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Music & Concerts

SPRING ARTS 2017 — CONCERTS: Cher, Ricky and many more

New MGM National Harbor is magnet for top-level acts




DC concerts 2017, gay news, Washington Blade

Cher brings her ‘Classic Cher’ show from Vegas to the MGM National Harbor March 17-26. (Photo by MCM, Machado Cicala Morassut)

Spring — as always — is a busy concert season in Washington.

March opens with alt-rockers Panic! At the Disco bringing their “Death of a Bachelor Tour” to MGM National Harbor (101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill, Md.) on Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. Ticket info here.

The 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) has its usual stacked lineup, with the Flaming Lips playing two nights March 5-6. Tickets at

Local “queer pop” vocalist Be Steadwell will perform at the AMP by Strathmore (1810 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda, Md.) on Thursday, March 9. Details at

Echostage (2135 Queens Chapel Rd., N.E.) welcomes back DJ Tiesto for two nights of electrifying club sounds on March 10-11. Details at

R&B/pop veteran Vanessa Williams appears at the Howard Theatre (620 T St., N.W.) for two shows on Friday, March 10. Details at

Monday, March 13 is a big night at the Verizon Center (601 F St., N.W.), with Green Day headlining and Against Me!, featuring transgender lead singer Laura Jane Grace, opening for what should be an amazing night of ferocious rock. Tickets here.

Quirky piano prodigy Regina Spektor is at DAR Constitution Hall (1776 D St., N.W.) on Tuesday, March 14. Tickets here.

Vanessa Carlton plays the Birchmere (3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) on Thursday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. Details at

The openly gay indie-pop hero Stephin Merritt brings Magnetic Fields to the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.) March 18-19. Details at

Stevie Nicks, who put on an amazing show last fall at the Verizon Center, comes to Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena (201 W Baltimore St., Baltimore) on Sunday, March 26. Tickets here.

Rock legends the Pretenders are sure to electrify fans at the Fillmore (8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, Md.) on Monday, March 27. Details at

Powerhouse vocalist Ann Wilson of Heart will perform a solo show at the Birchmere on Wednesday, March 29. Details at

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs at the Barns at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.) on Saturday, April 15 in “God Save the Queens,” a salute to pop royalty featuring new arrangements of classics by Elvis Presley, Queen, Prince, Adele and other superstars. Details at

Betty Who, a huge hit at Capital Pride in 2014, returns to D.C. on Sunday, April 16  at the 9:30 Club, followed by the ultra-hot British popsters Clean Bandit on Wednesday, April 19. Details at

One of the great singer/songwriters of our time, Aimee Mann, will perform on Thursday, April 20 at the Lincoln Theatre in support of “Mental Illness,” her first new album in five years. Details at

A rare opportunity to see some musical legends that are part of the fabric of ‘80s music happens on Thursday, April 27, as Prince’s former backup band the Revolution plays the Fillmore. Details at

Alan Cumming will be at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) as part of the Renee Fleming series on Saturday, April 29. Details at

The NSO Pops continues its trend of performing with pop acts (Diana Ross and Ledisi have been recent guests). On May 5-6, the Pops, under the direction of conductor Steven Reineke, will be joined by lesbian icons the Indigo Girls in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Details at

Openly gay Latino pop sensation Ricky Martin is sure to dazzle as he performs two nights at MGM National Harbor (101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill, Md.) May 5-6. Tickets here.

Ricky Martin plays the MGM National Harbor May 5-6. (Photo courtesy MGM)

Ricky Martin plays the MGM National Harbor May 5-6. (Photo courtesy MGM)

Slowdive, one of the great alt-rock bands of the ‘90s, have reunited and will bring their hypnotic shoegaze sound to the 9:30 club on Sunday, May 7. Details at

Storm Large of Pink Martini fame, plays  AMP by Strathmore May 6-7. Details at

The same night, one of the hottest names in electronic music, Tycho, will appear at EchoStage. Nancy and Beth, featuring Megan Mullally from “Will & Grace,” will perform at U Street Music Hall (115 U St., N.W.) on Monday, May 8. Details at

One of the year’s most anticipated tours hits the Fillmore on Tuesday, May 9, as the venerable Australian rockers Midnight Oil will appear as part of their first extensive round of shows since the early ‘90s. Details at

Another Australian band, the electro-glam pop duo Empire of the Sun, performs at Echostage on Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. in support of their latest album, “Two Vines.” Details at

One of the most acclaimed openly gay artists to emerge in recent years, Perfume Genius, returns to Washington on Monday, May 15 at the 9:30 Club. Details at

The same night, local electronic/hip-hop favorites Thievery Corporation will be at the Kennedy Center. Details at

The venerable alternative rock powerhouse the Pixies will perform at Lincoln Theatre May 16-17. Details at

Cher plays the MGM March 17-26 with her “Classic Cher” show. She’ll return later in the year for an Aug. 31-Sept. 10 engagement. Tickets here.

The Weeknd plays the Verizon Center on Thursday, May 18. Tickets here.

Influential Baltimore-based musical mad scientists Animal Collective play the 9:30 Club on Monday, May 22. Details at


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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Music & Concerts

Internationally acclaimed pianist to play at Strathmore

Brian Ganz to celebrate 12th annual concert



(Photo by Vitalii Petrushenko/Bigstock)

“An Evening of Chopin’s Chamber Music with Brian Ganz and Friends” will be on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore.

Pianist Brian Ganz will celebrate his 12th annual concert in his quest to perform the complete works of Frédéric Chopin. He will be joined by Carter Brey, principal cellist for the New York Philharmonic, and Laura Colgate, concertmaster for the National Philharmonic. The artists will perform all the major chamber music works written by Chopin, including the rarely heard Trio in G minor for piano, violin and cello, Op. 8, as well as the famed Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor.

Ticket prices start at $29 and free for young people 7–17.  For more details, visit

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Music & Concerts

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus builds bridges in new documentary

‘Music Triumphs Homophobia’ chronicles group’s travels around the world



Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (Photo by A Priori Photography)

Poland, Turkey, and South Africa are among the places the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus has traveled, facing discrimination, but also finding acceptance and camaraderie on the road. 

“Music Triumphs Homophobia,” a new documentary available on Amazon Prime Video written and directed by filmmakers Craig Coogan and Michael Willer, follows the Chorus’s tours around the world and grapples with how spiritual LGBTQ people contend with the homophobic mistranslations of religious texts. It also explores the power of music. 

“Our goal is to share … the joy and inspiration that music can have in overcoming prejudice,” Coogan, the former executive director of the chorus, said in an interview. “What BGMC has done for 40 years, and other choruses have done as well, is infusing the world with joy, inspiration, and hope.”

And it’s not just Christianity that misinterprets religious doctrines, Coogan said. 

“It wasn’t just Christian, and it wasn’t Muslim. It wasn’t Jewish. It wasn’t one particular denomination. It actually was overall,” Coogan said. 

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus was founded in 1982 and is comprised of more than 200 performers, from all different backgrounds. This diversity of perspective is what drives the mission of the chorus and the documentary, Coogan said.  

“The universality of coming together as one voice, to tell one story, is incredibly powerful. And I think that’s what audiences identify with,” Coogan said.  

Because the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus had to go on hiatus from performing at the onset and height of the pandemic, Coogan and Willer sought out a solution — to put together a documentary chronicling the history and work of the group.  

The pair already had most of the footage before putting together a full, nearly two-hour documentary was a reality for them. For years, people at the chorus, including Coogan and Willer, had captured the various trips for the archives. 

“This actually afforded us a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in 30 terabytes of footage,” Willer said. 

Michael Willer is one of two filmmakers behind the new documentary. (Photo courtesy BGMC)

Coogan and Willer put together the footage and filled gaps with additional interviews, which they filmed in a studio at the height of the shutdown while following health and safety protocols. 

The entirety of the music paired with the documentary is also produced by the chorus. 

Coogan and Willer hope LGBTQ people and non-LGBTQ people alike watch the film and that they experience a “shifting perception.” 

“We tried to cover as many different perspectives as we had access to that had stories to share,” Willer said. “And to give a sense of relatability and humanity to people that are human, and deserve to have their voices heard, and hopefully in a way that is affecting, and that lasts for whoever might watch it.”

“It’s not about one person, but all these different perspectives,” Coogan added. 

The title of the documentary is a spin on a translated news headline in Poland when the chorus went there in 2005 — “Music Triumphs Intolerance.” It also communicates the mission of the group in a clear, concise way, Coogan said. 

“When it really comes down to it, music does triumph over homophobia,” he said. 

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