2019 was an exciting year for the Kennedy Center (you know what we’re talking about) and 2020 looks like it’s all about keeping that energy going. While you might have popped your head into the brand new Studio K during a tour of The REACH, the upcoming Club at Studio K series is a perfect excuse to check out the space and soak up some incredible music / comedy at the same time. From local legends to out of town favorites, the brand new series is bringing some excellent talent to the Kennedy Center.
Check out our picks for the new few months below and make sure to get your tickets to these Club at Studio K shows before they’re all gone.
You’ve probably seen Amini at the DC Comedy Loft or The Big Hunt, or maybe you’ve caught him on TruTV’s Laff Tracks, but this is your chance to laugh the night away with him under the bright lights of the Kennedy Center. His comedy often focuses on his family, especially his Iranian and Bolivian background, but he also has some excellent jokes about rappers from the early 2000s. It’s a little something for everyone! If you’re into Trevor Noah, Hasan Minhaj or Jerrod Carmichael (all comedians he’s opened for) you’re going to have a good time at this show.
Stretch and Bobbito – January 17
We’re not sure if the Kennedy Center will let you push all the chairs to the wall and start a full on middle school style dance party in the middle of Studio K, but if it was going to happen at any show, it would be at the Stretch and Bobbito show. Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia (a member of the Hip Hop Culture Council) are taking over Studio K to celebrate the release of their delightfully named album No Requests with the help of the M19s. Expect a night filled with Jazz, Samba, Afro-beat, Soul, Reggae and more.
Elijah Jamal Balbed Quintet: The Karma Suit – January 23
Need some more jazz in your life? Head on back to the Club at Studio K for a night of excellent tunes by D.C.’s very own Elijah Jamal Balbed. The local artist has a go-go background and has even performed with Chuck Brown. This show is the perfect excuse to jam out to the quintet’s latest album, The Karma Suite, and support a great local performer.
Broccoli City Festival Preview – February 1
Broccoli City is one of our favorite local festivals. From the music to the food to the pure joy that pervades the entire weekend, it’s something you can’t afford to miss. Every year the people behind BC bring some incredible artists to D.C., including Childish Gambino, Lil Wayne, Cardi B, Migos, Miguel, City Girls, Erykah Badu, Rae Sremmurd, Solange and more. If you want to be the first to get a sneak peak at the talent at this year’s Broccoli City Fest, you know what to do.
If you were lucky enough to catch ill Camille at the REACH’s opening block party, you probably already have tickets to this smaller and more intimate performance, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing her slick rhymes in person, you should fix that ASAP. Press play on her killer album Heirloom, check out her Tiny Desk Concert and scope out her song “Slip Away” which you should have caught while watching season 3 of Insecure. Stop playing catch up, and catch her at Studio K.
Bilal: Valentine’s Day Residency – February 13
Scrap your restaurant reservation and leave your heart shaped chocolates in the fridge, Bilal is taking care of you this Valentine’s Day. His patented mix of jazz, gospel, blues, soul and hip hop will carry you away to a land where overpriced tasting menus don’t exist and rose deliveries show up on time. Get ready for a night full of hits from First Born Second and In Another Life.
Any time Bentzen Ball alums come into town, we get excited, and this is no exception. We kicked it with Wild Horses way back in 2014 (and we have the segway pictures to prove it), but this is your chance to bask in their excellent longform improv in the Kennedy Center’s newest theatre. Made up of funny folks like Stephanie Allynne, Mary Holland, Lauren Lapkus and Erin Whitehead, you’re in good comedy hands.
If you like Spoon, TV on the Radio, William Parker or Bell Orchestre, now is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the trumpeter / composer jaimie branch. She’s worked with all of those musicians and has received accolades from Pitchfork, The Guardian and more throughout her career. If you like music that’s on the dark and more experimental side of things, we recommend you spend some quality time with her latest album Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise and then grab your tickets to see her perform it at the Kennedy Center.
The return of another Bentzen Ball alum! Mortified hosted one of our favorite Bentzen shows in 2017, and we can’t wait to be shameless with them again. The show is a beacon for teen angst, and revolves around a special guest reading diary entries, screening home movies and generally reliving the most embarrassing moments of their teen years. If you feel a lot of second hand embarrassment, this Club at Studio K Show show might kill you.
Mason Bates KC Jukebox: Michael Abels and Rob Garza- April 23
Our love for Mason Bates KC Jukebox series is all over our website. The composer-in-residence’s dance parties do a wonderful job of immersing us in whatever music story he’s trying to tell. It doesn’t hurt that the physical space is just as beautiful as the sonic space he creates. This show is specifically exciting because it features tunes from both Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza and composer Michael Abels, who you might know from his jaw dropping Get Out score. This is a show for music fans, horror fans and everyone in between.