Concert Review: Bananarama, February 23, Danforth Music Hall

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Shortly before Bananarama took to the stage at the Danforth on Friday night, Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” was played in it’s entirety over the PA and while people didn’t quite go crazy, there was enough singing and dancing going on to prove that even before the show had started, this was a crowd that was ready to party. And Bananarama were more than up for the task, getting the party going and keeping the energy level reasonably high throughout the night.

The English trio, touring with the original lineup for the first time after Siobhan Fahey recently reunited with bandmates Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward, came out of the gate strong, all glittery outfits and synchronised dance moves as they started things off with “Nathan Jones” and “Robert DeNiro’s Waiting.” “Our outfits are an homage to Winter Olympics,” joked Fahey later on in the night. They ran through a bunch of other hits during their set, including “Venus,” “Cruel Summer,” “I Heard A Rumour,” and a cover of “Stay” by Shakespears Sister, Fahey’s post-Bananarama project. The ladies and their backing band put on a solid performance that got me thinking about the possibilities of a reunion of a fiftysomething Pussycat Dolls or S Club 7 fifteen or twenty years down the line. Who knows? It could happen.

After closing out the main set with a cover of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” the band returned for a two song encore of “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It)” and “Love in the First Degree” before ending off a show that definitely had the fans dancing and partying for the duration. Mind you, with the crowds for these kinds of big pop reunion shows, who generally come prepared to have fun and relive their youths, it’s pretty easy to keep the party going.

Concert Review: Girl Ray, February 19, Horseshoe Tavern

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Girl Ray are young. It’s been a common talking point in some of the press coverage of the band so far, and quite possibly a lazy one, but I suppose it’s an easy talking point – young band makes music that sounds kind of like music that was being made back before they were born is a topic that old people like myself do like to bring up from time to time. Still, it is worth noting that all members of the band are only 19 years old and out on an extended tour of another continent. I can’t really imagine myself doing that when I was 19, so kudos to Girl Ray I guess.

The London trio (joined by a fourth auxiliary member for the live show) are currently out on their first North American tour, a tour that includes a stop in Austin for SXSW week as well as their current jaunt opening for New York band Porches. The twee-ish, retro leaning songs of off Girl Ray’s debut full length Earl Grey came across well live, with the band members often locking into a bit of a groove, even getting kind of funky for a bit on one number. Singer Poppy Hankin may not have the flashiest of voices, but it’s perfectly suited to their music and all three band members voices often came together quite nicely as they showed off their harmonies throughout the set.

One of the most memorable highlights of the night though was a non-musical one – an enthusiastic audience member who periodically yelled “Yeah, Girl Ray!” at the top of her lungs in a manner probably more commonly heard at a Slayer show. Good on her. Sure, it seemed a little over the top for Girl Ray’s twee indie pop sound, but it was also pretty great to see and had me feeling a little less jaded. Still jaded enough to leave early and skip Porches’ headlining set because I was feeling old, grumpy, and tired, but less jaded nonetheless.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Cut Worms – Till Tomorrow Goes Away

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In his guise as Cut Worms, Brooklyn’s Max Clarke has shown that he knows his way around a catchy tune. “Till Tomorrow Goes Away” is one such tune – a seriously Harry Nilsson-esque tune that inspires toe-tapping and head-bopping, at least in this writer.

Along with his official and unofficial appearances in Austin during SXSW, Clarke will also be taking Cut Worms out to Willie Nelson’s Luck, Texas Ranch as one of the acts at this year’s Luck Reunion, the side festival outside of Austin that has occurred concurrently with SouthBy for the last few years (and which just announced it’s lineup today).

Cut Worms plays Barracuda on Thursday, March 15.

Concert Review: The 9 Singer-Songwriter Showcase, February 9, Black Cat

Posted on by Celeste in Everything | 1 Comment


Friday night at Black Cat was a celebration of local artists. The passion project of DC singer-songwriter and neo-folk artist Justin Trawick, The 9 singer-songwriter series brings together nine (which only makes sense) DC artists of different musical styles to delight and dazzle the crowd.

Featuring Nardo Lilly, Elena and Los Fulanos, Josh RD, Rock Creek Kings, Ginny Hill Project, Sol Roots, Sarah Jane Burgess, Andres Gallego, and organizer Justin Trawick, the night was full of spur of the moment collaborations, audience sing-a-longs, and go-proing (by one enthusiastic fan/friend). Every artist started the night with two songs and ended with a final song as an encore. Josh RD rocked it with a punk/folk song about ending a poisonous relationship (which he sang with a huge, infectious smile), Ginny Hill twanged out a lovely country piece about falling in love with a person, which makes you fall in love with a place (so true), and Sarah Jane Burgess won the night with a laugh out loud funny song about a boy breaking her heart when he left his Columbia Heights apartment for a house in Ballston of all places (why????).

If you want to experience local music and you have a taste for diverse styles and community flavor check it out!