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Andy Frasco & The U.N.
Sepiatonic | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Sep
27

Andy Frasco & The U.N.

Sepiatonic


Thursday Sep 27|doors 6:30 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Andy Frasco & The U.N.

official band site »

Averaging 250 shows per year, 10 countries, at least 10,000 hours playing music, countless satisfied fans, and about 1 million beers kicked, the past decade has been nothing short of an odyssey for Andy Frasco & The U.N.

In 2016, this wild musical journey culminated with a three-hour headlining set in front of 15,000 people at Jazz & Blues Festival in Bamberg, Germany. The evening marked a handful of firsts. It would be the first time the band performed its entire catalog during one show, and it would be recorded for their first-ever live CD/DVD—2017’s Songs from the Road: Live in Bamberg. In many ways, Andy had been working towards this evening since he quit his record label job at 19, bought a van with his remaining Bar Mitzvah money, hit the road, and never looked back…

“I always wanted to do a live album,” he exclaims. “I didn’t want to play some cliché venue though. When I started booking shows for the band in Europe, Bamberg was actually the first place that threw us a bone. We decided to take over this town, throw a block party, showcase everything we’ve done, and see if anyone shows up. All of a sudden, the whole town is there. In this last decade, I’ve played every dive bar you can imagine. It was like we finally manifested all of the dreams I’ve had for my entire life.”

Songs from the Road captures the magic inherent in an Andy Frasco show. Throughout the set, the chemistry between the musicians and sonic unpredictability power every second. Among many standouts, the group slowed down “Main Squeeze” from 2014’s Half A Man into a sultry and seductive “Soul Version” highlighted by Andy’s bluesy delivery, hulking keys, and a virtuoso saxophone solo.

“That was the first song I ever wrote as a kid,” he recalls. “It started as a slow ballad, but we sped it up over the years for festivals. We went back to the original incarnation here.” Elsewhere, the group locks into a show-stopping 20-minute jam during “Struggle” spiraling into drum and guitar battles. Meanwhile, “Smoking Dope n Rock n Roll” and “Stop Fucking Around” incite raucous and rowdy singalongs between crowd surfing to a barrel of wine—you have to see it to believe it. These moments hint at something much bigger for Andy though.

“It made me like I’m not just an entertainer, but I’m becoming a musician,” he admits. “To see all of these Germans who barely speak English singing my songs made me feel like I’m doing something bigger than me. I tell everyone, ‘Whatever’s going on in your life, don’t worry about it. I don’t care how broke or tired you are, let’s just come together and celebrate life.’ If we can get the audience out of their heads for two or three hours, we’ve done our job to make this world happier.”

Stirring up a simmering stew of soul, funk, rock, roots, Americana, and blues, Andy continues to musically intoxicate listeners worldwide. Releasing five independent full-length albums to date, the boys have shared the stage with everyone from Leon Russell, Dr. Dog, Joe Walsh, and Gary Clark, Jr. to Snoop Dog, Galactic, Pepper, Foreigner and more. A festival favorite, they’ve ignited Firefly, SXSW, Wakarusa, Electric Forest, Backwoods Music Festival, Phases of the Moon, and beyond. Along the way, they earned acclaim from Relix, Pollstar, Live for Live Music, SoundFuse, and others in between cracking 2 million cumulative Spotify streams.

As they begin recording album number six with producer David Schools of Widespread Panic, Songs from the Road confidently opens up the next chapter of Andy Frasco & The U.N.

“At the end of the day, I want people to know we’re a band that can entertain, but we write good songs,” he leaves off. “We have fun, but we take this super seriously. We’ve dedicated our lives to this. This is my life destiny to make everyone feel good. That’s my job on this planet for the next thirty or one-hundred years that I’m alive. It’s what I plan on doing.”


Sepiatonic

official band site »

Emerging from the emerald twilight of Portland, Oregon, Sepiatonic is a vaudeville-inspired dance and music experience. Some parts theatrical show, some parts wild dance party, this project always brings innovative audio and visual entertainment! We feature original live and electronic music, focusing on electro-swing, but extending out into further realms of balkan beats, hip-hop, funk, and more. Sepiatonic strives to bring vintage class into today’s electronic music, and to put a bumpin’ booty party into a vaudeville experience. We have high-energy tunes, dance acts, antics, and theatrics up our sleeves, and strive to distribute joy everywhere we venture!


 
Leftover Salmon
Two Ton Twig | @State Theatre | view more info »
Sep
28

Leftover Salmon

Two Ton Twig


Friday Sep 28|doors 7:00 pm|18+
State Theatre|get directions »
220 N. Washington st.
Falls Church, VA|p: (703) 237-0300


Leftover Salmon

official band site »

For any band to thrive on the road for nearly thirty years, there needs to be a constant source of renewal, a fresh spring of creativity at the center of the music that brings each member back for more. For Leftover Salmon, one of the great purveyors of Americana, this source came first from the American roots music traditions they came up with: bluegrass picking, Cajun two-stepping, the country blues. For all these years–over the course of their rise to become one of the biggest bands on the roots music circuit today, with legions of fans and routinely sold-out shows–Leftover Salmon have picked up many more influences. Much of this comes from the interactions between the founding members’ roots and the newer band members, who bring refreshingly different influences and ideas to the songwriting process. With their new album, Something Higher, due out May 4, 2018 on LoS Records, Leftover Salmon taps into everything from horn-blasting R&B to reverb-drenched desert noir, from the cosmic roots music sound they helped create to neo-New Orleans-meets-Appalachia liquefaction. There’s an unmistakable evolution to Leftover Salmon’s sound, and Something Higher has an edge to it that feels entirely new.

To create Something Higher, Leftover Salmon returned to long-time producer Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) with a new mission: to record at the famed Wavelab Studio in Tucson, Arizona, and to go all analog. The warmth of analog, coupled with Berlin’s uncommonly attuned ear for the dynamics of larger bands, brought a more focused sound to the group and challenged them as well. “He’s always looking for that thing in a song or a groove that he hasn’t heard before,” says bassist Greg Garrison about Berlin, “which is tricky because he’s heard a lot of stuff already! He pushes the band to do something different, to surprise him.” Over 10 days in Tucson, Leftover Salmon laid out the new music, each songwriter bringing a songwriting kernel and letting the rest of the band work out new improvisations to craft the final song. The key to Leftover Salmon’s music, now more than ever, is the way they marry technical precision with easy groove. It’s a trick that old jazz players used to pull, a dance between virtuosity and the illusion of ease. In crafting the new music, founding members Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt provide a foundational focus and guiding spirit, while banjo player Andy Thorn keeps the band close to their original roots in backstage picking parties. The rhythm section–bassist Garrison, keyboardist Erik Deutsch, and drummer Alwyn Robinson– was a key focus point for Berlin, who drew out members’ backgrounds in jazz and hip-hop to zero in on the heart of Leftover Salmon: the groove.

For the past quarter-century, Leftover Salmon has established itself as key to the Americana genre, digging deep into the well that supplies its influences; rock ‘n’ roll, folk, bluegrass, Cajun, soul, zydeco, jazz and blues. They are the direct descendants of bands like Little Feat, New Grass Revival, Grateful Dead and The Band, born of the heart and soul of America itself, playing music that reflects the sounds emanating from the Appalachian hills, the streets of New Orleans, the clubs of Chicago, the plains of Texas, and the mountains of Colorado. They’ve endured over all these years, earning their unequivocal stature as a truly legendary band.


Two Ton Twig

official band site »

Founded in 2013 by two roommates in their Alexandria, VA basement, Two Ton Twig has evolved from its punk roots to incorporate traditional influences from Appalachia, Red Dirt, Eastern European folk, Bluegrass, and other forms of American Roots music to create their own unique sound. Two Ton Twig is Brandon Boling (banjo, vocals), Donnie Riggs (guitar, dobro, vocals), Alexandra Touzinsky (fiddle, keys, vocals), and Ryan Thomas (bass, mandolin, vocals).


 
Fruition
Daniel Rodriguez | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Oct
4

Fruition

Daniel Rodriguez


Thursday Oct 4|doors 7:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Fruition

official band site »

Jay Cobb Anderson (vocals, lead guitar, harmonica) / Kellen Asebroek (vocals, rhythm guitar, piano) / Mimi Naja (vocals, mandolin, electric & acoustic guitar) / Jeff Leonard (bass) / Tyler Thompson (drums, banjo)

On their fifth full-length, Watching It All Fall Apart, Fruition transform pain and heartache into something truly glorious. With their songwriting sharper and more nuanced than ever before—and their sonic palette more daringly expansive—the Portland, Oregon-based band’s full-hearted intensity ultimately gives the album a transcendent power.

“The songs are mostly breakup songs,” says Asebroek. “There was love and now it’s gone—we fucked it up, or some outside circumstance brought it to an end. It’s about dealing with all that but still having hope in your heart, even if you’re feeling a little lost and jaded.”

In a departure from their usual DIY approach, Fruition teamed up with producer/mixer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, First Aid Kit, case/lang/veirs) to adorn their folk-rooted sound with delicately crafted elements of psychedelia and soul. Showcasing the sublime harmonies the band first discovered during an impromptu busking session in 2008, Watching It All Fall Apart also finds Fruition more fully embracing their rock-and-roll sensibilities and bringing a gritty vitality to each track. “We’ve been a band almost ten years now, and we’re at the point of being comfortable in our skin and unafraid to be whatever we want as time goes on,” Anderson notes.

Recorded in ten days at Flora Recording & Playback in Portland, Watching It All Fall Apart came to life with the same kinetic urgency found in Fruition’s live sound. “It’s kind of an impossible task, this idea of transmuting the live energy into something you can play on your stereo, but I feel like this record comes close to that,” says Asebroek. At the same time, the band pursued a purposeful inventiveness that resulted in their most intricately textured work to date. “Tucker helped us push ourselves to create something that glistens in subtle little ways that you might not even pick up on at first,” says Asebroek. “We got to play around with all this analog gear and these weird old keyboards we wouldn’t ordinarily use, like a bunch of kids in a toy store where everything is free.”

On lead single “I’ll Never Sing Your Name,” that unrestrained creativity manifests in a fuzzed-out, gracefully chaotic track complete with sing-along-ready chorus. Built on brilliantly piercing lyrics (“And all those kisses that you were blowing/Somehow they all got blown right out”), the song echoes the album’s emotional arc by painfully charting the journey from heartache to acceptance. “It’s about going through a breakup, moping around, and then finally getting to the point where it’s like, ‘Okay—I’m done with feeling this way now,’” says Anderson.

Throughout Watching It All Fall Apart, the band’s let-the-bad-times-roll mentality reveals itself in ever-shifting tones and moods. On the stark and sleepy “Northern Town,” Naja’s smoldering vocals channel the ache of longing, the track’s twangy guitar lines blending beautifully with its swirling string arrangement. One of the few album cuts to have already appeared in Fruition’s setlist, “There She Was” sheds the heavy funk influence of its live version and gets reimagined as a shimmering, soulful number documenting Asebroek’s real-life run-in with an ex at a local bar. Meanwhile, “Turn to Dust” emerges as a weary but giddy piece of psych-pop chronicling the end of a failed romance. The song’s opening lyric also lends the album its title, which partly serves as “a commentary on the general state of the world today,” according to Asebroek. “Even if you’re mostly an optimistic person, it’s hard not to feel down when you look at all the insanity happening right now,” he says.

While those unflinchingly intimate breakup songs form the core of Watching It All Fall Apart, Fruition infuse an element of social commentary into songs like “FOMO” as well. Written on the Fourth of July, with its references to wasted white girls and cocaine cowboys, the mournful yet strangely reassuring track unfolds as what Anderson calls “an anti-party party song.”“It’s about one of those situations where you said you’d go to party but you really don’t want to go, because you know it’s going to be the same old bullshit,” he says. “The song is a call to defuse that guilt in your brain.” And on the sweetly uplifting “Let’s Take It Too Far,” the band offers one of the album’s most purely romantic moments by paying loving tribute to music as solace and salvation (“But don’t you worry ’bout dyin’/’Cause there’s no better way to go/We’ll sing until we’re out of honey/Then pour the gravel down our throats”).

From song to song, Fruition display the dynamic musicality they’ve shown since making their debut with 2008’s Hawthorne Hoedown LP. Through the years, the band has evolved from a rootsy, string-centric outfit to a full-fledged rock act, eventually taking the stage at such major festivals as Bonnaroo and Telluride Bluegrass (a set that inspired Rolling Stone to praise their “raucous originals filled with heartfelt lyrics and stadium-worthy energy”). Following the release of 2016’s Labor of Love, Fruition again made the rounds at festivals across the U.S., prompting Rolling Stone to feature the band on its “8 Best Things We Saw” at DelFest 2016.

In choosing a closing track for Watching It All Fall Apart, Fruition landed on “Eraser”—a slow-building, gently determined epic delivering a quiet message of hope in its final line: “Let it help you heal.”“Because there’s so much heartbreak on this album, we wanted to end on Kellen singing that last line very sweetly,” explains Anderson. “The whole point of having all these sad songs is helping people to let those emotions out—and then hopefully when they get to the end, they feel a little better about everything they’ve gone through along the way.”


Daniel Rodriguez

official band site »

Daniel Rodriguez is a founder of the genre defying/genre creating band 'Elephant Revival'.

Few bands have the distinction of being the creators of a whole new genre of music. The label 'Transcendental Folk' and 'Progressive Edge are attempts to insome way describe the song and word that speaks of magical reality, of thought and will shaping collective and individual reality, of miracle in the everyday event, of the authority of personal vision.

Rodriguez's transcendent songwriting/poetry has played no small role in the creation of this new music.


 
The Lil Smokies & Fruition
@Union Stage | view more info »
Oct
11

The Lil Smokies & Fruition



Thursday Oct 11|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


The Lil Smokies

official band site »

When people see The Lil Smokies setting up their acoustic instruments, they’re often unprepared for the electric energy they generate. The band captures that same dynamic presence on their new album, Changing Shades, delivering their exceptional songwriting and bluegrass roots with the punch of a rock band.“We wanted to duplicate the energy of our live shows. It’s a perfect mixture of improvisation and composition. The record shows how fearless we’ve become in the last year,” says Andy Dunnigan, lead songwriter, singer and dobro player. They cut Changing Shades in a lighthearted, week-long session at SnowGhost Music in Whitefish, MT with engineer Brett Allen (The Avett Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Béla Fleck) and co-producer Rob Gordon (Elephant Revival). “It was a breeze,” Dunnigan says. “Rob got us to focus on what makes each song special. We refined and recorded them live, together in one room, just like on stage.”

The first incarnation of The Lil Smokies got together in Missoula, Montana, during the winter of 2009. Through the years, the band transformed and settled into the current lineup – Scott Parker on bass; Jake Simpson on fiddle; Matt Rieger on guitar; Matt Cornette on banjo and Dunnigan on dobro. Previously, the band has won the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Band competition and took home the 2016 IBMA Momentum Band of the Year award. They’ve also wowed fans at the High Sierra, FreshGrass, Telluride Bluegrass, Grey Fox, Del Fest, Floyd Fest and String Summit festivals, to name a few.


Fruition

official band site »

Jay Cobb Anderson (vocals, lead guitar, harmonica) / Kellen Asebroek (vocals, rhythm guitar, piano) / Mimi Naja (vocals, mandolin, electric & acoustic guitar) / Jeff Leonard (bass) / Tyler Thompson (drums, banjo)

On their fifth full-length, Watching It All Fall Apart, Fruition transform pain and heartache into something truly glorious. With their songwriting sharper and more nuanced than ever before—and their sonic palette more daringly expansive—the Portland, Oregon-based band’s full-hearted intensity ultimately gives the album a transcendent power.

“The songs are mostly breakup songs,” says Asebroek. “There was love and now it’s gone—we fucked it up, or some outside circumstance brought it to an end. It’s about dealing with all that but still having hope in your heart, even if you’re feeling a little lost and jaded.”

In a departure from their usual DIY approach, Fruition teamed up with producer/mixer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, First Aid Kit, case/lang/veirs) to adorn their folk-rooted sound with delicately crafted elements of psychedelia and soul. Showcasing the sublime harmonies the band first discovered during an impromptu busking session in 2008, Watching It All Fall Apart also finds Fruition more fully embracing their rock-and-roll sensibilities and bringing a gritty vitality to each track. “We’ve been a band almost ten years now, and we’re at the point of being comfortable in our skin and unafraid to be whatever we want as time goes on,” Anderson notes.

Recorded in ten days at Flora Recording & Playback in Portland, Watching It All Fall Apart came to life with the same kinetic urgency found in Fruition’s live sound. “It’s kind of an impossible task, this idea of transmuting the live energy into something you can play on your stereo, but I feel like this record comes close to that,” says Asebroek. At the same time, the band pursued a purposeful inventiveness that resulted in their most intricately textured work to date. “Tucker helped us push ourselves to create something that glistens in subtle little ways that you might not even pick up on at first,” says Asebroek. “We got to play around with all this analog gear and these weird old keyboards we wouldn’t ordinarily use, like a bunch of kids in a toy store where everything is free.”

On lead single “I’ll Never Sing Your Name,” that unrestrained creativity manifests in a fuzzed-out, gracefully chaotic track complete with sing-along-ready chorus. Built on brilliantly piercing lyrics (“And all those kisses that you were blowing/Somehow they all got blown right out”), the song echoes the album’s emotional arc by painfully charting the journey from heartache to acceptance. “It’s about going through a breakup, moping around, and then finally getting to the point where it’s like, ‘Okay—I’m done with feeling this way now,’” says Anderson.

Throughout Watching It All Fall Apart, the band’s let-the-bad-times-roll mentality reveals itself in ever-shifting tones and moods. On the stark and sleepy “Northern Town,” Naja’s smoldering vocals channel the ache of longing, the track’s twangy guitar lines blending beautifully with its swirling string arrangement. One of the few album cuts to have already appeared in Fruition’s setlist, “There She Was” sheds the heavy funk influence of its live version and gets reimagined as a shimmering, soulful number documenting Asebroek’s real-life run-in with an ex at a local bar. Meanwhile, “Turn to Dust” emerges as a weary but giddy piece of psych-pop chronicling the end of a failed romance. The song’s opening lyric also lends the album its title, which partly serves as “a commentary on the general state of the world today,” according to Asebroek. “Even if you’re mostly an optimistic person, it’s hard not to feel down when you look at all the insanity happening right now,” he says.

While those unflinchingly intimate breakup songs form the core of Watching It All Fall Apart, Fruition infuse an element of social commentary into songs like “FOMO” as well. Written on the Fourth of July, with its references to wasted white girls and cocaine cowboys, the mournful yet strangely reassuring track unfolds as what Anderson calls “an anti-party party song.”“It’s about one of those situations where you said you’d go to party but you really don’t want to go, because you know it’s going to be the same old bullshit,” he says. “The song is a call to defuse that guilt in your brain.” And on the sweetly uplifting “Let’s Take It Too Far,” the band offers one of the album’s most purely romantic moments by paying loving tribute to music as solace and salvation (“But don’t you worry ’bout dyin’/’Cause there’s no better way to go/We’ll sing until we’re out of honey/Then pour the gravel down our throats”).

From song to song, Fruition display the dynamic musicality they’ve shown since making their debut with 2008’s Hawthorne Hoedown LP. Through the years, the band has evolved from a rootsy, string-centric outfit to a full-fledged rock act, eventually taking the stage at such major festivals as Bonnaroo and Telluride Bluegrass (a set that inspired Rolling Stone to praise their “raucous originals filled with heartfelt lyrics and stadium-worthy energy”). Following the release of 2016’s Labor of Love, Fruition again made the rounds at festivals across the U.S., prompting Rolling Stone to feature the band on its “8 Best Things We Saw” at DelFest 2016.

In choosing a closing track for Watching It All Fall Apart, Fruition landed on “Eraser”—a slow-building, gently determined epic delivering a quiet message of hope in its final line: “Let it help you heal.”“Because there’s so much heartbreak on this album, we wanted to end on Kellen singing that last line very sweetly,” explains Anderson. “The whole point of having all these sad songs is helping people to let those emotions out—and then hopefully when they get to the end, they feel a little better about everything they’ve gone through along the way.”



 
The Lil Smokies
Rock Creek Revival | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Oct
12

The Lil Smokies

Rock Creek Revival


Friday Oct 12|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


The Lil Smokies

official band site »

When people see The Lil Smokies setting up their acoustic instruments, they’re often unprepared for the electric energy they generate. The band captures that same dynamic presence on their new album, Changing Shades, delivering their exceptional songwriting and bluegrass roots with the punch of a rock band.“We wanted to duplicate the energy of our live shows. It’s a perfect mixture of improvisation and composition. The record shows how fearless we’ve become in the last year,” says Andy Dunnigan, lead songwriter, singer and dobro player. They cut Changing Shades in a lighthearted, week-long session at SnowGhost Music in Whitefish, MT with engineer Brett Allen (The Avett Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Béla Fleck) and co-producer Rob Gordon (Elephant Revival). “It was a breeze,” Dunnigan says. “Rob got us to focus on what makes each song special. We refined and recorded them live, together in one room, just like on stage.”

The first incarnation of The Lil Smokies got together in Missoula, Montana, during the winter of 2009. Through the years, the band transformed and settled into the current lineup – Scott Parker on bass; Jake Simpson on fiddle; Matt Rieger on guitar; Matt Cornette on banjo and Dunnigan on dobro. Previously, the band has won the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Band competition and took home the 2016 IBMA Momentum Band of the Year award. They’ve also wowed fans at the High Sierra, FreshGrass, Telluride Bluegrass, Grey Fox, Del Fest, Floyd Fest and String Summit festivals, to name a few.


Rock Creek Revival

official band site »

Bluegrass for your ears.


 
Perpetual Groove & Kung Fu
@Union Stage | view more info »
Oct
12

Perpetual Groove & Kung Fu



Friday Oct 12|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Perpetual Groove

official band site »

Based in Athens, GA, Perpetual Groove is a long time well established touring act with an enthusiastic fan base and international critical acclaim. PGroove’s music has been described by their fans as anthemic arena rock. Their large catalog of original music offers something for everyone. The addition of an intense, retina burning, intelligent light show creates an atmosphere unlike any other, assuring fans they’ll get a highly polished, yet different show each night.


Kung Fu

official band site »

Proud to be firmly installed in the new-funk movement, KUNG FU is quickly popularizing their unique sonic contribution, blurring the line between intense electro-fusion, and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music "cool" again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report, and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM informed sensibility. Imagine 70's funk-fusion meets a modern dance party!

Although the ensemble cast enjoys a seasoned pedigree that reads like a late-night summer festival all-star jam, this fledgling "nu-sion" project is growing a unique and rabid following by commanding audiences at theaters, clubs, and major national festivals since 2012.

Kung Fu features Tim Palmieri (guitar & vocals), Robert Somerville (tenor sax & vocals), Beau Sasser (keyboards & vocals), Chris DeAngelis (bass guitar & vocals), and Adrian Tramontano (drums/percussion). The powerhouse quintet's live show has been described by critics and fans alike as "lethal funk", "explosive", "jaw dropping", and "musically mesmerizing". For the uninitiated, the experience is typically shocking yet the focus is simple: just sit back and enjoy the ride!



 
Perpetual Groove & Kung Fu
@Union Stage | view more info »
Oct
13

Perpetual Groove & Kung Fu



Saturday Oct 13|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Perpetual Groove

official band site »

Based in Athens, GA, Perpetual Groove is a long time well established touring act with an enthusiastic fan base and international critical acclaim. PGroove’s music has been described by their fans as anthemic arena rock. Their large catalog of original music offers something for everyone. The addition of an intense, retina burning, intelligent light show creates an atmosphere unlike any other, assuring fans they’ll get a highly polished, yet different show each night.


Kung Fu

official band site »

Proud to be firmly installed in the new-funk movement, KUNG FU is quickly popularizing their unique sonic contribution, blurring the line between intense electro-fusion, and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music "cool" again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report, and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM informed sensibility. Imagine 70's funk-fusion meets a modern dance party!

Although the ensemble cast enjoys a seasoned pedigree that reads like a late-night summer festival all-star jam, this fledgling "nu-sion" project is growing a unique and rabid following by commanding audiences at theaters, clubs, and major national festivals since 2012.

Kung Fu features Tim Palmieri (guitar & vocals), Robert Somerville (tenor sax & vocals), Beau Sasser (keyboards & vocals), Chris DeAngelis (bass guitar & vocals), and Adrian Tramontano (drums/percussion). The powerhouse quintet's live show has been described by critics and fans alike as "lethal funk", "explosive", "jaw dropping", and "musically mesmerizing". For the uninitiated, the experience is typically shocking yet the focus is simple: just sit back and enjoy the ride!



 
Tyler Childers
Ona | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Oct
16

Tyler Childers

Ona


Tuesday Oct 16|doors 7:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Tyler Childers

official band site »

ike many great Southern storytellers, singer-songwriter Tyler Childers has fallen in love with a place. The people, landmarks and legendary moments from his childhood home of Lawrence County, Kentucky, populate the 10 songs in his formidable debut, Purgatory, an album that’s simultaneously modern and as ancient as the Appalachian Mountains in which events unfold.

The album, co-produced by Grammy Award winners Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson, is a semiautobiographical sketch of Childers’ growth from wayward youth to happily married man, told in the tradition of a Southern gothic novel with a classic noir antihero who may just be irredeemable. Purgatory is a chiaroscuro painting with darkness framing light in high relief. There’s catharsis and redemption. Sin and temptation. Murder and deceit. Demons and angels. Moonshine and cocaine. So much moonshine and cocaine. All played out on the large, colorful canvas of Eastern Kentucky.

Childers had been searching for a certain sound for his debut album for years as he honed his craft, and was finding it elusive when his friend, drummer Miles Miller, introduced him to Simpson, the Grammy Award-winning musician and fellow Kentuckian. Childers sent Simpson a group of his songs, then went to visit him in Nashville.

“And he said, ‘There’s this sound. I know what you’re trying to get at, the mountain sound,’” Childers recalled. “’So I asked, ‘What are you doing?’”

Intrigued, Simpson enlisted the aid of Ferguson, the Grammy Award winning sound engineer. They assembled a band that included multi-instrumentalists Stuart Duncan, Michael J. Henderson and Russ Pahl, bassist Michael Bub and Miller on drums, of course, and helped Childers make a debut album of consequence that announces an authentic new voice.

“I was writing an album about being in the mountains,” Childers said. “I wanted it to have that gritty mountain sound. But at the same time, I wanted a more modern version of it that a younger generation can listen to—the people I grew up with, something I’d want to listen to.”


Ona

official band site »

ONA IS AN INDIE-ROCK BAND COMPRISED OF LONGTIME FRIENDS BRAD GOODALL (KEYS), BRADLEY JENKINS (VOCALS/GUITAR), ZACH JOHNSTON (BASS), MAX NOLTE (DRUMS), AND ZACK OWENS (GUITAR). THE BAND FORMED IN LATE 2013 AND ARE BASED IN HUNTINGTON, WV. ONA'S DEBUT RECORD 'AMERICAN FICTION' REACHED CRITICAL SUCCESS APPEARING ON NPR BEST OF LISTS, SIRIUS RADIO AIRPLAY, AND A SPOT ON NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO PROGRAM MOUNTAIN STAGE.


 
JJ Grey
@The Hamilton | view more info »
Oct
17

JJ Grey



Wednesday Oct 17|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


JJ Grey

official band site »

From the days of playing greasy local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human. When you see JJ Grey and his band Mofro live—and you truly, absolutely must—the man is fearless.

Onstage, Grey delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty, but perhaps not until Ol’ Glory has a studio record captured the fierceness and intimacy that defines a Grey live performance. “I wanted that crucial lived-in feel,” Grey says of Ol’ Glory, and here he hits his mark. On the new album, Grey and his current Mofro lineup offer grace and groove in equal measure, with an easygoing quality to the production that makes those beautiful muscular drum-breaks sound as though the band has set up in your living room.

Despite a redoubtable stage presence, Grey does get performance anxiety—specifically, when he's suspended 50 feet above the soil of his pecan grove, clearing moss from the upper trees. “The tops of the trees are even worse,” he laughs, “say closer to 70, maybe even 80 feet. I'm not phobic about heights, but I don't think anyone's crazy about getting up in a bucket and swinging all around. I wanted to fertilize this year but didn't get a chance. This February I will, about two tons—to feed the trees.”

When he isn't touring, Grey exerts his prodigious energies on the family land, a former chicken-farm that was run by his maternal grandmother and grandfather. The farm boasts a recording studio, a warehouse that doubles as Grey's gym, an open-air barn, and of course those 50-odd pecan trees that occasionally require Grey to go airborne with his sprayer.

For devoted listeners, there is something fitting, even affirmative in Grey's commitment to the land of his north Florida home. The farms and eddying swamps of his youth are as much a part of Grey's music as the Louisiana swamp-blues tradition, or the singer's collection of old Stax records. As a boy, Grey was drawn to country-rockers, including Jerry Reed, and to Otis Redding and the other luminaries of Memphis soul; Run-D.M.C., meanwhile, played on repeat in the parking lot of his high school (note the hip-hop inflections on “A Night to Remember”). Merging these traditions, and working with a blue-collar ethic that brooked no bullshit, Grey began touring as Mofro in the late '90s, with backbeats that crossed Steve Cropper with George Clinton and a lyrical directness that made his debut LP Blackwater (2001) a calling-card among roots-rock aficionados. Soon, he was expanding his tours beyond America and the U.K., playing ever-larger clubs and eventually massive festivals, as his fan base grew from a modest group of loyal initiates into something resembling a national coalition.

Grey takes no shortcuts on the homestead, and he certainly takes no shortcuts in his music. While he has metaphorically speaking “drawn blood” making all his albums, his latest effort, Ol’ Glory, found him spending more time than ever working over the new material. A hip-shooting, off-the-cuff performer (often his first vocal takes end up pleasing him best), Grey was able to stretch his legs a bit while constructing the lyrics and vocal lines to Ol’ Glory.

“I would visit it much more often in my mind, visit it more often on the guitar in my house,” Grey says. “I like an album to have a balance, like a novel or like a film. A triumph, a dark brooding moment, or a moment of peace—that's the only thing I consistently try to achieve with a record.”

Grey has been living this balance throughout his career, and Ol’ Glory is a beautifully paced little film. On “The Island,” Grey sounds like Coleridge on a happy day: “All beneath the canopy / of ageless oaks whose secrets keep / Forever in her beauty / This island is my home.” “A Night to Remember” finds the singer in first-rate swagger: “I flipped up my collar ah man / I went ahead and put on my best James Dean / and you'd a thought I was Clark Gable squinting through that smoke.” And “Turn Loose” has Grey in fast-rhyme mode in keeping with the song's title: “You work a stride / curbside thumbing a ride / on Lane Avenue / While your kids be on their knees / praying Jesus please.” From the profane to the sacred, the sly to the sublime, Grey feels out his range as a songwriter with ever-greater assurance.

The mood and drive of Ol’ Glory are testament to this achievement. The album ranks with Grey’s very best work; among other things, the secret spirituality of his music is perhaps more accessible here than ever before. On “Everything Is a Song,” he sings of “the joy with no opposite,” a sacred state that Grey describes to me:
“It can happen to anybody: you sit still and you feel things tingling around you, everything's alive around you, and in that a smile comes on your face involuntarily, and in that I felt no opposite. It has no part of the play of good and bad or of comedy or tragedy. I know it’s just a play on words but it feels like more than just being happy because you got what you wanted — this is a joy. A joy that doesn’t get involved one way or the next; it just is.”

Grey's most treasured albums include Otis Redding's In Person at the Whisky a Go Go and Jerry Reed's greatest hits, and the singer once told me that he grew up “wanting to be Jerry Reed but with less of a country, more of a soul thing.” With Ol’ Glory, Grey does his idols proud. It's a country record where the stories are all part of one great mystery; it's a blues record with one foot in the church; it's a Memphis soul record that takes place in the country.

In short, Ol’ Glory is that most singular thing, a record by JJ Grey—the north Florida sage and soul-bent swamp rocker.



 
Psycho Killers (Talking Heads Tribute)
Box Era | @Union Stage | view more info »
Oct
19

Psycho Killers (Talking Heads Tribute)

Box Era


Friday Oct 19|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Psycho Killers (Talking Heads Tribute)

official band site »

Psycho Killers are a group of die-hard Talking Heads fans from Baltimore, MD that decided to form a tribute band.


Box Era

official band site »

Risen from the ashes of keg-fueled house parties and sweaty bars of College Park, MD, Box Era has planted itself as a staple in the up-and-coming DMV music scene. Creating a jam-inspired electro-pop and funk blend, Box Era’s music arms you with every tool necessary to go talk to that special someone you’ve been eyeing up. You’ll find yourself dancing the night away, shaking hands with CEOs, and experiencing the juiciest sweet-and-sour jamwich of your life.

With a debut EP behind them, Box Era is gearing up for an explosive rise to power. The band has supported national headliners and headlined renowned venues up and down the east coast. The party is only going to grow. There’s a saxophone, a talkbox, and two pairs of glasses. There’s magic, youth, and the most unique sound you’ve heard since The Bangles. Box Era is the story of five boys wandering the halls of Xanadu, forever in search of sweet cream.


 
Mother's and All Good Present a Ravens vs. Saints matchup ft Honey Island Swamp Band
@The 8x10 | view more info »
Oct
19

Mother's and All Good Present a Ravens vs. Saints matchup ft Honey Island Swamp Band



Friday Oct 19|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Mother's and All Good Present a Ravens vs. Saints matchup ft Honey Island Swamp Band

official band site »

Take a late-night stroll through downtown New Orleans and you’ll hear a thousand flavours of music spill from the clubs. Spin the new album by the Crescent City’s new favourite sons, meanwhile, and you’ll hear a band who embody that eclectic spirit. “There are songs here for every mood, occasion or playlist,” explains Honey Island Swamp Band’s Aaron Wilkinson of Demolition Day, “so hopefully it will appeal to a lot of musical tastes. Just make sure you turn it up loud…”

Released in 2016 on Ruf Records, Demolition Day is the band’s fourth full-length studio release and marks a milestone in their career. The album title cuts deep. It’s just over a decade since Hurricane Katrina tore along the Gulf Coast, plunging New Orleans into devastation, but throwing together four Big Easy evacuees who found themselves marooned in San Francisco.

Aaron Wilkinson (acoustic guitar/mandolin/vocals), Chris Mulé (electric guitar/vocals), Sam Price (bass/vocals) and Garland Paul (drums/vocals) were already on nodding terms from their hometown circuit, but when the four men joined forces for a weekly residency at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room, the chemistry was undeniable. By 2009, the lineup had released award-winning debut Wishing Well, enlisted Hammond B-3 wizard Trevor Brooks and placed one foot onto the podium of New Orleans greats.

Ten years and a thousand gigs down the line, that same battle-hardened lineup took just four days to track Demolition Day at The Parlor Recording Studio in New Orleans with famed producer Luther Dickinson (also leader of the North Mississippi Allstars and ex-Black Crowes guitarist). “We had a very tight window to record,” Wilkinson recalls, “so we had to minimalise in places and really pack a lot of emotion into each take. Luther calls it ‘the freedom of limitation’ and it really served us well on this album.”

As did the no-frills production ethos. “We’ve always wanted to record to two-inch tape, to get that old analogue sound,” say the band, “and this was our first opportunity to make it happen. Luther was the perfect producer to help us nail that old-school, authentic sound. He was great at keeping us focused on the spirit of each performance, not getting bogged down in details and perfectionism. That’s what we were looking for and what we needed.”

After all, polish isn’t necessary when you’re working with songs this strong. Across its eleven cuts, Demolition Day tips a hat to most of the great American genres, while adding the Honey Island Swamp Band’s inimitable thumbprint. There’s the spring-heeled slide-blues of “Ain’t No Fun”, the upbeat funk of “Head High Water Blues”, the cat-house piano and country-fried guitars of “How Do You Feel”. But then, on the emotional flipside, there’s also the reflective wah-guitar lilt of “Say It Isn’t True”, the mournful funeral-jazz slow-burn of “No Easy Way” and the heart-in-mouth acoustic confessional of “Katie”. “We’re diverse and complex people,” Wilkinson says, “and our audiences are as well. So we try to let our music reflect that.”

Just as eclectic are the lyrical themes. “They really are all over the map,” Wilkinson says of the topics explored on Demolition Day. “Some are rooted in reality and personal experience. ‘Head High Water Blues’ is a look back at the Hurricane Katrina experience now that ten years has passed. Much has been rebuilt, but much has not and never will be – and the song is more about the emotional scars that can never be fully erased. Others are just fiction and storytelling. We had the music for ‘Through Another Day’, and it sounded sort of old and epic and Southern, and that inspired this Civil War-era storyline that became the lyrics. Others are just sort of playful nonsense about life and relationships, like ‘Watch And Chain’.”

Demolition Day is just the start. You might experience these eleven tracks for the first time on your stereo or smartphone, but as Honey Island Swamp Band tour across the States and beyond in 2016, you can expect them to take on a life of their own. “These songs will continue to progress, develop and blossom,” Wilkinson says. “A record is a snapshot in time, a picture of where a song is at a particular moment. But we’ve never been the type of band to stick to one way of playing a song, so we’ll continue to let the music evolve. That’s what keeps it fresh and exciting for us – and we want to share that with our audiences.”



 
A Late Show feat Honey Island Swamp Band
following the JRAD Show at The Anthem | @Union Stage | view more info »
Oct
20

A Late Show feat Honey Island Swamp Band

following the JRAD Show at The Anthem


Saturday Oct 20|doors 11:30 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


A Late Show feat Honey Island Swamp Band

official band site »

Take a late-night stroll through downtown New Orleans and you’ll hear a thousand flavours of music spill from the clubs. Spin the new album by the Crescent City’s new favourite sons, meanwhile, and you’ll hear a band who embody that eclectic spirit. “There are songs here for every mood, occasion or playlist,” explains Honey Island Swamp Band’s Aaron Wilkinson of Demolition Day, “so hopefully it will appeal to a lot of musical tastes. Just make sure you turn it up loud…”

Released in 2016 on Ruf Records, Demolition Day is the band’s fourth full-length studio release and marks a milestone in their career. The album title cuts deep. It’s just over a decade since Hurricane Katrina tore along the Gulf Coast, plunging New Orleans into devastation, but throwing together four Big Easy evacuees who found themselves marooned in San Francisco.

Aaron Wilkinson (acoustic guitar/mandolin/vocals), Chris Mulé (electric guitar/vocals), Sam Price (bass/vocals) and Garland Paul (drums/vocals) were already on nodding terms from their hometown circuit, but when the four men joined forces for a weekly residency at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room, the chemistry was undeniable. By 2009, the lineup had released award-winning debut Wishing Well, enlisted Hammond B-3 wizard Trevor Brooks and placed one foot onto the podium of New Orleans greats.

Ten years and a thousand gigs down the line, that same battle-hardened lineup took just four days to track Demolition Day at The Parlor Recording Studio in New Orleans with famed producer Luther Dickinson (also leader of the North Mississippi Allstars and ex-Black Crowes guitarist). “We had a very tight window to record,” Wilkinson recalls, “so we had to minimalise in places and really pack a lot of emotion into each take. Luther calls it ‘the freedom of limitation’ and it really served us well on this album.”

As did the no-frills production ethos. “We’ve always wanted to record to two-inch tape, to get that old analogue sound,” say the band, “and this was our first opportunity to make it happen. Luther was the perfect producer to help us nail that old-school, authentic sound. He was great at keeping us focused on the spirit of each performance, not getting bogged down in details and perfectionism. That’s what we were looking for and what we needed.”

After all, polish isn’t necessary when you’re working with songs this strong. Across its eleven cuts, Demolition Day tips a hat to most of the great American genres, while adding the Honey Island Swamp Band’s inimitable thumbprint. There’s the spring-heeled slide-blues of “Ain’t No Fun”, the upbeat funk of “Head High Water Blues”, the cat-house piano and country-fried guitars of “How Do You Feel”. But then, on the emotional flipside, there’s also the reflective wah-guitar lilt of “Say It Isn’t True”, the mournful funeral-jazz slow-burn of “No Easy Way” and the heart-in-mouth acoustic confessional of “Katie”. “We’re diverse and complex people,” Wilkinson says, “and our audiences are as well. So we try to let our music reflect that.”

Just as eclectic are the lyrical themes. “They really are all over the map,” Wilkinson says of the topics explored on Demolition Day. “Some are rooted in reality and personal experience. ‘Head High Water Blues’ is a look back at the Hurricane Katrina experience now that ten years has passed. Much has been rebuilt, but much has not and never will be – and the song is more about the emotional scars that can never be fully erased. Others are just fiction and storytelling. We had the music for ‘Through Another Day’, and it sounded sort of old and epic and Southern, and that inspired this Civil War-era storyline that became the lyrics. Others are just sort of playful nonsense about life and relationships, like ‘Watch And Chain’.”

Demolition Day is just the start. You might experience these eleven tracks for the first time on your stereo or smartphone, but as Honey Island Swamp Band tour across the States and beyond in 2016, you can expect them to take on a life of their own. “These songs will continue to progress, develop and blossom,” Wilkinson says. “A record is a snapshot in time, a picture of where a song is at a particular moment. But we’ve never been the type of band to stick to one way of playing a song, so we’ll continue to let the music evolve. That’s what keeps it fresh and exciting for us – and we want to share that with our audiences.”


following the JRAD Show at The Anthem


 
Joe Russo's Almost Dead
with Oteil Burbridge on bass | @The Anthem | view more info »
Oct
20

Joe Russo's Almost Dead

with Oteil Burbridge on bass


Saturday Oct 20|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Joe Russo's Almost Dead

official band site »

"Not only does this quintet play tight and vicious versions of some of the most complex songs in the Grateful Dead's repertoire, but they play them with a rawness & energy absent from the stage since the 'Live' Dead era. More importantly, all of the jams are wild and incredibly adventurous. Russo's a beast behind the kit who's in the peak of his career. Metzger is a criminally underrated guitarist who has a chameleon-like ability to alter his sound to compliment any situation. Dreiwitz's intensity is unmatched by anyone, while Benevento spouts these crazy tones and layers of sound that mix the best of what each keyboardist in GD history brought to the band. Finally, add Hamilton, whose voice and biting leads help push this ensemble over the top." - Scott Bernstein, Jambase 9.12.13


with Oteil Burbridge on bass


 
Moon Hooch
Backbeat Underground | Moluba | @Baltimore Soundstage | view more info »
Oct
25

Moon Hooch

Backbeat Underground
Moluba

Thursday Oct 25|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Baltimore Soundstage|get directions »
124 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-0057


Moon Hooch

official band site »

“I‘m realizing more and more every day that you can make anything happen for yourself if you really want to,” says Moon Hooch horn player Mike Wilbur. “You can change your existence by just going out and doing it, by taking simple actions every day.”

If any band is a poster child for turning the power of positive thoughts and intention into reality, it’s the explosive horn-and-percussion trio Moon Hooch. In just a few short years, the group—Wilbur, fellow horn player Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler—has gone from playing on New York City subway platforms to touring with the likes of Beats Antique, They Might Be Giants, and Lotus, as well as selling out their own headline shows in major venues around the country. On ‘Red Sky,’ their third and most adventurous album to date, the band uses everything they’ve learned from their whirlwind journey to push their sound to new heights, bringing together the raw, transcendent energy of their live performances and the sleek sophistication of their studio work into a singular, intoxicating brew that blends elements of virtuosic jazz, groovy funk, and pulse-pounding electronic dance music.

“I think ‘Red Sky’ is more focused than any of our past albums,” reflects McGowen. “We practice meditation and yoga, and I think that we’re more evolved as people than we’ve ever been right now. That evolution expresses itself as focus, and through focus comes our energy.”

It was two years ago that the band released ‘This Is Cave Music,’ an exhilarating thrill ride that earned rave reviews from critics and fans alike. NPR hailed it as “unhinged” and “irresistible,” praising each musician’s “remarkable abilities” and naming their Tiny Desk Concert one of the best in the prestigious series’ history. The album followed their 2013 debut, which had Relix swooning for their “deep bass lines, catchy melodies and pounding rhythms,” while the Wall Street Journal celebrated their “electronic house music mixed with brawny saxophone riffs.”

Though the band—whose members initially met as students at the New School—turned heads in the music industry as relative unknowns with a charismatic, unconventional sound (they play with unique tonguing techniques and utilize found objects like traffic cones attached to the bells of their horns to manipulate tone, for instance), they were already a familiar and beloved sight to straphangers in New York, who would react with such joy and fervor to their impromptu subway platform sets that the NYPD had to ban them from locations that couldn’t handle the crowds. NY Mag once referred to their sound as “Jay Gatsby on ecstasy,” while the NY Post fell for their “catchy melodic hooks and funky rhythms,” saying they had “the power to make you secretly wish that the short [subway] wait becomes an indefinite delay.”

While the band’s busking days are behind them now, the lessons they learned from all those platform parties helped guide their approach to recording ‘Red Sky.’

“What we discovered playing in the subway,” McGowen explains, “is that the more focus and the more energy you put into the music, and the more you listen to everything around you and integrate everything around you into your expression, the more the music becomes this captivating force for people.”

Recorded at The Bunker studio in Brooklyn, ‘Red Sky’ is nothing if not captivating. The album opens with the tribal urgency of the title track and proceeds, over the next 45 minutes, to utterly demolish any and every possible barrier that could stand between your ass and the dance floor. On ‘Shot,’ Wilbur sings a stream of consciousness vocal line over an airtight groove, while “Psychotubes” channels the apocalyptic fire and brimstone of death metal, and the staccato intro of “That’s What They Say” gives way to a gritty, late-night come-on of a saxophone line that’s far more suggestive than any whispered words ever could be.

Though the band is heavily inspired by electronic music, they made a conscious effort to use as little in the way of “studio tricks” as possible on ‘Red Sky,’ aiming instead to capture the sound of their live show, which has evolved significantly from their days underground.

“When we were playing in the subways, we were playing entirely acoustic,” explains Wilbur. “It was just two saxes and a drum set. Then Wenzl acquired a baritone sax and we all started getting into music production and incorporating electronic music into our live shows.”

At their performances, the band now plays through what they call a Reverse DJ setup, in which the live sound from their horns runs through Ableton software on their laptops to process recorded effects onto the output. In addition, to flesh out their sound on the road, the band began utilizing Moog synthesizers, an EWI (an electronic wind instrument that responds to breath in addition to touch), and other more traditional instruments like clarinets. Wilbur added vocals to his repertoire on some tracks (something the subway never allowed him to do), and Muschler, meanwhile, traveled halfway around the world to expand his percussion skills.

“I went to India, and the first morning I woke up, it was like 5am, and I followed this music along the banks of the Ganges,” he remembers. “I eventually ended up finding this amazing tabla player, and after his performance, I asked him for lessons. He agreed, and I went for daily lessons with him and another guy for the next two weeks. After that, I took a train to Calcutta, where I met with the guru that I’d studied with in New York, and I did morning lessons with him and practiced throughout the day. It was an incredible musical immersion experience.”

The band members all speak reverently of meditation and consciousness and the role it plays in their music (McGowen believes his introduction to it, spurred on in part by Wilbur and Muschler, saved his life), but equally close to their hearts are the environmental causes they champion. Moon Hooch tries to live up to their green ideals while traveling as much as possible, playing benefit shows, supporting local farmers and co-ops, participating in river cleanups, filming informative videos for their fans, and more. The band even runs a food blog, Cooking In The Cave, in which they highlight the healthy, sustainable, organic recipes they utilize with their mobile kitchen setup on tour.

For the members of Moon Hooch, commitments to consciousness and environmentalism and veganism and philosophy and peace aren’t separate from their commitment to music, but actually integral parts of it. It’s all tied into that same core approach that led to their discovery on the subway platform: try, even if it’s just a little bit every day, even if it’s just with the power of your mind, to make the world less like it is and more like you wish it could be.

“I’d say all of our songs express the essence of that kind of energy,” concludes McGowen, “because before you can even think any thoughts, there exists the energy that drives those thoughts, and that energy is intention. I feel like we’re putting the intention of positive change constantly into our music. While we’re playing, I often see the future emerging: skyscrapers getting covered in plants, frowns turning into smiles, fistfights into hugs. I can see the energy of love and collaboration and trust replace the energy of fear, hatred and violence.”

It’s an ambitious vision, to be sure, but considering the band’s track record at turning their thoughts and dreams into action and reality, perhaps it’s only a matter of time.


Backbeat Underground

official band site »

Born in the depths of subterranean groove gatherings, Backbeat Underground is a Washington, DC based instrumental funk group with soul jazz influences. Bringing their years of collective experience in the DC and NYC music scenes, the band delivers tight, energetic sets steeped in fresh improvisation and head-bopping, booty-shaking pockets. Backbeat Underground recently released a pair of singles on DC's own Fort Knox Recordings, performed at the Kennedy Center and has been honored to perform at all five annual Funk Parades. Through their music and funky performances, the band is quickly gaining notoriety for their organic and smoldering blend of soulful funk and jazz.

Moluba

official band site »

Moluba, is a Liberian American artist by way of Silver Spring, Maryland. His name was given to him by his great grandmother on her arrival to the U.S. from Liberia, when she escaped the civil war that had plagued the country most of Moluba’s young life. Being the eldest grand child, he was given the name of the patriarch of the family, his great grandfather. Moving with the spirit of his ancestors, Moluba comes with a diverse and gripping sound that mixes hiphop, jazz, spiritualism, and soul into a gumbo of genre bending magic. Heavily influenced by his jazz trumpet background, and greats such as Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, Miles Davis, and Lauren Hill, Moluba is an act you definitely don’t want to miss. He has worked with artist from Tiesto to Prince Po, and fresh off his U.K. tour Moluba is hungrier than ever.


 
Twiddle
Bumpin Uglies | @9:30 club | view more info »
Oct
26

Twiddle

Bumpin Uglies


Friday Oct 26|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Twiddle

official band site »

With 12 years of relentless touring behind them, Vermont-based rock band Twiddle has built an impressive resume spanning Red Rocks to Bonnaroo, and multiple sellouts of historic rock venues including Port Chester, NY’s Capitol Theatre, and Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club. And with the second half of the band’s third studio album, PLUMP, on the horizon, the band’s career continues to catapult forward. Buoyed by the generous support of 359 Kickstarter donors, the 27-song album does more than showcase the group’s beautiful music, but also tells an important story, comprised in PLUMP Chapters 1 & 2.

Recorded during a two-year span with legendary producer Ron St. Germain, PLUMP serves as a reflection of four brothers’ triumphs and struggles, both individual and as a whole. On Chapter 1, songs like “Lost in the Cold” and “Every Soul” detail what it’s like to hit rock bottom and how to rise back up.

“So many fans have shared how these songs carried them through very difficult times, and that alone makes this all worth it,” said Brook Jordan, Twiddle’s percussionist and vocalist.

Comparatively, Chapter 2 contains genre-bending instrumentals, as well as mystifying epics like “Nicodemus Portulay” and “Orlando’s.” More than ten years later, these songs mirror the earliest Twiddle arrangements of 2004-2005 when Mihali Savoulidis and Ryan Dempsey were collaborating in their freshmen dorms at Castleton State College. The completion of PLUMP is timely, coming at a moment when the band’s fervent fan base is at an all-time high and expanding rapidly.

In the live setting, more and more people are invigorated by Twiddle’s community, promoting positivity and the band’s skillful improvisational music. So many like-minded people believe in the greater good, and they find that good in Twiddle. Twiddle is comprised of Zdenek Gubb on bass and vocals, Ryan Dempsey on keyboards and vocals, Mihali Savoulidis on guitar and lead vocals, and Brook Jordan on percussion and vocals. A more detailed biography of each band member, along with upcoming tour dates and updates, can be found at TwiddleMusic.com.


Bumpin Uglies

official band site »

For nearly a decade now, Bumpin Uglies have been playing their brand of groove-heavy jams – a curiously fun mix of ska, Reggae and good ole’ punk rock – all while putting strong lyrics at the forefront of the music. It’s a formula that quickly took them from local favorites, playing around Annapolis, to a national stage. With a wildly infectious sound, tattoo-worthy lyrics and an itch to take their music to the masses, the band piled into the van years ago and have rarely seen home since.

When they aren’t on the road, they’ve been camped in the studio, churning out four full-length albums, two acoustic albums, three EP’s and a Live record. Their latest, 2018’s Beast From The East came out on Space Duck Records and is proof that the band has found their groove. The album consists of a dozen stand-out tracks, any one of which could be considered instant classics for the band. The album also features some big names in the East Coast reggae-rock community including Ballyhoo!’s Howi Spangler, the Movement’s Gary Dread, Passafire’s Ted Bowne, Tropidelic’s Derek McBryde, Matthew Roads & Young James, Zach Fowler of Sun Dried Vibes and Oogee Wawa’s Jesse Lee. Buzz magazine raves “Beast From The East IS A CAREFULLY CRAFTED PUNK-REGGAE GEM.”

The Bumpin Uglies’ origin story begins with singer/guitarist Brandon Hardesty playing open mics around Maryland. He met bassist Dave Wolf not too long after and Bumpin Uglies was born. With a proper set of wheels and TJ Haslett on drums, they went off to spread their music across the country like modern day Johnny Appleseeds. The group recently added Chad Wright on keyboards, expanding on their sound.

Raised on everything from Bad Religion and The Beach Boys to Sublime and Reel Big Fish, Bumpin Uglies have managed to take inspiration from some of the best out there, run it through their own distinctive filter and end up with a truly original take on the various genres creating an original hybrid. With a unique sound that’s nearly impossible to ignore, the band has gotten everyone from dreadlocked kids to PBR-fueled tattooed punks moving their heads to their music at festivals and on headlining tours across the country.


 
Twiddle
@9:30 club | view more info »
Oct
27

Twiddle



Saturday Oct 27|doors 10:30 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Twiddle

official band site »

With 12 years of relentless touring behind them, Vermont-based rock band Twiddle has built an impressive resume spanning Red Rocks to Bonnaroo, and multiple sellouts of historic rock venues including Port Chester, NY’s Capitol Theatre, and Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club. And with the second half of the band’s third studio album, PLUMP, on the horizon, the band’s career continues to catapult forward. Buoyed by the generous support of 359 Kickstarter donors, the 27-song album does more than showcase the group’s beautiful music, but also tells an important story, comprised in PLUMP Chapters 1 & 2.

Recorded during a two-year span with legendary producer Ron St. Germain, PLUMP serves as a reflection of four brothers’ triumphs and struggles, both individual and as a whole. On Chapter 1, songs like “Lost in the Cold” and “Every Soul” detail what it’s like to hit rock bottom and how to rise back up.

“So many fans have shared how these songs carried them through very difficult times, and that alone makes this all worth it,” said Brook Jordan, Twiddle’s percussionist and vocalist.

Comparatively, Chapter 2 contains genre-bending instrumentals, as well as mystifying epics like “Nicodemus Portulay” and “Orlando’s.” More than ten years later, these songs mirror the earliest Twiddle arrangements of 2004-2005 when Mihali Savoulidis and Ryan Dempsey were collaborating in their freshmen dorms at Castleton State College. The completion of PLUMP is timely, coming at a moment when the band’s fervent fan base is at an all-time high and expanding rapidly.

In the live setting, more and more people are invigorated by Twiddle’s community, promoting positivity and the band’s skillful improvisational music. So many like-minded people believe in the greater good, and they find that good in Twiddle. Twiddle is comprised of Zdenek Gubb on bass and vocals, Ryan Dempsey on keyboards and vocals, Mihali Savoulidis on guitar and lead vocals, and Brook Jordan on percussion and vocals. A more detailed biography of each band member, along with upcoming tour dates and updates, can be found at TwiddleMusic.com.



 
Moon Taxi
Moon Hooch | @9:30 club | view more info »
Oct
27

Moon Taxi

Moon Hooch


Saturday Oct 27|doors 6:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Moon Taxi

official band site »

The five-piece band hailing from Nashville has released three albums: Cabaret (2012), Mountains Beaches Cities (2013) and Daybreaker (2015). They have appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Meyers and Conan. Their music has also been featured in multiple commercial and TV placements, including BMW, Nashville, MLB, NFL and HBO Sports to name a few. A festival favorite, the band has performed at Bonnaroo, Coachella, Governor's Ball, Hangout Festival, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Outside Lands and more. Daybreaker was recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville and produced by Jacquire King (Kings Of Leon, Modest Mouse, Tom Waits, James Bay).


Moon Hooch

official band site »

“I‘m realizing more and more every day that you can make anything happen for yourself if you really want to,” says Moon Hooch horn player Mike Wilbur. “You can change your existence by just going out and doing it, by taking simple actions every day.”

If any band is a poster child for turning the power of positive thoughts and intention into reality, it’s the explosive horn-and-percussion trio Moon Hooch. In just a few short years, the group—Wilbur, fellow horn player Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler—has gone from playing on New York City subway platforms to touring with the likes of Beats Antique, They Might Be Giants, and Lotus, as well as selling out their own headline shows in major venues around the country. On ‘Red Sky,’ their third and most adventurous album to date, the band uses everything they’ve learned from their whirlwind journey to push their sound to new heights, bringing together the raw, transcendent energy of their live performances and the sleek sophistication of their studio work into a singular, intoxicating brew that blends elements of virtuosic jazz, groovy funk, and pulse-pounding electronic dance music.

“I think ‘Red Sky’ is more focused than any of our past albums,” reflects McGowen. “We practice meditation and yoga, and I think that we’re more evolved as people than we’ve ever been right now. That evolution expresses itself as focus, and through focus comes our energy.”

It was two years ago that the band released ‘This Is Cave Music,’ an exhilarating thrill ride that earned rave reviews from critics and fans alike. NPR hailed it as “unhinged” and “irresistible,” praising each musician’s “remarkable abilities” and naming their Tiny Desk Concert one of the best in the prestigious series’ history. The album followed their 2013 debut, which had Relix swooning for their “deep bass lines, catchy melodies and pounding rhythms,” while the Wall Street Journal celebrated their “electronic house music mixed with brawny saxophone riffs.”

Though the band—whose members initially met as students at the New School—turned heads in the music industry as relative unknowns with a charismatic, unconventional sound (they play with unique tonguing techniques and utilize found objects like traffic cones attached to the bells of their horns to manipulate tone, for instance), they were already a familiar and beloved sight to straphangers in New York, who would react with such joy and fervor to their impromptu subway platform sets that the NYPD had to ban them from locations that couldn’t handle the crowds. NY Mag once referred to their sound as “Jay Gatsby on ecstasy,” while the NY Post fell for their “catchy melodic hooks and funky rhythms,” saying they had “the power to make you secretly wish that the short [subway] wait becomes an indefinite delay.”

While the band’s busking days are behind them now, the lessons they learned from all those platform parties helped guide their approach to recording ‘Red Sky.’
“What we discovered playing in the subway,” McGowen explains, “is that the more focus and the more energy you put into the music, and the more you listen to everything around you and integrate everything around you into your expression, the more the music becomes this captivating force for people.”

Recorded at The Bunker studio in Brooklyn, ‘Red Sky’ is nothing if not captivating. The album opens with the tribal urgency of the title track and proceeds, over the next 45 minutes, to utterly demolish any and every possible barrier that could stand between your ass and the dance floor. On ‘Shot,’ Wilbur sings a stream of consciousness vocal line over an airtight groove, while “Psychotubes” channels the apocalyptic fire and brimstone of death metal, and the staccato intro of “That’s What They Say” gives way to a gritty, late-night come-on of a saxophone line that’s far more suggestive than any whispered words ever could be.

Though the band is heavily inspired by electronic music, they made a conscious effort to use as little in the way of “studio tricks” as possible on ‘Red Sky,’ aiming instead to capture the sound of their live show, which has evolved significantly from their days underground.

“When we were playing in the subways, we were playing entirely acoustic,” explains Wilbur. “It was just two saxes and a drum set. Then Wenzl acquired a baritone sax and we all started getting into music production and incorporating electronic music into our live shows.”

At their performances, the band now plays through what they call a Reverse DJ setup, in which the live sound from their horns runs through Ableton software on their laptops to process recorded effects onto the output. In addition, to flesh out their sound on the road, the band began utilizing Moog synthesizers, an EWI (an electronic wind instrument that responds to breath in addition to touch), and other more traditional instruments like clarinets. Wilbur added vocals to his repertoire on some tracks (something the subway never allowed him to do), and Muschler, meanwhile, traveled halfway around the world to expand his percussion skills.

“I went to India, and the first morning I woke up, it was like 5am, and I followed this music along the banks of the Ganges,” he remembers. “I eventually ended up finding this amazing tabla player, and after his performance, I asked him for lessons. He agreed, and I went for daily lessons with him and another guy for the next two weeks. After that, I took a train to Calcutta, where I met with the guru that I’d studied with in New York, and I did morning lessons with him and practiced throughout the day. It was an incredible musical immersion experience.”

The band members all speak reverently of meditation and consciousness and the role it plays in their music (McGowen believes his introduction to it, spurred on in part by Wilbur and Muschler, saved his life), but equally close to their hearts are the environmental causes they champion. Moon Hooch tries to live up to their green ideals while traveling as much as possible, playing benefit shows, supporting local farmers and co-ops, participating in river cleanups, filming informative videos for their fans, and more. The band even runs a food blog, Cooking In The Cave, in which they highlight the healthy, sustainable, organic recipes they utilize with their mobile kitchen setup on tour.

For the members of Moon Hooch, commitments to consciousness and environmentalism and veganism and philosophy and peace aren’t separate from their commitment to music, but actually integral parts of it. It’s all tied into that same core approach that led to their discovery on the subway platform: try, even if it’s just a little bit every day, even if it’s just with the power of your mind, to make the world less like it is and more like you wish it could be.

“I’d say all of our songs express the essence of that kind of energy,” concludes McGowen, “because before you can even think any thoughts, there exists the energy that drives those thoughts, and that energy is intention. I feel like we’re putting the intention of positive change constantly into our music. While we’re playing, I often see the future emerging: skyscrapers getting covered in plants, frowns turning into smiles, fistfights into hugs. I can see the energy of love and collaboration and trust replace the energy of fear, hatred and violence.”

It’s an ambitious vision, to be sure, but considering the band’s track record at turning their thoughts and dreams into action and reality, perhaps it’s only a matter of time.


 
Moon Taxi
Moon Hooch | @9:30 club | view more info »
Oct
28

Moon Taxi

Moon Hooch


Sunday Oct 28|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Moon Taxi

official band site »

The five-piece band hailing from Nashville has released three albums: Cabaret (2012), Mountains Beaches Cities (2013) and Daybreaker (2015). They have appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Meyers and Conan. Their music has also been featured in multiple commercial and TV placements, including BMW, Nashville, MLB, NFL and HBO Sports to name a few. A festival favorite, the band has performed at Bonnaroo, Coachella, Governor's Ball, Hangout Festival, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Outside Lands and more. Daybreaker was recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville and produced by Jacquire King (Kings Of Leon, Modest Mouse, Tom Waits, James Bay).


Moon Hooch

official band site »

“I‘m realizing more and more every day that you can make anything happen for yourself if you really want to,” says Moon Hooch horn player Mike Wilbur. “You can change your existence by just going out and doing it, by taking simple actions every day.”

If any band is a poster child for turning the power of positive thoughts and intention into reality, it’s the explosive horn-and-percussion trio Moon Hooch. In just a few short years, the group—Wilbur, fellow horn player Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler—has gone from playing on New York City subway platforms to touring with the likes of Beats Antique, They Might Be Giants, and Lotus, as well as selling out their own headline shows in major venues around the country. On ‘Red Sky,’ their third and most adventurous album to date, the band uses everything they’ve learned from their whirlwind journey to push their sound to new heights, bringing together the raw, transcendent energy of their live performances and the sleek sophistication of their studio work into a singular, intoxicating brew that blends elements of virtuosic jazz, groovy funk, and pulse-pounding electronic dance music.

“I think ‘Red Sky’ is more focused than any of our past albums,” reflects McGowen. “We practice meditation and yoga, and I think that we’re more evolved as people than we’ve ever been right now. That evolution expresses itself as focus, and through focus comes our energy.”

It was two years ago that the band released ‘This Is Cave Music,’ an exhilarating thrill ride that earned rave reviews from critics and fans alike. NPR hailed it as “unhinged” and “irresistible,” praising each musician’s “remarkable abilities” and naming their Tiny Desk Concert one of the best in the prestigious series’ history. The album followed their 2013 debut, which had Relix swooning for their “deep bass lines, catchy melodies and pounding rhythms,” while the Wall Street Journal celebrated their “electronic house music mixed with brawny saxophone riffs.”

Though the band—whose members initially met as students at the New School—turned heads in the music industry as relative unknowns with a charismatic, unconventional sound (they play with unique tonguing techniques and utilize found objects like traffic cones attached to the bells of their horns to manipulate tone, for instance), they were already a familiar and beloved sight to straphangers in New York, who would react with such joy and fervor to their impromptu subway platform sets that the NYPD had to ban them from locations that couldn’t handle the crowds. NY Mag once referred to their sound as “Jay Gatsby on ecstasy,” while the NY Post fell for their “catchy melodic hooks and funky rhythms,” saying they had “the power to make you secretly wish that the short [subway] wait becomes an indefinite delay.”

While the band’s busking days are behind them now, the lessons they learned from all those platform parties helped guide their approach to recording ‘Red Sky.’
“What we discovered playing in the subway,” McGowen explains, “is that the more focus and the more energy you put into the music, and the more you listen to everything around you and integrate everything around you into your expression, the more the music becomes this captivating force for people.”

Recorded at The Bunker studio in Brooklyn, ‘Red Sky’ is nothing if not captivating. The album opens with the tribal urgency of the title track and proceeds, over the next 45 minutes, to utterly demolish any and every possible barrier that could stand between your ass and the dance floor. On ‘Shot,’ Wilbur sings a stream of consciousness vocal line over an airtight groove, while “Psychotubes” channels the apocalyptic fire and brimstone of death metal, and the staccato intro of “That’s What They Say” gives way to a gritty, late-night come-on of a saxophone line that’s far more suggestive than any whispered words ever could be.

Though the band is heavily inspired by electronic music, they made a conscious effort to use as little in the way of “studio tricks” as possible on ‘Red Sky,’ aiming instead to capture the sound of their live show, which has evolved significantly from their days underground.

“When we were playing in the subways, we were playing entirely acoustic,” explains Wilbur. “It was just two saxes and a drum set. Then Wenzl acquired a baritone sax and we all started getting into music production and incorporating electronic music into our live shows.”

At their performances, the band now plays through what they call a Reverse DJ setup, in which the live sound from their horns runs through Ableton software on their laptops to process recorded effects onto the output. In addition, to flesh out their sound on the road, the band began utilizing Moog synthesizers, an EWI (an electronic wind instrument that responds to breath in addition to touch), and other more traditional instruments like clarinets. Wilbur added vocals to his repertoire on some tracks (something the subway never allowed him to do), and Muschler, meanwhile, traveled halfway around the world to expand his percussion skills.

“I went to India, and the first morning I woke up, it was like 5am, and I followed this music along the banks of the Ganges,” he remembers. “I eventually ended up finding this amazing tabla player, and after his performance, I asked him for lessons. He agreed, and I went for daily lessons with him and another guy for the next two weeks. After that, I took a train to Calcutta, where I met with the guru that I’d studied with in New York, and I did morning lessons with him and practiced throughout the day. It was an incredible musical immersion experience.”

The band members all speak reverently of meditation and consciousness and the role it plays in their music (McGowen believes his introduction to it, spurred on in part by Wilbur and Muschler, saved his life), but equally close to their hearts are the environmental causes they champion. Moon Hooch tries to live up to their green ideals while traveling as much as possible, playing benefit shows, supporting local farmers and co-ops, participating in river cleanups, filming informative videos for their fans, and more. The band even runs a food blog, Cooking In The Cave, in which they highlight the healthy, sustainable, organic recipes they utilize with their mobile kitchen setup on tour.

For the members of Moon Hooch, commitments to consciousness and environmentalism and veganism and philosophy and peace aren’t separate from their commitment to music, but actually integral parts of it. It’s all tied into that same core approach that led to their discovery on the subway platform: try, even if it’s just a little bit every day, even if it’s just with the power of your mind, to make the world less like it is and more like you wish it could be.

“I’d say all of our songs express the essence of that kind of energy,” concludes McGowen, “because before you can even think any thoughts, there exists the energy that drives those thoughts, and that energy is intention. I feel like we’re putting the intention of positive change constantly into our music. While we’re playing, I often see the future emerging: skyscrapers getting covered in plants, frowns turning into smiles, fistfights into hugs. I can see the energy of love and collaboration and trust replace the energy of fear, hatred and violence.”

It’s an ambitious vision, to be sure, but considering the band’s track record at turning their thoughts and dreams into action and reality, perhaps it’s only a matter of time.


 
Aqueous
Mungion | @Union Stage | view more info »
Nov
2

Aqueous

Mungion


Friday Nov 2|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Aqueous

official band site »

After forming in Buffalo in 2006, Aqueous (pronounced “ay-kwee-us”) has earned a reputation as one of the most promising improvisational rock acts in the country. Best known for their “groove rock” stylings, guitarist Mike Gantzer, guitarist/keyboardist David Loss, bassist Evan McPhaden, and drummer Rob Houk have developed a unique sound characterized by meticulous compositions and rich exploratory jams that easily transition from laidback, in-the-pocket grooves to furious, high-intensity peaks. Composed of longtime friends, over the years, Aqueous’ members have developed near-psychic abilities with one another, enabling them to stretch each song while maintaining a staggering degree of precision. In a live setting, the group’s undeniable technical prowess truly shines, making for dynamic performances that bring fans back night after night.

Whether they’re headlining and selling out venues across the U.S. or performing stand-out sets at notable events like Summer Camp, The Peach Music Festival, Jam Cruise, and Suwannee Hulaween, it’s clear that fans across the country are clamoring to hear more from the Buffalo-based four-piece. With the hype around the group growing, Aqueous is making a huge breakout as the project enters its second decade of existence. Do yourself a favor, and discover firsthand what the buzz is all about.


Mungion

official band site »

Since their inception in Spring of 2015, Mungion (pronounced mung-yin) has quickly made a name for themselves as one of the rising stars of the jam scene. Composed of Justin Reckamp (guitar/vocals), Joe Re (keyboards/vocals), Sean Carolan (bass/vocals) and Matt Kellen (drums/vocals), the Chicago-based four-piece is rooted in their ambitious compositions and improvisational abilities, offering up a raucous and joyous sound that’s guaranteed to have you smiling ear to ear and leave you wanting more.

Known for their whimsical songs, goofy stage antics, and undeniably explosive improvisations, Mungion’s jubilance is a natural extension of its members. Underlying the band’s quirky nature is their virtuosic musical abilities. This inherent talent and playfulness emboldens the group to be fearless in the studio and on stage, making for live performances that are infectiously lighthearted, refreshingly energetic, and deeply sincere.

With sonically rich and vibrant compositions, the band’s critically acclaimed debut album, 2016’s ‘Scary Blankets’, proves that the sky’s the limit for Mungion. You can catch them on tour at venues nationwide or at high-profile music festivals, such as Suwannee Hulaween, Summer Camp, and The Peach Music Festival.


 
Cris Jacobs Band
Jonathan Sloane Trio | @Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
Nov
2

Cris Jacobs Band

Jonathan Sloane Trio


Friday Nov 2|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


Cris Jacobs Band

official band site »

Whether alone with just the guitar and his voice or surrounded by a full band, Cris Jacobs enchants listeners with his inspired, poignant songwriting, virtuous guitar playing, and soulfully transcendent voice. Artists across the board have discovered Jacobs’ musicianship and supple versatility, resulting in an impressive variety of formats in which he has played over the last few years. After a decade, five records, and 200 shows a year as principal songwriter and frontman for beloved Baltimore-based band The Bridge from 2001-2011, Jacobs wasted no time continuing to write music of his own and exploring different configurations for his craft. He released his debut solo album, Songs for Cats and Dogs, in 2012, and continued to perform relentlessly, both with his new band and as a solo artist. In doing so, he quickly garnered the admiration of a variety of predecessors and peers: rock legend Steve Winwood saw Jacobs perform in 2014 and soon invited him to open his national tour. The following year, Sturgill Simpson extended the same invitation. Never limited by genre, Jacobs and New Orleans heavyweight Ivan Neville recorded a collaborative album under the band name “Neville Jacobs”, which will be released in 2017. As an adapting, evolving, versatile musician who has survived on his own merit, Jacobs continues to win over audiences of many tastes, as he brings his characteristic authenticity and soul to every set.

Jacobs feels there are common threads across many genres of music, and he has harnessed over a decade of trans-genre exploration on his second solo album, Dust to Gold, released in 2016, from American Showplace Music. The album is a soul-stirring expression of the current chapter of his creative evolution, featuring twelve well-crafted songs that masterfully weave through the sweet and rugged landscape of soul, country, folk, blues, gospel, and rock and roll. Through every turn, one can easily feel Jacobs’ reverence to his influences, but the result is an original, eclectic record with a sound that is authentically his. In a given moment, Jacobs’ guitar playing is gritty, soulful, rich, and lyrical. It’s subtle, yet adventurous. His voice is at once sweet and sultry, with a honeyed whiskey croon that delivers his thoughtful, expressive lyrics.


Jonathan Sloane Trio

official band site »

Jonathan Sloane is a multi-talented, lifelong musician, instructor, guitarist and lyricist based in Rockville, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. His compositions, tone and lyrical lead guitar playing are deeply rooted in the blues; expanding into R&B, rock 'n' roll, funk and soul. Having played to sold out crowds at both the local and national level with different bands, Sloane is a sought after talent in the Baltimore and Washington, DC music scenes. Jonathan writes/arranges and performes with several other projects, each offering a unique outlet for his eclectic influences to shine.


 
Lettuce feat special guests Waka Flocka Flame & Marcus King
Turkuaz | @The Anthem | view more info »
Nov
3

Lettuce feat special guests Waka Flocka Flame & Marcus King

Turkuaz


Saturday Nov 3|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Lettuce feat special guests Waka Flocka Flame & Marcus King

official band site »

Known for their incendiary live shows, extensive touring, die-hard fans, and massive two-decade career, Lettuce have brought a new vitality to classic funk, matching their smooth and soulful grooves with a hip-hop-inspired urgency. Their latest offering, Witches Stew [Lettuce Records] is a contemporary jazz fusion album that pays tribute to the late Miles Davis, one of Lettuce's biggest and most beloved influences. An interpretive take on the historically experimental and lauded Bitches Brew era, Witches Stew is a collection of seven songs, handpicked by the band and was recorded at the 2016 Catskill Chill in Lakewood, PA. Released on Halloween Day 2017, the EP brings forth an eerie, ethereal, and psychedelic reimagining to what was one of the most impactful periods in Miles’ legacy, further distinguishing the band for their technical mastery and improvisational, rhythmic genius.

To further pay tribute to their hero, Lettuce released the first single from the EP "Shhh / Peaceful" on the 26th anniversary of Miles' passing. Keeping tempo with steady percussion, the track features an otherworldly sound which is echoed by distant horns and tranquil guitar riffs. As a whole the album seamlessly floats from track to track, almost as if telling a story in a language unique to each listener. Taking cue from Miles himself, the brassy crooning of the trumpet threads together each song into a cohesive body of work and brings the listener on a journey that only Lettuce could navigate.

Comprised of a stellar group musicians - Drummer Adam Deitch, guitarist Adam Smirnoff, bassist Erick "Jesus" Coomes, keyboardist and vocalist Nigel Hall, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, and trumpet player Eric “Benny” Bloom - the members of Lettuce are highly sought after musicians who, together, continue to earn their name as masters of their craft. Blending together these talents in a sound distinctly their own, they have garnered praised by the likes of New York Times, NPR, Billboard, Consequence of Sound, Relix, Red Bull Music and more.

According to the band, it is a sense of unity and togetherness that has much to do with the camaraderie that’s only intensified over the lifespan of the band. Formed in 1992, when several band members attended a summer program at Boston’s Berklee College of Music as teenagers, Lettuce was founded on a shared love of legendary funk artists like Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power. After returning to Berklee as undergrads in 1994, Lettuce started playing in local clubs and steadily built up a following that soon extended to cities across the country and then throughout the world. Releasing their studio debut Outta Here in 2002, its follow-up Rage! in 2009, Fly in 2012, Crush in 2015 and Mt. Crushmore EP in 2016, the band has dedicated their time to balancing their prolific touring with involvement in a host of other musical endeavors.

In recent years, Lettuce have watched their fanbase expand as they’ve hit bigger and bigger stages. Selling out shows across the country, they have truly earned their name as a can’t-miss live act. As bass player Erick “Jesus” Coomes puts it, “some of these shows we’ve played over the past couple years have been so amazing, it’s like you go home a different person.”

The band is currently spreading their sonic hijinks and soulful vibrations across the country on their Beyond the Clouds 2018 headline tour. Comprised of 23-dates, the tour will lead the band to their third annual Rage Rocks show, which will take place at the historic Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Friday, June 8, 2018. A beloved tradition by the band and their fans alike, this will mark Lettuce's fifth time playing at the venue.


Turkuaz

official band site »

Drip painting entails actively splashing myriad colors on canvas.

Popularized by Jackson Pollock, Janet Sobel, Max Ernst, and other 20th century luminaries, the artform itself relies on action and motion. In similar fashion, energetic splashes of funk, alternative, rock, R&B, and psychedelia color the music of Turkuaz. Balancing male-female harmonies, strutting guitars, wild horn arrangements, and interminable grooves, this spirit takes shape in the color donned by each respective member on stage nightly via larger-than-life performances.

The Brooklyn-based nonet—Dave Brandwein [guitar, vocals], Taylor Shell [bass], Craig Brodhead [guitar, keys], Michelangelo Carubba [drums], Chris Bouwers [trumpet, keys], Greg Sanderson [tenor sax], Josh Schwartz [baritone sax, vocals], Sammi Garett [vocals], and Shira Elias [vocals]—ignite an explosion of energy punctuated by neon hues, deft musicality, and show-stopping singalongs on their fifth full-length album, Life In The City.

“Turkuaz is made up of individuals, each their own shade of the color spectrum,” explains Dave. “Each person brings a signature style and embodies his or her own color. The respective auras come together to create our sound. The name itself implies that vibrancy, but it’s a different spin on turquoise. In the same way, we put a different spin on groove-oriented music by telling stories that you wouldn’t normally associate with funk.”

Since emerging in 2011 with their self-titled debut, the group have quietly animated a movement.

Touring incessantly in support of four full-length studio albums and three official live releases, they’ve lit up stages everywhere from Bonnaroo, Hulaween, Okeechobe, Electric Forest, and Mountain Jam to Telluride Jazz, High Sierra, and Lock’n, in between gracing stages at legendary spots such as Red Rocks, Terminal 5, and The Fillmore, to name a few. Among numerous critical plaudits, The New Yorker claimed, “This Brooklyn-based nine-piece delivers horn-filled funk incorporating elements of R&B, psychedelic pop, gospel, Afro-pop, New Wave, classic rock, and just about any genre that gets people dancing.”

Most recently, 2015’s Digitonium yielded fan favorites such as “Nightswimming” and “European Festivity Nightmare” and generated over 1 million-plus cumulative streams. When it came time to commence work on Life In The City, the musicians switched up the flow and took a different approach.

“We did Digitonium in a short period of time and created a concept based on The Sword in the Stone,” says Dave. “We sifted through a lot more material for Life In The City. We threw all of the paint on the canvas. There was more collaboration in the writing. Some members who hadn’t participated before brought ideas to the table. We didn’t have anything road-mapped. In that respect, it was exploratory as far as who we are sonically. The same goes for the lyrics. Beyond the turmoil in current events and the world, I was going through some difficult challenges in my personal life. So, Life In The City is more based in reality and the experience I’ve lived in the past few years than a fantasy like the last record. The city is representative of modern life and all of these distractions we face day to day.”

In order to capture that vision, they first recorded at More Sound in Upstate New York before moving to Dave’s own newly relocated Galaxy Smith Studios in Brooklyn. Avowed fans of the Stop Making Sense film, they tapped Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads to produce standalone single “On The Run” and album track “If I Ever Fall Asleep” at The Bunker Studios.

“I’m extremely hands-on, so it was a growth experience to see someone else’s take on the band,” adds Dave. “Overall, Jerry made us as a band think about things we wouldn’t have otherwise. It was really beneficial.”

The group officially introduce the album with the first single and title track “Life In The City.” Funkified guitars wrap around otherworldly synths and rapturous horns as the words “Blind in the spotlight” glare.

“That line stands out to me,” Dave continues. “There’s so much stimulus in the city and in modern life in general. So much is going on. Light is constantly shined on what we do, how we act, social media, and the urban hustle and bustle that we’re blind to what’s really going on underneath. That line sums up what the song is about. We’re not able to take a breath and experience the simplicity of reality anymore. We forget to be who we really are.”

A collaborative effort with several band members, the swaggering cry of “Lady Lovely” tells an intergalactic horror story disguised as cross-species romance, complete with “creature” giggles from the song’s vocalist Josh Schwartz. Schwartz also co-wrote “If I ever Fall Asleep,” portraying the “paranoid ramblings of an insomniac holed up in his apartment.” Punctuated by robust horns, “Superstatic” illuminates another side of Turkuaz as it touts lyrics “about letting go and having fun for a minute.” Meanwhile, on the more personal side, upbeat delivery and synth squeals underscore a poignant admission for Dave on “The One and Lonely.”

“It’s about kicking a lot of habits and stepping away from vices,” he admits. “The song highlights the struggle I had with substances and alcohol as well as the process I went through trying to shed the struggle. Drinking and drug use is a huge part of the road for most bands. It got to a point where it was too much for me though. This album documents me taking a step back and saying, ‘I want to live for a long time. I want to stop and take in what’s actually happening to me—not just party all the time.’”

It’s that honesty that has reinvigorated how far down the line the band has its sights set. And even in the midst of serious subject matter creeping in on this album, the musicianship of all nine band members and the group’s upbeat, fun-loving sensibility still shines through to give Turkuaz fans the joyous sound they’ve come to know over the last several years. “I would love for our music to be a bright spot in an otherwise dark world,” he leaves off. “You can come to our shows, let go, exist, and have a good time in spite of what may be going on outside. That’s what music does for us. We want to share that.”


 
The Main Squeeze
Hamish Anderson | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Nov
8

The Main Squeeze

Hamish Anderson


Thursday Nov 8|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


The Main Squeeze

official band site »

The Main Squeeze, with deep musical roots sprouted in the Midwest, have scored their lives at each twist and curve. While starting out as a party band at Indiana University, their forthcoming April 28th release “Without a Sound” illustrates their increasing musical maturity and creativity inspired by their new home in Los Angeles.

If maturity comes with experience, “Without a Sound” reflects this. The Main Squeeze has spent several years building their foundation since being championed by producer Randy Jackson: they have played Red Rocks; shared the stage with The Roots, Aloe Blacc, Jane’s Addiction, Umphrey’s McGee, and Trombone Shorty; and performed at music festivals like Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Summer Camp, and High Sierra.

The Main Squeeze is a blend of soul and hip-hop, funk with rock. They know their sound is “soulful, powerful, and unique” (Newman). Rolling Stone agrees in their recent critique of a live show: “Lead singer Corey Frye’s powerfully soulful vocals forms the foundation of an energetic set.”

These underpinnings are important yet The Main Squeeze’s true focus will always be to “strive to reach people” through their beat loving heart in their music. “We are devoted to making great music for people to get lost in and to feel real emotion and love, and also to dance and enjoy life. And it’s only just the beginning” (Newman). Billboard believes they have touched on this goal: “Funk runs deep in their DNA. Dare you not to two-step.”

The beats on “Without A Sound” are plentiful and it is balanced with emotion, a mix of vocals, and instrumentation of the band. Their vibe is simultaneously timeless and futuristic as they are inspired by the greats, yet have found a way to infuse their own genius into the mix.

The Main Squeeze appeals to your head, heart and body.


Hamish Anderson

official band site »

After being named one of Yahoo! Music’s “Top Ten Best New Artist,” Australia’s roots rock artist, Hamish Anderson performed 11 sets during SXSW (2017) opened for Vintage Trouble, Jared & The Mill, Low Cut Connie and toured the US as well as appeared at US festivals such as Firefly, Echo Park Rising, Mountain Jam, High Sierra, Big Blues Bender, Summerfest, Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (MainStage on Saturday and opened for Drive By Truckers late night) and Canada’s RBC Bluesfest Ottawa. He was featured as a Taco Bell “Feed the Beat” artist and KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic with his single, “U”, which was profiled also on NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation along with his entire album, Trouble.

In 2018, NPR also profiled Hamish’s album a year after it was released on Here & Now/DJ Sessions via Anne Litt from KCRW. This year, he completed the recording of his second album, did a 3 week festival tour in Europe, and performed at Bottlerock Napa Valley, CA and also appeared at KCRW's Chinatown Summer Nights series, Madame Siam, KCSN's Live at the Village in Topanga, CA and Eden Roc on 8/24/18 in Miami, FL in support of his new single, “No Good” https://ffm.to/nogood — which was immediately added to Spotify’s Official Nu Blues playlist and Apple Music Japan’s Best of the Week upon launch.


 
The Main Squeeze
Hamish Anderson | @Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
Nov
9

The Main Squeeze

Hamish Anderson


Friday Nov 9|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


The Main Squeeze

official band site »

The Main Squeeze, with deep musical roots sprouted in the Midwest, have scored their lives at each twist and curve. While starting out as a party band at Indiana University, their forthcoming April 28th release “Without a Sound” illustrates their increasing musical maturity and creativity inspired by their new home in Los Angeles.

If maturity comes with experience, “Without a Sound” reflects this. The Main Squeeze has spent several years building their foundation since being championed by producer Randy Jackson: they have played Red Rocks; shared the stage with The Roots, Aloe Blacc, Jane’s Addiction, Umphrey’s McGee, and Trombone Shorty; and performed at music festivals like Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Summer Camp, and High Sierra.

The Main Squeeze is a blend of soul and hip-hop, funk with rock. They know their sound is “soulful, powerful, and unique” (Newman). Rolling Stone agrees in their recent critique of a live show: “Lead singer Corey Frye’s powerfully soulful vocals forms the foundation of an energetic set.”

These underpinnings are important yet The Main Squeeze’s true focus will always be to “strive to reach people” through their beat loving heart in their music. “We are devoted to making great music for people to get lost in and to feel real emotion and love, and also to dance and enjoy life. And it’s only just the beginning” (Newman). Billboard believes they have touched on this goal: “Funk runs deep in their DNA. Dare you not to two-step.”

The beats on “Without A Sound” are plentiful and it is balanced with emotion, a mix of vocals, and instrumentation of the band. Their vibe is simultaneously timeless and futuristic as they are inspired by the greats, yet have found a way to infuse their own genius into the mix.

The Main Squeeze appeals to your head, heart and body.


Hamish Anderson

official band site »

After being named one of Yahoo! Music’s “Top Ten Best New Artist,” Australia’s roots rock artist, Hamish Anderson performed 11 sets during SXSW (2017) opened for Vintage Trouble, Jared & The Mill, Low Cut Connie and toured the US as well as appeared at US festivals such as Firefly, Echo Park Rising, Mountain Jam, High Sierra, Big Blues Bender, Summerfest, Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (MainStage on Saturday and opened for Drive By Truckers late night) and Canada’s RBC Bluesfest Ottawa. He was featured as a Taco Bell “Feed the Beat” artist and KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic with his single, “U”, which was profiled also on NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation along with his entire album, Trouble.

In 2018, NPR also profiled Hamish’s album a year after it was released on Here & Now/DJ Sessions via Anne Litt from KCRW. This year, he completed the recording of his second album, did a 3 week festival tour in Europe, and performed at Bottlerock Napa Valley, CA and also appeared at KCRW's Chinatown Summer Nights series, Madame Siam, KCSN's Live at the Village in Topanga, CA and Eden Roc on 8/24/18 in Miami, FL in support of his new single, “No Good” https://ffm.to/nogood — which was immediately added to Spotify’s Official Nu Blues playlist and Apple Music Japan’s Best of the Week upon launch.


 
Lake Street Dive
Jalen N'Gonda | @The Anthem | view more info »
Nov
9

Lake Street Dive

Jalen N'Gonda


Friday Nov 9|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Lake Street Dive

official band site »

The title of Lake Street Dive’s Free Yourself Up is both an exhortation to listeners and a statement of purpose for the band. The songs have an infectious swagger, even when dealing with awkward breakups or the unsettled state of our world. Free Yourself Up is Lake Street Dive’s most confident album yet, seriously soulful and exuberantly rocking. And, in many ways, it is Lake Street Dive’s most intimate and collaborative, with the band itself taking over the production reins and working as a tightly knit unit to craft these ten songs. In addition, the quartet drafted touring keyboardist Akie Bermiss to join them in the studio, literally freeing the band up to explore a wider range of instrumental textures, construct more full-bodied arrangements, and build stacks of lively background harmonies.

On Free Yourself Up, the sound is influenced by late sixties-early seventies R&B, AM pop, and FM rock while the lyrics are informed more by contemporary events. The album opens with “Baby, Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts,” which envisions a lover acting as a “human shield” against the anxiety of our Twitter-ravaged age. It’s funny, sweet, a little angry, and definitely right up-to-the-minute in its sentiment. Singer Rachael Price says, “I thought about that song as the thesis of this record. It’s a disco-dance fun song but it’s also a person talking about needing comfort from another person, and it has a reference to the political climate.”

The lyrics to the guitar-driven “Shame, Shame, Shame,” which feels like undiscovered, transistor-radio-ready AM gold, bravely speak to an unnamed person: “No I’m not getting caught in your little spider web/Won’t let an angry dog get me down/Don’t you think it’s time we put this dog out of his misery?/Change is coming, oh yeah…” Bassist Bridget Kearney explains, “This album is based in the realities in our time, which have inevitably become part of everyone’s daily life. It’s something you think about and obsess over—and write songs about. Free Yourself Up is about empowering yourself, emboldening yourself, no matter what’s going wrong.”

Adds drummer Mike Calabrese, “This time around, we were changing so many things anyway, we felt freer to go deep into various subjects, to explore a multitude of emotions to a background of music that is a different direction in and of itself. It’s a juxtaposition of new subject matter and new musical developments. We’re not just this happy go lucky band anymore.”

The band clearly enjoyed itself in the studio as the rhythmically propulsive “Dude” indicates. As the singer complains about a lover who is always out with the guys, a steady beat builds to a big, defiant chorus and then the song veers to the left, culminating in a kind of psychedelic duel between trumpet and guitar, its conclusion marked by echoes of the band’s laughter. The percolating “Red Light Kisses” is highlighted by call-and-response vocals between Price and her band mates (doing their best falsettos) and a classic percussion-and-handclaps breakdown towards the end. “Musta Been Something” is a more stripped-down slow-dance ballad, a showcase for Price’s voice and Mike “McDuck” Olson’s guitar.

“I Can Change” is an even more pensive ballad. “We were watching the news in the summer of 2017 and seeing people trapped in these cycles of hate that humanity can’t seem to find its way out of,” Kearney explains. “And it’s easy enough to look at that from the outside and criticize, but the really hard part is striving to understand your own weaknesses and biases and prejudices and learning to do better. ‘I Can Change’ is us summoning the courage to do that.”

Lake Street Dive was for many years a self-reliant unit. After forming in 2004, while all the members were studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, they assiduously built a following through a series of independent album releases, countless club tours, and a few lucky breaks. In 2013, producer T Bone Burnett invited them to join a star-studded lineup at a New York City concert where they practically stole the show—and wound up with a deal from Nonesuch Records. The band’s label debut, Side Pony, was greeted with raves. Rolling Stone called it “irresistible” and the Boston Globe said, “Side Pony is a confident, expertly played statement from a band that’s been honing its approach for more than a decade, and it clearly shows that Lake Street Dive is ready to make itself known to whatever audiences have yet to succumb to its many charms.”

Lake Street Dive spent eighteen months on the road in support of Side Pony. Despite the hectic pace, the band mates started brainstorming about their next album whenever they found a spare moment. As guitarist McDuck recalls, “We remembered how things worked before we added the crew and the bus and the manager. All of that support is great, but it left us with less time to sit around and listen to music together. So when we had a day off, we made a point to sit on the tour bus and play records for each other, the way we used to when we’d drive ourselves in a van.”

Free Yourself Up is the sound of a democratic party, organized by a band that has bolstered its deep well of talent with a healthy supply of mutual trust. Though the individual band members had traditionally written separately and then delivered meticulously rendered demos to the group, the process began to change while recording Side Pony. This time Lake Street Dive took that idea further, helping each other out on nascent songs and ultimately deciding to produce the album itself, with the ample help of engineer Dan Knobler, a former Brooklynite now based in Nashville.

That wasn’t the original plan. As the Lake Street Dive team was deliberating about which producers to reach out to, they decided to book a demo session on their own at Knobler’s tiny Goosehead Palace studio, a modest but very welcoming garage space. Recounts Price, “We go in the studio every two years for a concentrated period of time and then we go on the road and perfect what we do. But we don’t have that same practice in the studio. So we said to ourselves, ‘Let’s practice what recording feels like.’ We found out that a) we could have so much fun and b) we work very quickly in a specific way and we collaborated perfectly together.” She continues, “I think we were quite scared that without having that fifth neutral voice we would endlessly be in the decision-making process—because we are so democratic. Our fears were assuaged after that session, though.”

They sent the results to Brooklyn-based mixer Joe Visciano and, says Kearney, “he was able to do incredible things, making the record really pop and sound like it was recorded in a multi-million-dollar studio. That seemed like the perfect solution, to do it in a place that was really comfortable.” So they returned to Knobler in Nashville to complete the album, forgoing previous notions about moving to a different studio for the next step.

Kearney continues, “The process felt really natural. We had a good amount of tunes to work with, some of which we had played live, some we’d never played at all, and we kept writing during the recording process. We found tools that were fun and worked well in the studio. For instance, a friend had left a Korg synthesizer in my apartment; we tried it on one song and loved it, so we put it on a couple of other tracks,” she says. “And Akie was a huge part of the sound of the record as well; the way he plays and chooses to voice things elevates the song.”

“There was a fearlessness to the process, an open-mindedness. Collaborating allowed us to feel freer; we were sharing the songwriting burden. Some of these songs almost died in our voice memo apps but were revived—or Frankenstein-ed—in the process of collaborating,” adds Calabrese. “Dan Knobler became more than just an engineer; he was an arbiter. He was very important to the sound of the record and to certain artistic choices that helped to polish things to perfection.”

Kearney summarizes the experience of the band’s collaborative, flexible approach to making Free Yourself Up, explaining the origins of lead album track “Good Kisser”: “I had thought of the chorus or at least the opening, it was a lyrical idea I had plus a little tiny bit of a melody. Then we were on stage in North Carolina playing this cool funky groove we had started using on ‘How It Feels To Be Alone’ and I thought, ‘That’s it! That’s the perfect thing for this song idea I have. It really needs to find a home.’ I got off stage, went to the dressing room, and wrote almost the whole song—in the moment, inspired by the strength of the band that I experienced on stage that night.”

Bringing the process full circle, Price adds, “When we heard Joe’s first mix of that song, I stood up and said, ‘I can’t believe we made this in a garage!’”

—Michael Hill


Jalen N'Gonda

official band site »

Born in Maryland, USA, Jalen N'Gonda chose the city of Liverpool as the place in which he would flourish as a musician. It was at the age of 11 he began getting into music, inspired by his father's collection of jazz, hip-hop, soul and classical records. Since moving to Liverpool in 2014 Jalen has been playing gigs across the UK and beyond. Two years later Jalen is selling out headline shows in London and Geneva, is breaking into the Viral Charts with his debut single and is supporting touring act such as Laura Mvula, Martha Reeves and Lauryn Hill at the Montreal Jazz Festival. With his tender soulful voice and bluesy arrangements, Jalen will leave you no choice but to be drawn into his world.


 
Papadosio
LITZ | @9:30 club | view more info »
Nov
10

Papadosio

LITZ


Saturday Nov 10|doors 10:30 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Papadosio

official band site »

FALLING SOMEWHERE BETWEEN ROCK, JAZZ AND ELECTRONIC MAYHEM WE FIND SPACE ROCK. PAPADOSIO STRIVES TO CREATE MUSIC THAT IS STRANGELY FAMILIAR, AND CALLS ALL WALKS OF HUMANITY TO BASK IN A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE CELEBRATING THE ONE CONSTANT IN AN EVER CHANGING WORLD: MUSIC.


LITZ

official band site »

LITZ brings together a wide array of musical influences ranging from funk, jam, go-go, soul, electronica and just about everywhere inbetween to amalgamate a new sound for the ears of the world. Their sound strides to sonically transport it's listeners to another planet free of the stress, struggles, and tribulations of modern day life through the use of funky horn riffs, wah-wah keys, pounding bass, driving/progressive rhythms and melt your face guitar.


 
Orgone
@Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Nov
10

Orgone



Saturday Nov 10|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Orgone

official band site »

Org?ne (Or-g?ne). Noun. 1. A universal life force. 2. A cosmic unit of energy, the creative force in nature. 3. A soul music juggernaut with 8 heads and one heart.

Now and always, Org?ne delivers dirty, organic, California soul with heart? music that grabs you by the collar, pulls you to your feet and shoves you wantingly onto the dance floor. It all started with two kids from the San Fernando Valley, whose shared affinity for gritty soul records of the 60s and 70s collided with the colorful music cultures brewing in Los Angeles during the late 90s. That friendship sparked a movement, and Org?ne has been delivering nothing but gold to the funk faithful ever since.

“We intend our music to have an inhibition-canceling effect,” founding guitarist Sergio Rios explains. “It speaks to those who may have wallflower tendencies encouraging everyone to own the freakiness that lives inside them, and enjoy the spotlight for a little while. Sometimes it takes a nudge to let go and get on the dance floor. And sometimes it takes a big 'ol push... a love shove, if you will. And we're well versed in those."

Fearless vocalist Adryon de León elevates the octets soulfulness to intoxicating new levels on Orgone's latest studio album, Beyond The Sun. Dubbed "stank face inducing glory" by Okayplayer, the record is a lightning rod of inspiration for a new generation of funk music lovers. Orgone’s upcoming studio release, Reasons, featuring Adryon de León, drops the this fall.



 
The Travelin' McCourys
The Dirty Grass Players | @The Hamilton | view more info »
Nov
16

The Travelin' McCourys

The Dirty Grass Players


Friday Nov 16|doors 6:30 pm|18+
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


The Travelin' McCourys

official band site »

The Travelin’ McCourys do not stand still. They are on the road—and online—entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres. It’s always different, always exciting, and always great music.

No other band today has the same credentials for playing traditional and progressive music. As the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo continue their father’s work—a lifelong dedication to the power of bluegrass music to bring joy into people’s lives. And with fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram, the ensemble is loved and respected by the bluegrass faithful. But the band is now combining their sound with others to make something fresh and rejuvenating.

They recently played with the Allman Brothers at Wanee Fest and then brought the house down at Warren Haynes’ Annual Christmas Jam, an invitation only Southern Rock homecoming. Their jam with the Lee Boys was hailed by many as the highlight of the evening, and once word of the live video hit the streets, sent new fans online to watch a supercharged combination of sacred steel, R&B, and bluegrass. They’ve also performed with Warren Haynes, Phish, and have a tour scheduled with the aforementioned Lee Boys. Ronnie McCoury described it as “peanut butter and jelly.” It was just right.

They can push forward so far because their roots are so deep. The band has a confidence that only comes with having paid their dues with twenty years on the bluegrass road. Other groups and new fans hear this immediately—the tight rhythm, the soulful material, and the confidence in taking bluegrass from the safety of the shore into uncharted waters.

Ronnie says, “We like to go in and play traditional bluegrass music the way we do it with Dad, but we also like to be able to step into situations where we can really stretch out. If we need to plug in, we’ll plug in. We’re open to anything.”

It’s that attitude, backed up by talent, that marks great musicians, traditional or progressive. The Travelin’ McCourys are twenty-first century musical pilgrims and adventurers. They’re onto something new, just like Bill Monroe was in the 1940s, but now we can see and hear that adventure live or online. Go see them, or—if you hold still long enough—they’ll come to you.


The Dirty Grass Players

official band site »

The Dirty Grass Players are an up and coming band with their own spin on bluegrass. They use traditional style vocal harmonies and mix it with a jammy improvisational feel to keep listeners on their toes. They have been playing regionally in Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Coming from areas all around Baltimore, each player brings a different set of influence to the table. Alex Berman: banjo/vocals, Ben Kolakowski: guitar/vocals, Alex Tocco: fiddle/vocals, Ryan Rogers: mandolin, Colin Rappa: bass fiddle

Ben, Ryan and Colin and their friend Steve Gallagher had started playing bluegrass together in early 2015. By summer Steve was planning on moving to Nashville and Ben had met Tocco and Berman at Dear Jerry (tribute to Jerry Garcia) and invited them to jam. Once they joined the band, they really began to shape the sound. You can hear influences of traditional bluegrass like Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Del McCoury band, as well as some heavier newgrass like Tony Rice, Infamous String Dusters, and Travelin McCourys. We also have some music that includes jazz style improvisation as well as some group improvisation similar to the Grateful Dead or Railroad Earth.

As they start to play more, their versatility shows in their original compositions and by playing tributes ranging from Old and in the Way to Iron Maiden to James Brown.


 
Tea Leaf Green
@Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Nov
18

Tea Leaf Green



Sunday Nov 18|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Tea Leaf Green

official band site »

San Francisco's Tea Leaf Green are newfangled Lost Boys, a traveling gang dedicated to seeking wisdom and experience in places both glorious and seedy. In many ways, this quartet is the essence of rock's adventurous, playfully outlaw spirit, all of which ultimately fuels songs that resonate with classic vibrations, open-ended possibilities and radio-ready charm. TLG are bruised romantics with heavy minds and a lighthearted way with experimentation, as likely to jam out a number as they are to nail a primo verse-verse-chorus pop gem.



 
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
lespecial | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Nov
23

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

lespecial


Friday Nov 23|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

official band site »

“We pour every ounce of ourselves into every note when we perform live,” says Pigeons Playing Ping Pong singer/guitarist Greg Ormont. “When we’re recording in the studio, we try to maintain that euphoria while finding a way to pack it into a tight, focused vessel. Each song becomes like a spring-loaded can of worms: there’s all this energy boxed up in a neat little package, and then when you come see us live, the cap comes off and the contents fly out in every direction like fireworks.”

It’s a whimsically apt metaphor for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, a band whose very existence is rooted in the unyielding quest for joy and positive energy. Blending infectious funk grooves, psychedelic jams, and experimental electronics, the Baltimore four-piece’s new album, ‘Pizazz,’ is a buoyant, blissful reminder of just how much fun music can be. Eschewing the traditional funk band lineup that typically includes keyboards, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong constructs effervescent soundscapes with just two guitars, bass, and drums, crafting their music with a sophisticated ear for both open space and dense layering.

While ‘Pizazz’ is, in many ways, a familiar continuation of the journey that’s earned the band its rapidly expanding and rabidly devoted following (known as The Flock), it also marks the beginning of a new chapter for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. The album’s eleven tracks are the group’s first recorded with new drummer Alex Petropulos, whose airtight grooves and explosive power push the band’s sound to new heights.

“We’ve had some of these songs in our live catalog for a while,” says Ormont, “but playing them with Alex has breathed new life into everything. His style and energy have revealed nooks and crannies that we didn’t even realize existed in the tracks. All music boils down to having a good drummer, especially in our dance-oriented jam world, and we’ve got the best drummer I’ve ever heard right now.”

It’s a bold claim, but Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has the live show to back it up. Glide Magazine called them “a band that melts faces and pulls no punches,” while C-Ville Weekly praised the growing “cult around [their] high-energy music, goofy stage antics, and all around good vibes,” and JamBase raved that guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Schon is “destined to become one of our generation’s finest guitarists.” Since the group’s inception nearly a decade ago at the University of Maryland (where the band’s name came to Ormont and Schon during a moment of transcendence in Psych 100), they’ve built up a reputation as one of the most engaging and life-affirming acts on the road, maintaining a relentless tour schedule that has them performing up to 200 shows a year and hitting festivals from coast to coast. The band even founded their own gathering, Domefest, which recently celebrated its eighth year and attracted nearly 2,000 members of The Flock for an immersive weekend of love, music, and community.

“It’s really important that our live show puts out as much energy as possible and promotes lightheartedness and positivity,” says Schon. “All that matters in the moment at a concert is what’s going on onstage and in the room around you, and we try to put on a show where people can really lose themselves in those moments and use our music as an outlet to feel good.”

The band chased those same ideals when they headed into producer Steve Wright’s WrightWay Studios in Baltimore to record ‘Pizazz,’ the follow-up to their 2016 fan-favorite ‘Pleasure.’ Tracking live on the floor, the foursome channeled all the rapture of their live shows into tight, crisp packages. Songs that may unfold onstage over the course of 20 minutes were reimagined for the studio, where they’d need to reach the same frenzied, emotional heights, in less than half that time.

“I think this album really shows attention to detail when it comes to choosing our moments and the way we’ve been able to make parts more concise without losing their natural feel,” says Ormont. “Having a strong drummer is a big part of that. Alex is able to convey so much feeling and bring us to those peaks and valleys really quickly and efficiently when we need him to.”

‘Pizazz’ opens up with the bouncing, carefree “Fun In Funk,” which finds the band proclaiming, “We put the fun in funk” over wah-wah guitars and an infectious rhythm section driven both by Petropulos’s drums and Ben Carrey’s fat, slinky bass lines.

“Funk is very fun, upbeat, happy music to begin with,” says Ormont. “It’s our mission to put that fun into everything we do."

It’s a mission that Pigeons Playing Ping Pong was born for. The visceral sense of joy in their music acts as a sort of glue here, binding the band’s wildly versatile sounds into a cohesive and distinctive whole on the album. On “Somethin For Ya,” they channel 70’s disco and pair it with a wicked prog-rock solo, while tracks like “Offshoot” and “Too Long” embrace the group’s darker, more bass-and-electronics-influenced dance side. “Poseidon” and frequent show-closer “Ocean Flows,” on the other hand, showcase Pigeons’ bright, sparkling, melodic soul, as ‘Pizazz’ rises and falls with the same inimitable mix of precision and frenzy that defines the band’s one-of-a-kind live show.

Each Pigeon is a virtuosic musician and improviser in his own right, and the band’s songs are frequently born out of impromptu grooves and riffs. The swirling, trippy “Porcupine,” which clocks in at nearly eight minutes in all its jamming glory, taps into the uninhibited, open-ended nature of the band’s rehearsal sessions, while the driving “Henrietta” grew out of one of Schon’s soundcheck guitar loops. The island vibes of “Fox and Toad” are pure stream of consciousness written in the car after band practice, and “Doc” is a gritty, horn-fueled sing-along inspired by a Baltimore legend.

“There’s a homeless man named Doc who would always spend his time outside of the 8x10 club in Federal Hill, where we learned to push our limits as a band,” says Ormont. “Doc always supported us. Even though he was sleeping under a bridge, he’d always ask you how you were doing. We really wanted to commemorate his toughness and positivity.”

It’s difficult to think of a more fitting match for a band like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, who radiate positivity wherever they go. Whether it’s Doc or The Flock, the band wants to elevate each and every member of their audience to the kind of blissful place that only the most ecstatic live music can take you. It’s a place filled with beauty and light, joy and power, love and community, all delivered with a heaping dose of pizazz.


lespecial

official band site »

lespecial carves their own path in contemporary rock music with the release of their second album, cheen, on October 31, 2017. Pole vaulting over traditional genres, cheen is a snapshot of a band finding a remarkable creative stride, fearless in their pursuit of a synthesis of the diverse musical idioms that have inspired them as listeners and artists.


 
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers | @Rams Head Live | view more info »
Nov
24

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers


Saturday Nov 24|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Rams Head Live|get directions »
20 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-1131


Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

official band site »

“We pour every ounce of ourselves into every note when we perform live,” says Pigeons Playing Ping Pong singer/guitarist Greg Ormont. “When we’re recording in the studio, we try to maintain that euphoria while finding a way to pack it into a tight, focused vessel. Each song becomes like a spring-loaded can of worms: there’s all this energy boxed up in a neat little package, and then when you come see us live, the cap comes off and the contents fly out in every direction like fireworks.”

It’s a whimsically apt metaphor for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, a band whose very existence is rooted in the unyielding quest for joy and positive energy. Blending infectious funk grooves, psychedelic jams, and experimental electronics, the Baltimore four-piece’s new album, ‘Pizazz,’ is a buoyant, blissful reminder of just how much fun music can be. Eschewing the traditional funk band lineup that typically includes keyboards, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong constructs effervescent soundscapes with just two guitars, bass, and drums, crafting their music with a sophisticated ear for both open space and dense layering.

While ‘Pizazz’ is, in many ways, a familiar continuation of the journey that’s earned the band its rapidly expanding and rabidly devoted following (known as The Flock), it also marks the beginning of a new chapter for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. The album’s eleven tracks are the group’s first recorded with new drummer Alex Petropulos, whose airtight grooves and explosive power push the band’s sound to new heights.

“We’ve had some of these songs in our live catalog for a while,” says Ormont, “but playing them with Alex has breathed new life into everything. His style and energy have revealed nooks and crannies that we didn’t even realize existed in the tracks. All music boils down to having a good drummer, especially in our dance-oriented jam world, and we’ve got the best drummer I’ve ever heard right now.”

It’s a bold claim, but Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has the live show to back it up. Glide Magazine called them “a band that melts faces and pulls no punches,” while C-Ville Weekly praised the growing “cult around [their] high-energy music, goofy stage antics, and all around good vibes,” and JamBase raved that guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Schon is “destined to become one of our generation’s finest guitarists.” Since the group’s inception nearly a decade ago at the University of Maryland (where the band’s name came to Ormont and Schon during a moment of transcendence in Psych 100), they’ve built up a reputation as one of the most engaging and life-affirming acts on the road, maintaining a relentless tour schedule that has them performing up to 200 shows a year and hitting festivals from coast to coast. The band even founded their own gathering, Domefest, which recently celebrated its eighth year and attracted nearly 2,000 members of The Flock for an immersive weekend of love, music, and community.

“It’s really important that our live show puts out as much energy as possible and promotes lightheartedness and positivity,” says Schon. “All that matters in the moment at a concert is what’s going on onstage and in the room around you, and we try to put on a show where people can really lose themselves in those moments and use our music as an outlet to feel good.”

The band chased those same ideals when they headed into producer Steve Wright’s WrightWay Studios in Baltimore to record ‘Pizazz,’ the follow-up to their 2016 fan-favorite ‘Pleasure.’ Tracking live on the floor, the foursome channeled all the rapture of their live shows into tight, crisp packages. Songs that may unfold onstage over the course of 20 minutes were reimagined for the studio, where they’d need to reach the same frenzied, emotional heights, in less than half that time.

“I think this album really shows attention to detail when it comes to choosing our moments and the way we’ve been able to make parts more concise without losing their natural feel,” says Ormont. “Having a strong drummer is a big part of that. Alex is able to convey so much feeling and bring us to those peaks and valleys really quickly and efficiently when we need him to.”

‘Pizazz’ opens up with the bouncing, carefree “Fun In Funk,” which finds the band proclaiming, “We put the fun in funk” over wah-wah guitars and an infectious rhythm section driven both by Petropulos’s drums and Ben Carrey’s fat, slinky bass lines.

“Funk is very fun, upbeat, happy music to begin with,” says Ormont. “It’s our mission to put that fun into everything we do."

It’s a mission that Pigeons Playing Ping Pong was born for. The visceral sense of joy in their music acts as a sort of glue here, binding the band’s wildly versatile sounds into a cohesive and distinctive whole on the album. On “Somethin For Ya,” they channel 70’s disco and pair it with a wicked prog-rock solo, while tracks like “Offshoot” and “Too Long” embrace the group’s darker, more bass-and-electronics-influenced dance side. “Poseidon” and frequent show-closer “Ocean Flows,” on the other hand, showcase Pigeons’ bright, sparkling, melodic soul, as ‘Pizazz’ rises and falls with the same inimitable mix of precision and frenzy that defines the band’s one-of-a-kind live show.

Each Pigeon is a virtuosic musician and improviser in his own right, and the band’s songs are frequently born out of impromptu grooves and riffs. The swirling, trippy “Porcupine,” which clocks in at nearly eight minutes in all its jamming glory, taps into the uninhibited, open-ended nature of the band’s rehearsal sessions, while the driving “Henrietta” grew out of one of Schon’s soundcheck guitar loops. The island vibes of “Fox and Toad” are pure stream of consciousness written in the car after band practice, and “Doc” is a gritty, horn-fueled sing-along inspired by a Baltimore legend.

“There’s a homeless man named Doc who would always spend his time outside of the 8x10 club in Federal Hill, where we learned to push our limits as a band,” says Ormont. “Doc always supported us. Even though he was sleeping under a bridge, he’d always ask you how you were doing. We really wanted to commemorate his toughness and positivity.”

It’s difficult to think of a more fitting match for a band like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, who radiate positivity wherever they go. Whether it’s Doc or The Flock, the band wants to elevate each and every member of their audience to the kind of blissful place that only the most ecstatic live music can take you. It’s a place filled with beauty and light, joy and power, love and community, all delivered with a heaping dose of pizazz.


Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers

official band site »

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers will make a sprightly young groove doctor out of anyone. With spectacular energy pulsating from every member of the band, the Rainbow Seekers could illuminate the very chambers of Heaven. Lead singer Joe Hertler splashes through lyrical puddles of golden rain, leaving his audience wearing flowery crowns and bubbling smiles. A ride on the Rainbow will take you across the mountains of Motown, through the fjords of folk, over the archipelagos of Americana, and—at last—into a funky firth, where only the fiercest of friendships can be found.


 
Ghost Light
Holly Bowling, Tom Hamilton, Raina Mullen, Steve Lyons, Scott Zwang | @The Hamilton | view more info »
Nov
24

Ghost Light

Holly Bowling, Tom Hamilton, Raina Mullen, Steve Lyons, Scott Zwang


Saturday Nov 24|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Ghost Light


Holly Bowling, Tom Hamilton, Raina Mullen, Steve Lyons, Scott Zwang

official band site »

Ghost Light is a true musical collaboration; five personalities, five perspectives, and five unique approaches towards one common sound.

Foregoing current traditions, rather than initially focusing on live shows, the band played together for the first time in a recording studio in Philadelphia. This decision gave the band’s members - Holly Bowling, Tom Hamilton, Steve Lyons, Raina Mullen and Scotty Zwang - the ability to come to the project with fresh ears and no pre-conceived notions. They developed the songs as they developed their musical communication which led to trust, creativity and an adventurous take on the process. Scotty Zwang explained it thusly, “It’s a unique and interesting approach we get to take...” “we are being patient with each other and figuring out what the song needs”

While the recording project has been the beginning point for Ghost Light, the live experience is what will define this band. “In the parts of the sessions where we have had a little more room to just let things go, there have been these little glimmers of what the improvisation will feel like live. That’s a whole other thing and it’s very exciting,” notes Holly Bowling. Tom Hamilton adds, “with this new band, we felt super comfortable going in any direction, knowing that with our new bandmates, the songs will get to where they needs to go. And in the live setting, that confidence is just as strong.”

The first half of 2018 will see the band playing major venues in major markets coast to coast, followed by heavy rotation on the festival circuit. The debut record will be released in the second half of the year and will be supported by an extensive tour. In 2018 you will get to know Ghost Light, and the future could not be brighter.


 
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
@9:30 club | view more info »
Nov
29

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds



Thursday Nov 29|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

official band site »

For nearly two decades, the Catskill Mountains hid rock ‘n’ roll’s best kept secret. Then one day, singer and songwriter Arleigh Kincheloe said goodbye to her hometown hideaway and moved to New York City to start the hard soul collective, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds.
“Our music is loud, fun, and it’s supposed to make you feel good,” she declares. “That’s the goal.”

In the years since, the group has performed more than 700 shows and made their national TV debut on NBC’s Today Show. They’ve released three full-length studio albums, including their most recent studio pass, the acclaimed The Weather Below.

“They may be from Brooklyn, but the fiery brass- and gospel-infused funk emanating from Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds is rooted in Memphis soul,” writes the LA Times. “Their rhythmic wheelhouse combines big-city grit and down-home sweetness with a little bit of Americana twang.”

The band has shared the stage with Gov’t Mule, Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, The Avett Brothers, and Galactic and has turned audiences into believers through appearances on the festival circuit at Bonnaroo, Firefly, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Bottle Rock, Forecastle and others.

Ultimately, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds stand poised to shake up rock ‘n’ roll all around the world. “This all stems back to why I loved performing and singing to begin with,” Arleigh leaves off. “I want to make crowds happy and see them smile and dance. Singing brings me so much joy. I hope our music does the same for everyone.”



 
Agents of Good Roots
Under New Ownership | @The 8x10 | view more info »
Nov
30

Agents of Good Roots

Under New Ownership


Friday Nov 30|doors 7:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Agents of Good Roots

official band site »

Founded in 1993 in Richmond, Virginia, Agents of Good Roots toured the United States from 1995 through 2001. Since then, band members have found success in music performance, the recording industry, academia, and medicine. In October 2017, they reunited for a memorial show for their tour manager and spiritual advisor, Jeff Peskin. Several dates are planned for 2018 including a return to cities last played in the 1990s.


Under New Ownership


 
Dark Star Orchestra
RECREATING A CLASSIC DC AREA SHOW | @The Anthem | view more info »
Dec
1

Dark Star Orchestra

RECREATING A CLASSIC DC AREA SHOW


Saturday Dec 1|doors 6:00 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Dark Star Orchestra


RECREATING A CLASSIC DC AREA SHOW

official band site »

Performing to critical acclaim celebrating their 20th anniversary year in 2017 and over 2600 shows, Dark Star Orchestra continues the Grateful Dead concert experience. Their shows are built off the Dead’s extensive catalog and the talent of these seven fine musicians. On any given night, the band will perform a show based on a set list from the Grateful Dead's 30 years of extensive touring or use their catalog to program a unique set list for the show. This allows fans both young and old to share in the experience. By recreating set lists from the past, and by developing their own sets of Dead songs, Dark Star Orchestra offers a continually evolving artistic outlet within this musical canon. Honoring both the band and the fans, Dark Star Orchestra’s members seek out the unique style and sound of each era while simultaneously offering their own informed improvisations.

Dark Star Orchestra offers much more than the sound of the Grateful Dead, they truly encapsulate the energy and the experience. It's about a sense of familiarity. It's about a feeling that grabs listeners and takes over. It's about that contagious energy... in short, it's about the complete experience and consistent quality show that the fan receives when attending a Dark Star Orchestra show.

Dark Star Orchestra has performed throughout the entire United States, plus Europe & the Caribbean touching down in seven different countries. DSO continues to grow its fan base by playing at larger venues for two and even three night stands as well as performing at major music festivals including Bonnaroo, Milwaukee’s SummerFest, The Peach Music Festival, All Good Festival, Gathering of the Vibes, Mountain Jam, and many more.

In addition to appearing at some of the nation’s top festival, Dark Star Orchestra hosts its own annual music festival and campaign gathering, titled the ‘Dark Star Jubilee’, currently in its sixth year where DSO headline all three nights and are joined by a mix of established and up and coming national touring acts. Beyond the shores of the United States, DSO has taken its internationally-acclaimed Grateful Dead tribute to the beaches of Jamaica in the dead of winter for the past five years, with their event appropriately titled ‘Jam in the Sand’. Featuring an ocean-side stage, DSO sets up camp to perform shows for four nights along the tropical sands of an all-inclusive resort, selling out the event each year for hundreds of lucky attendees.

Fans and critics haven’t been the only people caught up in the spirit of a Dark Star show. The band has featured guest performances from six original Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Donna Jean Godchaux- MacKay, Vince Welnick, Tom Constanten and even toured with longtime Dead soundman, Dan Healy. Other notable guests have included Mike Gordon and Jon Fishman of Phish, Keller Williams, Warren Haynes, Steve Kimock, Peter Rowan, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and many more.

"For us it's a chance to recreate some of the magic that was created for us over the years," rhythm guitarist and vocalist Rob Eaton explains. "We offer a sort of a historical perspective at what it might have been like to go to a show in 1985, 1978 or whenever. Even for Deadheads who can say they've been to a hundred shows in the 90s, we offer something they never got to see live."


 
Marcus King Band
Ida Mae | @9:30 club | view more info »
Dec
6

Marcus King Band

Ida Mae


Thursday Dec 6|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Marcus King Band

official band site »

Songwriter. Guitarist. Singer. Bandleader. At only 20 years of age, Marcus King’s dazzling musical ability is evident throughout The Marcus King Band, the young phenom’s 2 nd full-length LP and first for Fantasy Records. Operating within the fiery brand of American roots music that King calls "soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock," the album highlights King’s gorgeous, rough-hewn vocals, soaring guitar work and heartfelt songwriting all amidst a group of masterful musicians who, together, are quickly becoming one of the country’s most sought after live acts.

Raised in Greenville, South Carolina, King was brought up on the blues, playing shows as a pre-teen sideman with his father—bluesman Marvin King, who himself was the son of a regionally-known guitarist—before striking out on his own. Going beyond the sonic textures of his acclaimed 2015 debut album, Soul Insight; The Marcus King Band broadens his sound, touching upon everything from funky R&B to Southern soul and Americana in the process. His band gets in on the action too, stacking the songs with blasts of swampy brass, a lock-step rhythm section and swirling organ. Ever the multi-tasker, King bounces between several instruments, handling electric and acoustic guitar — as well as pedal and lap steel — while driving each track home with his soulful, incendiary voice.

Having spent the past year tirelessly playing ever-larger venues and festivals to a burgeoning fan base, The Marcus King Band was written on the road and recorded during a series of live takes at Carriage House Studios in Stamford, CT. The album captures the energy of the band's blazing live show, as well as the talent of a rising young songwriter reaching well beyond his years.

"The majority of our songs are specific to situations I've lived," King explains. "I write as a form of therapy, to release my emotions into a musical expression. I want people to know they're not the only ones going through that pain. Music is the true healer. And when we perform, we want the audience to leave feeling as tired and as emotionally freed as we do. It's all about getting the stress of the day off your chest. It's like therapy."

The Marcus King Band features Jack Ryan on drums and percussion, Stephen Campbell on bass, Matt Jennings on keys and organ, Dean Mitchell on saxophone, and Justin Johnson on trumpet, trombone and backing vocals. Joining the band on the new album are a number of mentors and collaborators, including Derek Trucks (who plays guitar on "Self-Hatred").

No guest plays a bigger role than Warren Haynes, though. A longtime champion of King's songwriting and guitar prowess, Haynes produced every track on The Marcus King Band (and contributed his trademark slide guitar on "Virginia"), expertly capturing the group's live sound for a cohesive collection reflecting the band's expansive explorations.

"Marcus is the first player I’ve heard since Derek Trucks to play with the maturity of a musician well beyond his age," Haynes says. "He’s very much influenced by the blues, but also by jazz, rock, soul music, and any timeless genres of music. You can hear the influences, but it all comes through him in his own unique way. He has one of those voices that instantly draws you in, and his guitar playing is an extension of his voice and vice versa.”

A childhood introvert who leaned heavily on music as a way of expressing himself, King fills The Marcus King Band with a mix of biographical tunes and fictional story songs. "At the time I wrote 'Self-Hatred' says King, "the girl I was seeing really hurt me. Broke my heart, took all of my insecurities and used them against me…she told me she hated herself for what she had said and done to me. I told her I knew exactly how it feels to hate yourself. 'Self-Hatred' is within you and me."

"Devil's Land" is loosely based on his grandfather, who worked on a farm during his younger years, while the story behind the track "Rita Is Gone" was inspired by the television show Dexter. Meanwhile, songs like "Guitar In My Hands" peek into King's personal life — a life filled with highway mile markers, truck stops, and a nightly rotation of stages, all waiting to be filled with the sound of a genre-bending band on the rise.

"This album is a big melting pot of different kinds of music," says King. "It's the sound of everyone taking their own influences and collectively coming together as a group. We're all really hungry to play, and we're so passionate about this music. I want people to feel the same thing we feel — to leave the show feeling some sense of release. It's almost like the show ends, and everyone can take a deep breath together."


Ida Mae

official band site »

It’s quite some transformation from their grunge-blues band Kill It Kid, but former members, and now husband and wife, Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean are opening up a whole new musical world. The duo is now emerging from a period of self-discovery and mutual creative power to create the rawboned and stripped back musical romance that is, Ida Mae.

Ida Mae’s magic lies in the sensuous dovetailing of two voices and the intimacy of their songs. Their chemistry on stage isn’t just a dramatic pose and is a truly captivating sight to behold. Chris' vocals are reminiscent of a Face’s era Rod Stewart or Steve Marriott, while Stephanie combines the delicacy of Patty Griffin with the effortless rock-chic of Alison Mosshart. Singing together, the couple have an unusual ‘which-is- which’ dynamic.

After finding critical acclaim with Kill It Kid, spending years touring various parts of the world, and working closely with legendary A&R man Seymour Stein, Chris and Stephanie felt drawn to a more honest sound, a simpler expression of song where all you need is a guitar and a voice to accompany it. They have just finished recording their debut album with acclaimed producer and friend Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams / Ray Lamontagne / Kings Of Leon / Laura Marling).


 
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Mountain Ride | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Dec
6

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

Mountain Ride


Thursday Dec 6|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

official band site »

After seven years, three albums, innumerable sold out shows, and countless beers, bluegrass mavericks Horseshoes & Hand Grenades appropriately consider themselves a “family” on a wild, wonderful, and often whacky roller coaster. The bond between the quintet—David C. Lynch [harmonica, accordion, spoons, vocals], Collin Mettelka [fiddle, mandolin, vocals], Russell Pedersen [banjo, fiddle, vocals], Adam Greuel [guitar, dobro, vocals], and Samual Odin [bass]—fuels their creativity and chemistry on stage and in the studio.

“Sometimes, it feels like we’re modern day cowboys on some kind of strange journey,” Adam affirms with a laugh. “We’re five friends who set out to do something we enjoy doing, meet interesting people, see old friends, and make some new buddies along the way. Because of that, everything happens organically.”

That’s been the case since these five musicians first met in Stevens Point, WI at college, joined forces, and hit the road post-graduation in 2013. They have ignited stages alongside everyone from Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Trampled By Turtles to Railroad Earth, Merle Haggard, and Marty Stuart in addition to appearances at festivals such as Delfest, High Sierra Music Festival, Blue Ox Music Festival, Northwest String Summit, John Hartford Memorial Festival, and many more. Their three albums—Another Round [2012], This Old Town [2013], and Middle Western [2015]—have spawned fan favorite hits, including “Get Down To It,” “Stuck On Your Mind,” and “Whiskey.”

In many ways, everything set the stage for the 2018 offering, The Ode.

“It marks a point of growth,” explains Adam. “We’ve got the bluegrass burner type tunes we’re known for on there, but we’re experimenting with other elements. Little pieces of everybody are encapsulated in this record. For the first time, we were really conscious of allowing our respective musical curiosities into the fold. Sam drops in a jazz and classical feel. Dave brings that Zydeco, Cajun, and old school blues vibe. Collin turns up with this kinda pop folk energy, and Russell gives us the old-timey banjo feel. For me, I’m trying to play out my singer-songwriter curiosities. There are five songwriters in the band, and we’ve gotten better at harnessing our individual creativity and bringing it to the collective.”

The boys found the perfect place to bottle those signature spirits. They retreated to Cannon Falls, MN in order to live and record at Pachyderm Studios — where Nirvana recorded In Utero — for just a week. Joined by Trampled By Turtles frontman Dave Simonett in the producer’s chair, they tracked the eleven numbers that would comprise The Ode over the course of a marathon session.

“Pachyderm is in the middle of nowhere,” he elaborates. “We’re all outdoorsy people, so the setting was super comfortable. It contributed to the laidback approach. We had this awesome chemistry with Dave. It was by far the easiest recording project we’ve done. The whole experience was super positive and uplifting.”

That feeling courses through the upbeat bluegrass gallop of the first single and title track, “The Ode.” The ebullient and enigmatic anthem serves as something of a mantra for the group, “Sing the ode my friend!”

Elsewhere on the record, bluesy piano resounds through “Eat the Cake,” while rustic banjo reverberates during the anthemic “Foggy Halo.” A clever outlier, “Millennial Girl” veers towards self-aware pop with its sharp lyrics. Meanwhile, “Stay Awhile” redefines the breakup song.

“I was thinking about how you can split up with somebody for various reasons, but still be in love,” he elaborates. “You split up for each other—not because of each other. It’s about the impermanence of relationships and the permanence of love.” Ultimately, the Horseshoes & Hand Grenades family grows stronger by the day. The Ode is proof.

“The best part of this has been building a community,” Adam leaves off. “In this day and age, it’s wise to look for things that bring people together rather than separate them. We’re creating an extended family to get through these times together. That’s the ‘Horseshoe Crew.’ Everything happens because of that bond.”


Mountain Ride

official band site »

In just three years, Mountain Ride evolved from playing traditional bluegrass, to writing, recording, and performing their own original music. Eric Avey (guitar) and Kate Avey (bass) started Mountain Ride as a side project to cure their bluegrass bug. Once Scott Matlock (violin) and Corey Woodcock (banjo) joined the ranks, things started to sync up. When Chance Hurley (mandolin) jumped on board, there was no denying that they had something special. So now, celebrating the release of their third album One Place To Go (October 27, 2017), Mountain Ride is original Pennsylvania bluegrass. Although, the quintet primarily tours the east coast, the Colorado newgrass influence is obvious in their sound. Mountain Ride was honored to be selected as a Grey Fox 2017 Emerging Artist, and even more thrilled to be returning to perform the main stage in 2018. In addition to Grey Fox, they will also be wowing crowds this summer at Del Fest, Charm City Bluegrass, Gettysburg Bluegrass, and Watermelon Park, to name a few. Mountain Ride has had the pleasure of opening for Railroad Earth, Cabinet, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Larry Keel.


 
Billy Strings
@Union Craft Brewing | view more info »
Dec
14

Billy Strings



Friday Dec 14|doors 8:00 pm|21+
Union Craft Brewing|get directions »
1700 West 41st Street
Baltimore, MD


Billy Strings

official band site »

Billy Strings plays hard and he lives hard, picking so fast and intensely that he’s known to break multiple strings per song, and basing the songs he writes on the hard lives he grew up around in the abandoned rural communities of America. His new album, Turmoil & Tinfoil, taps into a deep vein of psychedelia in Americana, referencing everything from the Dead to Sturgill Simpson, but all underlaid by Billy’s undeniable virtuosity and his knowledge of the roots of American music. He’s one of the most beloved young bluegrass guitarists today within the bluegrass community, and his front porch in East Nashville is constantly filled up with Nashville’s best roots musicians just picking up a storm.

The tricky part of making the new album, Turmoil & Tinfoil, was translating Billy Strings’ incendiary live show into the studio. Returning to his home state of Michigan, Billy enlisted acoustic roots wizard Glenn Brown (Greensky Bluegrass) as producer, and centered the music around his new band, featuring Drew Matulich on mandolin with banjo prodigy Billy Failing and much-loved Nashville bassist Brad Tucker. Rich with special guests, Turmoil & Tinfoil shows off Billy’s East Nashville community of picking friends, among them Miss Tess, Molly Tuttle, John Mailander, Shad Cobb and Peter Madcat Ruth. Of special note is a virtuosic duet between Billy and bluegrass guitarist Bryan Sutton on “Salty Sheep” that shows the speed, precision, and creative craftsmanship of bluegrass when it’s done right.

On September 22, 2017 Billy Strings released his first full-length EP "Turmoil & Tinfoil"!



 
Scythian
@The Hamilton | view more info »
Jan
5

Scythian



Saturday Jan 5|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Scythian

official band site »

Named after Ukrainian nomads, Scythian (sith-ee-yin) plays roots music from Celtic, Eastern European and Appalachian traditions with thunderous energy, technical prowess, and storytelling songwriting, beckoning crowds into a barn-dance, rock concert experience. Founded almost a decade ago by two classically trained brothers, Alexander and Danylo Fedoryka, Nashville’s Music City Roots says Scythian is ‘what happens when rock star charisma meets Celtic dervish fiddling’, and the Washington Post dubbed them "DC's most energetic and eclectic band" and said “Scythian’s enthusiasm is contagious, and shows seem to end with everyone dancing, jumping around or hoisting glasses.”



 
The Wood Brothers
Priscilla Renea | @9:30 club | view more info »
Jan
17

The Wood Brothers

Priscilla Renea


Thursday Jan 17|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


The Wood Brothers

official band site »

“It’s the freest album we’ve done, the most independent album we’ve done, and was the most fun we’ve ever had making a record,” says Oliver Wood. “And most importantly, this is the most purely Wood Brothers’ album we’ve ever made.”

Indeed, The Wood Brothers’ sixth outing, ‘One Drop of Truth,’ dives headfirst into a deep wellspring of sounds, styles and influences. Whereas their previous outings have often followed a conceptual and sonic through-line, here the long-standing trio featuring brothers Oliver and Chris Wood along with Jano Rix treat each song as if it were its own short film. The plaintive, country-folk of the album’s opening track “River Takes The Town” gives way to the The Band-esque Americana soul of “Happiness Jones.” The wistful ballad “Strange As It Seems” floats on a cloud of stream of consciousness, standing in stark contrast to “Sky High”—a Saturday night barnburner built upon stinging slide guitar funk. “Seasick Emotions” is rife with turmoil, yet “Sparking Wine” is jaunty and carefree. The end result is undeniably The Wood Brothers’ most dynamic recording to date.

“Often, when you’re making an album in the traditional way, there will be a unifying concept, whether that be in the approach to the music stylistically or lyrically in terms over the overall narrative. And even though there are some themes that revealed themselves later, this one is all over the place,” explains Oliver Wood. “What I really love about this record is that each one of these songs has its own little world. There are diver-se sounds and vibes from one track to the next.”

Building off the success of their previous studio album, 2015’s ‘Paradise,’ which was dubbed “the warmest, most sublime and occasionally rowdiest Wood Brothers release yet,” by American Songwriter, the band found themselves at a fortuitous crossroads. Following a tour with Tedeschi Trucks Band, high profile festival dates and sold out headline shows, the band felt free from the cyclical album release, tour, write, record and do-it-all-over-again pressures of the traditional music business. With all three members living in Nashville affording easy access to each other and a wealth of local independent studios at their disposal, they started work in January of 2017 with a new approach.

“Instead of going into one studio and recording it all at the same time, we picked a couple studios, and started to experiment,” says Chris Wood. “Sometimes we’d just make demos of songs to see if we got anything we liked. There was no pressure, and that really freed us up. We just did one or two songs a day, put it aside, let the songs simmer, and then we’d have a fresh perspective on what was working or not working. You need time to go by to gain objectivity.”

The band extended this approach to the mixing process, sending tracks to four different mixing engineers, each selected based on what the song demanded. Scotty Hard (who’s worked extensively with Medeski Martin & Wood, among others) was recruited for the “edgier, funkier tunes,” “Sky High” and “Happiness Jones.” Mike Poole (who worked on The Wood Brothers album ‘The Muse’) mixed “Sparkling Wine” and “Strange As It Seems.” Their old friend Brandon Belle from Zac Brown’s studio Southern Ground took on “Laughin’ Or Crying.” The remainder of the album was mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Trina Shoemaker, especially sought after by The Wood Brothers for her work with Brandi Carlile.

While the songs on ‘One Drop of Truth’ achieve the goal of standing on their own, a few common themes did, inevitably, emerge. Water—whether in a teardrop, a storm, a river or a libation—was being used as a metaphor in the search for truth and happiness. Chris Wood’s “Seasick Emotion,” one of two songs he sings on the collection serves as a prime example: “All the blue sky is gone / How can I get out of bed / This hurricane in my head / I’m just a boat in a storm / How can I know where to go / When everything that I know / Is already lost in the wind.”

“That one was written last fall during a hurricane, while at the same time the election was coming up, and there was all this crazy energy in the world,” Chris reveals. “I definitely got swept away emotionally by everything that was going on.”

Album opener, “River Takes the Town,” takes on both figurative and literal meaning. It was completed just as a series of hurricanes were decimating parts of the U.S.: “It's been a few days since I heard any word from you / and I don't sleep easy, I don't sleep easy / and the rain keeps comin’, the rain keeps comin’ / nothin's ever for certain / 'til the levee breaks down / the water comes in and the river / the river takes the town.”

“I remember hearing a news story about a flood in Shreveport, and I wrote the line ‘I hope the levee in Shreveport does what it's supposed to do,’” explains Oliver. “I was writing literally, at first, about how scary it must be when people lose power and communication with those they love. But then the lyrics became a metaphor for something more interpersonal. And by the end of this summer, it seemed to take on new meaning yet again.”

Though emotional struggle is a recurring thread, so is the comforting truth of how much wisdom comes from the hard times. The song “Happiness Jones”, was based on a news article Oliver read about how our society is addicted to happiness, antidepressants, and the distorted “happy” reality social media can depict. As a result, people feel like it’s unnatural to be sad, yet. sadness can be a gift: “All of my wisdom came from all the toughest days / I never learned a thing bein’ happy / all of my sufferin’ came / I didn’t appreciate it / I never learned a thing being happy.”

While the majority of ‘One Drop of Truth’ was written and recorded as a group, the standout track “Strange As It Seems,” described by Chris as, “a classic Oliver song,” was an exception.

“I had recorded it a couple months before Chris and Jano added their parts, so I was excited to see what they would do with it. We talked a lot about it having a dreamlike quality to it. Chris has all these cool sound effects that he can make with the bowed bass, and then Jano played the melodica and the piano on it, and they added exactly the atmosphere that it needed,” explains Oliver. “Conceptually, I almost think of it like a Tim Burton movie, where you go to sleep, and you go into this dream world, to meet your lover, but you do so with purpose. You bring your wallet, you get dressed up, you’re going on a date. The idea being, that you rendezvous in the dream. One of my favorite things about any song is ambiguity, leaving it open to interpretation. Maybe the man and woman in this song are already married, and they’re on separate sides of the bed, and they’re disconnected, so they’re hoping to find a better version of a partner in their dreams. Or, maybe they are two lonely people, in separate places, finding each other in this dreamworld. But at the end of the song, the guy wakes up, and he goes down to the kitchen, and he’s with his wife and it’s a beautiful thing, and they dance in the light. So perhaps there’s also an element of hope, whether they’re lonely, or they’re disconnected, there’s still a connection there, sometimes you have to go to that other level to realize it.”

Fittingly titled, ‘One Drop of Truth,’ the latest entry in The Wood Brothers evolution finds three musicians being true to themselves. At a point in their career where most artists would be looking to strategically position themselves for even greater commercial success, they instead turned to artistic expression in service of the muse. In chaotic times when honesty is in short supply and ulterior motives seem to always be at play, The Wood Brothers put faith in themselves and ultimately their audience by writing and recording a collection of songs that is honest and pure. As they sing on the album’s title track: “Rather die hungry / than feasting on lies / Give me one drop of truth / I cannot deny.”


Priscilla Renea

official band site »

Priscilla Renea is an artist and songwriter born in Florida and based in Los Angeles. Priscilla is best known for penning hit records for pop artists including Kelly Clarkson’s 2018 Grammy Nominated single “Love So Soft,” Rihanna’s “California King Bed,” Kesha’s “Timber,” Fifth Harmony’s “Worth It,” and Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood’s “Something’ Bad.” Priscilla is now embarking on the next leg of her career - releasing her debut album Coloured. Coloured is a genre blending album that incorporates elements of pop, R&B, and country music with soulful undertones. She traveled back and forth between Nashville and Los Angeles to create Coloured, collaborating both with country’s top songwriters (Ashley Gorley, Kevin Kadish) and hip-hop’s top producers (Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Sauce, Theron Feemster). Coloured, which Renea describes as “a big gumbo of everything that’s happening in my life,” showcases her powerhouse voice and engaging story-telling on such classic urban-soul ballads as “Heavenly,” “If I Ever Loved You,” and “Let’s Build A House” (the latter two Renea co-wrote with Nashville A-lister Ashley Gorley), as well as rule-breaking country-inspired tunes like the autobiographical “Family Tree,” “Jonjo,” and “Gentle Hands.”


 
The Wood Brothers
Priscilla Renea | @9:30 club | view more info »
Jan
18

The Wood Brothers

Priscilla Renea


Friday Jan 18|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


The Wood Brothers

official band site »

“It’s the freest album we’ve done, the most independent album we’ve done, and was the most fun we’ve ever had making a record,” says Oliver Wood. “And most importantly, this is the most purely Wood Brothers’ album we’ve ever made.”

Indeed, The Wood Brothers’ sixth outing, ‘One Drop of Truth,’ dives headfirst into a deep wellspring of sounds, styles and influences. Whereas their previous outings have often followed a conceptual and sonic through-line, here the long-standing trio featuring brothers Oliver and Chris Wood along with Jano Rix treat each song as if it were its own short film. The plaintive, country-folk of the album’s opening track “River Takes The Town” gives way to the The Band-esque Americana soul of “Happiness Jones.” The wistful ballad “Strange As It Seems” floats on a cloud of stream of consciousness, standing in stark contrast to “Sky High”—a Saturday night barnburner built upon stinging slide guitar funk. “Seasick Emotions” is rife with turmoil, yet “Sparking Wine” is jaunty and carefree. The end result is undeniably The Wood Brothers’ most dynamic recording to date.

“Often, when you’re making an album in the traditional way, there will be a unifying concept, whether that be in the approach to the music stylistically or lyrically in terms over the overall narrative. And even though there are some themes that revealed themselves later, this one is all over the place,” explains Oliver Wood. “What I really love about this record is that each one of these songs has its own little world. There are diver-se sounds and vibes from one track to the next.”

Building off the success of their previous studio album, 2015’s ‘Paradise,’ which was dubbed “the warmest, most sublime and occasionally rowdiest Wood Brothers release yet,” by American Songwriter, the band found themselves at a fortuitous crossroads. Following a tour with Tedeschi Trucks Band, high profile festival dates and sold out headline shows, the band felt free from the cyclical album release, tour, write, record and do-it-all-over-again pressures of the traditional music business. With all three members living in Nashville affording easy access to each other and a wealth of local independent studios at their disposal, they started work in January of 2017 with a new approach.

“Instead of going into one studio and recording it all at the same time, we picked a couple studios, and started to experiment,” says Chris Wood. “Sometimes we’d just make demos of songs to see if we got anything we liked. There was no pressure, and that really freed us up. We just did one or two songs a day, put it aside, let the songs simmer, and then we’d have a fresh perspective on what was working or not working. You need time to go by to gain objectivity.”

The band extended this approach to the mixing process, sending tracks to four different mixing engineers, each selected based on what the song demanded. Scotty Hard (who’s worked extensively with Medeski Martin & Wood, among others) was recruited for the “edgier, funkier tunes,” “Sky High” and “Happiness Jones.” Mike Poole (who worked on The Wood Brothers album ‘The Muse’) mixed “Sparkling Wine” and “Strange As It Seems.” Their old friend Brandon Belle from Zac Brown’s studio Southern Ground took on “Laughin’ Or Crying.” The remainder of the album was mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Trina Shoemaker, especially sought after by The Wood Brothers for her work with Brandi Carlile.

While the songs on ‘One Drop of Truth’ achieve the goal of standing on their own, a few common themes did, inevitably, emerge. Water—whether in a teardrop, a storm, a river or a libation—was being used as a metaphor in the search for truth and happiness. Chris Wood’s “Seasick Emotion,” one of two songs he sings on the collection serves as a prime example: “All the blue sky is gone / How can I get out of bed / This hurricane in my head / I’m just a boat in a storm / How can I know where to go / When everything that I know / Is already lost in the wind.”

“That one was written last fall during a hurricane, while at the same time the election was coming up, and there was all this crazy energy in the world,” Chris reveals. “I definitely got swept away emotionally by everything that was going on.”

Album opener, “River Takes the Town,” takes on both figurative and literal meaning. It was completed just as a series of hurricanes were decimating parts of the U.S.: “It's been a few days since I heard any word from you / and I don't sleep easy, I don't sleep easy / and the rain keeps comin’, the rain keeps comin’ / nothin's ever for certain / 'til the levee breaks down / the water comes in and the river / the river takes the town.”

“I remember hearing a news story about a flood in Shreveport, and I wrote the line ‘I hope the levee in Shreveport does what it's supposed to do,’” explains Oliver. “I was writing literally, at first, about how scary it must be when people lose power and communication with those they love. But then the lyrics became a metaphor for something more interpersonal. And by the end of this summer, it seemed to take on new meaning yet again.”

Though emotional struggle is a recurring thread, so is the comforting truth of how much wisdom comes from the hard times. The song “Happiness Jones”, was based on a news article Oliver read about how our society is addicted to happiness, antidepressants, and the distorted “happy” reality social media can depict. As a result, people feel like it’s unnatural to be sad, yet. sadness can be a gift: “All of my wisdom came from all the toughest days / I never learned a thing bein’ happy / all of my sufferin’ came / I didn’t appreciate it / I never learned a thing being happy.”

While the majority of ‘One Drop of Truth’ was written and recorded as a group, the standout track “Strange As It Seems,” described by Chris as, “a classic Oliver song,” was an exception.

“I had recorded it a couple months before Chris and Jano added their parts, so I was excited to see what they would do with it. We talked a lot about it having a dreamlike quality to it. Chris has all these cool sound effects that he can make with the bowed bass, and then Jano played the melodica and the piano on it, and they added exactly the atmosphere that it needed,” explains Oliver. “Conceptually, I almost think of it like a Tim Burton movie, where you go to sleep, and you go into this dream world, to meet your lover, but you do so with purpose. You bring your wallet, you get dressed up, you’re going on a date. The idea being, that you rendezvous in the dream. One of my favorite things about any song is ambiguity, leaving it open to interpretation. Maybe the man and woman in this song are already married, and they’re on separate sides of the bed, and they’re disconnected, so they’re hoping to find a better version of a partner in their dreams. Or, maybe they are two lonely people, in separate places, finding each other in this dreamworld. But at the end of the song, the guy wakes up, and he goes down to the kitchen, and he’s with his wife and it’s a beautiful thing, and they dance in the light. So perhaps there’s also an element of hope, whether they’re lonely, or they’re disconnected, there’s still a connection there, sometimes you have to go to that other level to realize it.”

Fittingly titled, ‘One Drop of Truth,’ the latest entry in The Wood Brothers evolution finds three musicians being true to themselves. At a point in their career where most artists would be looking to strategically position themselves for even greater commercial success, they instead turned to artistic expression in service of the muse. In chaotic times when honesty is in short supply and ulterior motives seem to always be at play, The Wood Brothers put faith in themselves and ultimately their audience by writing and recording a collection of songs that is honest and pure. As they sing on the album’s title track: “Rather die hungry / than feasting on lies / Give me one drop of truth / I cannot deny.”


Priscilla Renea

official band site »

Priscilla Renea is an artist and songwriter born in Florida and based in Los Angeles. Priscilla is best known for penning hit records for pop artists including Kelly Clarkson’s 2018 Grammy Nominated single “Love So Soft,” Rihanna’s “California King Bed,” Kesha’s “Timber,” Fifth Harmony’s “Worth It,” and Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood’s “Something’ Bad.” Priscilla is now embarking on the next leg of her career - releasing her debut album Coloured. Coloured is a genre blending album that incorporates elements of pop, R&B, and country music with soulful undertones. She traveled back and forth between Nashville and Los Angeles to create Coloured, collaborating both with country’s top songwriters (Ashley Gorley, Kevin Kadish) and hip-hop’s top producers (Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Sauce, Theron Feemster). Coloured, which Renea describes as “a big gumbo of everything that’s happening in my life,” showcases her powerhouse voice and engaging story-telling on such classic urban-soul ballads as “Heavenly,” “If I Ever Loved You,” and “Let’s Build A House” (the latter two Renea co-wrote with Nashville A-lister Ashley Gorley), as well as rule-breaking country-inspired tunes like the autobiographical “Family Tree,” “Jonjo,” and “Gentle Hands.”


 
El Ten Eleven
Joan Of Arc | @Union Stage | view more info »
Feb
2

El Ten Eleven

Joan Of Arc


Saturday Feb 2|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


El Ten Eleven

official band site »

Armed with merely a double-neck bass/guitar, drums and a dizzying array of foot pedals, El Ten Eleven creates complex, deeply felt music, from scratch, onstage, with no help from laptops or additional musicians. Made up of Kristian Dunn (bass, guitar) and Tim Fogarty (Drums), they utilize multiple looping pedals to create songs that sound as though they are being played by at least six people. Most first-timers to an El Ten Eleven show are stunned that the band is a duo. It’s a refreshing site in this age of letting the computers do all the work.

Since the band’s inception in 2002, they have always been just two people who produce their own records. That attitude of self-reliance led to the band launching their own Fake Record Label, where they have self-released 6 full length albums over the past decade plus. For 2018’s Banker’s Hill, the band brought producer Sonny Diperri into the fold and moved up to the beautiful Panoramic House studios in Stinson Beach, CA for a month to create their 7th long-player. The decision to bring another collaborative force onboard has proven well worth the change of process.

“Sonny gave me everything I wanted from a producer. Not only is he a phenomenal engineer, but he helped us arrange and perform our songs in a way that we couldn’t have on our own.” - Dunn

Part of El Ten Eleven’s success has come from tasteful licensing to Film & TV. Their music has been used in everything from Lexus commercials to the MTV Video Music Awards but the most notoriety has come from licensing partnerships with Gary Hustwit’s award-winning design documentary trilogy, “Helvetica,” “Objectified” and “Urbanized.” Featuring both original music from El Ten Eleven and scores from Kristian Dunn, the films' beautiful precision are a perfect marriage for El Ten Eleven’s meticulously-layered sounds.


Joan Of Arc

official band site »

Over their 20-odd year discography, Joan of Arc’s astute, endlessly probing musical experimentation—steadfastly resistant to dogma and genre at every turn—has been chorused by a barrage of voices, mostly from the singular larynx of mainstay Tim Kinsella, who remains endlessly obsessed with (and infuriated by) Orwellian language and it’s dominion over American life. Richard Brautigan, Mark Twain, Elizabeth Taylor, and Assata Shakur might visit his lyrics, but it’s the band itself that contains multitudes. Throughout Joan of Arc, Kinsella and his bandmates have hewn together a true artistic democracy—some two dozen members over the years—to confront the darkening political realities and interpersonal mysteries of our time. Like their namesake—a donee of revelation who became a fierce holy warrior, only to be discarded by a king and burned at the stake as a heretic—Joan of Arc has inspired their share of true believers and dismayed legions of skeptics.

Ever since Joan of Arc's most recent lineup— Kinsella, Theo Katsaounis, Melina Ausikaitis, Bobby Burg, and Jeremy Boyle— congealed and began playing shows locally in 2015, going on to record and release their most recent album ‘He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands’, via Joyful Noise on the day Donald Trump was inaugurated, fans have witnessed an even more radical democracy at work. ‘Your War (I’m One Of You): 20 Years of Joan of Arc’, a full-length documentary from Vice’s Noisey, was an initial window into the band’s generous collaborative spirit and the far-flung, improvised creation of that new LP. Live, old jams and new tracks have often melted and mutated, members jumping from instrument to instrument in between or in the middle of songs, all stasis discarded. And now, a series of nearly a cappella performances from Kinsella’s fellow vocalist Melina Ausikaitis, debuted live by Joan of Arc over the last several years, has become the backbone of their new LP, ‘1984’.

Remarkably, so much of the cluttered sound of earlier Joan of Arc LPs has largely fallen away on ’1984’, as has Kinsella’s voice. At first it’s genuinely shocking. But the songs here are a revelation, as profound and plainspoken as parables. Thoroughly of the band’s lineage, Ausikaitis’ lyrics are equally measured with wit, despair and stubborn perseverance. There is awkward sex at Grandma’s house. There are kids in the snow wearing cop sunglasses and the crumbling psychic defenses of childhood memories. There are A-frame houses and white horses. There are trucks losing their brakes on the hill at the end of the street. There are heaps of thoroughly useful self-help advice (“stop chicken-shittin’ all over your life” has become a personal mantra.). Like the album’s striking hand drawn cover art, the music inside is often spare. Anthemic highs ring from elegiac lows and back again. At times, Ausikaitis sings in an earnestly tangy and lovely flat twang redolent of the midwest, before screwing her voice up into a fearsome roar. Sometimes her voice is electronically distorted, like bells in the sky, into ringing eternity. On “Vermont Girl”, I’m not entirely sure she isn’t purposefully doing an impression of her bandmate just for the hell of it, and it cracks me up every time I hear it.

Long known as a visual and conceptual artist and curator in her home town of Chicago, Ausikaitus brings a painterly eye to these moments of clarity:

There is awkward sex at Grandma’s house. There are kids in the snow wearing cop sunglasses and the crumbling psychic defenses of childhood memories. There are A-frame houses and white horses. There are trucks losing their brakes on the hill at the end of the street. There are heaps of thoroughly useful self-help advice (“stop chicken-shittin’ all over your life” has become a personal mantra.). Like the album’s striking hand drawn cover art, the music inside is often spare. Anthemic highs ring from elegiac lows and back again. At times, Ausikaitis sings in an earnestly tangy and lovely flat twang redolent of the midwest, before screwing her voice up into a fearsome roar. Sometimes her voice is electronically distorted, like bells in the sky, into ringing eternity. On “Vermont Girl”, I’m not entirely sure she isn’t purposefully doing an impression of her bandmate just for the hell of it, and it cracks me up every time I hear it.

Whenever I’ve decided I have this band pegged, they’ve challenged and rewarded me: with a score for a silent film, in a half-hour minimalist cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” pounding through an art museum, by a performative collaboration with a theatre group, and one particularly memorable Empty Bottle show where they uncorked volleys of catastrophic EDM at a crowd that seemed to melt into the walls. More often than not, it seems like the less I’ve expected from them going to a show or tucking into a new album, the more I’ve received. The more I’ve seen others scratch their heads at this band’s steady defiance of expectations, the more Joan of Arc has made me see their artistic wisdom. On ’1984’, they’ve done it again, and I suspect they’ll continue to soundtrack my life beyond these past two confounding decades. These days there are too few bands that make me feel less alone.

You tried to be a person with no problems, but there is still time for you to get on Joan of Arc’s one way train and ride with me to their pyre of righteous, pure democracy. Put on your headphones and fire up ‘1984’ and remember yourself as a child, when your only tattoo was the memory of the first time you saw your mother cry written deep upon your heart. Listen: there’s no need to close your personal hole. It’s a place where only you can go. You got your head shaved cuz of the lice. Your collared shirts have the bottoms tucked inside. All of your life you’ve been eating shit, but look at us now. We’re real punk kids.