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New York City
Jessimae Peluso @ DC Improv
Last year Jessimae came to the club with other stars from MTV’s "Girl Code." This year, we’ve got back on our stage to headline. One of the fresh young voices on the comedy scene, Jessimae can be silly, crude or insightful – while always bringing the funny. In addition to her ever-expanding stand-up calendar, Jessimae keeps busy with appearances on "@midnight" and by producing her own new podcast, "Sharp Tongue."
Mother Falcon and Ben Sollee - The Fall Migration @ The Howard Theatre
$17 / $20
Mother Falcon In June 2013, seventeen young musicians piled into two vans and drove from their hometown of Austin to a brownstone in Queens, where they took up residency for a month. It was Mother Falcon’s first trip outside of Texas and another turning point in a very unlikely story. Years before, when he started what became Mother Falcon, it never crossed cellist Nick Gregg’s mind that his goal to make playing cello as cool as playing quarterback at his football obsessed high school (alma mater of Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees) would get anywhere. Jamming on original material after school with fellow orchestra students at Westlake High was fun, but not radical and certainly not goal oriented. Yet, over months, word of this orchestra jam session spread and the group, now named Mother Falcon after a misheard TV overdub from Die Hard (“Yippee-ki-ay Mother Falcon!), began to include people from McCallum High as well. Before any of its members had graduated, Mother Falcon was featured on the cover of the Austin Chronicle and was playing gigs all over town. While most of them were still teens, Mother Falcon, now numbering up to twenty two players, had become one of Austin’s most popular and beloved “bands” with the release of Still Life, their debut EP of classical-crossover pop songs, and another Austin Chronicle cover story. The next year their first full length, Alhambra, saw major local airplay and a series of sold out local shows. Somehow, while its members were focused on being college sophomores, this wild idea of being as cool as a quarterback had made Nick Gregg the founder of one of the coolest bands in one of the world’s coolest music cities. Yet, as Mother Falcon won multiple Austin Music Awards, collaborated with Austin legends like Alejandro Escovedo and Christopher Cross and ventured to Houston and Denton, it still didn’t seem plausible that such a huge ensemble could make an impact outside of Austin. As the bulk of the collective’s musicians approached college graduation in 2013, this unlikely indie orchestra was at a crossroads. With the need for employment looming, perhaps the easiest choice would be to backburner the band, maybe keep playing around Austin until everyone spun off on their own: grad school, jobs, other bands. Mother Falcon, by now a community with deep ties (among them two pairs of siblings and several relationships begun in childhood) made a tougher choice, committing to a new album and an unusual strategy of moving to other cities for a month at a time to cut costs of touring such a large group. After making a huge splash at SXSW 2013, second album You Knew dropped in May 2013, strongly impacted national radio and gained major support from NPR. June residencies at Joe’s Pub in New York and Littlefield in Brooklyn were followed by residencies at The Echo in Los Angeles and Soda Bar in San Diego. Subsequent national tours found Mother Falcon unexpectedly selling out small clubs all over the country within months of their first tentative steps outside of Austin. Nick Gregg was now undeniably as cool as a quarterback. Two years later, Mother Falcon return with their third full-length album Good Luck Have Fun, slated for release August 14th on BitCandy Digital and Punctum Records. Seven years, two albums and hundreds of shows on from Westlake High, this unlikely indie orchestra takes a leap into the unknown, blowing up their usual way of composing and recording together in a conscious effort to push themselves into new stylistic and sonic realms. As such, Good Luck Have Fun doubles down on both sides of Mother Falcon. The adventurousness is more adventurous, with fully half the album comprised of experimental instrumental soundscapes composed as the score to an upcoming documentary about competitive gaming. Inspired by Bowie’s Low, 60s improv iconoclasts AAM, Koji Kondo’s score for Majora’s Mask and the psychedelic drone of Fuck Buttons, the instrumental pieces ebb and flow in tension between unresolved crescendos and throbbing, jagged minimalism. Conversely, the rest of the album may be Mother Falcon’s most accessible music ever, with a stronger emphasis on rhythm, concise arrangements that move the vocals to the fore, lyrics grounded in universal themes and a wealth of hooks, upon hooks, upon hooks. Ben Sollee Musicians often claim they are “giving themselves” to their listeners, but it’s rarely as true as on Ben Sollee’s fourth album, Half-Made Man, a revealing, deeply moving album that explores a man trying to figure himself out, just as we all are. Known for his thrilling cello-playing that incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B, Sollee possesses rough-smooth-smoky vocal stylings and a knack for intricate arrangements that has brought about comparisons to Sufjan Stevens. Sollee shares himself completely with his audience, whether it be by personal lyrics, or his commitment to the environment. Sollee can often be found riding a bicycle to his concerts (cello strapped to the back), which have become legendary for their intimacy. The album, produced by Sollee himself, boasts a sublime cast of musicians, including Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) on electric/acoustic guitar and pedal steel, Alana Rocklin on bass, Jordon Ellis on percussion, Jeremy Kittel (formerly of the Turtle Island String Quartet) on violin, and guest vocals by Abigail Washburn. Sollee contributes octave mandolin, guitar, and of course, his signature cello. “I wanted it to have a raw, real-time performance quality,” Sollee says. “This is kinetic expression. I dug deep into myself and asked the musicians to go there with me. To my ear, it sounds like musical search party; we often find what we’re looking for in between defined styles and genres. It won’t be easy to place this in one category, but I, and my generation, are measured by a little bit of everything these days.” Sollee first gained major notice with his 2008 debut, Learning to Bend, which led NPR’s Morning Edition to call him one of the “Top Ten Great Unknown Artists” of the year. Later, All Things Considered called his debut “an inspired collection of acoustic, folk and jazz-flavored songs, filled with hope and the earnest belief that the world is good.” Around the same time, Sollee was touring the world with Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet alongside Grammy nominee Casey Driessen and multi-Grammy winner Bela Fleck. Sollee’s music drew the attention of My Morning Jacket frontman Yim Yames, who produced his second full-length album, a collaboration with Daniel Martin Moore. In 2010 they released Dear Companion, a stunning collection of songs meant to inspire environmental stewardship. The next year Sollee contributed his cello stylings to My Morning Jacket’s hit albumCircuital and released Inclusions, a sonically awe-inspring album about relationships that was called “structurally brilliant” by Slant and “stunning” by No Depression. Through it all, Sollee has garnered a rabid following of listeners devoted to his music. They will be greatly pleased with this, his most personal and adventurous album yet. His voice is grittier here, and the instruments—fiddles, lovely in their sawing, and electric guitars grinding out love and disappointment and every emotion in between—mimic the urgency and passion so evident in his vocals. “The vocals are more off the cuff and freer,” he says, stressing that the production strives more for rawness than perfection. “We steered our ears toward getting the right energy for each song. The takes took on their own life and led us along. The machines and mics had a weighty sound that we could use to drive the story through the lyrics and arrangements.” The songs give us the many facets of a human being who is acutely aware of the world around him and his own faults. The album is novelistic in its scope and theme as we travel with the narrator who reveals everything about himself as a father, a spouse, a musician, and more. We are along for the ride as the narrator sings of selfishness, joy, impatience, romance…being human. With Half-Made Man, a record of raw power, grace, and wisdom, Sollee is sure to be measured alongside the best artists of his generation.
Hoodlarious starring Tony Roberts @ The Howard Theatre
$15 / $27.50
Originally from Detroit, comedian, actor, writer and (sometimes) director Tony T. Roberts has been blessed with the coveted honor of being the, “Comedians-comedian.” The guy other performers love to watch work. His hilarious and refreshing energetic comedy style has granted him respect and created a huge demand for him on the comedy circuit, here in the states and abroad. Legendary comedian and sitcom director, David Steinberg, acclaimed Tony as, “A breakout talent” after witnessing Tony’s stand-up act and casting him as the lead in a series of funny burger king commercials he directed. Tony has entertained audiences in some of the nations hottest comedy arenas including: Caroline’s, The Boston Comedy Club in New York City; The Peppermint Lounge in New Jersey; All Jokes Aside in both Chicago and Detroit; and The Comedy Act Theater in Los Angeles, just to name a few. But Tony’s television debut was on HBO’s “DEF COMEDY JAM”, followed by, “IT’S SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO” and “BET’S COMICVIEW.” Early on, Tony received BET’s, ROBIN HARRIS AWARD, for Most Original Comic. - See more at:
Dru Hill feat. Sisqo, Nokio, Jazz & Tao @ The Howard Theatre
$36.50 / $42
Years from now when it’s all said and done, music historians will surely debate the contributions of those who majorly impacted the genre of R&B. Icons guaranteed to be mentioned are industry stalwarts such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, The O’Jay’s, The Jackson Five, New Edition, Guy, Jodeci, and Boyz II Men. However, any list that does not include the incomparable Dru Hill is grossly inaccurate. The torch bearers responsible for carrying R&B music into the new millennium was the labor of love for four immensely talented young singers who were and remain the quintessential example of superior entertainers. From their first single that asked the ever important question, “Tell Me” (what you want), Dru Hill has been giving fans what they need in the form of numerous classic love ballads and infectious dance songs that have provided countless beautiful memories for millions upon millions of music lovers the world over. Named after a popular Baltimore park, Dru Hill is comprised of Tamir Ruffin a/k/a Nokio, Mark Andrews a/k/a Sisqo, Larry Anthony a/k/a Jazz, and Antwuan Simpson a/k/a Tao, the newest addition the group replacing original member James “Big Woody” Green who left the group to pursue a solo gospel career. In a career that spans nearly two decades, Dru Hill, under the steadfast leadership of their long time and trusted manager Kevin Peck has accomplished literally everything an R&B/Pop group could dream of achieving. From having a string of Top 40 #1 hit singles, multi-platinum selling albums, movie and television appearances, headlining sold out concert tours around the world, to selling an eye-popping 30 million records worldwide, their star power has never been in question. Proof of their immense global following was most evident when their reality show entitled Keith Sweat’s Platinum House became the highest rated series in the Centric network’s history, proving their critics wrong that even after a significant absence from the public eye, fans still can’t get enough of Dru Hill. With a music library fit for royalty, that boasts some of the biggest selling and most popular R&B songs of all time to include “Tell Me”, “5 Steps”, “In My Bed”, “Never Make a Promise”, “How Deep Is Your Love”, “These are the Times”, and “We’re Not Making Love No More”, that are considered by many music experts to be standards that help define the 90’s. Additionally, the group’s music has helped tremendously to bolster the sale of movies and soundtracks with their songs often having been the lead single for block buster films like “Eddie” starring Academy Award winning actress Whoopi Goldberg (Tell Me), “How to be a Player” starring comedian Bill Bellamy (She’s a Bad Mama Jama), “Rush Hour” starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker (How Deep is Your Love), Wild Wild West starring mega superstar Will Smith (Wild Wild West), and “Soul Food starring former Miss America Vanessa Williams (We’re Not Making Love No More). As their lead single “Back to the Future” off their fourth studio album “Indrupendence Day” heats up the clubs, radio, and the internet, the group’s vocal capabilities is greatly enhanced by the arrival of Tao. The Annapolis, Maryland native whose incredible singing range has him poised to do for Dru Hill what Johnny Gill did for New Edition, and that’s help take the group to new levels of greatness. All while Nokio continues to prove his genius as a songwriter, producer, and singer. Jazz supplies vocal versatility through his amazing voice and his unique ability to play an array of musical instruments. Rounding out the soon to be hall of fame foursome is none other than the Blonde/Silver haired rebel Sisqo, whose dancing and singing brilliance is timeless. Busier than ever performing at sold out venues around the globe for a whole new generation of adoring fans, is the life of Nokio, Tao, Jazz, and Sisqo who prove superior singing + undeniable talent + first rate showmanship = Dru Hill.
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