Concert Preview: GEMS brings “dream-pop” to U Street Music Hall

With two more months to explore the D.C. music scene this semester, Vox encourages you to make it out to U Street Music Hall to see local bands GEMS and Uno Hype on Saturday, March 1st.

GEMS is Lindsay Pitts and Clifford Usher’s newest project, which has earned far more hype than their previous project, Birdlips. Birdlips is difficult to categorize, as it hinges somewhere between folk and psychedelic rock. While GEMS’ devoted fans may go back and find themselves enjoying Birdlips’ unique take on americana rock, Pitts and Usher’s new project is much more accessible for new audiences.

Pitts and Usher’s transformation and newly found fame came through something far too familiar to us: use of social media. In 2012, GEMS posted a couple of their home-recorded tracks on Soundcloud, which, along with a makeover of their image and aesthetic, got them much more attention than they had ever received under Birdlips.

Self-proclaimed as of the genre “dream-pop,” Pitts and Usher settled into their new and far more unique style under GEMS. The dreamy, hypnotic style is underscored with high wispy vocals by Pitts and lots and lots of reverb. The four tracks on their 2013 EP entitled Medusa can be characterized as well-crafted and clean. Vox’s favorite on the EP, also called “Medusa,” is an exchange between Pitts and Usher that mixes heavy and dark with the lightness that comes with letting go. As Pitchfork Media puts it, “the song proves worthy of its namesake, the serpent-haired Greek mythical creature who could turn humans to stone with her direct gaze, as ‘Medusa’ is nearly as transfixing.”

If you’re not into dream-pop or even synth at all, don’t be deterred from seeing GEMS live. See them for the mere purpose of appreciating true artistic talent. To be able to transform style and sound the way Pitts and Usher have is extremely unique and worth giving them a listen and support.

Opening for GEMS is Maryland-based DJ, Uno Hype. Following on the heels of success of D.C. wrapper Wale, 19-year-old Uno Hype put himself out there in a big way with his recent mixtape, Fxck The HypeFxck The Hype features 9 original jams and collaborations with artists like Joey Bada$$ and Smoke DZA, all produced by DJ Black Diamond. With a smooth style and mature lyrics, listeners and audiences will be easily sold by Uno Hype’s performance.

With a diversity of performances between GEMs and Uno Hype, Vox knows you won’t be disappointed by the show at U St. Music Hall. Purchase tickets for the 7 pm show on Saturday, March 1st for $15 here.

Photo: The Jefferson Theatre via Tumblr

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