti Cunningham)

Out singer Tom Goss will perform at the Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Sands Hotel. 

He will sing his memorable songs like “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Bears,” as well as tracks from his new album, “Remember What It Feels Like,” where he sings about being a 42-year-old gay man still reeling from his husband’s infidelity who was recently conned by a lover with a secret life now serving time in prison. 

Tickets to Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend start at $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

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