In the world of DC live music, there was a lot to write about in 2017. I.M.P. made its broad presence even broader with the 6,000-capacity Anthem. Songbyrd solidified its niche in the up-and-coming R&B/hip-hop scene with clutch bookings like Xavier Omar, Jamila Woods, and Noname (and booked its first show at The Fillmore, with more co-bookings to come). Competition in the 200-500-capacity space increased with new venues like Union Stage, Pearl Street Warehouse, and The Miracle Theatre. Mount Pleasant DIY venue OTHERFEELS hosted its first DMV music showcase at 9:30 Club, with a second coming in late December. There really is no shortage of opportunities to catch live music in our nation's capital.
I covered 47 shows and one three-day festival for ChunkyGlasses this year, and it’s been a wild ride covering shows in venues big (Capital One Arena) and small (Dew Drop Inn). While most of there were a lot of great shows, the following ten best showcase why the live music experience is so essential. These artists convey emotion and energy in a way that can’t be contained within the confines of an album. With these shows, it was hard to walk away without the lingering feeling of ‘holy shit, they REALLY put their heart and soul into it tonight.’
So with that, here are my ten favorite shows of 2017. Click the headers to see more pics and a full recap of that show.
PS - And if you're still interested in knowing what my favorite songs from this year were, here's my Spotify playlist - Mauricio's Favorite Fifty of 'Seventeen!
Yes, the hype is real. NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Winner for 2017 sold out their Songbyrd show in July with ease. Why? Well, their Tiny Desk Concert performance gives a nice intro to the New Orleans band’s melding of hip-hop, jazz, and spoken word, but it was their Songbyrd performance that truly solidified it for me. The band’s playful style (have you seen their sax player’s dance moves?) and Tarica “Tank” Ball’s passionate spoken word portions and improvisations are a treat to behold live. There was nothing but unbridled joy in the room that night, and long after they sell out 9:30 Club, the memory of the show in this intimate space will continue to linger.