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Rooted in history and looking to the future, Mick Jenkins will bring his sanctified take on hip-hop to the TLA

Mick Jenkins | via facebook.com/MickJenkins

Raised on the Southside of Chicago, but born below the Mason-Dixon line (Huntsville, Alabama, to be exact), the blues lies at the center of Mick Jenkins’ music. Historically, it has been the blues (and its stylistic cousin, gospel) that have acted as the animating core of all black music that has followed it: jazz, rock and roll, R&B and hip-hop. Throughout the shifts in popular music, the blues has remained, like a ghost, giving voice to the struggle, pain and transcendent joy of black American culture.

Over the course of the past decade, hip hop in particular has evolved to a point where synthesis and advanced musical programming techniques have replaced sampling, with more emphasis being placed on creating futuristic soundscapes and less on repurposing the music of the past. For the first time in the history of American popular culture, we are witnessing a mainstream black music that isn’t reliant on the influences of the blues and the gospel sound of the church. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Earth, Wind & Fire and Chic to bring “2054: The Tour” to Wells Fargo Center in August

 

Earth Wind and Fire | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Earth Wind and Fire | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Nile Rodgers hinted at a rebirth of Chic with talks of their first new record in 25 years coming out in 2017, but now we’ve got something else to look forward to. Rogers and crew will be heading out on a summer tour (dubbed “2054: The Tour”) with the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire, landing at Wells Fargo Center on August 1st.

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Nap enthusiast Gnash charms the TLA

Gnash | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | <a href="http://spotlightviews.com" target="_blank">spotlightviews.com</a>
Gnash | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

Gnash, a rapper who loves naps so much they’ve become part of his brand, brought a dream-like performance to the Theater of Living Arts last Saturday. His stage was set up like a bedroom, fully stocked with pillows, blankets, a dresser and windows displaying various scenes that were almost as soothing as counting sheep. His summer anthem “I Hate U, I Love U” had the entire crowd singing but there were no conflicting emotions here, just love. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Waxahatchee at Union Transfer, Bridge Underwater at Ortlieb’s

Waxahatchee | photo courtesy of the artist
Waxahatchee | photo courtesy of the artist

Yes, The New Pornographers are great and all, but make sure you arrive to Union Transfer early tonight, indie rock old heads. Waxahatchee has a new record due out this summer on Merge called Out in the Storm, and based on the lead single “Silver,” it’s going to be rousing, powerful and emotive. Get there early for the rising star, sty late to sing out “The Bleeding Heart Show.” Tickets and more information can be found here. Continue reading →

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From the contemplative to confrontational, Juliana Hatfield and Laura Stevenson played an inspired show at Boot and Saddle

Juliana Hatfield | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN
Juliana Hatfield | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

New York songwriter Laura Stevenson stood in front of a sold-out Boot and Saddle Monday night, offering up a set of contemplative, upbeat song which, she explained with a smile, were about clinical depression and spending too much time worrying about death. The soul-baring singer has a voice that reminds you at turns of Feist or Jewel. But better than that: her work avoids stumbling into the conventional pitfalls of tropey, trite pop-folk; normally she plays with a loud rock band; she took it solo acoustic tonight, commanding the full attention of a room filling quickly and quietly with Juliana Hatfield fans. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Balkan Beat Box at TLA, Ladybird at Johnny Brenda’s, and Matthew Logan Vasquez at Boot & Saddle

Balkan Beat Box| via http://www.balkanbeatbox.com/photo
Balkan Beat Box | via balkanbeatbox.com/photo

Israel’s Balkan Beat Box continues their US tour at the TLA tonight. The long-running band encompasses Israeli rhythms and sounds with its electronica style, and is touring behind last year’s Shout It Out, its fifth album. The show is all ages, and more information / tickets can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The NFL drafts Chill Moody, Strand of Oaks and more for its Draft Experience concerts

Chill Moody | photo by Reji B. | courtesy of the artist | www.rejibphotography.com
Chill Moody | photo by Reji B. | courtesy of the artist | www.rejibphotography.com

The NFL draft comes to town this weekend, bringing a three day “football festival” to the Ben Franklin Parkway on Thursday, April 27 through Sunday, April 29th. There will be autograph signings, interactive games, equipment demos, and apparently a well-curated roster of free live music.

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