This upcoming Thursday, November 14th, GEMS (stylized ▼ ▲ GEMS ▼ ▲), a rising fixture of the D.C. music scene, will be playing at U Street Music Hall with Alex Winston and WET. The show is 18+, $12 online and $15 at the door.
Bass. Funky beats. Low croons. Laughter.
The crowd sways as Khalif Diouf, better known by his moniker Le1f, paces the stage, spitting game with the audience and joking between verses from Tree House. Le1f’s prolific output (Tree House is his third EP in 10 months, can I get a dayummm?) and unconventional production was reflected in a relatively big turnout for an early Wednesday night show at U Street Music Hall. The crowd matches Le1f’s murmurs to the chorus of “Hush Bb”, creating a slightly spooky and very wavy aura. He drops down to eye level with the crowd, grooving to his own beats as he gets closer to the front row, pouring his soul into their adoring eyes.
“So guys, um, who saw the president’s speech on Syria?”
While certainly not a typical point of conversation for any other show, this was how Jamaican Queens introduced themselves to the audience at DC9 on September 10th. Between swigs of beer and engaging in conversation with the intimate 30-person audience, Jamaican Queens wowed the crowd with their energy and distinct sound. Self-described members of the “Detroit trap-pop” genre and defined by the International Film Channel as a mixture of “Grizzly Bear and Young Jeezy,” this heavily hip-hop and rock-influenced band played a six-track set with definite blues hues, including both older and newer tracks from their most recent album, Wormfoot, released in early 2013. Borrowing from influences such as “dance hall and sad pop songs, especially from The Smiths, Blur, and Gorillaz,” Jamaican Queens engaged in a set that sounded as familiar as it did unique.