Concert Review: Dragonette @ Union Stage (3/23/23)

Martina Sorbara is Dragonette (Photo from FB @dragonette)
Martina Sorbara is Dragonette (Photo from FB @dragonette)

Canadian Martina Sorbara (aka Dragonette) came to DC to party and dance the night away with those lucky enough to be at Union Stage on March 23rd.

Dragonette started in 2005 as a band, until 2016 when the other members left (including founding member Dan Kurtz, her then husband), and since then Martina continued as a solo act. Martina is from Toronto, Canada, and was joined by two backing band members, one on drums and Robbie Brett on keyboard and guitar. 

She is touring for the electropop sensation, Twennies (via Dragonette Inc.), released late last year as Dragonette’s fifth studio album, but the first one since Martina became a solo act using the same moniker. The Union Stage show was the second stop on the tour, and her first tour in over six years. She last played in DC at U Street Music Hall (RIP) in 2016, and she inquired who among the crowd had been at that show, and maybe not too surprisingly, a third or more of those present cheered. She couldn’t recall the name of the venue, but of course we helped remind her. No worries, much has happened since then.

After a fine set by local pop band GLOSSER, Martina and company kicked off the main set with “Easy”, one of Dragonette’s biggest hits, from 2009’s Fixin to Thrill.

It wasn’t until the fifth song,”T-Shirt”, that both Martina and Robbie picked up their respective guitars to add a little shred to the dance pop vibes. “T-Shirt” is a single from Twennies and the first of the seven songs they performed at Union Stage from the new album. It’s a short ditty about wearing an old t-shirt from a relationship, and the other person believing it means more than it does.

Later Martina described another new song, “This Is All You Get”, as a dinner theatre song. It’s a slow, nostalgia inducing tale of evening expectations not met because of being drunk and high. She wondered if those seated behind the main crowd*, as if eagerly waiting for a dinner theatre, could see the show adequately. They raised their glasses in assent, so she dedicated the song to them.

Just before “Winning” Martina wanted to know if we’d ‘ever been to a show with the artist’s fly is undone? I have big fly, for a foot long penis thing, so just wanted you to know where my mind is at!’ Winning indeed.

For “New Suit”, Martina, with guitars blazing, declared themselves ‘a rock band now. We gotta stick with the times. Is it just a trend?’ The entirety of Dragonette’s oeuvre is about the most dance worthy electropop possible, with a hint of disco here or there (like in “Slow Song”). Martina often elevated her hands into the air in total submission to the music, and an abundance of people on the burgeoning dance floor did the same. I got annoyed by all the arms and hands in my way, but I caught myself putting my hand in the air on a couple occasions. Hypocrite, I know. 

Union Stage was not at capacity, but that benefited those that were one with the music, with expanded space to move and really go crazy for “Hello”, Martina’s collaboration with Martin Solveig, and certainly her most grand and urgently fun song.

For the encore, Martina and band returned for two more songs, of the 19 in total that they performed. The last hurrah was “Live In This City” (as she also closed her show in 2016 at UHall), and proved to be a fitting and gratifying way to complete the dance marathon.

If you missed this concert, be on look out for her next appearance in DC, certainly we won’t have to wait another six years! Pick up a copy of Twennies, as well, but if you’re new to Dragonette, 2009’s FIxin to Thrill is the best place to start.


  1. Easy
  2. Body 2 Body
  3. Pick Up the Phone
  4. Right Woman
  5. T-Shirt
  6. Run Run Run
  7. This Is All You Get
  8. Good Intentions
  9. Winning
  10. Tokyo Nights
  11. Outlines (recorded with Mike Mago)
  12. I Get Around
  13. Twennies
  14. Slow Song (recorded with The Knocks)
  15. New Suit
  16. Hello (recorded with Marin Solveig)
  17. Let It Go


  1. Stormy
  2. Live In This City

* Union Stage offers seated tickets in the back of the venue.

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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