The first time most people will hear the name Kamasi Washington is in connection with many of the people he’s collaborated with, Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat or Flying Lotus to name a few. But Washington is more than a supporting player for these colleagues. He’s a downright monster of a musician whose first album The Epic is a three hour wild ride through jazz, fused with hip-hop, soul and other influences. His first shows in New York City were the four gigs over two nights at the famed Blue Note establishment. All the seats at the shows were sold out, but some bar spots were available before each show and as a result, the Blue Note had a line down the block, with some people waiting several hours to see Washington perform. Fortunately, I was able to get in for the 8 pm set on the second night.
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Day Wave, the musical project from the Jackson Phillips, released their first single last year but quickly saw their buzz grow across the blogosphere. This year, one month after the release of their debut EP, Headcase, Day Wave brought his dreamy rock to the sold-out Mercury Lounge in New York City to perform for the first time in the city. Before the doors opened on that August evening, a long line had formed at the venue of people waiting to get in including—surprisingly the group in front of me discussed already having seen Day Wave perform somewhere, so it seems he’s building a fanbase. Before Day Wave took the stage, they had Brooklyn based Surf Rock Is Dead stir up the crowd.
California band Vintage Trouble are set to release their second studio album 1 Hopeful Rd. this week with some gigs in their home state. But the four piece band was recently in New York to headline a free show that was part of Lincoln Center’s ‘Out of Doors’ series. Vintage Trouble, along with The Skins and Lion Babe, drew a huge crowd to Damrosch Park, one that wound around the block and stayed there till the end since the cordoned off space reached capacity early on. Unfortunately those left outside missed a wild performance.
Vintage Trouble, frontman Ty Taylor, guitarist Nalle Colt, bassist Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson, played a ferocious set of rock that draws from southern roots, blues and other genres to create an even more volatile mix. In one of his brief resting moments, Taylor reflected on how the two genres of music in AFROPUNK are not as dissimilar as one might think. He was of course referencing the AFROPUNK Festival as one of the organizers of this event. AFROPUNK returns to Brooklyn August 22nd and 23rd, and Vintage Trouble will make another appearance there, having played the fest in 2013. Check out our photos from the show below as well as Vintage Trouble tour dates and information on AFROPUNK Brooklyn.
New York’s X Ambassadors, hot off the release of their first album VHS, were booked to open for German duo, Milky Chance at Summerstage in Central Park. They are a quickly growing favorite that I had heard of because they are local. Milky Chance on the other hand, I hadn’t heard of but was curious to check out because they had sold out Summerstage and tickets were commanding 3x times face value at one point. Their music is described as folk with a dash of international flavor, including reggae, and electronic mixed in. The show review over at Pancakes and Whiskey, included a vivid description of their music, “Milky Chance’s sound hit the air like dye on cotton, bleeding together instantly and branching out endlessly.” But, I didn’t quite latch on to what they were creating. Maybe I’m a little too old for tye-dye as my mind was not as accepting of their music. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would thought I would have given the interesting combination of music.
As a fan of Guster since the late ‘90s, I’ve got a special place in my heart for the band. Their album Lost and Gone Forever remains their standout for me even as I have found gems on newer albums, like this year’s Evermotion the group’s first for Nettwerk. So when I they came around New York to perform at Summerstage in Central Park, I figured it would be an enjoyable show. And, despite the heat, it was.