Show Review: Noname and Ravyn Lenae Slay at The Crocodile

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I saw Noname perform at The Crocodile this past Wednesday. Ravyn Lenae opened for her, and needless to say they were both incredible. I had been anticipating this concert for quite some time now (I ordered the tickets in November), and the night had finally arrived.

First things first, I had also bought meet and greet tickets for my lovely girlfriend in an effort to blow Valentine’s Day out of the water. For the most part I think it was a success. She was excited to meet Noname, as was I, of course. Unfortunately, we both had different reactions to talking to her in person. She was so nervous that her mind started racing, asking Noname-whose real name is Fatima-question after question. This was a godsend, because I was so nervous that my mind drew a blank and stood there sheepishly, only mustering the courage to introduce myself and say “yes” a few times. 

After a photo op with Fatima, it was time for the concert. Unbeknownst to me, there was an act before Ravyn Lenae. Local Seattle rappers Nyles Davis and Mo Money got the show started, but not exactly as I had expected. Noname and Ravyn Lenae’s musical styles both exude peacefulness and don’t try to be in your face. Davis and Mo Money were both accurate reflections of what rap is becoming: repetitive lyrics over bass-heavy beats. Their music reminded me a lot of Lil Uzi Vert, my least favorite rapper in the game right now. Mo Money also got really sweaty and it was flying everywhere, so that didn’t help his set improve.

Finally, the time came for the actual concert to start, and Ravyn Lenae came out. And let me tell ya, her voice was jaw dropping. I knew it was good when I listened to her music on Spotify, but it was probably even better live. Each song she performed had multiple vocal inflections where she would change the note while she belted out a single word or sound. My previously hefty expectations had been exceeded somehow and I was witnessing an angel on stage. 

Lenae also took the time to explain the meaning behind each song before she performed it. I had listened through her Moon Shoes EP multiple times, but had never taken the time to thoroughly listen to it and pull the meaning from each song. I found myself listening much more intently, trying to connect the lyrics to the explanation she had given just a few minutes earlier. Also, she put the mic in front of my girlfriend to sing a part of a song, but evidently the pressure was overwhelming and she could only sing for a split second before laughing it off. To be fair, I would’ve done the exact same thing, and Ravyn probably would’ve gotten the whole crowd to make fun of me because I can’t sing as well as her. That may have been why she did it in the first place.

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Lenae’s set ended after about 45 minutes and it was time for the headliner, Noname. Her debut album Telefone was one of my favorite albums of last year. It was meaningful, perfectly produced, and it introduced me to a female rapper that I actually enjoyed (sorry not sorry Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea). Noname’s band was the first to come on stage, performing a few minutes of smooth instrumentals before Noname came out to open with “All I Need”. To my relief, she sounded exactly like she did on Telefone. The live band was a great addition; Davis, Mo Money, and Lenae all performed over recordings of the instrumentals to their songs (Davis actually rapped over recordings of his songs with the rap recorded too, so he didn’t have to work as hard). Noname performed Telefone in its entirety, as well as her verses for Mick Jenkins’ “Comfortable” and Chance the Rapper’s “Lost”. Ravyn Lenae joined her on stage and they performed “Forever” together, which was easily the best moment of the night. Noname’s discography still has some growing to do, because she ran out of music to perform after half an hour. Despite the short set, Noname was excellent on stage and had the audience captivated the whole time.

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The concert as a whole was great. The surprise openers got the concert off on a sour note, but Ravyn Lenae and Noname more than made up for the openers’ slip-ups. Both either performed exactly as in their recordings or far beyond what I had expected. Once they expand their discography there will only be more demand for them to go on tour again, and I look forward to when that day comes. Check out each artist’s music below.

Noname – Telefone

Ravyn LenaeMoon Shoes EP

Nyles Davis

Mo Money

Archie O’Dell

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Live Review: The Suffers

Last weekend, The Suffers performed live at The Crocodile. If you weren’t able to make it, here’s what you missed.

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The show kicked off with two openers. The first was The Bandulus, an endearingly upbeat, Portland-based soul and reggae band. Right off the bat, the entire crowd danced and sang along. It was fabulous. The horn section of The Suffers even came out to join for a bit, demonstrating the closeness and camaraderie of the groups. The second opening act was Jakubi, an electronic/hip-hop/R&B outfit all the way from Melbourne, Australia. To be honest, these guys completely stole the show and were the highlight of the entire night. Laughing and pushing each other around, Jakubi was clearly having a good time. Lead vocalist Jerome Farah used a talk box to infuse some futuristic vibes alongside their funk and reggae sounds, and the result was an entirely different, raw energy that had the crowd more fired up than they would be all night.

By the time The Suffers filed across stage, the entire room was packed. The band paused in the darkness for a moment, arms raised silently toward the ceiling. It was a powerful display of unity before the lights flashed on and they jumped straight into their set. As with both openers, The Suffers had the whole crowd immediately moving to the music. People around me were clapping and head-bobbing, beer sloshing out of their cups.

Kam Franklin dominated the stage. “Presence” is the one word I would use to describe it. It was impossible to miss her strutting across, and I was blown away each time she unleashed her voice. In between songs, Kam stopped to casually chat with the audience. It really reinforced the already intimate feel of the venue. She spoke passionately about the importance of opening acts, praising both The Bandulus and Jakubi for their performances. After all, she said, The Suffers were once openers, too. Kam also called the theme of the night: chasing dreams. This upcoming January will mark the 2-year anniversary since The Suffers quit their day jobs to pursue music full-time. “Live the life you want to live”, urged Kam, “because being able to say you tried is the most wonderful thing.” She laughed, telling us that if we fail, we Seattleites have legal weed to comfort us.

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Another highlight of the night came with an announcement: The Suffers have been writing new music while on tour, and they wanted to play some of it for Seattle. My favorite was “Do Whatever”, a follow-up to Kam’s words about chasing dreams. It featured strong jazz and R&B influences, making me feel like we had suddenly landed in the middle of a downtown jazz club. Other great renditions included “Stay”, “Midtown”, and “Giver”, the final performance of the night. Kam’s voice was clear and soulful, ringing throughout the room. This song is so much better live; I could truly appreciate the talent and restraint of the percussionists when they were sitting 20 feet away. The horn section was also able to show off fabulously, with rich, gentle crescendos from Jon Durbin and Michael Razo. (These two had adorably synchronized dance moves.)

As the night wound down, this band wanted us to remember two things, if nothing else: their name and their hometown. And I must say, The Suffers from Houston, Texas will live in my memory for quite some time.

Find more from The Suffers: Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud

Emily Tasaka

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Show Preview: The Suffers at The Crocodile 11/12

Coming all the way from Houston, Texas, The Suffers will be performing live at The Crocodile this Saturday, November 12th, at 8:00 PM. Get excited, because these soulsters do it like no other. They call themselves a “Gulf Coast Soul” band, combining soul with reggae, South American, and jazz influences. The result is beautiful. It’s a seamless blend of genres that doesn’t fit in any one box. It also perfectly reflects the diversity of band, which includes a Latin percussionist, a classically trained saxophonist, a jazz drummer, and a gospel singer.

In their self-titled 2016 debut, The Suffers tastefully arrange each section of their 10-piece ensemble alongside the powerful vocals of Kam Franklin. Her captivating voice is so warm and rich, and I can’t wait to hear it fill the room this weekend. For first-time listeners, I recommend “Giver” (below). Other notable tracks include “Make Some Room” and “Gwan”, which was performed on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Even if soul isn’t your thing, I hope you all can “Make Some Room” in your busy schedules to enjoy these fabulously soulful Texans. It’s going to be a good time.

Find more from The Suffers: Facebook / SoundCloud / Twitter

Emily Tasaka

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Live Review: Wild Nothing Sells Out The Crocodile

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As I meandered down to Belltown on Monday night to see Wild Nothing at The Crocodile, my groggy self was beginning to wonder if I had made a good call. Looking like a total dork in my Nocturne-era Wild Nothing t-shirt, there I was, hungry, tired, and putting off a whole lot of homework to be there. It was already past 9, the opener, Whitney, hadn’t come on yet, and I had a 9:30 the next day. I stood for a good 30 minutes, alone, having a pity party for one, until I did what you are probably telling me to do now: I decided to suck it up because ROCK AND ROLL AIN’T FOR QUITTERS!!!

As soon as the music started flowing, though, I really stopped giving a damn about my 9:30.

Whitney opened with upbeat, folksy tunes that were definite toe-tappers. Songs ranged from a Bob Dylan cover to anthems with catchy horn riffs a la San Fermin. After they left the stage, the venue really started to get packed with trendy thirtysomethings, many of whom looked like Amazon employees or something smart like that (I swear to God, the guy standing behind me looked JUST LIKE Jeff Bezos. I swear!!). The Monday night show was a sellout, and I could sense early on that Seattle was anxious for some good ol’ dream-rock action.

Here’s the part where I have to tell you that I don’t have any good pictures. I’m sorry. I really tried. But what’s a girl to do when the under-21 section is, like, 5 shoulders wide and a 6’3” lumberjack-type with a beanie sitting on top of a pile of frizzy hair stands in front of her? Take really shitty snapchats that you don’t want to see here, that’s for sure. I’m sad about this too, friends. Wild Nothing is one of my favorite bands ever. But it’s all about the EXPERIENCE, remember?

Jack Tatum, the man behind the project, swiftly walked on with his band, and the small yet crowded venue howled. After the first song of the set ended, someone yelled out “Hey, whatcha drinkin’?”, to which Tatum playfully answered “Why, Rainier!”, posing with can in hand. The crowd erupted in laughter (maybe aggressively so?) at the venue-appropriate beverage, setting the tone for the rest of the night as one of camaraderie, foolishness, and all-around good vibes. Throughout the impressively long set, Tatum played off of the crowd’s energy and heckling as he got progressively more tipsy and progressively more comfortable jamming out (I was especially impressed with this, since they had already played a live session at KEXP earlier that day. I’ve seen a lot of artists in the past who are a little tuckered out playing twice in a row). After a few songs, the band decided to continue the set with whatever songs they wanted. At the end of “Lady Blue”, Tatum insisted on playing his favorite “shred” at the end of the song again, because it wasn’t quite right the first time. Unsurprisingly, the crowd went wild, myself included.

The energy of the crowd and band made this show. It felt intimate and casual, and Tatum was noticeably comfortable goofing around while also delivering a long set with all the hits, new and old. I found myself laughing at the onstage antics more than at any other show I had been to. After the band left the stage, it only took a couple minutes for them to come back on for the encore. The quality of the music was equally phenomenal. The synth and guitar lines the artist is known for shone through in all the right places. The live renditions of a few of my all-time favorite songs, “Only Heather” and “Summer Holiday”, were truly life-changing, if I do say so myself. I rode home in the Uber regretfully looking at the clock, regretfully looking at the red stain on my t-shirt from the wrist stamp, but most of all, regretfully realizing that the show was over (that was really sappy but really true, okay??).

At one point during the show, Tatum slightly-slurred something along the lines of “If this show had a Yelp review, I’d rate it 15 stars on a scale of 1 to 10.” I’d have to agree.

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Ann Evans



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I’m talkin bout French house

Annnddddddd we’re back. I’m sorry for such a long sabbatical but I was just researching music.
And being lazy.
So who wants to talk about French deep house?

Gonna be honest, I’m SO NOT an expert on house music, but because deep house has elements of soul and 1980s jazz-funk and this specific musician uses a lot of piano and saxophone, I’m going to say that I somewhat know what I’m talking about.

Should we meet Klingande

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A French duo composed of musicians Cédric Steinmyller and Edgar Catry, these guys don’t give the vibe of what you think of when you think of house music: electronic, boring, repetitive. They dig honest sound, and true jazz, funk, and soul. With three solid singles out, deubting in in 2013, these guys are beautiful in their sound.

There are house beats, but there are also funky basslines, eclectic vocal samples, excellent percussion and hypnotic, just straight-jamming grooves of saxophone solos that distinguish Klingande’s sound.

The two boys themselves label their music as “melodic sound,” and for sure they have this vibe of sunny beaches and the strange juxtaposition of classy, classy saxophone jazz and more modern dance pop.

I mean, take a listen to “Jubel.” You’ve got these straight up dope saxophone melodies (thank you fantastic Mr. Snake Davis) running throughout the entire track of lovely Lucie Decarne’s vocals. Reaching number one on the charts in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Switzerland, this track also hit #3 on the UK Singles chart.

We start out slow with bongo-drums and light layering of keys, yeah? Then a bassline melody, still good, right? Then a build up to the vocals, and you’re like, “Hmm, pretty good.” But then we hit the sax, and you’ve got to just stop and smile.

And then look at his first single ever released, “Punga.” The vocals are phenomenal combined with the saxophone layered on piano. And to be honest, the sax on this track is better than the sax on Jubel, but the standard of excellence here is just so high that either way, any of Klingande’s tracks are going to exceed any of our expectation for musical innovation.

If you like Avicii, if you like Bakermat, if you like saxophone, if you like grooves, please. Do yourself a favor. Check out his Soundcloud here, trust me, he’s worth your time.

And sweet deal because if you fall in love enough, go and check out his show at The Crocodile on May 20th.
You can bet I’m gonna be there.

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Ariana Rivera