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FALL ARTS 2015: concerts

Kelly, Madonna and Diana kick off fall D.C. concert blitz

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Ricky Martin, concert, gay news, Washington Blade
concert, gay news, Washington Blade

EagleBank Arena (formerly the Patriot Center) will host out latin/pop superstar Ricky Martin on Oct. 9. (Photo courtesy of FlyLife Inc.)

The fall concert season gets rolling with a three big-time pop stars spanning three generations all performing within days of each other in September.

Vocal powerhouse Kelly Clarkson has back-to-back nights at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Va.) on Sept. 12-13 at 7 p.m. (wolftrap.org) Pop icon Madonna returns to the Verizon Center (601 F St., N.W.) on Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. in support of her “Rebel Heart” album (livenation.com orticketmaster.com). Then if that isn’t enough diva power, the legendary Diana Ross will be at the Strathmore (10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, Md.) on Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. (strathmore.org) after a Sept. 13 show at Pier Six Pavilion (piersixpavilion.com) in Baltimore.

That’s just the start of what is shaping up to be an exciting concert season in D.C. this fall. Perhaps the biggest event is the Landmark Music Festival at West Potomac Park (West Basin Drive, S.W.), a a two-day event starting Saturday, Sept. 26 at noon and featuring an impressive lineup including Drake, alt-J, The Strokes, CHVRCHES, Chromeo, Ben Howard, Band of Horses, fun. frontman Nate Ruess and the War on Drugs. The full line-up and more information is at landmarkfestiva.org.

In addition to Madonna, the Verizon Center has some real heavy hitters. British pop sensation Ed Sheeran will play two nights, Sept. 22-23 at 7:30 p.m. R&B giant R. Kelly headlines on Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. Musical legend Stevie Wonder performs on Oct. 3 at 8 p.m., and will play his landmark album “Songs of the Key of Life” in its entirety. A fantastic rock double-bill goes down on Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m., as recent Hall of Fame inductees Joan Jett and the Blackhearts open for the Who. One of the hottest artists in the country, pop/R&B sensation the Weeknd, takes the stage on Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

The 9:30 Club (815 V St. N.W.) as usual has a host of top-notch talent slated for fall. The reunited ‘90s shoegaze band Ride will play on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Gay-fronted band Years & Years play there Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. Pop vocalist Tove Lo performs on Oct. 19 at 6 p.m., and the always-outrageous Peaches returns on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.. The highlight of the season is the return of alternative-rock legends Garbage, who will perform on Oct. 28-29 at 7 p.m. to celebrate 20th anniversary of their debut album, which they will play in its entirety. Details at 930.com.

Summer may be winding down, but there are still some big shows upcoming at Merriweather Post Pavilion (10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md.). Death Cab for Cutie will take the stage on Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m.. Fresh off a no. 1 album with “Sound & Color,” Alabama Shakes will perform onSept. 18 at 8 p.m., and Of Monsters and Men play Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. Details at merriweathermusic.com.

If country music under the stars is your idea of a perfect evening in September, there are a couple big opportunities you shouldn’t miss at Jiffy Lube Live (7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow, Va.). Jason Aldean will hit the stage on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. while Brad Paisley will be there Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. Details at jiffylubelive.com.

If your thing is dancing, then Echostage (2135 Queens Chapel Rd, N.E.) is the place to be. Their fall line-up is highlighted by British electronic duo Disclosure supporting their new album “Caracal” with shows on Oct. 21 (doors at 8 p.m.) and Oct. 22 (opening at 9 p.m.) Dutch electro/hip-hop star Stromae will perform on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. EDM hero Armin van Buuren will have the place jumping on Sept. 24, with doors opening at 9 p.m. World-renowned DJ Kaskade will do the same when he spins on Oct. 16. at 9 p.m. Details at echostage.com.

The Birchmere, (3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.), has an impressive line-up of talent on its calendar, highlighted by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell performing together on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and the talented singer-songwriter Patty Griffin on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. The renowned lesbian folk/rock duo Indigo Girls perform on Nov. 2 at 7:30. Details at birchmere.com.

The Howard Theatre (620 T St., N.W.) hosts a CD party for the amazing Lizz Wright on Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. Electronic pioneers the Orb appear on Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. Lalah Hathaway will be there for two nights on Sept. 26 and 28 at 8 p.m. For more information and additional listings, go to thehowardtheatre.com.

At the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, (730 21st St., N.W), Lucinda Williams will perform on Oct. 7 at 8 p.m., while Mavis Staples and Joan Osborne bring their “Solid Soul” tour on Oct. 31. at 8 p.m. (lisner.gwu.edu)

The Fillmore in Silver Spring (8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, Md.) serves up pop heartthrob Nick Jonas on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Details at fillmoresilverspring.com.

Classical outfit Seraphic Fire perform Handel’s “Coronation Anthems” at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (2430 K St., N.W.) on Nov. 10. They’ll return in 2016 for two more concerts there. Details at seraphicfire.org.

Loretta Lynn plays Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.) on Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. Other notable shows at the Lincoln include FFS, an outstanding mashup of Sparks and Franz Ferdinand, on Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m., Kacey Musgraves for two nights on Oct. 16-17 at 6:30 p.m., and Marina and the Diamonds on Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. Details at thelincolndc.com.

In addition to Kelly Clarkson, Wolf Trap will host Broadway favorite Megan Hilty on Oct. 9 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., iconic lesbian vocalist Joan Armatrading for two nights on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m., Madeleine Peyroux on Nov. 17 at 8 p.m, Suzanne Vega with Duncan Sheik on Nov. 18-19 at 8 p.m., and Rickie Lee Jones on Nov. 20 at 8 p.m.. EagleBank Arena (formerly the Patriot Center) will host openly gay latin/pop superstar Ricky Martin on Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. and Marc Anthony on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. Details at eaglebankarena.com.

And three gay Strathmore dates to put on your calendar for December — Dave Koz returns there on Dec. 4, the gay-helmed Philadelphia Orchestra will perform on Dec. 7 and Michael Feinstein is there Dec. 11. Details at strathmore.org.

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Music & Concerts

DC Different Drummers Jazz Band to perform ‘Oasis’

Performance by combo ‘2nd Independence’ scheduled

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The DC Different Drummers Jazz Band will perform on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Central Library.

This concert, titled “The Oasis,” will feature the 20-person big band playing jazz pieces in a variety of styles, from swing to bossa nova to jazz fusion and more. There will also be a performance from the improvisational jazz combo, 2nd Independence.

Admission is free and more details are available on the event’s website

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Music & Concerts

D.C.’s live music venues are jumpin’ again

Lizzo, B-52s, and Bob Mould all coming to town this fall

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Lizzo brings her ‘Special Tour’ to D.C. this fall. (Photo by DFree/Bigstock)

As summer comes to a close, many venues across the DMV are gearing up for their fall entertainment rosters. Below is a list of must-see music acts in the upcoming months.

Mary J. Blige brings her “Good Morning Gorgeous” tour to Capital One Arena on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $69.50 at Tickmaster.com.

Pet Shop Boys and New Order bring their “Unity Tour” to Columbia’s Merriweather Post Pavilion on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $29.50-169.50 at Merriweather’s website.

7th Annual Law Rocks Washington DC will be on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6:30p.m. at 9:30 Club. Law Rocks toured first to D.C. in 2015 and has raised more than $615,000. Eight bands of musically brilliant legal professionals will be rocking out to support local nonprofit organizations. Tickets are available on Law Rocks’s website

Don’t miss out performer Lil Nas X at the Anthem on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m.

Lizzo performs her “Special Tour” at Capital One Arena on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Tickets start at $69.50 at ticketmaster.com.

Panic at the Disco performs its “Viva Las Vengeance” tour at Capital One Arena on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.; tickets at ticketmaster.com.

The legendary B-52s kicked off their farewell tour earlier this summer and it comes to D.C.’s Anthem on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at the Anthem site.

Two Feet: Fall Tour 2022 will be on Monday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club. Brothel will be the opening act. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased on 9:30 Club’s website.

Santigold will be performing as part of her Holified Tour on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased on the Fillmore’s website.  

Fairfax Symphony and Orchestra will be performing work from German composer Brahms and Sibelius on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. at Capital One Hall. Jeremy Denk will be on piano, and Christopher Zimmerman will music direct and conduct. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased on Capital One Hall’s website

Judah & the Lion will be performing on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased on the Fillmore’s website

Grammy Award-winning singer Steve Lacy will be performing on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. Tickets start at $235 and can be purchased on the Fillmore’s website

The Reston Chorale, Piedmont Symphony Orchestra and PSO Rock Band will perform “Bohemian Rhapsody: The Music Of Queen (And Friends)” on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. at Capital One Hall. The music acts will perform some of Queen’s greatest hits, including “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” “Under Pressure,” and of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased on Ticketmaster

Local gay favorite Bob Mould plays at Wolf Trap on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. will be celebrating the life and legacy of actress Judy Garland with a cabaret titled “Judy” on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. (ASL) and 8 p.m. at Capital One Hall. Fourteen select soloists from the Chorus will share stories as they sing their favorite Judy tunes. Songs include “Over the Rainbow,” “The Trolley Song,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “The Man That Got Away,” and “Happy Days are Here Again.” Tickets cost $45 and can be ppurchased on GMCWDC’s website

Morrissey performs at the Anthem on Monday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m.

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Music & Concerts

New Madonna remix collection solid but not exhaustive

Marred only by a few ’80s omissions, set is blazing history of club music’s evolution

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An all-vinyl edition of Madonna’s new remix collection ‘Finally Enough Love,’ sold out quickly, but the release is still available in several other formats, physical and digital. (Photo courtesy Warner/Rhino)

Madonna, though she has as many hit compilations as one would expect from an artist of her vintage and stature, has always seemed wary of looking back or indulging much degree of nostalgia about her career. 

As polarizing as her later albums sometimes are, one could never accuse her of cashing in, as so many veteran acts do, on tour after tour of the same old set list designed to hit all the obvious musical marks, please the most tepid of fans and make easy millions. But she has almost swung too far the other way. Hits sometimes have felt grudgingly performed at her live shows of the last, oh, 20 years or so, and have, at times, been so radically re-crafted — an approach that can be thrilling when it works, no doubt — the spirit of the original track has been sometimes painfully undercut.

All that to say, it’s fun to see Our Lady of the Remix — for whom in popdom is more deserving of that title? — look back so sumptuously with the Aug. 19 release of “Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones,” (☆☆☆ out of four) a new 50-track remix collection available digitally, in a three-disc CD set and a sold-out six-LP vinyl edition, as well as “Finally Enough Love,” a 16-track version on single CD, double vinyl and digitally. The releases are the first since it was announced last summer that Madonna was returning to her original label, Warner Records, in a new deal that would include a series of deluxe catalogue reissues. It celebrates her record-shattering span of 50 No. 1 hits on the Billboard U.S. Dance Songs Club chart, starting with “Holiday”/“Lucky Star” (only “Holiday” is here, though) in 1983 and culminating with “I Don’t Search I Find” in early 2020 from her 2019 album “Madame X.” The collection’s title is taken from that track. For context, those trailing her record of 50 No. 1 hits on that chart are Rihanna (33), Beyonce (22), Janet (20) and Katy Perry (19); Madonna’s record here is the most number ones by an artist/band on any Billboard chart ever.

It’s also especially nice to see since remixes have been so essential to Madonna’s career. The only time she ever released anything remotely akin to this before was either very early (1987’s “You Can Dance” remix album) or oddly random (the 2003 EP “Remixed & Revisited”). 

This collection is not, as one might guess, a collection of her all-time greatest remixes or even necessarily the versions of the songs that charted. Gen. Xers who gobbled up her maxi singles all through the ’90s and beyond will find their stash, if retained, are still the only sources (not counting unofficial YouTube postings) for classics such as the “Shep’s ‘Spressin’ Himself Re-remix” of “Express Yourself” from the “Justify My Love” maxi (also home to the deliciously weird “The Beast Within Mix”), the “Waiting” remix (a non-single) from the “Rain” maxi or any of the varied delights (e.g. “Madonna Gets Hardcore”) on the import “Bye Bye Baby” maxi. 

Even if you’re a completist of the highest order — and there certainly are folks like that in the Madonnaverse — your experience won’t be sullied or buoyed much by the mixes included or excluded. 

Tons of other remixes here are just slight variations of mixes we’ve heard before. I haven’t been following these releases like a hawk in recent years, but if you collected these in any capacity over the years, there will likely be a fresh balance of familiar and unfamiliar motifs and passages sprinkled throughout. 

Most of the remixes retain the bulk of the lyrics from the album versions and are tight edits (no 10-minute percussion solos). The earlier cuts on disc one are the least radical, a non-surprise considering remixing trends of the ’80s. And while many of these mixes are heretofore unreleased, they are nearly all vintage or, where tweaked, retain the spirit of their album counterparts. There’s no radical thumpa-thumpa version of “Everybody” or “Material Girl,” for example; disc three, containing the newest material, is by far the most pounding/rave-influenced. 

Standouts for me were the loungy, uptempo-yet-chill vibe of the “Underground Club Mix” of “Erotica” (straight from the vintage “Erotica” maxi), the “PSB Maxi Mix Edit” of “Sorry,” (until now, a promo-only mix), the “Eddie Amador Club 5 Edit” of “Give it 2 Me,” (vintage, but never commercially available until now) and “Avicii’s UMF Mix” of “Girl Gone Wild,” which features a spidery instrumental motif that could almost work as a fugal theme.

As a whole, however, there are a few impediments to the way this all goes down, especially if you listen straight through. A few tracks — e.g. the “Sasha Ultra Violet Mix Edit” of “Ray of Light” with its sputtery beat pattern or the loungy, uber-chill vibe of the “Bob Sinclar Space Funk Edit” of “4 Minutes” (this edit of which was only ever previously released on a 12” vinyl picture disc) — give needed contrast to the mostly unrelenting 4/4 beat patterns. But after a while, especially on discs two and three, it all starts sounding like little more than “Hooked on Madonna,” of the famous “Hooked on Classics” series from the ’80s, which set classical themes to dance beats. Of course, some of that is to be expected given the nature of the release, but as an actual experience, it’s occasionally tedious. 

And while the DJs are all obviously talented and at times quite creative, by the middle of disc two, one starts wondering if a wiz/nerd with access to the stems could have almost come up with something just as good on a Yamaha Clavinova or the like. Almost. 

It also moves a lot faster through her catalogue than you might guess. Since classics like “Papa Don’t Preach” and La Isla Bonita” were not No. 1 dance hits, we get to “Like a Prayer” and “Vogue” barely halfway through disc one. 

When a non-Madonna-penned single pops up — Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” (from “Evita”) or Don McLean’s “American Pie” (from “The Next Best Thing”), they jump out as markedly better examples of songcraft than just about anything Madonna ever came up with herself. Going straight from “Pie” to “Music,” one of M’s most lyrically insipid compositions ever to my ear, is especially painful. For sure, there are dozens of pop masterpieces here, but the covers tend to accentuate the froth on cuts like “Turn Up the Radio” or “Jump.” 

On the brighter side, however, the vocals sound stronger and sweeter than I recalled. Yeah, they’re likely auto-tuned and otherwise studio sweetened, but there were several passages — “Nothing Really Matters,” “Keep it Together,” “Deeper and Deeper” — when it’s clear Madonna is a better studio singer than she ever gets credit for.

Booklets, too, are thorough and nicely done with detailed track info and pics of all her single artwork. 

While there are 50 tracks here, the math is a bit fuzzy. “Angel,” which charted jointly with its flip side “Into the Groove,” is absent as is “Causing a Commotion,” which had a vinyl Record Store Day release back in April, though it’s annoying it’s not here. Because “You Can Dance” topped the chart as an entire album and the Britney duet “Me Against the Music” was not from a Madonna project, there’s a little wiggle room numerically in how this set was curated. 

Madonna’s new remix album ‘Finally Enough Love’ collects vintage mixes of her many hits, but often in slightly different versions from what has previously been commercially available. (Photo courtesy Warner/Rhino)
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