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Music & Concerts

Adele’s triumphant return

Bombastic Brit back with a bang on ’25’



Adele, gay news, Washington Blade
Adele, gay news, Washington Blade

The four years since Adele’s last album created a torrent of pent-up anticipation. Her new ’25’ is selling briskly. (Photo courtesy XL)

The long-awaited followup to Adele’s 2011 smash “21” was always destined to be a hit. There was little doubt that the powerhouse British singer’s latest album would be the smash of the holiday season, given that “21” has sold in excess of 30 million copies worldwide and Adele has become a pop icon with few peers.

The dramatic ballad “Hello” was the first taste of the new album and it quickly has become a pop culture phenomenon. It rocketed up the charts — it’s currently in its fourth week at no. 1 — and has become so ubiquitous that it’s already inspiring parodies. Even in an era of ever-declining CD sales, the rise of streaming audio and the ever-present specter of online piracy, the stage seemed set for Adele’s new offering to do quite well.

Quite well, indeed. “25” has shattered expectations and records by selling more than 3.3 million copies in its first week. That’s a staggering number beyond even the most optimistic expectations. Adele has toppled the record held for the last 15 years by ‘N Sync for most first week sales of a new album — “No Strings Attached” sold about 2.4 million copies in March 2000, at the very peak of the music industry’s sales boom. In those days big titles routinely hit first-week sales in excess of 500,000 copies, and many topped 1 million. Those days are long gone, or so we thought.

Certainly the fact that Adele shrewdly held her album out from streaming services like Spotify helped amplify her sales figures. But more than anything, the titanic numbers speak to Adele’s cross-generational appeal. Adele is a perfect storm of enormous talent and a deeply likable and genuine personality. The success of “25” also opens up the possibility that the record industry, which has substantially collapsed in the last 15 years, could be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Adele’s benchmark will certainly be difficult if not impossible to match, but it seems likely that other big name artists will follow her example by eschewing streaming services and going for bigger sales figures.

Of course, an album’s sales figures don’t necessarily speak to its artistic quality. Just how good is “25”? It’s a mature collection of exceptionally polished pop. It’s certainly glossy at times, but by and large fans of Adele’s prior smashes “19” and “21” are not going to be disappointed. It’s loaded with potential hits, especially the stunning “When We Were Young,” which is destined to be a classic. There are some electronic elements on the defiantly upbeat ode to an ex, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover”), a supremely catchy tune that will surely be a single. Other highlights are the soulful ballad “Remedy,” the power ballad “Love in the Dark” and the dynamic duet with Bruno Mars, “All I Ask,” a no. 1 single waiting to happen.

Yeah, some of “25” is over the top and overly slick, but minor quibbles aside, it stands up as an album that will be an enduring success. It’s not going to be a case of monumental first week sales and then a quick drop-off. There are enough strong tracks and future hits that the album will doubtless take up residence in the upper reaches of the charts for many months to come.

“25” is clearly destined to be one of pop music’s highest-ever selling albums. How high will it go is the question, but it’s caused ripples that will help shape the music industry for years to come. Detractors can point to the cadre of ace collaborators, but what makes “25” magic is Adele herself. In an increasingly cynical world that is short on artists whom fans can truly respect and admire, Adele is a treasure. Her success with “25” is well-earned and deserved.


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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