Performing hundreds of shows a year has helped Washington, DC's gypsy punk brass band hone their sound, while injecting it with a healthy dose of funk, soul and eclectic grooves. Black Masala is all about having fun!
From start to finish, from the “Get Down” to the “Get Out,” from the Bam to the Boom, this is the band that will sample a broad range of genres, from Gypsy to Balkan to Bhangra to Bounce to Funk and Beyond (and maybe Beyonce), never bringing it Down and always bringing you Up.
What’s great about today’s young musicians is that there are no borders to their musical creativity. They are as prone to explore the Middle East as the Mid-West for musical forms, and just as likely to be bringing it home with New Orleans street echoes or wang-dang-doodle from Chicago.
While diversity is a big part of what makes Black Masala a great band, more importantly, they’re a whole lot of fun live. Besides the band and the beat and the strong vocals of Kristen Long there’s the dancing, theirs and ours.
“I Love You Madly” is their current recording release. I guarantee, you’ll love them right back!
Pre-show music by Jason Joseph
No branch of the armed services does the military band quite as well as the Navy. They have full marching bands and pop bands in every part of the U.S. as well as in overseas posts all over the world. It almost seems that the main qualification for service in the Navy is the ability to play a musical instrument.
Rhode Island Sound is an R.O.C.K. Navy band, performing covers of contemporary and classic rock and pop, while in their regular white uniforms, rather than “The Pirates of The Caribbean” costumes they might prefer. Otherwise they might be mistaken for the Rolling Stones but for the fact that they’re all at least 60 years younger than the Glitter Twins, et al.
I scoured the World Wide Web, found their secret military videos and I can attest that they are indeed very good, unique and entertaining, and if the audience requests, they’ll do a killer “Anchors Aweigh.”
The references can be as obvious as Cold Play, as retro as The Moody Blues and as familiar as A Silent Film. But beyond the obvious, there’s this DC band, the amalgam of synth, electronica, emo and beyond, that’s just itching to get out of the Swamp and on the road, to here and elsewhere, to have their chance.
You’ll love Color Palette, in all its radiance, esoterica and atmosphere. There’s no questioning frontman Jay Nemeyer’s assertion that sounds and colors are connected when you hear his band. This synth and guitar-centric band floats on color and emotion, dreams and realizations, and the lyrics and vocals of Nemeyer are clean and intense.
He’s built a band capable of taking his words to the stage and literally stunning you with the sound. When bassist Josh Hunter joins synthesist Roger Naressi on the keys, they soar to soundscapes that swell and grow, subside, and grow again, to a complete bond of words and music.
Country AND Westermn
Round up a country band and an early R&B group with three lead vocalists, weave in a hefty amount of vocal harmony and witty turns-of-phrase, and let ‘em rock out like The Band. Sitting At these crossroads sits roots music mavericks Western Centuries, a band as skillful in their musicianship as they are innovative in their writing. With upbeat, barroom dance numbers, lilting, introspective tunes of heartbreak, and everything in between, they strike an oft-strived-for, but rarely achieved, balance between genre-busting experimentation and thoughtful continuity.
Comprised of Seattle-based country musician Cahalen Morrison, jam band veteran Jim Miller (co-founder of Donna the Buffalo), R&B and bluegrass-by-way-of-punk rock songwriter Ethan Lawton, pedal steel player Rusty Blake, and bassist Dan Lowinger, Western Centuries are clearly a diverse bunch. After years of performing in prominent roots duo Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, Morrison formed and led the band Country Hammer, made up of members who have mostly crossed over into Western Centuries.
Pre-show music by Andy Gregg
Pre-show music by Henry Bachorski
Not so long ago Stop Light Observations (SLO) had just about bottomed out. Two options presented themselves: break up or go up.
Go up the Toogoodoo River, that is, to a vacation home owned by the family of band member Cubby Culbreth, near their hometown of Charleston SC, for some R&R and soul searching. And no, those are not musical genres.
Lucky for us they chose door number 2, Toogoodoo, where they ended up working their butts off recording their latest album, sometimes doing as many as 40 takes of a song before they felt that all was right with it. The result? “Toogoodoo” in homage to the river that brought them back from oblivion, to tell the stories of their Southern heritage, in a moody, dreamy signature SLO sound.
We all know that the longer a band has been together, the more their musical efforts coalesce. That’s clearly the case in this band’s evolution. Louis Diffie, lead guitarist, brings a lot of different riffs and figures to the emotional quotient of each song. In addition to Diffe, Culbreth is the songwriter who supplies guitar, piano and synth, while drummer Luke Withers singlehandedly holds on to the bottom. Finally, vocalist Will Blackburn gives expressive feeling to Culbreth’s thoughts, what they call “the middle class blues,” the sorrows of a man with too much, rather than less than nothing. Come down to SummerSounds and listen to SLO tell us about what they found while they were out soul-searching.
Pre-show music by JR Wolf
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Tusk, the business end of an elephant, rhino or walrus, somehow became a song and then an album title for Fleetwood Mac, and then their most iconic video, featuring the USC Trojan Marching Band.
Tusk, the Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band, is another story altogether. Next in a long line of outstanding tribute acts that we’ve presented, these ersatz John and Christine McVies, Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood sound-a-likes are your chance to put Rumours back on the turntable and relive the 1970’s when you’re in your 70’s, 60’s or 50’s, back when the rumours were about which of the band was dating which, rather than just napping together, like now.
Fleetwood Mac started as a British blues band, in the 1960’s, when Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie left the John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers to form the Mac. (Poor John Mayall: Over the decades he’s been “left” by Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Jack Bruce, Robben Ford, Harvey Mandel, Coco Montoya, Walter Trout, John Almond, Sonny Landreth, Aynsley Dunbar, Keef Hartley and Sugarcane Harris, just to name a few.)
They transmogrified (always wanted to use that word in a sentence) into a pop band in the 1970’s and 1980’s, probably filling up more stadiums and arenas than all the Roman gladiators and Oakland Raiders put together. And they’re still out there, competing with all the tribute bands and making more money than can be printed. Think of that when we pass the pig!
TUSK, on the other hand, is plenty great in their own right, and they love when you sing along.
Pre-show music by Ellie Lee Oldfield
Talk about a contradiction in terms. In the video for his song “I Was Drunk” Mike Zito is the poster child for the addict/alcoholic musician: down, out and ready for more. More heartache, more neglect of family, more blues. On the other hand, in other videos, he’s the proud papa of Zach Zito, his shredding son, who sounds more than ready to go into the family business.
Long in recovery, Zito maintains a blog for himself and others working on recovery, sharing his insights and trials regarding his disease. This while spending as much as 300 days a year on the road, supporting his family, working on his skills, being a bluesman. When he gets to Greensburg he will have played night after night after night and go right on for more. Not all glamour, is it? Just the way it is. Every song he writes and sings and plays bears the hallmarks of this life of a bluesman. His voice and guitars are well-worn, and his lyrics are realistically reflective of that experience.
He’s one of the founding members of The Royal Southern Brotherhood, the closest thing that modern blues has to a supergroup, but he’s withdrawn from that venture for now, in order to maintain his killing floor schedule, to provide for his family.
If you want the blues, musically, not actually, then Mike Zito’s your man
Pre-show music by Jay Wiley