If you haven’t heard of James Blake yet, you will in the next few months. Blake exploded onto the British electronic scene with his self-titled debut album in 2011, offering listeners a smooth blend of electronic, soul, folk and other outer-worldly sounds. His music has been described as gospel-like due to its power, yet soft enough to justify a body sway here and there.
The “Prince of Dubstep” (think British dubstep, not Skrillex) has finally made his way across the pond to share his affecting beats with American audiences. He will performing at the 9:30 Club this Saturday, November 2nd.
Similar to many experimental electronic musicians, Blake began making music in his bedroom. He attended Goldsmiths, University of London, where he earned a degree in music. Blake has devoted the past few years to producing music: his second album Overgrown dropped April of this year. Last week it won the Mercury Prize, awarded every year to the best British or Irish album.
“I feel jubilant and confused, wonderful,” the 25-year-old Brit shared.
Blake’s music is a cacophony of instruments, dueling the electronic realm – samples, drum machines, sequencers – against the traditional piano. The result is the ultimate medium between old and new. The layers in Blake’s work are vivid, offering an elegant complexity seldom seen in electronic music.
Vox was lucky enough to see Blake this past summer on his European tour and is happy to report that the boy is crazy talented. An impressive multi-tasker with an eerily beautiful voice, Blake respectfully places emphasis on the instrumentals. Blake is aggressive on the keyboard, surging his body back and forth over the instrument. You will quickly find yourself doing the same, shamelessly drowning in his beats. Concert-goers should prepare themselves: Blake is a master at eliciting emotional response from the audience.
On Monday morning, news surfaced that 9:30 Club manager Josh Burdette was discovered dead in his home on Sunday evening. Burdette was beloved and admired by touring bands and D.C. show-goers alike for his commitment to the Club. His death is now being investigated as a possible suicide.
Burdette was best known for his appearance; anyone who has been to 9:30 probably remembers seeing him. The 340-pound, six foot-three man clad himself in tattoos, piercings, and gauges. But those who had a chance to know him speak of his friendly, caring attitude towards all the people he met.
“Here was this scary looking dude that was a complete contradiction of his appearance,” 9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz said, according to Consequence of Sound. ”I think everyone felt a little ashamed and learned from that. We were all so proud to have him as our ambassador to the world.”
In addition to his welcoming personality, Burdette is also known for taking his managerial position very seriously. “I’m not going to lose my job for 20 bucks,” Burdette once said, referring to his stance on turning down bribes, according to CoS. Burdette once recounted a story of a weekend when he turned down thousands of dollars in bribes from people trying to see sold-out shows of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead. “My job is to say no, and I’m really good at it,” Burdette said.
The Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum’s new exhibition, Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color and Space, opened yesterday. The exhibit highlights the Latin American pioneers of the Light and Space movement. If you’re unfamiliar with this art movement, its artists have a fascination with optical illusions, and as you know, everybody loves optical illusions.
Georgetown Program Board is screening Academy Award Best Picture nominee Moneyballat 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m in the ICC Auditorium. I’ve heard rumors that Brad Pitt will be in attendance to campaign for the film, but like I said, it’s just a rumor.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Beekicks off its second week with an 8 p.m. showing in Poulton Hall. Critics lauded the acting but did not appreciate the infantile words the contestants were challenged to spell. Apparently, our reliance on spell check has taken the edge off the spelling bee.
Watch the Yale School of Music perform works by Debussy, Mendelsohn, and Bartók at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. The 6 p.m. performance is free, because honestly, who would pay to see the Yale School of Music?
Check out the Black Movements Dance Theatre, a combination of student and professional guest performers, as they take viewers through a night of contemporary dance in their new production, Conversations. The event is on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. in Gonda Theatre (Davis Performing Arts Center).
Loosen up with some dubstep at the 9:30 Club. Starting at 10 p.m., Dub Nation is a forum for all of D.C.’s worst dubstep musicians. But this is a good thing, because the best dubstep is the worst dubstep, and worst dubstep is the best dubstep.
The first week (ok, half week) of school is over, and it’s a three day weekend. It’s the middle of the winter but the weather could not be more pleasant, and there’s a good chance you don’t have any daunting homework assignments yet. In other words, there are no excuses for staying on campus all three days.
DC rapper Tabi Bonney will be taking the stage at the Black Cat at 9 p.m. Check out some of his work here. The National Gallery will also hold a celebration for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday at 7 p.m., a free event that requires reservations. And don’t miss trombonist Jeff Bradshaw perform from his wide palette of work, ranging from funk to gospel. He’s playing at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage at 6 p.m. for free.
On Sunday, get cultured with the new art exhibit She Got Game at the Arlington Arts Center. And if you’re not up to going to mass, you can listen to a gospel choir at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage (6 p.m.).
End the weekend at the Kennedy Center with Bobby McFerrin, famous for his one-hit-wonder “Don’t Worry, Be Happy“. The 6 p.m. performance is part of the “Let Freedom Ring” tribute, put on by Georgetown in celebration of MLK’s birthday. Check out the complete schedule of events for the festival here.
Speaking Wednesday, President DeGioia was incredibly excited for McFerrin’s performance:
Mr. McFerrin was a visiting faculty member here, about ten years ago, and spent the fall with us, and it was fantastic. So I can only imagine what it’s going to be like with him on Monday night.
Pogues w/Titus Andronicus Wednesday, March 9, 9:30 Club ($55), 7:00 p.m. doors
It is NOT too early to talk about St. Patrick’s Day! The Pogues are the quintessential Irish pub rock band. If Shane MacGowan can make it onstage you might be able to understand what he’s saying. You may have heard of “Fairy Tale of New York”. Want to spend a night with this guy? Titus Andronicus is opening
Streetlight Manifesto Sunday, March 13, 9:30 Club ($20), 4:30 p.m. doors
Streetlight Manifesto is the ska-punk that was formerly Catch 22. Like most of their genre, they are still touring on the same songs you fell in love with five years ago. The lineup has changed considerably, but the horn section is still going.
Bon Jovi Sunday, February 27, Verizon Center ($19.50-$149.50), 6:30 p.m. doors
JBJ and company welcome you to “An evening with Bon Jovi.” For about twenty bucks, you can bring the kids too. Look forward to pending a couple hours looking down from the Verizon Center Penthaus waiting for the band to play “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Last year, Bon Jovi’s “Circle Tour” was the highest grossing tour of 2010.
Tennis w/La Sera, Holiday Shores Saturday, March 5, Rock N Roll Hotel ($12), 8 p.m. doors
No, it’s not a sports-themed dance night. Tennis is an indie rock duo from Denver who’ve been scoring points with reviewers acorss the interwebs. The Voice‘s own Luke Howleyreviewed their debut album Cape Dory this January. Something about a sailboat?
Rooney w/Eisley, The Old Ceremony TONIGHT, February 18, Rock N Roll Hotel ($16), 7 p.m. doors
Rooney was a band that toured with Weezer, The Strokes, some other folks. They’re still around. They had some good songs. Come relive the early 2000s garage-rock revival years. It’s the least you can do.
Wanda Jackson w/The Lustre Kings Friday, February 25, 9:30 Club ($20), 10 p.m. doors
Wanda Jackson, “The Queen of Rockabilly,” has receieved praise for her new album The Party Ain’t Over which was produced by Jack White. At a ripe 73 years old, Jackson clearly still has an extraordinary amount of energy in her. Put on your cowboy boots and check it out.
Jonathon Richman Saturday, February 26, 9:30 Club ($15), 7 p.m. doors
Jonathon Richman was the lead singer of The Modern Lovers, a band that had a major influence on the development of punk rock in the 70s. Since their break-up, Richman has been perfecting his own brand of acoustic. This one is sure to
Slightly Stoopid w/ Fishbone, Dumpstaphunk Wednesday, February 16, 9:30 Club ($29.50), doors at 6:30 p.m.
Slightly Stoopid are a dub-punk bad akin to Sublime. Originally founded in San Diego, Slightly Stoopid has played shows around the world for fifteen years. This second was added because their first show sold out. Fishbone are a funk rock band that takes influences from all over. They’ve been active since 1979. Dumpstaphunk is the band of Ivan Neville, son of Aaron Neville, who plays New Orleans style R&B.
The B-52s Wednesday, January 19, 9:30 Club ($45), doors at 7 p.m.
The B-52s have been legendary for their campy antics since their inception in 1976. “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster” rank 243rd and 146th respectively on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Besides, how many more opportunities will you have to hear them live?
Saturday, December 11, Black Cat ($8), doors at 8:30 p.m.
Railsplitter are a punk rock band from Washington, D.C. whose straight forward is reminiscent of bands like Choking Victim. If ECFU means something to you, Railsplitter could be your new favorite band.
Linfinity Sunday, December 12, The Red Palace ($10), doors at 9 p.m.
Big and anthemic are what Linfinity do best. The New York indie rock band will be bringing their echoey soulfulness to DC this Sunday.