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Music & Concerts

FALL ARTS 2016: Strike up the band

Etheridge, Tegan and Sara, Stevie Nicks and more on fall concert slate



concert, gay news, Washington Blade

Tegan and Sara play the 9:30 Club Nov. 6-7. (Photo by Derek Wood, courtesy NYLON)

After a summer of amazing live musical options in the D.C. area, this fall offers another great slate of live music options. Here are some of the notable artists who will be performing in the D.C. area in the coming months.

One of the biggest shows of the fall will undoubtedly be AC/DC featuring Axl Rose on vocals at the Verizon Center (601 F St., N.W.) on Saturday, Sept. 17. T

The revival of reunited ‘90s alternative bands continues when Lush hits the 9:30 Club on Wednesday, Sept. 21 (815 V St., N.W.). The mood shifts dramatically two nights later when funk pioneers George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic roll through the 9:30 Club on Sept. 23. The same night, superstar comedian and actress Amy Schumer will take the stage at the Verizon Center.

Openly gay band Pansy Division, founded by guitarist/singer Jon Ginoli and bassist/singer Chris Freeman in 1991, will be at Hill Country (410 7th St., N.W.) on Sept. 22.

concerts, gay news, Washington Blade

Pansy Division will be at Hill Country on Sept. 22. (Photo courtesy the band)

Latin/pop singer Marc Anthony will play EagleBank Arena (4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax, Va.) on Sept. 30.

The All Things Go Fall Classic is a festival to be held on Oct. 8 at the Yards Park (355 Water St., S.E.), with headliners Passion Pit (featuring openly gay lead singer Michael Angelakos) and Empire of the Sun, along with local bands like Buredo, Shake Shake, Takorean and others.

October leads off with some heavy hitters shaking the foundations of the 9:30 Club. Bastille plays Oct. 2 followed by a rare opportunity to see supergroup Green Day in an intimate setting on Oct. 3, indie favorites Warpaint on Oct. 4 and veteran rockers Taking Back Sunday on Oct. 5.

Against Me!, led by transgender vocalist Laura Jane Grace, will bring its hard-rocking vibe to the Fillmore (8656 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, Md.) on Oct. 6 along with alternative rock titans Bad Religion.

The Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) will host electronic duo Crystal Castles on Oct. 8.

Legendary stage diva Patti LuPone plays two night at the Barns at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.; Oct. 7-8 with her show “Don’t Monkey With Broadway.”

British superstar Adele will electrify fans at the Verizon Center for two nights on Oct. 10-11.

Electronic music pioneer DJ  Shadow will be at 9:30 Club on Oct. 13, with ‘90s alternative rockers Teenage Fanclub playing the following night.

Popular indie-pop/electronic group Chvrches will play two nights at Echostage (2135 Queens Chapel Rd., N.E.), Oct. 17-18.

Queen of Bounce Big Freedia hits the Howard Theater (620 T St., N.W.). on Oct. 18.

Legendary LGBT icon Melissa Etheridge returns to D.C. for a show at Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.) on Oct. 19.

On the same night Sia will bring her current tour to the Verizon Center.

The edgy South African rap combo Die Antwoord play Echostage on Oct. 23.

Drag comedian Bianca Del Rio hits Lincoln Theatre three days later, on Oct. 22 and lesbian artist Tig Notaro plays the same venue on Oct. 27. Also on Oct. 27th, a must-see show by the celebrated lesbian duo Indigo Girls will take place at Rams Head Live (20 Market Pl., Baltimore).

November brings a remarkably diverse and impressive group of artists to the D.C. area. The month starts with the acclaimed alternative/folk singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega at Birchmere (3701 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) on Nov. 1. The ultra hot British pop/rockers Foals will play Echostage on Nov. 3.

Two R&B heavyweights, Maxwell and Mary J. Blige, will grace the stage of the Verizon Center on Nov. 6.

Legendary gospel diva Sandi Patty has embarked on “Forever Grateful — the Farewell Tour,” and she will stop in D.C. on Nov. 6 at Sligo Seventh-Day Adventist Church (7700 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, Md.).

The ever-popular lesbian duo Tegan and Sara will hit the 9:30 Club for two nights on Nov. 6-7.

One of the hottest bands of recent years, Grouplove, will play Echostage on Nov. 9.

Lesbian country singer Brandy Clark plays Birchmere on Nov. 10.

Electro-pop superduo Pet Shop Boys return for one of the season’s most highly-anticipated shows Nov. 11 at the Warner Theater (513 13th St., N.W.).

An amazing double bill featuring the Pretenders and Stevie Nicks is at the Verizon Center on Nov. 14 will be one of the year’s most exciting shows.

Country legend Loretta Lynn will be at Lincoln Theatre on Nov. 19.

Lesbian comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer will entertain fans at the Birchmere on the same night.

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Patty Griffin is also visiting Birchmere, on Nov. 21.

Two outstanding R&B artists take the Warner Theatre stage on Nov. 25 — Lalah Hathaway and Musiq Soulchild.

Popular indie-rockers STRFKR stops by the 9:30 Club on Nov. 30.

After about seven years of touring with (pretty much) the same set list, Diana Ross is finally switching things up. She’ll perform three nights Dec. 1-3 at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra Pops under the direction of Conductor Steven Reineke.

December begins with the sweet mellow vibe of Norah Jones for two nights (Dec. 2-3) at the Warner Theatre.

Folk/pop mainstay Dar Williams will be at Birchmore on  Dec. 2.

Local electronic music pioneers Thievery Corporation return to the 9:30 Club on Dec. 15.

John Waters, one of the great filmmakers of our generation and a gay icon, will appear at the Birchmere on Dec. 20.


Music & Concerts

The Atlantis to showcase musical legends of tomorrow

New venue, a near replica of original 9:30 Club, opens next month



A look at the interior of the original 9:30 club. (Photo public domain/Library of Congress)

A new nirvana for music fans opens next month adjacent to the 9:30 Club. Dubbed The Atlantis, this intimate venue embraces a 450-person capacity – and pays homage as a near-replica of the original 9:30 Club.

The $10 million venue comes courtesy of I.M.P., the independent promoter that owns and operates the 9:30 Club and The Anthem, and operates The Lincoln Theatre and Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The Foo Fighters will inaugurate The Atlantis on May 30, which is also the 9:30 Club’s anniversary. Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl, during a concert in 2021, kicked off speculation that I.M.P was planning to open a new venue, noting that, “We’ll probably be the band that opens that place, too, right?”

Other big names on the inaugural 44-show run roster: Franz Ferdinand, Barenaked Ladies, Third Eye Blind, Spoon, and Billy Idol.

To thwart scalpers, The Atlantis utilized a request system for the first 44 shows when they went on sale two weeks ago. Within four days of the announcement, fans had requested more than 520,000 tickets, many times more than the total 19,800 available. All tickets have been allocated; fans who were unable to snag tickets can attempt to do so in May, when a fan-to-fan ticket exchange opens.

While I.M.P. oversees multiple larger venues, “We’ve been doing our smallest shows in other peoples’ venues for too many years now,” said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P. “We needed a place that’s ours. This can be the most exciting step in an artist’s career.”

The 9:30 Club holds 1,200 people, while The Anthem has space for up to 6,000.

“This will be where we help introduce new artists to the world… our smallest venue will be treated as important, if not more, than our bigger venues. If the stories are told right, both the artists and the fans begin their hopefully longterm relationship. Its stage will support bourgeoning artists and the legends of tomorrow,” Hurwitz said. Hurwitz and the team developed a tagline for the new venue: The Atlantis, Where Music Begins.

Hurwitz got his start at the original 9:30 Club, originally located at 930 F St., N.W. He was an independent booker of the club for the first six years and then he bought it, and managed the move from its original location to its current location in 1996. The venue first opened in 1980.

Audrey Fix Schaefer, I.M.P. communications director, provides further insight. “We were missing small venues in our umbrella. Big acts don’t start in stadiums. We need a place for emerging artists and for the community to discover new acts. The Atlantis can help new artists grow.”

While design elements are still coming into focus, Schaefer says that the space will be intimate, with almost no separation between the artist and the crowd. “There will be energy on both sides of the stage,” she says.

Although The Atlantis is set to be a replica of the original 9:30, I.M.P. has spared no expense. Schaefer notes that the sound and light systems use the latest available technologies, similar to next door at the current 9:30 Club.

The Atlantis takes over the footprint of now-closed Satellite Room. The venue will have at least two bars flanking the stage; cocktails but no food will be available.

Schaefer notes that since its early days, 9:30 Club and I.M.P. “has always been a place where people are welcome. People come and feel safe with us.” 9:30 Club has hosted several LGBTQ Pride parties, the BENT dance party series, and other events for LGBTQ patrons. Particular acts of note during the kickoff run include Tegan & Sarah and Tove Lo.

The Washington Blade was a neighbor to the 9:30 Club at its original F Street location back in the 1980s. Despite their proximity, noise wasn’t an issue for on deadline nights, when Blade staff worked late hours.

“We would of course work later hours back then,” said Phil Rockstroh, a longtime Blade staffer, in a 2016 Blade interview. “Everything was typeset and done by hand without computers and fax machines so getting through deadlines was much more time consuming.”

Rockstroh said the noise wasn’t a distraction.

“It wasn’t too bad as older buildings were constructed more solidly,” Rockstroh said. “There was only one entrance to the building and you entered so far to the elevator that went up to the other floors and then continued down the hall to the entrance to the 9:30 Club. Frequently at night if I was coming or going, there were people spilling out the doors.”

“The Blade has always had a friendly relationship with the 9:30 Club,” he added.

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Music & Concerts

National Philharmonic to perform classical, contemporary works

Violinist Melissa White returns



The National Philharmonic will host “Beethoven’s 7th” on Saturday, April 15 at 8 p.m. at Strathmore.

Past and present will collide in this performance of contemporary works and classical masterpieces. Maestro Piotr Gajewski will direct Valerie Coleman’s “Umoja, Anthem for Unity for Orchestra” Violinist Melissa White will also return to the Philharmonic to perform Florence Price’s sweeping, melodic “Violin Concerto No. 2.”

Tickets start at $19 and can be purchased on the Philharmonic’s website.

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Music & Concerts

Bruce & Janet & John Legend, oh my!

Slew of iconic acts hitting the road after pandemic cancellations



Janet Jackson is among the iconic acts touring this spring.

Pop and rock icons are releasing their pent-up pandemic frustrations by mounting huge tours this spring and summer. After three years of canceled and postponed shows, everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Janet Jackson is hitting the road at long last. But save your coins because the TicketMaster algorithms are driving ticket prices to astronomical highs. Here are a few highlights from D.C.-area venues this spring. Although some of the iconic acts aren’t coming until summer — Beyonce, Madonna, Pink — several others are hitting the road this spring.

Betty Who plays March 10; Keyshia Cole headlines the All Black Extravaganza 20 Year Anniversary tour on March 18; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs come to town on May 3; Seal brings his world tour to town on May 10; and the beloved Pixies are back on the road with a new North American tour stopping here on June 10.

9:30 CLUB
Don’t miss Gimme Gimme Disco, an Abba dance party on March 18; Inzo arrives on March 31, followed by Bent on April 1; Ruston Kelly brings his The Weakness tour on April 17 along with Purr; The New Pornographers show on May 19 is sold out but there are tickets available for the May 20 show; The Walkmen have added a fourth show on May 23 because the other three shows are sold our;

Living legend Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are back with a vengeance, playing one of four area shows on March 27. (They’re in Baltimore the night before.) If you missed out this time, don’t worry, Bruce is playing Nats Park in September as well as at Baltimore’s Camden Yards. April 1 brings the R&B Music Experience, including Xscape, Monica, Tamar Braxton, and 112. Blink-182 comes to town on May 23. And this summer watch for Sam Smith to continue his hot streak, bringing his “Gloria” tour to town on Aug.4.

Janet Jackson makes her highly anticipated return to the stage this spring, arriving in our area on May 6 along with guest Ludacris. The LGBTQ ally and icon has promised new music on her upcoming “Together Again Tour,” which follows the pandemic-related cancellation of her “Black Diamond Tour.” Jackson also plays Baltimore’s newly renovated CFG Bank Arena on May 13.

John Legend plays two nights at Wolf Trap on June 2 and 3; Charlie Puth follows on June 4. Wolf Trap also hosts the Indigo Girls on June 7 just in time for Pride month. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Smithereens at the Birchmere on March 17. Fans of ‘80s alternative will be lined up for the Church also at the Birchmere at April 4, followed by Suzanne Vega on April 26. Amy Grant returns to the stage this spring and plays the Birchmere on May 2. Echostage plays host to a slew of buzz worthy shows this spring, including Ella Mai on April 8 and Fisher on May 12.

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