DC Music Review’s Best of 2018

2018 is in the books! This was a special year for us at DC Music Review in that it was our first full year in action, covering shows, albums, and the music scene here in the DMV. In that year we had over 55 thousand visitors here at www.DCMusicReview.com. Thank you to all our readers, viewers, and listeners for an incredible year of music. We're excited about 2019 but today we want to take a look back through the highlights of 2018.

To that end, we combed through all our photos, recordings, reviews and interviews, and packaged together lots of our favorite moments from the DMV music scene over the course of the year. 

2018 Scene-In-Review Podcast Episode:

2018 was a great year to be a taper in the DMV, with a flood of incredible acts that left us with tons of highlights to relive. All day today we will be airing some of our favorite concert recordings from too many bands to list, along with interviews with Rudi Greenberg (Features Managing Editor at the Washington Post Express), Gordon Sterling (Gordon Sterling and the People, Nappy Riddem, Mary-el Band), Jeffrey Tribble Jr. (Executive Director of The MusicianShip DC), Neel Singh (Drop Electric, Staycation, Skaii) and Nina Goodman (DC Music Review). 

From 10:45 am - 7:00 pm today you can tune in to DC Music Review contributor Will Urquhart's mixlr player embedded below to listen. Click here to see a full run of show with timestamps for the mixlr airing

We Act Radio will be be syndicating the entire program overnight starting at 9:00 pm. Click here to find the We Act Radio stream

2018 Scene-In-Review Set Lists:

  • Winter
  • spring
  • Summer
  • Fall

Best of Fall 2018 Set List:

Best of Photos from 2018:

Enjoy this slideshow of some of our favorite photographs from 2018. We were fortunate to cover a huge range of artists ranging from rock to bluegrass to indie to pop music and everything in between. Below is a collection from our staff photographers including Ana Medvedeva, Caitlin Moore Photography, Dave Roberts, Emily Vitek, Mark Raker Photography, Jason Herman Photography, Josh Brick Graphics and These Subtle Sounds (Shantel Breen).  

Josh Brick

Jos​​​​h Brick

2018: A Musical Revival in the DMV

2018 was a hell of a year for DC music. We are lucky to live in an area where great music is more abundant than ever. While the 9:30 Club remains a favorite for all musicians, other new venues including The Anthem, Pearl Street Warehouse, Union Stage and CityWinery DC treated many music fans to amazing musical acts, both local and national. Standout performances include the Tedeschi Trucks Band's four shows at the Warner Theatre in February, TAUK's 9:30 Club headlining debut, LOCKN' Festival, The Festy Experience and the Marcus King Band's sold-out 9:30 Club show

Shantel Breen

Favorite Free Show Spot

My favorite memories of 2018 would have to be from the WTMD 1st Thursday's at Canton Waterfront park in Baltimore. I covered a few of them this summer for DCMR.  My favorite one was the June 1st Thursday with fantastic performances by Typhoon, Lauren Ruth Ward, Jessica Lee Mayfield and Family of the Year!  It's such a great place to see a show... it's free, on the water, and the music is always great!!!

Nina Goodman

Love for a Local Scene

I was most certainly feeling love for the DC music scene this past year. So much tried and true amazingness (like every show I saw at 9:30 Club), so many new musical spaces (loving the SpacyLounge), and trends that I hope are here to stay (helloooo welcoming jams all over the DMV). 

I was incredibly fortunate to see knockout shows by so many artists who I have adored for a long time like David Byrne at The Anthem, Herbie Hancock at Strathmore, Janelle Monáe at The Anthem, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at Tally Ho Theater, Thom Yorke at The Kennedy Center, Liz Phair at 9:30 Club, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros at The Warner Theatre, Jason Moran and artist Nick Cave at the Washington National Cathedral, and Weird Al at Strathmore.

I also hit some shows with more recent artists who are now on my constant rotation like Big Thief at 9:30 Club, Adrianne Lenker with Nick Hakim at The Miracle Theatre, Khruangbin at 9:30 Club, Kendra Foster at Blues Alley, Kimbra at Sixth & I, Stella Donnelly at Songbyrd, Maitri at The Velvet Lounge, and Tank & The Bangas with Big Freedia at 9:30 Club.

But some of my fondest memories were from the local DC bands or smaller shows that I happened to fall into on a whim. There is so much talent and passion in the DMV when it comes to creating music and that’s where so much of the magic happened.

Some highlights included these incredible shows, with the majority of these artists making original music in the DMV included Gina Sobel at Strathmore, the Radiohead Tribute Show and Planned Parenthood Benefit at Black Cat, Novo and Mary-eL music at Marvin Social, The OSYX/Santa Librada/Company Calls/Lighthouse Row at Dew Drop Inn, FuzzQueen at Black Cat, Gordon Sterling & The People at The Tally Ho Theater, Soul Cannon at The Velvet Lounge, Garrett Gleason, Nah., and STIG at Gypsy Sally’s, and so many more!


Lesson learned, see what you love, and also take a chance and see what you don’t so you can possibly love even more.


Have a great time seeing MORE LIVE MUSIC IN 2019!

Jason Herman

Jason Herman

The Anthem & The Festy Experience

I attended The Anthem's opening night with the Foo Fighters back in 2017. In 2018 I was privileged enough to photograph in this monster sized venue. As a photographer this is by far the biggest photo pit I have been in and to hear the roar of 6500 people is something to behold. I had the opportunity to photograph several nights at The Anthem and each was very special and memorable.

The Festy Experience in Arrington, Virginia was quite a spectacular experience. The Festival is so laid back and has world-class performers. I truly loved having a relaxed festival experience with new and old friends alike. (For photographers, festivals feel like class reunions as many of us reunite after long periods of time photographing in our respective home cities.)

Seth Gordon-Lipkin

A "religious experience" at Sixth & I

Wow, what a year! 2018 was chock full of incredible live music experiences. From a magical four days at LOCKN' to the return of the Bridge for three nights at the 8x10, from feeling like a fish out of water with Jimmy Buffet's devoted fans, the Parrotheads, to a weekend among my people seeing Phish at the Mothership in Hampton, VA, and some amazing moments for the DC music scene, including Staycation's Radiohead tribute to benefit Planned Parenthood and the much-anticipated release of AZTEC SUN's debut album "In the Name of Everyone," my first year with DC Music Review was one I will never forget. Still, for me, nothing holds a candle to the religious experience of seeing Trey Anastasio's solo acoustic performance at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. The Phish frontman treated a sanctuary filled with die-hard Phans to an intimate evening of storytelling and stripped-down arrangements of tunes spanning his career both with and without the legendary jam outfit. Phish has been my favorite band for 15+ years, and I've long revered Trey Anastasio as a musician, so it was truly remarkable to - literally - bow at the altar of the guitar god himself and have such a personal experience with an artist that has impacted my life so much.

Ana Medvedeva

Stark Contrast

I’m going to cheat and give two favorite moments! My first favorite was the Marian Hill concert at the 9:30 Club. The intricacies of their show, all the way down to the choreography between the lead singer and the sax player, made the performance feel like less of a concert and more like musical theatre. In stark contrast, my other favorite moment was the Kimbra concert at Sixth & I, where she stripped her music down and focused creating beautiful sounds in a simplistic manner. Her voice carried through the venue like it was meant to be there! I’m pretty sure there wasn’t one attendee who wasn’t in awe of her raw talent. 

Mark Raker

Mark Raker

Capturing Moments

These pictures represent some of my favorite moments of 2018. Not necessarily the best photographs - see my gallery postings for those - but certainly combined with the moment that they were taken, who I was with, and where - these are my fondest and most enjoyable memories of the year. Among them, several new festivals for me, around DC as well as in Atlanta, and Mexico, with new friends and oldest - I treasure the privilege of having the best play dates ever, and sharing those events with my friends and the DCMR community. Happy New Year, and here's to 2019!

Dave Roberts

David Roberts

A Year of Firsts

2018 was an awesome year of live music for me because it included a lot of firsts.  I really started getting back into the music scene and seeing concerts late last year 2017, and 2018 provided an opportunity for me to see a lot of bands and artists that I have not seen before in my 50 years on this earth.  I have been to a lot of shows over the years but this year I was able to attend many concerts, watch, and listen to some of those including; Jimmy Buffet, Pat Benatar, Styx, Rik Emmet of Triumph, Kix, Mumford and Sons, Billy Squier and I took my wife to see U2 which was her first time seeing the boys from Dublin. I also went to several awesome venues for the first time including The Birchmere, Rams Head Live, and Rams Head Onstage.  All in all, 2018 was a great time for me to get back to doing something that I truly love and cherish, being able to capture some of these great artists with my camera and share my experiences with my family and friends.  If 2018 was even a small picture of what 2019 will look like, I am stoked and ready for the adventure.  Happy New Year DCMR readers!

Emily Vitek

Emily Vitek

Making Dreams Come True

My 2018 New Year's Resolution was to attend and photograph more shows, and I'm so happy that DCMR welcomed me to the team and gave me the creative outlet to do so.  My favorite show of the year was Manchester Orchestra's performance at The Anthem. It had been a dream of mine for years to photograph them and I'm so happy I was able to cross that off my bucket list! Another one of my favorite memories was photographing John Legend for his Christmas show. Going into this year I never expected I would cover such a popular artist, so it definitely made me super excited to see what 2019 has in store for me! 

Graham Robertson

Discovering New Musicians

Ghost-Note at Gypsy Sally's in June was a big-time treat. Of course I knew about the band for its Snarky Puppy drummers, but I was not at all prepared for the horn players--especially Jonathan Mones on sax. I love discovering new musicians right as they're breaking through into that upper tier of brilliance and skill, and I think that room witnessed Mones crossing over right then and there. His solo on "Pace Maker" practically blew the doors off the joint, to the point that even the band looked astounded. A close second goes to Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles, who delivered an absurdly funky version of one of my favorite Stevie Wonder tunes, "Black Man," at Pearl Street Warehouse in October.

Abbie Ginis

Abbie Ginis

Discovering New Musicians

"I was exposed to a myriad of new genres, bands, and people through DC Music Review and the rich music scene in the DMV this year, and I can't wait to continue exploring in the years to come. Van Morrison was a huge highlight of the year — an artist I grew up grooving to in the living room had come alive on the Jiffy Lube stage. Seeing the living legend belt out "Days Like This" and watching couples of all ages sing and dance along had me grinning ear to ear, as I got to see firsthand how music connects people from all walks of life.

I saw more concerts in 2018 than ever before and I hope to top that in 2019!"

Will Urquhart

Will Urquhart

A Year of Taping More and Bigger Shows

2018 was such an incredible year for me that it's hard to narrow down highlights. The highlight of highlights was falling for my girlfriend during the two-night Pigeons Playing Ping Pong run at the 9:30 Club. I taped more and bigger shows than ever before, in large part because DC Music Review gave me such a great outlet to get my recordings out there. Some of favorite recordings include the Valentrey show, Ghost Light's performances at Gypsy Sally's, LOCKN' Music Festival, and The Hamilton, and the debut of some really cool bands like Skaii, Gordon Sterling and the People, and Shamans of Sound. 2018 was also a good year for me as a writer, and my review of Yes Darling is one I'm proud to have written. Another huge highlight for me was Staycation's Radiohead tribute and fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. Watching such a large group of incredible DC musicians come together like that around an important cause warmed my heart. Last but certainly not least, was handing my old audio recorder off to Nora Lyle and teaching her how to tape and livestream shows. The first time she streamed a show herself, Better Off Dead at Gypsy Sally's, I was so pumped about it.

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DC Music Review Staff

DC Music Review Staff

Two or more DC Music Review staff members collaborated to deliver you this content. We hope you enjoy this collaboration.


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