PREVIEW: Waxahatchee @ 9:30 Club

BY: SYDNEY SPENCER

On Sunday, April 15th, 2018 I will be seeing my favorite artist in D.C. for the second time. Even with graduation around the corner, nothing else could make me more excited.  

Indie solo project, Waxahatchee, has humble beginnings in young Katie Crutchfield’s hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. In 2010, Katie recorded her first album, American Weekend, in her bedroom of her parent’s house. Its cassette-recorded tracks are laced with the intimacy of the young artist’s personal accounts of recklessness, finding love and losing it. With her honest lyrics and candid acoustic guitar, it’s hard not to feel connected to Katie in someway. The album was quickly discovered and praised by the indie community, its track “Be Good” was listed on NPR’s song of the day playlist and rated as one of the station’s top 50 songs in 2012.

In 2013, Katie released Waxahatchee’s second album – Cerulean Salt. The album (my personal favorite) is less melancholy and more reflective, focusing more on Katie’s experience growing up including insight into her relationship with her twin sister and moving across the country to New York City. I highly recommend checking out “Brother Bryan” or “Dixie Cups and Jars”.

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Marcel Khalife @ Lincoln Theatre

Written by MOJIB GHAZNAWI and edited by ANOUR ESA

Marcel Khalife is one of the most prolific Arab singers, composers, and oud (Arab 10-stringed lute) performers. Given his legacy of social critique and a longing for peace, Marcel is often regarded as the Bob Dylan of the Arab world. Despite this comparison, the two singer-songwriter legends could not have had more different upbringings. While Bob Dylan debuted on the stages of his high school talent shows, Marcel Khalife’s first public performance was amid the rubble of bombed-out buildings in Beirut during Lebanon’s civil war.

On December 8th, hundreds from the DMV packed into the Lincoln Theatre to see the critically acclaimed Lebanese musician, Marcel Khalife perform alongside his two sons, Bachar and Rami Khalife. Just like Khalife’s music and lyrics (poems written by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish), this concert was politically charged. Presented by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the concert was framed as a chance for the “Arab community to take back their culture.” The performance was seen as a tool to fight discrimination, racism and intolerance, giving the Arab community a chance to define themselves rather than Hollywood or the media forcing that definition. This message is especially important for the world that we live in today, with dictionary.com’s word of the year being “xenophobia.”

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7/20: Neon Trees @ 930 with COIN, Fictionist

A Monday night is not the best night for a show, but then again, maybe it is. The crowd at the 930 Club seemed to be acting like it was a Saturday night. Perhaps it was the line up of energizing and talented bands ahead?

First up was Fictionist, hailing from, Provo, UTHA the same small town as Neon Trees. The band was comprised of five incredibly plain clothed musicians who looked like they were having the time of their life. The alternative rock group played high-energy songs, with each musician changing instruments and sharing the vocal duties. Being the opener for the opener, Fictionist was remarkably talented, good-natured, and simply down to have a good time. This video definitely sums up their playfulness, creativity, and musical talent!

8:45 pm: By now the venue had taken on the persona and energy of a venue waiting for the main act, despite only a 15 minute break between sets. Suddenly, the lights went dark, and “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson of all songs came on, and the entire crowd went straight into singing along to the music. Maybe this was COIN’s pre show song to get the crowd pumped? Regardless, it seemed to do the trick and the band bounded onto the stage to a pretty hefty amount of cheering. COIN, with about 1.3 million hits on its most popular song on Spotify, had a decent fan-base at the venue already. From Nashville, Tennessee, the band describes itself as a “product of the 90’s” that just wants “to make music that makes you feel good.” The band definitely encapsulated the energy of the 90s, with none of its songs giving up any energy, whatsoever. The band released its debut self titled album a little over a month ago, and already many in the audience knew the words. The band did a wonderful job of hyping the crowd up, and gave them a great performance. They also had a pretty nifty looking neon sign of their band name, just sayin’.

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The Wombats' "Glitterbug" – The Third Iteration of a Techno Journey


If The Wombats realized in 2011’s “The Modern Glitch” that they were techno fans, then with their new album “Glitterbug” they have fully embraced the electronic pop first introduced to their catchy UK pop rock sound four years ago. Though a far departure from the drum-driven pop rock of their 2007 international debut album “Tales of Love, Loss, & Desperation” (their technical debut album “Girls Boys & Marsupials” was originally released only in Japan) and certainly not as innovative as “The Modern Glitch,” it is still a fun album that is sure to be a hit among fans of other 80s inspired bands, like the more refined Bleachers or fellow countrymen The 1975.

The album starts out slow with “Emoticons,” a relatable tune for anyone who has dated during the 21st century, however it is a little too mellow as an opening track, especially when compared to “Tales of Girls, Boys, & Marsupials”/”Kill The Director” and “Perfect Disease” from their last two full-lengths. The second track, “Give Me A Try,” would have been a much more compelling opener, especially since it evokes their previous work “Girls/Fast Cars” (I’m on the look out for a mash-up from my musically inclined friends on the internet, so if you’re into remixing hit me up). My personal favorite song, and another track which I think would have been an excellent opener as it sounds new but still catchy, is third track “Greek Tragedy,” which is reminiscent of “1996” but with a darker, heavier twist (check out the music video if you haven’t already, especially if you’ve ever seen “Skins”). It also features harmonizing, which is part of the reason why I originally fell in love with The Wombats’ sound so many years ago (and not just because I have a huge crush on drummer Dan Haggis, but really, I’ll be at your show next week so hit me up).

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