Tag Archives: funk

two bars three stars: happy local music day!

8 Feb

Happy local music day, DC readers! Well, one could argue every day is local music day, but today we have the pleasure of enjoying local music through a monthly organized event. Since October 2011, Listen Local First has partnered with DC businesses to stream a pre-selected playlist of local artists. All day. And today is that day for February. Score.

The day not only involves some of my favorite local businesses (what up, Tryst), but has exposed me to some sweet DC bands I hadn’t listen to previously (what up, Ugly Purple Sweater). If this event couldn’t be any more tailored to my interests, this month’s playlist and accompanying artist showcase focuses heavily on Black artists in honor of Black History Month.

This all culminates in a can’t-miss artist showcase and panel discussion on Thursday, February 9 at The Dunes in Columbia Heights. The panel discussion, “Black Broadway: The Roots of DC Hip Hop,” will include a panel of some serious DC music smarty pants, such as singer/songwriter/actor/poet W. Ellington Felton, Capital Bop Editor Luke Stewart, Blues musician Stacy Brooks, and DJs Alizay and RBI–all under the careful moderation of James Benson and Kokayi, the masterminds behind the DC Hip Hop History Project.

But the piece de resistance of the evening, which I am antsily excited for given the small venue and excellent lineup, is the live showcase featuring Cornel West Theory and Nappy Riddem. These guys represent some of the best hip-hop and funk (respectively) to come out of the District in recent years, and their DC roots truly infiltrate their sound. I’m incredibly stoked to see these up-close-and-personal performances from a group of guys with serious flow and serious funk.

Check out the Listen Local First site for a full list of participating artists and businesses, and their blog for full event info–as well as a piece on Sockets Records written by yours truly.

A taste of what you’ll hear on Thursday:

Nappy Riddem, “Nappy Riddem”

Cornel West Theory, “DC Love Story”

two bars three stars: fatback; or, what if the best night of your life happened every month?

10 Jan

In the world of DC nightlife, I am a firm believer in the institution of the monthly dance party. I don’t know if we’re just a city of over-scheduled Type As who love recurring Outlook invites or what, but many of my favorite nights in the District have taken place at monthly parties that have a cult following and a longstanding tradition.

As for my favorite monthly fiesta, it’s really a toss-up between All Things Gold at U Street Music Hall (for those who love electro and hate their ability to hear); Che Sera at Napoleon (bass-heavy remixes of 1960s-70s surf music? Free flowers to put in my hair? Sign me up!); or the legendary Fatback at Bohemian Caverns, where the disco child in all of us is transported back to an era when Motown, soul, and straight-up funk kept the kids’ feet moving.

Fatback had intrigued me for ages, and I finally, finally got myself there in December 2011. Needless to say, every hope, dream, aspiration, and fantasy for the night came true (and then some).

There were disco balls. And glitter.  And seamlessly mixed Motown songs I used to (err…maybe still) sing with my mom while listening to oldies radio. There were Santa hats and red-and-white-striped onesies (possibly because DC Santarchy took place that day). Everyone in the crowd seemed equally entranced by the crew of DJs slinging old school dance favorites, and we were all myopically focused on the mission at hand: to dance, dance, like it’s the last, last, night of your life, life, Fatback DJs gon’ get you right…sorry, I digress.

Fatback was a utopian disco world where normal party problems don’t exist because everyone was just so happy to be there and be alive. Case in point: looking back, the bathroom line was atrociously long. But, you know what, I made some of my BFFs of the night grooving in that bathroom line—shout out to the girlfriend who belted some falsetto “Dancing in September” with me, you’re a peach (whoever you are)!

ANYWAY, I am obviously giddily excited to return to this land on January 21, and not just for any old Fatback– it’s Fatback’s 4th Anniversary Party. If you need any more convincing that this will be the pièce de résistance of January’s nightlife offerings, take a look (/listen) at this BYT post, where Fatback DJs graciously compiled their top 40 tracks from this year’s parties. I’ve posted my favorite from the list below: a soul cover of Free’s “All Right Now,” you don’t get any more quintessential Fatback than that.  See you on the dance floor, kids.