MMJ is known for prolific touring, and their fans are known for their dedicated attendance. As they waited for James to take the stage, several members of the crowd shared stories of the six, 12, or 20 times they had seen a solo performance or MMJ show before.
With a new record Satis Factory due out June 14 on ATO Records—just before she heads out for a European tour—it’s worth catching Mattiel on what is clearly an upward swing that she, and her audiences, will not regret.
Luz Mendoza dedicated Y La Bamba’s DC show at Songbyrd to her late abuelita in an Instagram post that read, “Your heart and love shines through our blood.” Known for an indie-folk sound heavily influenced by pride in her Mexican heritage, Y La Bamba’s performance highlighted the expanding diversity of Mendoza’s skills as a songwriter and performer; from a Latin dancehall groove on “Boca Llena” to shimmering dream pop on “Cuatro Crazy” to an emotional solo performance of “Ojos Del Sol” to a percussive, rousing vocal chant on “Mujeres.”
Robert Ellis, once regarded as a canny Texas troubadour in Country and winsome rock, has adopted a fully formed persona in his current record as the “Texas Piano Man,” resplendent in an all-white tuxedo tinkling the ivories. He and his four-piece band, dressed stoically in all black suits, took their Texas Piano Man tour to the packed basement of the Songbyrd Music House and Record Café.
Freddie Gibbs aka the Baby Face Killa’s roots lie in Gary, Indiana, but the Midwest veteran sounds like he’s plucked from the tree of hip-hop’s most influential artists from various regions. The gangsta grit of Three Six Mafia sprinkled with the southern flair of Scarface, and lyrical prowess of Ice Cube are traits that make Freddie Gibbs extremely versatile in his craft.
It’s hard to make a place as massive as The Anthem feel like a family gathering, but Punch Brothers did just that with some great banter and even greater musicianship.
Miguel lifted a packed crowd at The Anthem in Washington, D.C. to the stratosphere when his Ascension Tour stopped here earlier this week.
Hailing from both sides of the Rio Grande, The Chamanas meld the musical traditions of multiple countries into something uniquely their own. They’ve played alongside the likes of Odesza, Beach House, and Portugal. the Man for good reason.
Jamila Woods has an impressive resume: Brown University graduate, associate artistic director of the non-profit organization Young Chicago Authors, and rising R&B star. After making a name for herself singing the chorus of Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment’s “Sunday Candy” and Chance the Rapper’s “Blessings,” she released her debut album HEAVN exclusively on SoundCloud through Chicago label Closed Sessions. The album was so well-received that she has since signed to record label Jagjaguwar, who will be jointly re-releasing HEAVN alongside her original label Closed Sessions. With the impending re-release, she embarked on a July tour that included stops at Pitchfork Music Festival, Panorama Festival, and a sold-out DC crowd at Songbyrd.
Tank & the Bangas have gone viral, and they have NPR to thank. Though the New Orleans band only has one album under their wings, the independently-released 2013 album Think Tank, a coveted spot in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series catapulted them to Internet fame. As the winners of the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest, a nationwide talent search for the best band that hasn’t broken through yet, their Tiny Desk Concert has been viewed more than 1.5 million times and counting. DC was quick to snap up what precious few tickets were available once Songbyrd announced the band’s concert. And amongst all the hype surrounding the band, their stellar performance made them some new fans that have reason to be very excited about the band’s bright future.
After a fateful posting on Craigslist looking for a guitarist, drummer Celeste “C.C.” Spina met guitarist Anthony “Tone” Calatano. And thus, the blues-rock duo (and now husband-and-wife duo) Little Hurricane came to fruition. Two days before releasing their third and latest album Same Sun Same Moon, they performed at Songbyrd and proved that their band’s name is a perfectly apt description of their on-stage energy, and then some.
In our final regular podcast of 2016, we're enlisting Paul Vodra (Hometown Sounds), Joe Lapan (Owner, Songbyrd Music House), and Marcus Dowling (Pitchfork, Bandcamp) to work through the year that was here in our hometown of Washington, DC, take a look at the "big picture", and much, Much more.
PLUS: Thoughts on the tragedy of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, CA. What can we do to help, and what can we do to try and make sure this doesn't happen again.