For half an hour this past Friday, the sidewalk outside Songbyrd Music House and Café was a wash of lipstick, denim jackets, top knot buns, and wire rimmed glasses. Women of all shapes, sizes, and colors lined the street, waiting to get their ticket to see Princess Nokia’s (a NYC rapper’s) late show. “It’s so exciting to see this much style in D.C.” the woman behind me commented.
I quickly realized in joining the crowd that this would be a hip-hop performance for more than the average cis male, hip-hop loving audience—a type of show that is becoming more common but is still difficult to find. Upon setting foot in Songbyrd, I could immediately feel the evening’s subtle fem-respecting energy; the mixings of a female DJ welcomed me inside, playing Kendrick’s recent “Humble” followed shortly by Kamaiyah’s “N****s.” Continue reading “Princess Nokia @ Songbyrd”→
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’.
As YG’s DJ took the stage and began spinning tracks to pump up the crowd, you could sense the excitement in the air. Coming off a year of much acclaim, the Los Angeles rapper descended onto Silver Spring to perform some of his biggest hits – and that’s exactly what he did. Wearing his signature red “Bompton” fitted cap, and riding a modified BMX bike, YG entertained the crowd with his brash style and heavily synthesized beats harkening to the heyday of E-40 and Too $hort. Continue reading “BestCoast Connection Tour Review – by Max Blackman”→
It’s January 5th and we here at the WRGW Music Department are just a little bit sick of the cyclical year-end lists penned by **in-touch** music writers and tastemakers who continually peddle the same albums over and over again, with more regard for controversy (Mark Kozelek shout out) than actual substance. Let’s face it – music journalism kinda sucks. The top blogs and sites are essentially celebrity gossip forums, with occasional big words and nice pictures thrown in. The promotions companies are no better, as the wealthier bands get press and talented, hardworking ones are left in the dust. Still, rant aside, 2014 was a damn fine year in music. The mega releases of 2013 slowed down enough to allow break out artists, like Ex Hex, Ty Segall, Angel Olsen (the list goes on) to break into new territory and release exceptional, career-defining albums. The future is ripe, and there has never been a better time to be a music fan with a pair of headphones and an internet connection.
Instead of laying out the “best” albums of last year, our three assistant music directors, our music promotions director and I share below the top three artists/bands that we’re genuinely excited about in 2015. This is by no means an objective or comprehensive list; those things do not exist in music journalism. Read, listen, and watch before they get drowned out by the next Kanye single, or another War on Drugs album. Regular blog content and programming will continue starting the week of January 19th – until then, indulge our egos and maybe find your next favorite band.