Mac DeMarco
Wednesday 10/14
Mac DeMarco @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
In 2015, the talent for creating a prolific output of exceptional music is almost a curse. Press people will tell you that there’s a bottleneck of too many artists covered by too few media outlets who always want to talk about something new. Managers will tell you that there’s too much money to be made on the road, so the album cycle goes on and on to support that. Artists may even feel pressured by reviewers and themselves to go into a deep stasis, only to emerge again when they’ve reinvented themselves into a newly revamped and retooled model, as opposed to just capturing time in a bottle and offering more to their catalog. At times, even fans have adopted this rule as well and are almost shocked when their favorite artist is able to release an LP already after two and a half or three years of waiting (let’s call this the MBV-effect). Lucky for us, Mac DeMarco is old school in his approach: when Mac wants to make a record and he has the songs ready, he makes it. Like the days of Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson or Prince releasing a classic every year (or less) comes Mac DeMarco’s Another One, a Mini-LP announced almost one year to the date of the meteorically successful Salad Days. The album was conceived and recorded entirely by Mac in a short period of time between a relentless tour schedule. At his new place in Far Rockaway, Queens — a neighborhood as east as you can possibly be before hitting Long Island — you can live in relative isolation despite technically still being in New York City. This left Mac with nothing more to do with his down time than to make music. Another One is an eight track release of brand new songs, freshly written for this release and each of which expand the arsenal of Mac’s already impressive catalog. Centered around a pump-organ riff and lilting vocal melody that is somehow both haunting and warm, “A Heart Like Hers” is a track that shows the maturity of Mac’s progression as songwriter. It’s a little bit more refined, a little bit more sophisticated, but nonetheless still retains the guts and soul of any classic Mac track. Opener “The Way You’d Love Her” has a playful swing to the chords and a guitar solo that wouldn’t be out of place on a mid-period ‘Dead’ LP, Mac’s new favored listening past time. The overall feeling of the LP is lost love, or perhaps love never found, a topic that the world never tires of and one Mac can move through without it being a dour and somber experience. Title track “Another One” and stand out “Without Me” exhibit this bittersweet sensibility in lyrical and musical context, both melancholic and romantic, blurring the line between happy or sad nostalgia. The record leaves you with the same satisfaction as an old Bogart movie: he’s still the hero, but he doesn’t quite get the girl. It’s odd that despite working at the same pace as artists like Creedence, The Byrds and The Rolling Stones, coupled with an equally unending schedule of touring, press and recording, Mac is still labeled as a slacker. With two full-lengths and two EPs released and hundreds of sold out shows performed in the last several years, a recent late night television debut on Conan following a special guest performance on The Eric Andre Show, it seems, as Mac DeMarco nears his 25th birthday, there’s not a slack bone in the man’s body, besides maybe his a penchant for wearing comfortable clothes. You need comfortable clothes to work this hard anyway. Great singer/songwriters (Elton, Joni, Neil) don’t need to reinvent themselves; they just need to keep going and let the songs out in the world. If you’re like me and don’t think it’s been too soon since Salad Days – and you’re actually about to freak if you don’t hear more — here’s Another One.
Roc Mikey UCB & Hippie Life Krew
Saturday 08/15
Roc Mikey UCB & Hippie Life Krew @ The Howard Theatre
$30 / $50
UCB UCB was founded in 1996 just a few blocks away from the Howard Theatre by a dynamic group of talented young musicians who since then have taken Go-Go internationally like no other. All members hailing from our Nation's Capital, UCB is commonly referred to as "The Party Band." They are a Go-Go band with vision, who understands the soul and funk legacy of older bands as well as the stripped-down intensity of the next generation, while also having a knack for the type of pop song writing that can yield a radio hit such as their all too popular D.C. anthem "Sexy Lady." This song was, and still is, the biggest Go-Go song released since EU's "Doin Tha Butt" back in the 80's. With the success of "Sexy Lady" going nationwide, it granted UCB the opportunity to take the show on the road, taking on the role as Wale's international touring band. A major highlight included the The Blueprint3 tour, where they spent two months on the road sharing the stage with Jay-Z and Pharrell with N.E.R.D. Over the years being a driving force behind Wale's live show, they have also had the chance to back the likes of J. Cole, Big Sean, Chrisette Michele, Bun B, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Pitbull, Solange, and many more. UCB has appeared on late night TV shows Carson Daley, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, and also BET's 106 & Park. In 2009 they performed at the BET Hip-Hop awards and had the honor of performing as the official house band for the 2009 MTV VMAs. They have also been featured in TV commercials, cable TV shows, and Independent films. UCB carved out its own lane with a presentation that placed its brand of Go-Go on the same shelf as popular modern Hip-Hop and R&B. Roc Mikey If you’ve heard of the popular Washington, DC derived music genre Go-Go, then you’ve heard of the legendary Go-Go band UCB—and you cannot speak of UCB without mentioning the name Roc Mikey. Michael Bailey, better known as Roc Mikey, was born and raised in our Nation's Capital. Far from a newcomer, Roc Mikey began his career surrounded by the native DC sound of Go-Go and is a founding member of the legendary UCB. Although his roots will forever remain with his Go-Go band, Roc Mikey can no longer be defined solely by the success of UCB, he has his own story to tell as a solo artist. The DC bred artist is not only a survivor in the music game; he is a survivor in life. Raised in a single-parent home in an area plagued with violence and drugs, Roc Mikey was able to find an outlet; an outlet through music. Despite all circumstances, Roc Mikey has earned a reputation as a man of loyalty, respect, and honor, placing his family first. More than just an artist, Roc Mikey is also establishing himself as a brand and savvy businessman who formed a production company, DCR, with his partner Chris Servant in 2004. The production team has worked with many of the DC Metro area's Hip-Hop and R&B artists to include Wale and Raheem DeVaughn. With several highly received mixtapes under his belt, including GameFace and A1, and a working with artists such as Scarface, Wale, and Bun B, Roc Mikey continues to take the DC music scene to new heights. Hippie Life Krew Hippie Life Krew is the DC Metro area-based artist and lifestyle collective with a sound as eclectic as its members. Visto aka Head Hippie is the founder, rapper, singer, and songwriter. Itz2Eazy aka Baked God is the co-founder, yogi, and artist. Pinky KillaCorn aka Queen Hippie is the shooter of HLK, bar for bar or on top of the bar, Pinky’s raw energy has crowds yelling HOLUUUP! Hippie Life Krew has performed at regional and national venues and events to include SXSW, A3C, SneakerPimps, HU Homecoming, 95.5 WPGC’s Birthday Bash, Broccoli City Festival, the historic Howard Theater, and more. Members have been featured on commercial radio, the Washington Post, The Washington CIty Paper, and countless blogs for both style and music. Visto Visto is a recording artist, activist, and founder of Hippie Life Krew. Originally from Virginia and migrating throughout the DMV and South, Visto is a nomad, singer, rapper, and songwriter known for his distinctive sound and style. Visto's latest single, "On Fleek Tonight" (released December 2015), is receiving regular airplay on DC's WPGC 95.5. Visto has been featured in the Washington Post and has also received airplay on DC's WKYS 93.9 and independent radio stations nationwide. Visto's singles "Shinobi" and "Everything Gorgeous" have received commercial radio play and coverage on national music blogs. Visto has performed at festivals and tours such as A3C, SXSW, and SneakerPimps and venues large and small throughout the DC and Atlanta metro areas. Visto's first album, Before Euphoria, features artists such as Fat Trel and Black Cobain and producers Mark Henry and Sunny Norway.