As the CMJ Music Marathon didn’t happen in 2016, the BBC Music showcase felt like a substitute for CMJ—a way to discover new bands via a curated show. It was with an open mind I attended their event on November 14th. Whether it was because the show wasn’t well publicized or because it was a Monday night, the crowd at the Gramercy Theatre felt a bit underwhelming. I stayed for two sets, the first being from a rock group Sundara Karma and the second from a soulful singer named Izzy Bizu.
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Although she hasn’t yet released a proper full-length album, Dua Lipa has with gotten a lot of buzz with her half-dozen or so singles. The young, rising singer-songwriter released a couple of exciting tracks this year that caught my ear, notably the powerful “Hotter than Hell” and the sassy, confident “Blow Your Mind”. Videos for both are below (she also recently collaborated with Sean Paul on his song “No Lie”) and based on these (and her live set), I’m eager to hear Lipa’s self-titled debut when it comes out early next year on Warner Bros. Records.
The 5th annual Global Citizen Festival continued the success of past iterations by generating support for a variety of international social causes. Through actions and commitments driven by the public, either with intent to attend the free show or through a prompt from a performer (notably Rihanna asked her fans to call Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to boost funding for foreign health programs), Global Citizens are making measurable impact.
As the GCF press release notes, “these commitments and announcements are worth $1.9 billion, and are set to reach 199 million people, and put the world on track to achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Global Citizens will continue to use these commitments to hold governments and businesses accountable to deliver on their promises in the years to come.” Some specifics follow select performance highlights and a few photos.
Grouplove‘s founders Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi recently became parents. The band has been around for over seven years and had released two albums prior to the life-changing status that is parenthood. Zucconi has spoken about the effects impending fatherhood and the rigors of touring had on song craft for the band’s third album Big Mess.
Of the two, Josienne Clarke basically does all the talking (she also does all the singing). Between their set at Hi-Fi earlier this year and the first of two nights at Rockwood, Ben Walker only offered a quiet affirmative to a comment Clarke made about sexual objectification being the band’s raison d’etre. He’s just super quiet while Clarke’s banter is laced with her sardonic wit. At Rockwood, when someone in the audience called out for a song, she shut the request down—if it wasn’t on the set list, it wouldn’t be played. She also aired several chips on her shoulder, which includes the “objectifying” lads, but said in Clarke’s gentle voice the audience might sense she’s (somewhat?) facetious.
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