An evening with
Lotus
@9:30 club | view more info »
Apr
20

An evening with
Lotus



Saturday Apr 20|doors 10:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


An evening with
Lotus

official band site »

Lotus has always been difficult to define musically; an instrumental jamband that has favored groove-based improvisation instead of gaudy solos and noodling. Influences of classic electronic dance music, funk, post-rock and dance-rock have all made their way into the Lotus sound. Over the years, their unique musical blend of electronica with jam music has helped forge a new path in the jamband landscape, influencing many younger bands in the scene. Their latest studio effort, Frames Per Second (December 2018), aims to showcase Lotus in a pure, raw form performing live in the studio. Tracked live at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Philadelphia with cameras rolling, the all-instrumental result is both an audio and video project. Instrumental jazz-funk, Norwegian space-disco and other sounds make their way into the expansive 19-song album and documentary. For Frames Per Second, Lotus aimed to incorporate pyschedelia into the album’s sound by combining hypnotic beats with unexpected harmonic or timbral turns. Approaching two decades together, Lotus has toured actively throughout the US working their way up from dingy basement clubs to world-class venues such as Red Rocks. They've become festival favorites, playing everything from Bonnaroo, Camp Bisco and Outside Lands to Ultra Music Festival and Electric Forest, building a hyper-loyal following along the way. A Lotus live show is an experience, a uniquely crafted and improvised set taking everyone, the crowd and band, on a journey.


 
Papadosio
The Werks | lespecial | @Baltimore Soundstage | view more info »
Apr
27

Papadosio

The Werks
lespecial

Saturday Apr 27|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Baltimore Soundstage|get directions »
124 Market Place
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 244-0057


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.


The Werks

official band site »

On their latest LP Magic, melodic visionaries The Werks transcend their funk rock roots while never losing their identity. Poignant songwriting and engaging improvisation come together on a record that showcases their maturation as a multidimensional group of uniquely creative musicians.

The virtuosic rhythm junkies of The Werks have released four highly acclaimed studio albums over the past ten years - Synapse (2009), The Werks (2012), Mr. Smalls Sessions EP (2014), and Inside a Dream (2015) - performed well over one thousand shows (including launching their own multi-day music festival The Werk Out), and released countless live recordings including last year’s Live at The Werk Out live album. In that time they’ve earned a devoted fan base across the world and reputation as one of the most energetic, compelling, and downright entertaining live acts in the business. They’ve developed a hard won confidence, and a willingness to fearlessly chart new sonic territory on Magic.

“This is our first truly multi-genre album” says Chris Houser. “Each track has its own unique vibe and sound. We didn’t write these songs to please people, we wrote them because this is what we hear when we turn off the outside and let the creativity flow.”

The songs on Magic started as sketches the band members crafted independently. Coming together in their sonic dojo The Werkspace, those seeds of groove were nurtured by the group, growing into fully wrought songs. “Our writing is collaborative,” explains Dan Shaw, “but starting with demos written individually gives each band member a chance to leave their fingerprint on a tune.”

The songwriting finished, the band decamped to Sonic Lounge in Grove City, Ohio. There lead engineer and producer Joe Viers (Blues Traveler, Twenty One Pilots) settled down to work with the studio’s legendary Amek/Neve 9098i mixing console. One of only thirteen in the world, Sonic Lounge’s was originally installed in Olympic Studios in London, England, where it served to document the unique creative mojo of Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, and more.

Joining Viers were assistant engineers and producers Aaron Oakley and B.J. Davis, and the unstoppable horns of Columbus’ own Hoodoo Soul Band - Chris Young (trumpet), Kevin O’Neil (tenor), and Phil Clark (Baritone) – while Kenny Holmes, tour manager and right hand man, was the gaff tape that held it all together. Finally Columbus native and current Los Angeles, CA resident Brian Lucey (Train, Dr. Dog) mastered the record.

From those sessions emerged a rare jewel of a record; Magic is muse put to tape, a direct download of the creative spark. “This is a recording of the music that’s in our souls” explains Rob Chafin. “In a way, the past decade has been leading to this moment. We play and write together so seamlessly now, we’re able to channel the inspiration in our hearts out into our instruments, and come at this from a pure place.” Together, they have crafted a record where melodies take flight, dancing and twisting around the sonorous main of the tune itself. By fusing their spirited inventiveness to a core of immediately engaging songwriting, The Werks have truly performed a feat of modern musical Magic.

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.

These three childhood friends from Connecticut—now based in Boston and New York—play off of a lifetime of shared experience in their writing and performance. In a power trio, it's essential that each of the players can utterly captivate you at any given time. Each individual has a lot of weight to carry and is only as strong as the weakest link. In the studio, as on stage, it seems at first blush that Jon Grusauskas—delivering lyrics that call for your attention and seamlessly moving from guitar to keys to samples—is handling the entire upper end of the spectrum... until you consider how broad the melodic embrace of rhythmatist Rory Dolan and low end wizard Luke Bemand. Injecting splashes of color and wicked chops into their heavy groove foundations or driving assaults, this dynamic battery simultaneously eases and propels lespecial through the fractious changes of cheen’s mood and tempo.

In a traditional sense, cheen is a risky album: it asks the listener to suspend a categorical approach and dig into their own eclectic unconsciousness, to adapt a phrase, and appreciate the flow of the record from start to finish, as it moves guided by an unseen plan. If there is an underlying thematic structure, it is one that is anchored—musically and lyrically—by horror flicks, 1980s video games and lespecial’s indictment of the current cultural state of affairs. Not overtly political, angry or morose, by any means, cheen seems to observe the zeitgeist and respond to it in songs like “Stolen Land”, “American Apocalypse” and “Sound That We Do”, the last of which features the celebrated Bay Area hip hop wordsmith Zion I. Meanwhile, the band winks at Mario Brothers in the J Dilla inspired “Donut Ghost House” tracks that bookend the album. In between can be heard pensive indie rock that evokes Flaming Lips and Radiohead, down-tempo apocalyptic dub trances tinged with hints of Tool, polyrhythmic technicality a la Belew-era King Crimson and a penchant for all things Nine Inch Nails. This from a band that released an exclusive single through The Untz—one of the premier outlets for “EDM” producers—a month before announcing cheen, then did an interview with a metal mag a week later, and that can get weirdly funky with a nod to Primus. To further underscore the broad net they cast, lespecial is rounding out 2017 with a Halloween weekend opener for Disco Biscuits and December dates with Dopapod.

lespecial’s willingness to take this risk of presenting an album full of flavors and feels is a reflection of the respect they have for their fans, present and future: they simply don't underestimate the listener, and that itself is refreshing, bringing about comparisons to The Clash, who destroyed every boundary they came across, working reggae, dub, funk and folk ballads into the socially and politically relevant punk rock they had come to personify. Here at another turning point in music and culture, lespecial has taken a huge step towards that goal of synthesizing their own varied and divergent influences, regardless of the seeming incongruity of the elements, and provides a perspective on their generation, the cultural climate, and what that all sounds like...

 
Satsang
Conor & The Wild Hunt | @Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
May
1

Satsang

Conor & The Wild Hunt


Wednesday May 1|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


Satsang

official band site »

Satsang is a power trio creating a unique blend of soul, folk-rock, and hip-hop. Satsang delivers lyrics that come from and are rooted in change, growth, awareness, and imperfection. The live show is everything that the band name suggests: a gathering of people to assimilate and share their truths. The rhythms put forth by the band keep everyone on their feet, and the lyrics leave them craving active and positive change. Satsang has toured all over the country and has shared the stage with the likes of Michael Franti & Spearhead, Steel Pulse, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Trevor Hall, Chris Berry, Mike Love, Jon Wayne and the Pain, Tubby Love, and many more.

Lead singer and songwriter Drew McManus creates music for his soul, fueled by the ever present task of personal growth and the beautiful life that he found in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana. Commenting on his difficult upbringing in Des Moines and residency in Chicago, McManus says, “I grew up in an environment where aggression, violence, abuse, and addiction were always present. It made me a lot of things; angry, sad, and ashamed. I hated my story and I was a slave to addiction. I tried for so long to hide from the reality of my story and the reality of how beautiful life could be.” It wasn’t until an intense spiritual experience lead Drew to break his cycle of addiction. “I had changed my entire outlook on everything” say McManus, “I began to realize that had everything not happened to me exactly like it did, I would not be exactly who/where/what I am right now.” In an effort to share his revelation with others who may be in the same predicament, Drew began to write every day. “I was flooded with the urge to write down the lessons that kept revealing themselves in this surrender. And the connections I began making with other people by making this music vulnerable and open, began to change everything.” These songs are a statement of lessons learned and a further understanding of self. “The whole story is what makes it beautiful, not just the good bits.”

Satsang released their sophomore album Pyramid(s) in March of 2017 and saw it quickly rise to #1 on the Billboard Reggae charts and #2 on the iTunes charts. The band also surprise-released a new EP, In Between Another Blink at the end of 2017 and had it crack the top 20 on the iTunes Singer/ Songwriter chart with no advance promotion. The band spent 2018 selling out two-thirds of their shows on headline tours in the Midwest, Northeast, and on the Pacific Coast. This success shows the proof of concept in creating legions of fans from coast to coast on support tours with Michael Franti, Trevor Hall, Wookiefoot and Nahko and Medicine for the People.


Conor & The Wild Hunt

official band site »

Conor & The Wild Hunt is a Progressive Indie Folk band intent on inspiring positive change in a troubled world. With artful and driving instrumentation, impassioned duets, blooming three part harmonies, and a compelling stage presence, Conor & The Wild Hunt animates soulful original songs with modern takes on Americana traditions.

 
Driftwood
@The 8x10 | view more info »
May
2

Driftwood



Thursday May 2|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Driftwood

official band site »

Anyone familiar with the Americana music scene knows this Upstate, New York-based band has cut their teeth on a killer live show. With a never ending tour schedule and a steady buzz they have built a very solid underground fan base. "The game has been live shows and nose to the ground since the beginning.", says guitarist/songwriter Dan Forsyth.

As well as a devout following and a sizable discography, the band's hard work has also been a huge part of the inspiration for their music. The songs and arrangements have grown out of time spent on the road, growing closer, learning with and from each other and weathering the up's and down's of the journey together. "We have a truly special bond creatively and personally. It's the driving force behind the music.", violinist/songwriter Claire Byrne adds.

It is with this bond, patience, determination and an undying, mutual love and respect for music, the road, and their friendship, they have approached their latest offering, Tree of Shade.

"I'm struck by the gratitude that making music with my best friends/my other family brings", says guitarist/songwriter Joe Kollar. "Even our producer (Simone Felice) and the engineer (Pete Hanlon) became brothers in this process. Laying out some of your most intimate moments and showing the rawest version of yourself is both scary and exhilarating but more importantly it reminds you why you chose music as the vehicle. It's the '66 Corvette that will always take me back to the beauty and power of a group of people setting out to make something together".

Their first album with a major producer, Tree of Shade is a testament to the essence of a song. Working along side Felice, The band found themselves stripping things back way more than they normally would.

"Simone was all about finding the essence of the song and doing our best to bring it out without distorting it or taking the arrangement too far".

The album is slated to be released on April 5. The first single, “Lay Like You Do,” will be released February 22. “This was one of those songs that came out faster than I could write it down and seemed sort of like plucking an apple off a tree,” songwriter and guitarist Dan Forsyth says of the song. “The melody and chorus came out of a dream and when I woke up, I wrote the rest real fast".

The band has also announced new tour dates throughout the Midwest and West Coast in support. Additional tour dates on the East Coast will be announced shortly, including album release shows in the band’s native upstate New York.


 
Several Species
The Pink Floyd Experience | @Union Stage | view more info »
May
4

Several Species

The Pink Floyd Experience


Saturday May 4|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Several Species


The Pink Floyd Experience

official band site »

11-member band dedicated to recreating the Pink Floyd concert experience since 1996.

 
Etana
@Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
May
5

Etana



Sunday May 5|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


Etana

official band site »

Reggae music has birthed yet another rarity- A spirited and soulful singer/songwriter in the eloquent and enchanted empress Etana. Since recognizing the power of music and widespread influence, singer/songwriter Shauna McKenzie returned to her birthplace Jamaica, after being left with a negative pop industry experience. Adopting the moniker of Etana for it’s powerful meaning “The Strong One” in Swahili; Her strength was manifested this time around by pursuing a musical career on her own terms.

Etana’s elegantly modest Rasta-chic sartorial style is as distinctive as her sound: An audacious fusion of folk, soul, jazz and reggae supporting a powerful vocal range suggestive of the ancestral spirit of South Africa’s Miriam Makeba. The Regality of reggae queen Marcia Griffiths and the soulful verve of Etta James. “I looked at how women were being represented in Jamaican music and how little girls were being influenced negatively by tinder surroundings, I wanted to be a positive influence and change some of the way things that were being taught” Etana Reflected.


 
The New Mastersounds
@Union Craft Brewing | view more info »
May
8

The New Mastersounds



Wednesday May 8|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Union Craft Brewing|get directions »
1700 West 41st Street
Baltimore, MD


The New Mastersounds

official band site »

In the late 1990’s, guitarist and producer Eddie Roberts was promoting a club night in Leeds called “The Cooker.” When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was space and the opportunity to put a live band together to complement the DJ sets. Simon Allen and Eddie had previously played together as The Mastersounds, though with a different bassist and no organ. Through friends and the inmate nature of the Leeds music scene, Pete Shand and Bob Birch were added on bass and Hammond respectively, and The New Mastersounds were born. Though it was raw, and more of a boogaloo sound at first, it was powerful from the start. Their first rehearsal was hot enough for Blow it Hard Records to release on two limited-edition 7” singles in 2000.

Fast-forward 19 years, and the band’s recorded catalogue boasts 24 more 7” singles, 13 studio albums, 3 live albums, 1 remix album and 3 compilation albums, released variously in UK, Japan, and USA - where they continue to tour extensively. Joe Ta on, another veteran of the Leeds scene, joined back in 2007, replacing Bob Birch on organ and piano. As a band, and as individuals, they have collaborated with an impressive array of musicians, DJs and producers, including: Lou Donaldson, Corinne Bailey Rae, Quantic, Carleen Anderson, Keb Darge, Kenny Dope, Mr Scruff, LSK, Lack of Afro, Page McConnell, Grace Po er, Karl Denson, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, Fred Wesley, Pee-Wee Ellis, Maceo Parker, Bernard Purdie, George Porter Jr, Zigaboo Modeliste, Art Neville, Ernest Ranglin.

During a 2018 US tour, a sit-in by Atlanta-based vocalist Lamar Williams Jr turned heads, and the fit with NMS was so right that they pledged to make a record together. The resulting album was written and recorded in Denver, CO in December of that year and will be released in Fall 2019 on Eddie Roberts’ own Color Red label.

As an example of the respect this band commands, Peter Wermelinger - DJ, collector, and author of the crate-diggers’ bible The Funky & Groovy Music Lexicon - places the 2001 NMS track ‘Turn This Thing Around’ in his all-time top-ten tunes, along with the likes of Eddie Harris, Funkadelic, and Herbie Hancock. The New Mastersounds are at the very top of an elite selection of acts that bring the true soul out of funk.


 
Southern Avenue
Travers Brothership | @The 8x10 | view more info »
May
9

Southern Avenue

Travers Brothership


Thursday May 9|doors 7:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Southern Avenue

official band site »

Southern Avenue is a Memphis street that runs from the easternmost part of the city limits all the way to Soulsville, the original home of Stax Records. Southern Avenue is also the name of a fiery young Memphis quintet that embodies its home city's soul, blues and gospel traditions, while adding a youthful spirit and dynamic energy all their own. “If Memphis is a genre, this is it!” proclaims American Blues Scene and Rock 103FM calls Southern Avenue - “The most talked about band in Memphis.”

Their self-titled debut album is a breath of fresh air with its own unique blend of gospel- tinged R&B vocals, roots/blues-based guitar work and soul-inspired songwriting. And Southern Avenue’s upcoming release on the fabled Stax label is a testament to the young combo's talent and vision.

Southern Avenue features five young but seasoned musicians who came from diverse musical and personal backgrounds to create music that spans their wide-ranging musical interests, while showcasing the powerful chemistry that the group has honed through stage and studio experience. Southern Avenue encompasses Memphis-born, church-bred sisters Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson, respectively a soulful, charismatic singer and a subtle powerful drummer; guitarist Ori Naftaly, an Israeli-born blues disciple who first came to America as an acclaimed solo artist; versatile jazz-inspired bassist Daniel McKee; and the band's newest addition, keyboardist Jeremy Powell, an early alumnus of Stax's legendary music academy.

The band members' diverse skills come together organically on Southern Avenue, scheduled for release on February 24, 2017 via Stax Records, a division of Concord Music Group. Produced by Kevin Houston (North Mississippi Allstars, Lucero, Patty Griffin), the 10-song album features guest appearances from Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and trumpeter Marc Franklin of the Bo-Keys. But it's Southern Avenue's own potent musical chemistry that drives such sublimely soulful originals as "Don't Give Up," "What Did I Do," "It's Gonna Be Alright," "Love Me Right" and "Wildflower." The band also pays tribute to its roots with an incandescent reading of Ann Peebles' Memphis soul classic "Slipped, Tripped and Fell in Love."

The seeds for Southern Avenue's birth were planted when Ori Naftaly, who'd grown up in Israel with a deep-rooted passion for American blues and funk, came to Memphis in 2013 to compete in the prestigious International Blues Challenge. That experience led to Naftaly moving permanently to Memphis and successfully touring the United States with his own band.

Although his talents were embraced by American audiences, Naftaly felt constrained in his own band, feeling the need to include a more expansive, collaborative musical vision. That opportunity arrived when he met Memphis native Tierinii Jackson, who'd gotten her start singing in church, before performing in a series of cover bands and theatrical projects. According to Ori, "When I saw Tierinii perform, I thought, 'This is why I came to America.' I met her and we clicked. At our first rehearsal, she told me that her sister was a drummer, and she thought it would be great to have her in the band. We had such a good vibe, and suddenly I didn't care so much about my solo thing."

"I initially clicked with Ori really well, but it was his project," Tierinii remembers. "Then he came to me and said 'I want this band to be a collaboration, I want this to be our vision and our music.' So we started writing together, and that's when I realized that we were really the same musically."

"We started over," Naftaly continues. "We threw out most of the songs I'd been playing in my solo band, and Tierinii and I wrote a whole new set, and we became Southern Avenue. The more we played together, the closer we got, and the more we became a family. We started getting a different kind of crowd, and from there things escalated quickly."

"Ori said, 'My band is done, this is y'all's band,'" Tierinii recalls. "We all quit our other gigs and started focusing on this, working and writing and living together in a way that you don't experience when you're playing somebody else's music. Now we're playing songs that we wrote ourselves and we're playing them from our hearts. That is when I realized that we had something special."

Despite not having a record deal, Southern Avenue quickly found success touring in America and Europe. They won additional attention playing some prestigious festivals and competing in the International Blues Challenge, in which they represented Memphis. Less than a year after the band's formation, they were signed to the resurgent Stax label. "I feel like being on Stax is a responsibility," says Tierinii. "I grew up in Memphis, seeing the name Stax everywhere. It was a constant presence, and now it's up to us to live up that. I feel like this band can be a platform to do a lot of positive things for the city of Memphis. I want to change the world, but Memphis is home."

Tierinii views Southern Avenue as "a perfect soundtrack to our first year together. We wrote these songs in our first nine months of being a band. We'd all done so many things and come from so many different places, but the music represents all of us. "It's been a real crash course," she continues. "We've haven't been a band for very long, but what we have feels very special, and it's made us a strong unit. I think that we represent something that people need to see right now."

"This band has already made our dreams come true," Ori concludes. "I've waited all my life to be in a band like this, and it's amazing to me that I get to play with these people every night. Our goal is to keep doing this for a long time and leave our mark. We're trying to build a legacy."


Travers Brothership

official band site »

Twin brothers Eric and Kyle Travers have been making music and stunning audiences since they started playing music together at 7 years old.

In 2012 the brothers formed their latest project, Travers Brothership, a Soul/Funk/Rock/Jam ensemble based out of Asheville, NC with Ian McIsaac on keys and percussion.

There is a reason Travers Brothership stands out among most acts on the scene today, they care to make each concert a unique and unforgettable experience. Utilizing the band's unmatched live energy, instrumental prowess, and 3-part harmonies; they create a live atmosphere that transforms an audience into a community. A Travers Brothership concert is best described as a wild block party, and this is a party you don't wanna miss. ?

Following the success of the "I Don't Mind EP" the band began touring nationally in 2013 and has since performed 400+ concerts across the United States. The band has shared the stage with many accomplished acts such as: Charles Bradley, Taj Mahal, Moe, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Blues Traveler, Robert Randolph, Leftover Salmon, Trombone Shorty, The Marcus King Band, Dr. John, and many more.

In 2014, Josh Clark (Bass & Vocals) climbed aboard Travers Brothership. This lineup change finalized the current roster of the band, enabling them to perform the 3-part harmonies that define their current sound. ?

Over the course of two national tours the band began work with Grammy award winning producer, Juan "Pericles" Covaz, and Grammy nominated engineer, Matt Williams. Following recording sessions at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL and The Eagle Room in Asheville, NC the band's first album "A Way To Survive" was complete.

"A Way To Survive" was released in 2016 to critical acclaim and outstanding reviews. The album has won numerous awards including "Best Studio Album of 2016" at Homegrown Music Network, and has received airplay on radio stations throughout the U.S. and beyond. The band has won numerous other awards including: Winner in Raleigh NC’s Band Together Competition in 2017 and placing runner up in Floydfest’s On-The Rise Competition in 2018. Travers Brothership just completed work on their sophomore LP, “Let The World Decide” at Echo Mountain Recording Studio’s and The Eagle Room in Asheville, NC. The album is due out on December 8th 2018.

In January of 2019 the band will embark on their first tour of Europe, and then return to the US to tour in support of “Let The World Decide” for the remainder of 2019.

 
Bumpin Uglies
Edjacated Phools | The Harbor Boys | @Union Stage | view more info »
May
10

Bumpin Uglies

Edjacated Phools
The Harbor Boys

Friday May 10|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


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.


Edjacated Phools

official band site »

The Edjacated Phools are a 6-piece fusion band based in Baltimore, MD. Comprised of Devin Barone (drums), Tyler Garrison (bass), Nick Hatzis, (vocals) Kyle Sappington (vocals), Logan Sappington (guitar, vocals), and Ben Yancheski (keys), they combine an energetic blend of rock, reggae, hip-hop, ska and alternative influences into a unique sound.

The band played its first show in January of 2015, and since then have had the privilege of playing alongside several accomplished national artists, including: Wyclef Jean, The Expendables, Badfish, Jesse Royal, Coolio, The Green, The Movement, Cappadonna (of Wu-Tang Clan), Big Something, Bumpin Uglies, RDGLDGRN, Roots Of Creation, Tropidelic, People’s Blues of Richmond, and Passafire.

In April 2016, Edjacated Phools recorded and released their debut EP under legendary reggae producer Jim Fox (Inner Circle, Rebelution, SOJA, The Wailers, Don Carlos) at Lion and Fox Studios in College Park, MD.

The band organized and curated the very first Hightopps Backstage Bash music festival in Baltimore County in September 2016. The band recently presented the third annual Hightopps Backstage Bash along with headliners The Movement, RDGLDGRN, Sun-Dried Vibes, and Electric Love Machine.

The band had an exciting 2017, signing with Raised Fist Records in August and releasing their debut album, Check The Vibes, in September.

The Phools continued building their presence in 2018, having played their second supporting slot for Badfish at Rams Head Live in Baltimore on April 20th. The band also opened for Coolio at Baltimore Soundstage on May 2nd, played with Cappadonna of Wu-Tang Clan in New York City on July 26th, and directly supported the legendary Wyclef Jean at Power Plant Live in Baltimore on August 17th.

Edjacated Phools were recently nominated in the Best Reggae Artist for the 2018 Maryland Music Awards, and are looking forward to more new music and success in 2019.

The Harbor Boys

official band site »

The Harbor Boys are a Ska/reggae band based out of Pasadena, MD.

 
Marco Benevento
Andrew Fox | @Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
May
10

Marco Benevento

Andrew Fox


Friday May 10|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


Marco Benevento

official band site »

For more than a decade pianist Marco Benevento has been amassing an extensive body of work. His studio albums and live performances set forth a vision that connects the dots in the vast space between LCD Soundsystem and Leon Russell, pulsating with dance rock energy, but with smart, earthy songwriting to match. It has led to numerous high profile appearances, ranging from Carnegie Hall to Pickathon, Mountain Jam to Treefort Festival, while headlining shows coast to coast.

Marco Benevento’s latest studio LP, The Story of Fred Short, and its companion live re-lease, The Woodstock Sessions, is some of his finest and most adventurous work to date—a maestro making “bold indie rock” says Brooklyn Vegan, while the LA Times raves, “Benevento continues to straighten his twisted sound into the guise of an indie-rock singer-songwriter, harnessing his inventive sonic palette into rewardingly bite-size pop songs that touch on disco and soul.” Honing his psych rock and late night dance party sensibilities, the recordings find the pianist citing everything from Harry Nilsson, Manu Chau and Gorillaz as inspiration.

As anybody who’s seen Marco Benevento perform can attest, with eyes closed, smile wide across his face and fingers free-flowing across the keys, he’s a satellite to the muse. With a devout and growing fan-base, Benevento is an artist whose story is only beginning to unfold.


Andrew Fox

official band site »

 
The Devil Makes Three
DiTrani Brothers | @9:30 club | view more info »
May
11

The Devil Makes Three

DiTrani Brothers


Saturday May 11|doors 10:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


The Devil Makes Three

official band site »

The power of words isn’t lost on longstanding Americana triumvirate The Devil Makes Three— Pete Bernhard, Lucia Turino, and Cooper McBean. For as much as they remain rooted in troubadour traditions of wandering folk, Delta blues, whiskey-soaked ragtime, and reckless rock ‘n’ roll, the band nods to the revolutionary unrest of author James Baldwin, the no-holds barred disillusionment of Ernest Hemingway, and Southern Gothic malaise of Flannery O’Connor. In that respect, their sixth full-length and first of original material since 2013, Chains Are Broken [New West], resembles a dusty leather bound book of short stories from some bygone era.

“I always want our songs to unfold like short stories,” affirms Bernhard. “You could think of them like the chapters of a book. Of course, they’re shorter and maybe more poetic. This was a much more personal album about what it takes to be an artist or writer of any kind—and what you have to do to make your dream possible. It was really the headspace I was in. It might have something to do with getting older. You start reflecting on life and the people around you. I was doing that in these songs. That’s what makes the record more personal. I’m pulling from these things. Some of it is about drug addiction. Some of it is about the things you sacrifice. Some of it is about the detrimental things we do for inspiration. Nevertheless, they all have some sort of narrative.”

The Devil Makes Three’s journey up to this point could be deemed worthy of a novel. Their self- titled 2002 debut yielded the now-classic “Old Number Seven,” “Graveyard,” “The Plank,” and more as they organically attracted a diehard following through constant touring. Longjohns, Boots and a Belt arrived in 2003 followed by 2009’s Do Wrong Write between a pair of live recordings, namely A Little Bit Faster and a Little Bit Worse and Stomp and Smash. 2014’s I’m a Stranger Here marked their first debut on the Billboard Top 200 as the 2016 “hero worship homage” Redemption & Ruin heralded the group’s second #1 bow on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums Chart and fourth consecutive top five debut on the respective chart. The latter garnered widespread acclaim from the likes of Entertainment Weekly, American Songwriter, The Boston Globe, and more. Over the years, they casted an unbreakable spell on audiences everywhere from Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Hangout Fest, and Shaky Knees.

As the band began writing ideas for Chains Are Broken, they veered off the proverbial path creatively. Instead of their typical revolving cast of collaborators, The Devil Makes Three stuck to its signature power trio—with one addition. This time, they invited touring drummer Stefan Amidon to power the bulk of the percussion. The presence of a drummer remains most amplified as the band seamlessly translated the spirit of the live show into a studio recording and busted the rules even more. And for the first time, they retreated to Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, TX a stone’s throw from the Mexican border to record with producer Ted Hutt [Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys].

“We broke a lot of rules in making this record,” smiles Bernhard. “We’ve always done whatever we wanted to, but there were still some things we wouldn’t try. Those fears went out the window. Ted was a big part of that. He stayed with us throughout the whole process from pre-production until the final moment of recording. He pushed us outside of our comfort zone. We’ve never had this experience. So, we got really creative under pressure, which ended up being super fun.”

These songs harness a spirit of freedom. “Pray For Rain” gallops along on a propulsive beat punctuated by a bluesy twang, before a chorus that’s akin to a spiritual uprising singing “I’m praying for some rain tonight.”

“It’s a song about the state of the world now,” says the frontman. “It hopes for some sort of positive change, which I think is totally possible. At the same time, it considers the past and how we got here. You want to wash away what’s there.”

Elsewhere, “Deep In My Heart” hinges on a menacingly melodic admission, “Deep in my heart, I know I’m a terrible man.” “We see it in the news all the time,” he continues. “People’s public personae fall apart, and everybody sees who they really are. We have an ability to choose to be good and evil at any time.”

The simmering groove and hummable hook of “Bad Idea” recounts how “sometimes we know we’re doing something stupid, but we just can’t control ourselves.” Elsewhere, “I Can’t Stop” offers up an elegiac memoriam to a handful of friends who left too soon.

Nodding to a favorite author James Baldwin, “I Can’t Stop” represents an emotional climax for the album. The author’s quote—"Ultimately, the artist and the revolutionary function as they function, and pay whatever dues they must pay behind it because they are both possessed by a vision, and they do not so much follow this vision as find themselves driven by it. Otherwise, they could never endure, much less embrace, the lives they are compelled to lead”—hangs heavy over it.

The tune itself centers on a heart-wrenching plea to on old buddy, “I don’t know why you would do what you were doing…”

“It’s mostly about a friend of mine who overdosed and died,” sighs Bernhard. “When we were teenagers, we’d get together, get high, and play guitar. I learned so much from him, because he was naturally talented, but he got so deep into doing all kinds of drugs and died. In some ways, it’s what he ultimately wanted, but I miss him so much. He was the primary motivation. It’s also dedicated to our friend Dave from Brown Bird who died of cancer. He and his wife were among our closest touring companions. It’s strange how we all don’t make it or survive to meet up in old age. People die. We keep going. There’s nothing else to do.”

Fitting snug like a ceremonial death mask, the cinematic expanse of “Paint My Face” underscores an oddly uplifting message—there may be something after all of this.

“‘Paint My Face’ talks reincarnation and unlived lives,” he states. “It partially discusses being a musician or an artist. It’s like a letter written to a child I don’t know saying death is not the end, as I believe, it’s the beginning of another life.” In the end, the words and music on the album leave a long-lasting imprint.

“I’d love for people to feel inspired,” Bernard leaves off. “Some of the songs might be sad, down, or depressing, but they inspire me. I feel better through the process. I hope you do too.”


DiTrani Brothers

official band site »

DiTrani Brothers and the Hammer of Spring play original and traditional tunes drawing influence from eastern-European folk music, Roma swing, and early French and American jazz, delivering raucous performances that allude to past traditions with a contemporary sentiment.

 
Ghost Light
@The Hamilton | view more info »
May
18

Ghost Light



Saturday May 18|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Ghost Light

official band site »

“I think of this album like a bunch of abstract paintings,” says Ghost Light’s Tom Hamilton. “We present the songs as a series meant to be experienced in a certain order, but at the end of the day, whatever that series makes you feel is totally up to you.”

In that sense, Ghost Light’s brilliant debut album, ‘Best Kept Secrets,’ functions much like the band itself, drawing beauty and strength from both its complementary pairings and its unexpected juxtapositions. Formed in 2017, the group brings together five consummately talented artists from across the musical spectrum—guitarists/singers Tom Hamilton and Raina Mullen, pianist Holly Bowling, and drummer Scotty Zwang—and thrusts them into a wholly new context. The result is a record that transcends the sonic contributions and background of any single member, a collection that’s at once gritty and refined, sprawling and restrained, straightforward and psychedelic.

Though the performances on the album are laser focused, the group’s live shows are a far looser affair, with tracks frequently blossoming into extended improvisational journeys dictated by the emotional temperature of the room on any given night. Songs turn into wordless conversations between all five members, a tide-like give-and-take that makes each show wholly engrossing and utterly unique.

“An album is…a document and snapshot of a particular moment in time,” Hamilton told Live For Live Music in a recent interview, “but when it comes to taking that album and bringing it into the live arena, that’s when we turn ourselves back into the improvisers that we all are. We get to really see what these songs can do and where they can go.”

With a formidable live reputation already preceding them, the band sold out the opening night of their inaugural tour and they haven’t looked back since, playing a slew of headline dates around the country in addition to entrancing festival crowds from Lock’n to High Sierra, Peach Music Festival, Electric Forest, and beyond.


 
Circles Around The Sun
@Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
May
30

Circles Around The Sun



Thursday May 30|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Circles Around The Sun

official band site »

Let It Wander is the second album from Circles Around the Sun, but the quartet agrees that in many ways it feels more like their first.

By now, the band’s unconventional origin story is well known. Three years ago, guitarist Neal Casal formed the band with keyboardist Adam MacDougall (his bandmate in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood), bassist Dan Horne and drummer Mark Levy to record some Grateful Dead-influenced instrumentals to be played during the set breaks at the Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concerts. “That was supposed to be the end of it,” Casal says.

Instead, there was an album, Interludes for the Dead, followed by several acclaimed live performances. The response was so positive, and the band was having so much fun making music together, that they agreed to keep it going, MacDougall says. “The chemistry the four of us had was instant and undeniable. It felt like we’d barely scratched the surface of what we could do, which is why we wanted to get back in the studio.”

It took nearly three years, but Circles Around the Sun – usually shortened to CATS – finally returned to Castaway 7 Studios in Ventura, California earlier this year. After the long wait, they made the most of their two weeks together, recording and mixing seven new instrumentals, enough to make Let It Wander a double album.

The players and the studio were the same, but Horne says the band’s approach to the music was completely different. “We were chasing a particular sound the first time around, so the process was slightly more structured. For this record, that map was gone, and we were on our own.”

Embracing their newfound freedom, CATS responded with seven focused performances filled with imaginative musical turns. Horne and Levy form a veritable groove machine that knows intuitively when to tighten up and when to stretch out. They expand and collapse the rhythmic pocket around Casal and MacDougall, who pass melodies back and forth in an elaborate game of musical tag as they take turns adding color and shade from a seemingly endless kaleidoscope of cosmic sounds.

Unlike the first album, Levy says there was enough time to go back and add some overdubs to the basic tracks. “We tried not to get too crazy building up the sound, but we experimented with different things, like Neal doubling up his guitars on ‘One For Chuck,’ and Adam creating a Minimoog symphony on ‘Immovable Object.’ We also had my friend Jeff Franca add percussion to ‘On My Mind’ and ‘Electric Chair (Don’t Sit There),’ which really added another dimension to those songs.” One of the highlights from Let It Wander has to be “One For Chuck,” which was the first track the band finished. While they were in the studio playing back the song, Casal says Chuck D – the charismatic leader of the legendary rap group Public Enemy – unexpectedly stopped by. “When the track was over, he said: ‘You guys are real, organic musicians. You can’t be replaced. Don’t ever forget that.’ It was amazing to get that kind of encouragement from an artist we all love. We asked him to record an intro for the song and he was kind enough to do it. That’s how the song got its name.”

The other song titles are more enigmatic, but according to the band they do have their own internal logic and sense of humor. “Tacoma Narrows” started out as the bridge in a different song, so they named it after the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State. “Immovable Object” is a reference to the melody that MacDougall plays on the Rhodes electric piano at the start of the song. Even as the chords change around it, the melody line stays the same for the entire song. The ancient city of Halicarnassus was home to a beautiful mausoleum that was named one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The song “Halicarnassus” is played in 7/8 time, which means there are seven beats in every measure. “A little time signature humor to make the music nerds smile,” MacDougall jokes.

Even if you’re not a music nerd, there’s plenty to smile about on the new record, from the easy-going groove that keeps “On My Mind” grounded, to the celestial symphony that sends “Ticket To Helix” into orbit. “More than anything, what you hear on this album is a band growing into its own sound,” Casal says.


 
Kendall Street Company
Moogatu | @The 8x10 | view more info »
May
30

Kendall Street Company

Moogatu


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


Kendall Street Company

official band site »

From late night jam sessions at the University of Virginia to the main stages of venues throughout the East Coast, the Company has broken out of the college bubble and into a world that loves to groove to a great live show. The band was founded in the early months of 2013 by guitarist/vocalist Louis Smith and saxophonist Andrew Drehoff. The duo had been playing together for some time in the greater Virginia Beach area, joined by a rotation of talented musicians who performed behind Louis as the Louis Smith Band. After moving to Charlottesville in late 2012 to attend the University of Virginia, the pair began putting together a group of student musicians, adding Brian Roy on bass/vocals and Ryan Wood on drums/percussion in early 2013. Since then, the band has added Andrew King on keyboards, Ben Laderberg on the electric guitar, and Jake Vanaman on saxophone.

Kendall Street Company performs regularly along the East Coast, maintaining a central presence around the state of Virginia. While the Company's music is influenced by a variety of musicians and styles, the group has been described as "psychedelic," "alternative," "jammy," "rock," "indie," and "ska". Their recent performance at the 2017 Lockn Music Festival was praised by Relix magazine as having "[raised] the crowd's energy with frontman Louis Smith and guitarist Ben Laderberg's acoustic/electric interplay and lively, technical breakdowns". It is not uncommon for guest performers to join the group on stage for extended jams.


Moogatu

official band site »

In late 2010, Moogatu planted the first seeds for its unique blend of funky, wompy prog rock just outside of the nation's capital in bucolic northern Virginia. Soaring dual lead guitars and a pulsing rhythm section bring the quintet's inviting songcraft and creative improvisations to an audience that grows at every club and festival. Moogatu is carving its niche with high energy sets that keep people grooving long into the night.

 
FREE SHOW!
The Rad Trads
@Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
Jun
7

FREE SHOW!
The Rad Trads



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


FREE SHOW!
The Rad Trads

official band site »

The gentlemen comprising the Brooklyn-based five-piece The Rad Trads distinguish themselves in ways few bands can. Already drawing lines around the block at home, the globe-trotting group’s singular take on rock n roll mixes punk rock energy, horn drenched soul, and jazz precision, all with a lighthearted but sincere delivery. It’s a sound and show that is gaining steam world over as The Rad Trads continue to tour in support of On Tap, out now from Hornblow Recordings.

Challenging but humorous, at times The Rad Trads bring to mind Springsteen and his “Big Man” Clarence Clemons, Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks-era vocal style, and Wilco’s epic guitar breakdowns. All of this sonic goodness is only upstaged by the fact that the guys in The Rad Trads manage to exist as five distinct songwriters and singers in a band that still sounds powerfully egoless, familial, and cohesive. And none of them even planned on being vocalists!

Meeting at New York University in 2012 as conservatory-trained instrumentalists looking to play with NYC’s best musicians, twin brothers John (Drums, Vocals) and Michael Fatum (Trumpet, Vocals), Michael Harlen (Bass, Vocals), Alden Harris-McCoy (Guitar, Vocals), and Patrick Sargent (Keys, Saxophone, Vocals) were, at that time, just “a bunch of buds looking to play the bars and drink for free,” according to John Fatum. “The Rad Trads started off with a bastardized jazz repertoire that was modified, on stage, into whatever seemed to get the audience moving.” The band quickly developed a loyal connection with its audiences. Michael Fatum agrees: “It felt amazing.”

It was at this time that each band member’s individual forays into original songwriting began, coinciding with the discovery that what its followers were enjoying most was the band members’ personal connections with each other. This, even more than the music itself, was making crowds come back for more. As the band’s live sets began to be filled more and more with original songs which all stuck to the “if you write it, you sing it” formula, the fans remained enthusiastically engaged.

With all of that energy flying around, The Rad Trads could have simply been perceived as just a party band, but the band’s booking agent realized that with those expert chops, there might also be a niche within the jazz festival scene for The Rad Trads, and he was right. Harlen explains, “It turns out that every jazz festival in the world needed a fun band to hold down the late night parties, and so we went to Europe for the first time.”

This initial excursion has turned into nearly ten trips to Europe for The Rad Trads, in addition to performances on four continents, in 15 countries, 41 states, and as of this writing, a string of dates in China. The diverse list of artists that the band has performed with in that time includes Lake Street Dive, Charles Bradley, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, and The Lone Bellow, among others. “We’ve loved every second of traveling and seeing the world,” John Fatum says.

Fatum is the composer and vocalist of “On Tap” album opener “Good Luck Unto Ya,” a soaring anthem with wall of sound-level overdubs, recently described by American Songwriter as a “funky kiss- off track with a killer guitar solo and plenty of horns.” It’s a stunning way to jump start the record, and for the uninitiated, will quickly bring to mind visions of what The Rad Trads’ race-out-of-the-gate live show must be like.

The album is bookended by closing number “Wishing Well,” which is, incredibly, the first song that Sargent ever wrote. “We played the song live for almost a year before recording it, so it had a chance to evolve organically before being put to tape,” he explains to MAGNET Magazine, which in its full- throated praise of The Rad Trads, also asserts, “We’ve been racking our brains trying to think of another band that has five leader singers, but we couldn’t come up with any.” Obviously, while the songs on On Tap are exceedingly original, the band’s story is, too. Or maybe surviving the story is what’s most fascinating. As a group comprised of conservatory trained instrumentalists, it’s actually five individual writers and singers that glue The Rad Trads together, the sound of five artists that have found a common voice.

“Our unconventional process keeps The Rad Trads fresh for us, always,” Harris-McCoy explains. “The fact that our egos have not taken us down is somewhat of a modern miracle!”


 
Motherfolk & Wylder
@The 8x10 | view more info »
Jun
9

Motherfolk & Wylder



Sunday Jun 9|doors 7:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Motherfolk

official band site »

MOTHERFOLK HAS BEEN REVERED AS "THE BEST BAND EVER" BY ALMOST ALL OF ITS CURRENT MEMBERS. WHAT STARTED IN 2014 AS A WRITING PROJECT BETWEEN TWO COLLEGE FRIENDS HAS GROWN INTO A PHENOMENON THAT HAS CAPTURED THE HEARTS AND SOULS OF DOZENS OF PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD.

WITH TWO FULL LENGTHS AND A FEW SINGLES UNDER THEIR BELT, MOTHERFOLK HAS TOURED HEAVILY ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND HAS MADE A NAME FOR THEMSELVES WITH THEIR HIGH-ENERGY PERFORMANCE. CURRENTLY IN 2018, THEY CONTINUE TO TOUR REGULARLY AND ARE SPENDING THE TIME IN BETWEEN IN THE STUDIO WORKING ON WHAT'S NEXT.

DON'T SLEEP ON THIS BAND, SLEEP ON A BED.


Wylder

official band site »

Wylder writes rhythmic, haunting and lyrically-driven indie-folk with a penchant for strange, foreboding storytelling about family and loss.

First formed in Virginia by singer/guitarist Will McCarry, the group quickly grew to include Lonnie Southall (guitar/mandolin), Mike Pingley (drums), and Jackson Wright (bass/piano). Wylder’s unique blend of indie-rock and chamber-folk combines the spirit of alternative rock giants like Arcade Fire and The Shins with the intimate, harmony-laden sounds of Fleet Foxes and Radical Face.

Their debut album, Rain and Laura, was released in April of 2016, and was met with enthusiastic reviews from fans and critics alike. They are currently in the midst of recording their next full-length album.


 
Sinkane
Bassel & The Supernaturals | @U Street Music Hall | view more info »
Jun
12

Sinkane

Bassel & The Supernaturals


Wednesday Jun 12|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
U Street Music Hall|get directions »
1115 U Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 588-1880


Sinkane

official band site »

Sinkane music -- every note of it -- comes straight out of a generosity of spirit. Never has that spirit been on more vivid display than on the uplifting new album Life & Livin' It. This is feel-good music for trying times, celebrating what makes life good without ignoring what makes it hard.

By the time they finished touring for their acclaimed Mean Love album in late 2015, Ahmed Gallab and the band had spread the gospel of Sinkane to the world, playing 166 shows in 20 countries. During the same period, he had also led The Atomic Bomb Band -- the highly celebrated 15-piece outfit that played the music of elusive Nigerian electro-funk maestro William Onyeabor. The band included David Byrne, Damon Albarn, members of Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Jamie Lidell and legendary jazz musicians Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd, and they played all over the planet, including making their TV debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. "Those 14 months really changed my life," Ahmed says. "Not only did I learn how to put on a bigger show, but all that touring brought Sinkane closer as a band."

As Ahmed got into the depths of writing for Life & Livin' It, he had a clear goal; to conjure the ups and downs of a universal experience, and have fun while doing it. "I would listen to my favorite records, like Funkadelic's America Eats Its Young, and realize how great they made me feel. That carefree, light and fun feeling I was getting while writing this record is what I want everyone to feel when they listen to it."

Ahmed soon brought the band in to help with the material, testing the songs at a four-show residency of sold-out shows at Union Pool in Brooklyn where the audience's reception fed the creative process. They toured throughout the summer before setting up shop at Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, Texas. Once again produced by Ahmed with lyrics and help from longtime collaborator Greg Lofaro, the album draws from the best elements of Sinkane's previous records: the slinky funk and soul grooves are there, so are the sparkling melodies with roots in sub-Saharan Africa. With basic tracking played together live, the fun and immediacy of Sinkane's live show is a central feeling of the recordings. Each one of the four members of Sinkane -- bassist Ish Montgomery, drummer Jason Trammell, guitarist Jonny Lam and Ahmed -- sing and contribute additional parts on the album, with Trammell contributing lyrics to "Theme from Life & Livin' It," and Lam helping with arrangements. Jas Walton and Jordan MacLean of Daptone recording artists Antibalas contributed horns.

In making a record that feels like this, Ahmed's primary intention was to make music that is joyous, but also socially conscious when you scratch beneath the surface. The songs "U'Huh" and "Theme from Life & Livin' It" conjure up the simple pleasures of hanging with friends, but there are heavier vibes in there. Ahmed says, "I remember listening to Bob Marley as a child. Dancing with my family in our living room and then my mother telling me what issues he was addressing, and that it was important to remember those things while listening. It made the music even better because it became about something more."

"Favorite Song" came about from Ahmed's experiences DJ'ing in New York. "As a DJ you're always paying attention to the collective energy in the club. When you play a song that everyone knows, everybody is connected, lost in the music." That song, along with "U'Huh," has lyrics sung in Arabic, Ahmed's native tongue. "Kulu shi tamaam!" means "everything is great!" while "ya zol ya zain!" is a Sudanese term of endearment meaning "my beautiful friend." "It's really easy to understand the tone of those words," Ahmed adds. "They just feel good, you don't have to know what they mean. It's kind of like listening to Caetano Veloso or Jorge Ben -- you don't have to know Portuguese to feel what they're saying."

True to its name, Life & Livin' It is an album about all kinds of experiences. When Ahmed Gallab sings, he sounds unafraid yet vulnerable. But while he once sang of feeling like he was on the planet Mars, Ahmed is now firmly grounded on Earth. He's no longer searching for his home -- he has created a home for himself. There's a party there, and Life & Livin' It is playing on the stereo. You are invited.


Bassel & The Supernaturals

official band site »

Bassel & The Supernaturals combines soul & funk with captivating lyrics about love, loss, and a war in Syria that has affected Bassel Almadani’s family along with 10,000,000 others.

The soulful Syrian-American vocalist and his ensemble donate over 20% of their merchandise proceeds to humanitarian relief through the Karam Foundation, including $3,000 from the preorder campaign for their full-length album, Elements (2017). Their latest album - drawing inspiration from artists such as Snarky Puppy, Jamiroquai, and Steely Dan's "Aja" - was premiered by Noisey (Vice), and led to their involvement in the nationally-acclaimed SXSW 2017 showcase 'ContraBanned: #MusicUnites' featuring artists from the diaspora of countries targeted by the travel ban. They've since been featured on PRI, Al Jazeera, Reuters, Paste Magazine, Huffington Post, NowThis, and many others.

Bassel co-produced the multi-genre humanitarian tour 'Amplify Peace' in collaboration with several other Arab-American artists from predominantly Muslim countries impacted by war. Highlights from their debut tour in October 2017 included performances at the John F. Kennedy Center, the Arab American National Museum, and a feature by the Associated Press. The program features a dynamic, multi-genre performance by socially conscious artists along with a variety of educational packages featuring lectures, interactive workshops, and a Q&A.

Averaging over 60 tour dates per year across the US and Canada with internationally touring artists such as Youssou N'Dour, Brother Ali, Aesop Rock, Emancipator, The Dandy Warhols, Sinkane, and many others - Bassel & The Supernaturals is preparing to release another full-length album, Smoke & Mirrors (2019).

 
theNEWDEAL
@Union Stage | view more info »
Jun
13

theNEWDEAL



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


theNEWDEAL

official band site »

theNEWDEAL is back
Toronto-based live electronic trio returns with new drummer Davide Di Renzo

With over 1400 legendary late nights, sold-out clubs and triumphant festivals under their belts, theNEWDEAL returns with a passion in 2019 with ‘TND3’ – the third incarnation of the renowned live electronica trio: Jamie Shields (keyboards), Dan Kurtz (bass), and new drummer Davide Di Renzo.

The band’s evolution through three drummers has now brought theNEWDEAL closer to its original direction. “With Davide, it’s a bit like ‘coming back home’, as he was the drummer that inspired our original direction back in 1998 when the three of us played an impromptu gig together in Guelph, Ontario. Each of the band’s drummers has brought something unique to theNEWDEAL, and with Davide we’re reaching back to move forward with the organic-infused improvisation that has long-inspired a big part of theNEWDEAL sound,” explains keyboardist Jamie Shields.

theNEWDEAL first began in Toronto in 1999, quickly gaining support from Toronto’s underground club scene as pioneers in electronica, recreating the DJ experience with live, improvised music. Soon the band brought their interpretation of Electro House, Trance, Breakbeat and Drum & Bass to the US, where they were embraced by the crowds at NYC’s Wetlands Preserve and cultivated a loyal following in the American jam scene.

After twelve years of touring, theNEWDEAL took a hiatus in 2011; Dan spent much of the next few years touring the world with Electropop band Dragonette. When theNEWDEAL returned to stages in 2014 they brought on board a new drummer in Dragonette’s Joel Stouffer. For three years, Dan, Jamie, and Joel enjoyed another successful round of touring and recording, and in 2017 Joel amicably parted ways to pursue other musical interests.

In 2018, theNEWDEAL welcomed drummer extraordinaire Davide Di Renzo into the fold. After several months of shedding in the studio, the band released the first taste of new music in March 2019 with “Halo Drive”, an epic 16-minute live improvised studio jam – recorded and mixed in the moment without any overdubs. The band plans to release more of these live studio improvisations and will be launching a podcast as 2019 continues – plus a long anticipated return to the touring and festival circuit


 
Moon Hooch
@U Street Music Hall | view more info »
Jun
14

Moon Hooch



Friday Jun 14|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
U Street Music Hall|get directions »
1115 U Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 588-1880


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.


 
God Street Wine
@Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Jul
3

God Street Wine



Wednesday Jul 3|doors 6:30 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


God Street Wine

official band site »

God Street Wine -- Lo Faber (lead vocals, guitar), Aaron Maxwell (lead vocals, guitar), Dan Pifer (bass), Jon Bevo (keyboards), and Tom "Tomo" Osander (drums) -- formed in New York in 1988. In helping to form the early jam band scene, they played alongside bands like the Black Crowes, Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler and the Spin Doctors. They joined the H.O.R.D.E. Tour traveling festival in the '90s, recorded five studio albums, and performed more than 1,000 shows in their 11 years together.

After experiencing several lineup changes in 1998, God Street Wine split up the next year, playing a three-night farewell engagement at the Wetlands Preserve in New York. Selected performances from these final shows were compiled into the posthumous live album "Good To the Last Drop" in 2000. The original five members reunited publicly in September 2001 for a farewell show to the Wetlands, as the celebrated venue was closing that month, then disbanded for nearly a decade.

After almost a decade apart, God Street Wine reunited privately in 2009 to honor an old friend who had passed away. A year later they joined together on the public stage for four New York concerts benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and in 2011 played on the Jam Cruise. Since then GSW continues to get together every now and then. They have played at Bob Weir's TRI Studios and Sweetwater Music Hall, rambles with Phil Lesh at Terrapin Crossroads, and various shows in the Northeastern US.


 
Kendall Street Company
@Union Stage | view more info »
Aug
10

Kendall Street Company



Saturday Aug 10|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Kendall Street Company

official band site »

From late night jam sessions at the University of Virginia to the main stages of venues throughout the East Coast, the Company has broken out of the college bubble and into a world that loves to groove to a great live show. The band was founded in the early months of 2013 by guitarist/vocalist Louis Smith and saxophonist Andrew Drehoff. The duo had been playing together for some time in the greater Virginia Beach area, joined by a rotation of talented musicians who performed behind Louis as the Louis Smith Band. After moving to Charlottesville in late 2012 to attend the University of Virginia, the pair began putting together a group of student musicians, adding Brian Roy on bass/vocals and Ryan Wood on drums/percussion in early 2013. Since then, the band has added Andrew King on keyboards, Ben Laderberg on the electric guitar, and Jake Vanaman on saxophone.

Kendall Street Company performs regularly along the East Coast, maintaining a central presence around the state of Virginia. While the Company's music is influenced by a variety of musicians and styles, the group has been described as "psychedelic," "alternative," "jammy," "rock," "indie," and "ska". Their recent performance at the 2017 Lockn Music Festival was praised by Relix magazine as having "[raised] the crowd's energy with frontman Louis Smith and guitarist Ben Laderberg's acoustic/electric interplay and lively, technical breakdowns". It is not uncommon for guest performers to join the group on stage for extended jams.


 
Joe Russo's Almost Dead
@The Anthem | view more info »
Sep
28

Joe Russo's Almost Dead



Saturday Sep 28|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 »

Joe Russo's Almost Dead is Scott Metzger, Tommy Hamilton, Dave Dreiwitz, Marco Benevento & Joe Russo.

"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


 
Perpetual Groove
@9:30 club | view more info »
Oct
11

Perpetual Groove



Friday Oct 11|doors 10:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Perpetual Groove

official band site »

Rising out of Savannah, GA in 2001, Perpetual Groove has grown quickly into a formidable international touring organization. Now based in Athens, GA, the band continues to ride an unending wave of momentum buoyed by an enthusiastic fan base and international critical acclaim. Fans of Perpetual Groove (or PGroove, as the fans like to call them) are known to follow the band from state to state, night to night, to experience their euphoric live show that features an ever changing set-list. Perpetual Groove's music has evolved into a genre-bending, highly original sound that touches upon jazz-rock, neo-psychedelia, R&B, trance electronica, progressive rock, and anthemic arena rock. Their large catalog of original music offers something for everyone, but the band is also known for their eclectic range of covers; including everything from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to Rage Against The Machine's "Bulls On Parade". 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.

Perpetual Groove released their first album, Sweet Oblivious Antidote, in 2003 on Harmonized Records after their first year of solid touring. Besides being the top seller for The Home Grown Music Network that year (it out-sold releases by Phish, Widespread Panic, and others), it was also voted HGMN Top Fan Pick for 2003. The buzz only got bigger on the 2004 follow-up record, All This Everything, which was produced by Grammy award-winner Robert Hannon.

LiveLoveDie, their third record was released in March of 2007 and represents a significant evolutionary departure in style for Perpetual Groove. Teaming up once again with Hannon and Tree Sound Studios, the band set forth to create a darker sonic landscape without sacrificing too much of that "PGroove quality" thanks in part to Butler's warm, soaring vocals. HEAL, released in 2010, firmly established Perpetual Groove as more than a jamband with its focus on well-crafted songs. Honey Cuts, an EP released later in 2010, is the most accurate representation of the band's current sound, especially on the track "Cairo."

Perpetual Groove continues to tour relentlessly throughout the United States and is a staple in the US festival scene with performances at All Good Music Festival, Gathering of the Vibes, Wakarusa, Bonnaroo, Jam Cruise, High Sierra, Jazz Fest, Riverbend and their own annual gathering, Amberland. The band has also made appearances at International events such as Jam in the Dam and Caribbean Holidaze. Perpetual Groove continues to push the envelope in the music industry, touring behind the first ever 5.1 surround sound system and producing the first album to be completely offset by renewable energy credits.


 
Lettuce
Antibalas | Ghost-Note | @The Anthem | view more info »
Nov
22

Lettuce

Antibalas
Ghost-Note

Friday Nov 22|doors 6:00 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Lettuce

official band site »

LETTUCE is (a) the prime ingredient in a salad, (b) a slang for cash, (c) a green herb that can be smoked, (d) a genre-busting six-member funk/jazz/soul/jam/psychedelic/hip-hop/art-rock/ambient/ avant-garde/experimental collective formed in 1992 by four alumni of the prestigious Berklee College Of Music, or (e) all of the above.

If you answered “e,” then you’re on to the ever-changing musical palette and all-inclusive goals of LETTUCE’s sixth studio album, Elevate, and its ongoing re-interpretation of the band’s name as “Let Us.” In their earliest days as students, they would roam the cities of the Northeast, and implore others to “Let Us play.” Starting with their 2002 debut album, the phrase has been affixed to their first four albums, as in (Let Us) Outta Here (2002), (Let Us) Rage! (2008), (Let Us) Fly! (2012) and (Let Us) Crush (2015). Elevate (2019) is the band’s first studio album since 2016’s Mt. Crushmore and the follow-up to its 2017 live effort, Witches Stew.

Recorded at Colorado Sound outside of Denver, near the home of New York transplants and band co-founders, guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff and percussionist Adam Deitch, with legendary engineer Russ Elevado (D’Angelo, The Roots, Erykah Badu), Elevate shows LETTUCE touching on its past while moving full force into the future. The band explores its funk roots in the Tower of Power like punch of “Ready to Live” (the cover of a song by Cold Blood’s Lydia Pense), the Prince-like swagger of “Royal Highness” and the OG blues-soul of “Love Is Too Strong,” while expanded trip-hop sounds of the space age audio-scapes like “Trapezoid,” “Gang 10” and “Purple Cabbage” show the influence of sax player Ryan Zoidis’ Korg X-911 synths and Nigel Hall’s Rhodes keyboards.

“This album definitely stretches the boundaries,” says chief composer/percussionist Deitch, whose chance meeting with co-founder “Shmeeans” while 16-year-olds at a summer camp before their freshmen year of college proved momentous. “The idea was to keep exploring the different areas of funk and hip-hop beats, then writing melodies to those songs that made sense.”

The more progressive/spacey vibe, with elements of Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, Eno and Miles Davis, also comes naturally to the band, according to founding member and bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, an Orange County native whose father, Tommy Coomes, is a successful musician with a number of albums to his credit.

“We’re big improvisational music and arts fans,” Erick says. “We consider them part of the same world. It’s like painting live with five other people, one arm and a single brush.”

Guitarist Shmeeans compares the group’s eclectic, free-wheeling approach to “the modern NBA and its position-less basketball,” Nigel Hall, the band’s resident singer, also takes vocals on the album’s two covers, Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (one of the album’s two focus tracks, along with “Krewe”) and Lydia Pense’s “Ready to Live.” “As long as you listen, play your part and remember where the ‘one’ is, you can thrive in this band,” says Nigel.

Trumpet and horn-player Eric “Benny” Bloom, a Rhode Island native who has been a full-time member of LETTUCE since 2011, notes, “This isn’t just a funk band anymore. We’re playing every style of music in every song. You can’t categorize it. We have the freedom to do whatever we want that’s appropriate for the song.”

Much of the futuristic, yet warm and analog feel, of Elevate can be attributed to sax player, Portland, ME native and co-founding member Ryan Zoidis, who continued to explore the limits of his new toy, a vintage Korg X-911 synth. “I was still figuring it out on the last album, trouble-shooting how it would work,” says Ryan. “It’s responsible not just for the ways the band has changed musically, but it’s improved my life in general. It’s great to have have a lot more options with my sound rather than just relying on the one standard timbre of the dry saxophone. There are now a bunch of different voices I can pull up.” He points to “Trapezoid” as a piece for which he recorded himself playing the synth over a click track and then sent to Deitch, who turned it into the song on the album.

Other album highlights include Smirnoff’s nod to Carlos Santana and Trey Anastasio on the Latin-flavored and playfully named “Shmink Dabby,” the spaghetti western meets ‘60s Ethiopian funk by way of the French Ethiopiques compilation albums in the focus track, “Krewe” and the Marcus King cameo vocal on the B.B. King/Al Green gospel blues of “Love Is Too Strong.” The latter is reminiscent of other guest appearances in the past by the likes of John Scofield and Fred Wesley on LETTUCE’s debut, Outta Here, or Dwele on Rage!

“There’s always something new to be learned as musicians and as people,” adds Shmeeans. “We’re trying to get a little bit better every day.”

Says Ryan: “We realize more and more that this band is a gift we’ve been given. Everyone contributes, like a successful sports team. We’ve really become family over the years. We’ve known there was magic in this from the moment we first got together as 16-year-olds.”

That magic continues to grow with the band’s new album, a democratic ensemble in which there is no leader, but a complete unit that functions as a single entity, with plenty of moving parts. All together now… Let us Elevate.


Antibalas

official band site »

Formed in Brooklyn, the musical collective known as Antibalas’ new studio album, Where The Gods Are In Peace, is an epic Afro-Western Trilogy searching for solace from American political opportunism, greed and vengeance. Through its battle cry of resistance against exploitation and displacement, Antibalas’ long-form compositions investigate oppression in 1800s America that eerily mirror the current state of the country. Three explosive original arrangements cultivate an urgent call to heal a broken system. Ultimately, the sonic excursion lands on an island where love is our first instinct. A new ideology is born opening our hearts to the possibilities of living as one unified people, where all gods are equal and together we prevail.

True to traditional form, Where The Gods Are In Peace pays respect to the forefathers of Afrobeat with compositions spanning nine to 15 minutes in length. With a blessing from the Fela Kuti legacy early in the band’s career, Antibalas has long been revered for re-popularizing the classic Afrobeat sound while adding their distinct New York City grit to the mix. Influences of punk rock, free jazz, and hip-hop seep into their expansive works to define a truly 21st century translation of the Afrobeat genre and beyond.

Antibalas is a force of nature celebrated by both music connoisseurs and a wide array of renowned artists alike. Antibalas has served as the backing band for high profile tribute shows at Carnegie Hall, including Music of Paul Simon (2014), Music of David Byrne & Talk Heads (2015), and Music of Aretha Franklin (2017). Antibalas members have also appeared alongside some of today’s biggest stars, such as Beyonce, The Roots, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Angelique Kidjo, Zap Mama, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Tony Allen, Davido, Arcade Fire, Lady Antebellum, and many others. In 2012, Antibalas made their late night television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and have appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Ghost-Note

official band site »

HEADED BY SNARKY PUPPY’S MULTI-GRAMMY–WINNING PERCUSSION DUO OF ROBERT “SPUT” SEARIGHT AND NATE WERTH, GHOST-NOTE IS AN EXPLOSION OF SOUND. WITH AN EXPANSIVE ROSTER OF NEXT-LEVEL MUSICIANS—REPRESENTING MEMBERS OF PRINCE, SNOOP DOGG, ERYKAH BADU, HERBIE HANCOCK, KENDRICK LAMAR, MARCUS MILLER, TOTO, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, AND MORE—THE BAND IS PUSHING FUNK MUSIC INTO THE FUTURE, BUILDING ON THE UPLIFTING, PIONEERING FOUNDATIONS LAID OUT BY THE LIKES OF JAMES BROWN AND SLY & THE FAMILY STONE AND INFUSING THEIR FRESH TAKE WITH TASTES OF AFROBEAT, HIP-HOP, PSYCHEDELIA, WORLD FOLKLORE, AND MORE.

WITH THE RELEASE OF 2018’S SWAGISM, GHOST-NOTE HAS MADE THEIR MISSION CLEAR. THE ALBUM PUTS RHYTHM AT THE FOREFRONT, WITH IRRESISTIBLE, HEAVY-HITTING BEATS UNDERLYING THE GROUP’S WILD, RICH MUSIC. FEATURING NUMEROUS GUEST COLLABORATORS, INCLUDING KAMASI WASHINGTON, KARL DENSON, BOBBY SPARKS, NIGEL HALL, TAZ, AND OTHERS, SWAGISM SHOWCASES THE BAND’S STUNNING ABILITY TO MELD AND AMPLIFY SOUNDS, ULTIMATELY ADDING TO GHOST-NOTE’S SHARP, COMPLEX COLLABORATIONS.

FEARLESS, BOTH IN SWAGISM’S SONIC DEPTH AND CONSCIOUS SOCIAL COMMENTARY, THE BAND EASILY TRANSLATES THIS ADVENTUROUSNESS IN A LIVE SETTING. GHOST-NOTE’S LIVE PERFORMANCES ARE BOLD AND IN YOUR FACE, WITH THE GROUP OFFERING UP NONE OF THE TIGHT-LACED PRETENSES FREQUENTLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE BAND’S JAZZ ROOTS. FOCUSED ON CREATING SEDUCTIVE DANCEABLE GROOVES AND A CONTAGIOUS FEEL-GOOD ENERGY, EACH SHOW IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LET LOOSE AND CONNECT, FOR BOTH FANS AND THE MUSICIANS ALIKE.

AFTER FORMING IN 2015, GHOST-NOTE HAS ALREADY BEGUN TO TAKE THE WORLD BY STORM. THE GROUP’S TWO STUDIO ALBUMS—2018’S SWAGISM AND 2015’S FORTIFIED—HAVE EARNED CRITICAL ACCLAIM AND POPULAR SUCCESS AROUND THE GLOBE, WITH BOTH ALBUMS HITTING THE #1 SPOT ON THE ITUNES JAZZ CHARTS. FURTHERMORE, THE EVER-GROWING FAMILY OF MUSICIANS HAS MOUNTED SUCCESSFUL HEADLINING TOURS IN THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, AND JAPAN AND PERFORMED AT HIGH-PROFILE INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVALS AND EVENTS.