RosslynFarmers_082218_LAFlicks (90)

Rosslyn Farmers Market with Brent & Co

Rosslyn’s Farmers Market with FRESHFARM DC featured smoothie bowls, beer tastings from Old Ox Brewery, live music from Brent & Co. and more on Central Place Plaza. Photos: LAFlicks Photography

FortTotten_082418_Kim (25)

La Unica at the Fort Totten Concert Series

The Fridays at Fort Totten Summer Concert Series concluded last Friday with Latin Celtic rock group La Unica. Guests enjoyed bites from El Pollo Submarine and upbeat live music outside The Modern at Art PlacePhotos: Mike Kim

DCBurgerBattle2018_Raker (38)

DC Burger Battle 2018

The DC Burger Battle 2018 at Hill Country Backyard Barbecue featured all-you-care-to-enjoy Budweiser and samples of the best burgers in the city from Due South, Hill Country, Bullfeathers, Blackfinn, Stoney’s, Capital Burger, b DC Penn Quarter, Hard Rock Cafe, Rebellion, Sign of the Whale and Penn Commons. Battle attendees voted for their favorite and had a blast listening to live music from Justin Trawick & The Common Good and Trailer Grass Orchestra. Proceeds from the sold-out event benefit SOME (So Others Might Eat). Photos: Mark Raker

Nats_081718_Marsh (1)

As If at Nationals Park

As the Nationals warmed up to play the Miami Marlins, fans enjoyed live music from 90s tribute band As If and ice cold beer on Budweiser Terrace for the pre-game show.

Yards_081718_Abella (36)

La Unica at Yards Park

Every Friday evening, the Capitol Riverfront BID features live musicians such as Latin Celtic rock band La Unica at Yards Park with ice old Corona and wine at the outdoor tented bar. Photos: Jay Abella

IMG_4667

Ben Folds and Cake at Merriweather Post Pavilion

When I saw that Ben Folds and Cake were coheadlining a tour this summer, my initial thought was, “What an odd pairing.” With their sarcasm and monotone tunes, Cake would seem to be the complete opposite of Ben Folds, who performs his melodies on piano. However, this show turned out to be one of my favorites of the summer. Tall Heights kicked off the evening, and while their set was short, it included amazing cello playing and vocals.

Ben Folds took the Merriweather Post Pavilion stage just after 8 p.m. and performed most of his set solo at the piano. Midway through, the boys from Tall Heights joined him onstage to provide harmony and string accompaniment. It was such a peaceful and serene set, including stories about the songs he wrote, some jokes and a little preview of an upcoming November show at the Kennedy Center. His performance lasted just over an hour and included a few of my favorite songs: “Brick” and “You Don’t Know Me.”

Cake followed, and their stage setup was predictably simple. It included a small scenic backdrop and a disco ball. Surprising even me (an avid Cake fan), they kicked off their set with the last song of their album Fashion Nugget: “Sad Songs and Waltzes,” a Willie Nelson cover. Sad and somber, their set started off on a bit of a quiet note. But as the night continued, the set picked up momentum. Their performance was as long as Folds’, with 14 songs including a variety from their catalog like “Stickshifts and Safetybelts,” “Love You Madly” and “Sheep Go to Heaven.”

Afterward, the crowd cheered for more and Cake took the stage for an encore that included “Sinking Ship” followed by “The Distance,” at which point the venue said, “It’s time for the show to end.” And thus, despite not having a PA, Cake performed the entire song with the crowd singing along. Cake is definitely one of my favorite bands and I would not expect anything less from them. Ben Folds was also delightful, and together these two talents made it a perfect night at Merriweather.

Photos/write-up: Shantel Mitchell Breen

Photo: www.930.com
Photo: www.930.com

Mura Masa Brings His Minimalist Multi-Instrumentalism to 9:30 Club

Alex Crossan took the 9:30 Club stage without much of a fuss on Friday night. Mere moments after the lights dimmed, he took his place while beaming white lights washed over the various musical equipment stockpiled around him. Aside from the myriad of musical tools, there seemed to be a minimalist approach to the stage design, as he opted for only his name – Mura Masa – to appear behind him in white Helvetica on a solid black background.

Virtually every color was represented by lights throughout his set, but only one at a time. The performance itself had very few frills  and honestly, it wasn’t a bad thing. The strategic and somewhat conservative approach to effects was my first clue that the main focus of this show from beginning to end would be the music itself.

Mura Masa did everything himself, from playing drums, guitar and keys to singing and working the soundboard. The 22-year-old, Guernsey-born artist is a mega-multitasker. And aside from being a multi-instrumentalist, he also produces his own music and writes his own songs.

It was amazing to see him constantly rotate from instrument to instrument before chiming in vocally without missing a beat. Since much of Mura Masa’s music features collaborations from artists like A$AP Rocky, Charli XCX, Cosha (who recently switched over from the moniker Bonsai), NAO and more, naturally he needed a versatile vocalist to accompany him for his DC performance. He brought out London artist Fliss as his collaborator for the night, and she took on the various features in her own style.

Whereas Mura Masa couldn’t give us much stage presence (most likely because he was playing literally all of the instruments onstage), Fliss did with ease. She imbued the crowd with energy as she danced across the stage, swinging her long braids to the beats Mura Masa meticulously constructed.

I was very impressed by how similar to Charli XCX she sounded when she sang “1 Night,” and she provided a terrific cover of Cosha’s vocals on “What If I Go?” and “Nuggets,” as well as NAO’s on “Firefly” and her newest Mura Masa collab, “Complicated.

Though Mura Masa’s music lends itself really well to some vocal instrumentation, to me it still seems to be less about what’s being said and more about the overall feeling it gives you. It was a wholly positive experience, though I admittedly wasn’t incredibly familiar with his music beyond the uber popular tracks.

The crowd was comprised of people I’d imagine you’d see at a college frat party, but the overall mood was far less raucous. I’d chalk that up to the music and the way it was presented, because it never really came to a boiling point.

During his last song, Mura Masa expressed his gratitude to the audience for coming out, but much of what he said I couldn’t make out because of his thick British accent. After he left the stage, those of us watching in the audience lingered to see if he might come back out for one more song. But the lights went up and we collectively realized he was gone for the night.

Mura Masa will be on tour on the West Coast for the rest of the month. For more information about tour dates, click here, or check out his website, Twitter or Instagram.

DSC01297

Bat Fangs at Comet Ping Pong

On Thursday, August 16, Bat Fangs performed at Comet Ping Pong in DC. Photos: K. Gabrielle Photography

Wharf_081518_Abella (42)

Dixie Power Trio at The Wharf

Each Wednesday evening this summer at The Wharf, you’ll hear live music on Transit Pier presented by Landshark Lager, and this week’s featured band was Louisiana variety band Dixie Power Trio. Photos: Jay Abella

PentagonRow_080918_Overbey (22)

Capital Sounds + Brigadier Brass from the 257th Army Band at Pentagon Row

Every Thursday in August, The Rock at the Row Summer Concert Series at Pentagon Row features amazing local bands like Capital Sounds + Brigadier Brass from the 257th Army Band, delicious bites from local restaurant partners such as Bonefish Grill, and ice cold craft beer and wine at the pop-up bar. Photos: Devin Overbey