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This event has been postponed. Rescheduled date to follow.
Dance Yourself Clean – an Indie Dance Party
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DYC returns with vengeance. Call it DYC 2.0. Bigger Venue + Bigger Production + Better Lasers. Better Lights. Fresh Playlist. Playing Indie Electronic Music by: LCD Soundsystem | Rufus Du Sol | Tame Impala | Empire Of The Sun | Glass Animals | K.Flay | MØ | The 1975 | SG Lewis | Grimes | Elohim | CHVRCHES | Broods | Icona Pop | Miike Snow | Bag Raiders | Oliver Tree | Roosevelt | Arcade Fire | Robyn | Tove Lo | Odesza | Neon Indian | St. Lucia | M83 | Cherub | STRFKR | RAC | Miami Horror | Big Data | Remi Wolf | The Naked And Famous | Phoenix | MGMT | Toro y Moi | BØRNS | VHS Collection | Passion Pit | Goldroom, and many more. A Lights & Music Collective Event
All patrons must show proof of completed Covid-19 vaccination. Original documents, clear paper copies, or clear digital images of these records and matching ID will be accepted.
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Sleigh Bells with Kill Birds
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Soul Rebels All Ages
WITH Victoria Canal
WITH Kendra Morris
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Neal Francis with Kendra Morris
On his new album In Plain Sight, Neal Francis offers up a body of work both strangely enchanted and painfully self-aware, unfolding in songs sparked from Greek myths and frenzied dreams and late-night drives in the depths of summer delirium. True to its charmed complexity, the singer/songwriter/pianist’s second full-length came to life over the course of a tumultuous year spent living in a possibly haunted church in Chicago. The result: a portrait of profound upheaval and weary resilience, presented in a kaleidoscopic sound that’s endlessly absorbing.
The follow-up to Francis’s 2019 debut Changes—a New Orleans-R&B-leaning effort that landed on best-of-the-year lists from the likes of KCRW, KEXP, and The Current, and saw him hailed as “the reincarnation of Allen Toussaint” by BBC Radio 6—In Plain Sight was written and recorded almost entirely at the church, a now-defunct congregation called St. Peter’s UCC. Despite not identifying as religious, Francis took a music-ministry job at the church in 2017 at the suggestion of a friend. After breaking up with his longtime girlfriend while on tour in fall 2019, he returned to his hometown and found himself with no place to stay, then headed to St. Peter’s and asked to move into the parsonage. “I thought I’d only stay a few months but it turned into over a year, and I knew I had to do something to take advantage of this miraculous gift of a situation,” he says.
Mixed by Grammy Award-winner Dave Fridmann (HAIM, Spoon, The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala), In Plain Sight finds Francis again joining forces with Changes producer and analog obsessive Sergio Rios (a guitarist/engineer known for his work with CeeLo Green and Alicia Keys). Like its predecessor, the album spotlights Francis’s refined yet free-spirited performance on piano, an instrument he took up at the age of four. “From a very early age, I was playing late into the night in a very stream-of-consciousness kind of way,” he says, naming everything from ragtime to gospel soul to The Who among his formative influences. With a prodigy-like gift for piano, Francis sat in with a dozen different blues acts in Chicago clubs as a teenager, and helmed a widely beloved instrumental funk band called The Heard before going solo. Along with earning lavish acclaim (including a glowing review from Bob Lefsetz, who declared: “THIS IS THE FUTURE OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS!”), Changes led to such triumphs as performing live on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” sharing the stage with members of The Meters at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and touring with such acts as Lee Fields & The Expressions and Black Pumas.
Recorded entirely on tape with his bandmates Kellen Boersma (guitar), Mike Starr (bass), and Collin O’Brien (drums), In Plain Sight bears a lush and dreamlike quality, thanks in large part to Francis’s restless experimentation with a stash of analog synths lent by his friends in his early days at the church. “My sleep schedule flipped and I’d stay up all night working on songs in this very feverish way,” he says. “I just needed so badly to get completely lost in something.” In a move partly inspired by Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, In Plain Sight takes its title from a track Francis ended up scrapping from the album. “It’s a song about my breakup and the circumstances that led to me living in the church, where I’m owning up to all my problems within my relationships and my sobriety,” says Francis, whose first full-length chronicles his struggles with addiction. “It felt like the right title for this record, since so much of it is about coming to the understanding that I continue to suffer because of those problems. It’s about acknowledging that and putting it out in the open in order to mitigate the suffering and try to work on it, instead of trying to hide everything.”
The opulent opening track to In Plain Sight, “Alameda Apartments” makes for a majestic introduction to the album’s unveiling of Francis’s inner demons. “I started writing that song maybe six years ago, before I got sober,” he says. “I was going through another breakup and getting kicked out of my place, and I had a nightmare about moving into an art-deco apartment that was haunted, where the walls were all shifting around.” A prime showcase for Francis’s piano work, “Alameda Apartments” simulates that dream state in its untethered melodies, luminous grooves, and lyrics that drift from despair to detached curiosity (e.g., “It remains to be seen if the ghosts are all right”). “The craziest thing is that I’d never encountered the name ‘Alameda’ in any time in my life prior to that dream,” says Francis. “It’s bizarre that I even remembered it, especially since you don’t dream very often when you’re getting fucked up.”
On “Problems,” In Plain Sight eases into a brighter and breezier mood, with Francis mining inspiration from early-’70s Sly & the Family Stone and the glistening soft rock of Mirage-era Fleetwood Mac. But in a stark contrast to the track’s radiant synth and rapturous harmonies, “Problems” centers on Francis’s exacting introspection. “It’s about being half-in and half-out of a relationship, and how untenable that is,” he says. “I wrote it at a time when I really couldn’t maintain a relationship, because I had too many issues with myself that needed to be addressed.”
Graced with a smoldering slide-guitar solo from the legendary Derek Trucks, “Can’t Stop the Rain” arrives as the first unabashedly hopeful moment on In Plain Sight. “I wrote that with my buddy David Shaw, who came up with the refrain and this idea that even though life’s going to throw all this shit at you, there’s still so many things to be grateful for,” says Francis. Propelled by the track’s cascading piano lines and wildly soaring vocals, that refrain takes on an unlikely anthemic power as Francis shares a bit of gently expressed encouragement: “You can’t stop the rain/It’s always coming down/It’s always gonna fall/But you’re not gonna drown.”
On the guitar-heavy and glorious “Prometheus,” Francis nods to the Greek myth of the Titan god who stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to the humans. As punishment, Prometheus spent eternity chained to a rock as an eagle visited each day to peck out his liver—which then grew back overnight, only to be eaten again the following day in a neverending cycle of torment. “That song came from the lowest ebb of quarantine, when Chicago was literally on fire,” Francis says. “It came to me while I was driving around all these abandoned streets in the middle of the night, and turned into a song about facing my problems with addiction and feeling like I’m chained to this set of compulsions.” Threaded with plainspoken confession (“It’s not in my nature to try to do better”), the track features a sprawling synth arrangement informed by the many hours Francis spent playing the St. Peter’s pipe organ. “I call that section of the song ‘The Pope,’” he says. “It’s this grand, powerful entry that’s sort of sinister, and then it just drops away.”
By the end of his surreal and sometimes eerie experience of living at the church—“I’m convinced that the stairway leading to the choir loft where I used to practice is haunted,” he notes—Francis had found his musicality undeniably elevated. “Because I was forced into this almost monastic existence and was alone so much of the time, I could play as often and as long as I wanted,” he says. “I ended up becoming such a better pianist, a better writer, a better reader of music.” Dedicated to a woman named Lil (the de facto leader of the St. Peter’s congregation), In Plain Sight ultimately reveals the possibility of redemption and transformation even as your world falls apart.
“When I started the process of writing these songs, I was so emotionally out-of-sorts and really kind of hopeless that I’d be able to come up with anything,” says Francis. “But then I sat down and started working, and embraced whatever inspiration came my way. Sometimes it felt like beating my head against a wall, but I tried to trust that it would lead somewhere. The whole thing was like a weird dream—this very strange time of terrible, wonderful isolation.”
WITH Prettiest Eyes
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Fuzz with Prettiest Eyes
One only knows one. Two is balanced therefore stagnant. III both active and reactive. Charles Moothart, Ty Segall and Chad Ubovich are FUZZ. FUZZ is three. And III has returned. Songs for all, and music for one.
III was recorded and mixed at United Recording under the sonic lordship of Steve Albini. Keeping the focus on the live sounds of the band, the use of overdubs and studio tricks were kept to a minimum. Albini’s mastery in capturing sound gave FUZZ the ability to focus entirely on the playing while knowing the natural sounds would land. It takes the essential ingredients of “guitar based music” and “rock and roll power trio” and puts them right out on the chopping block. It was a much more honest approach for FUZZ — three humans getting primitive, staying primitive. The goal was never to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it’s just about seeing how long you can hold on before you’re thrown off.
Album opener “Returning” serves as a sort of mission statement for the album. It’s an auditory meditation on the power of one and the different perspectives of one, whether it is the singular person looking inward, or a group of people coming together as a single unit. Not only is it an echo of the return of FUZZ, but also a broader return to form – raw and empowered through vulnerability.
“Nothing People” and “Spit” served as a launching point into the new sphere that would become III. They were written around the same time, and felt like they opened two different doorways — familiar in some ways and new in others. “Time Collapse,” a rogue cut from the days of FUZZ’s II, landed soundly on the scorched surface of side A to round things out.
“Mirror” opens up the B side and the collective consciousness. Mirroring the call to arms of “Returning,” the song asks the listener to link arms with the band, march to the same drum of love, and create a space of equality among the freaks. The pummeling rhythm demands the request to crush the mirror that feeds you lies. In the end, it’s a ballad for the unique, twisted, and natural self that should be exalted before any falsehood.
The stomping back half of III serves as a self aware call out to the lineage in which this record calls home — both personal and general in the historical context of raw power trio records. “Blind to Vines” and “End Returning” accentuate the meditative qualities of FUZZ. While coming from opposite ends of the spectrum, they balance restraint and compulsion. FUZZ will ultimately cave to compulsion. That is without question. But what good is a freak out without an initial glance inward? “End Returning” takes that look inward and scrambles the timeline. It finds peace and challenges it in the next breath. Arguably, it brutalizes this peace to test the foundations on which it rests, inevitably bringing the origin back into focus.
Three points reflected in three Mirrors; a pyramid of sonic destruction and psychic creation. Nothing People feed the roots while the freaks fly free in the treetops – Blind to Vines, Eyes Closed, Stuck in Spit, triumphing the Returning of beginnings and Ends Returning while beginning to see the Time Collapse. Love is the only way to annihilate hate, and Sketchy freaks live to bleed. All shades of color, truth and lies, III is the pillar of unity and singularity. All is nothing, and only nothing can generate everything. Log out, drop thought, turn up.
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Dumpstaphunk with Dagnasterpus and Emma Negrete
New Orleans funk powerhouse Dumpstaphunk released their new album Where Do We Go From Here on April 23, 2021 (via Mascot Label Group / The Funk Garage). The release marks the band’s first full length album in seven years, and undeniably the most powerful and politically pointed of their career. Previously released singles include “Justice 2020,” recently called one of the “Best Songs of 2020” by the New York Times, and the contemplative title-track “Where Do We Go From Here.” The record is a sharply relevant statement, even more-so than the group anticipated during writing and recording sessions just prior to the unprecedented events of the last year.
The album is now available on all digital platforms, vinyl and CD HERE.
In celebration of the announcement, Dumpstaphunk will perform songs from the upcoming album on NPR’s World Café today, along with an exclusive interview with band leader Ivan Neville. Fans can tune in worldwide on their local NPR station or on-line.
Dumpstaphunk released the album’s title track “Where Do We Go From Here” in August 2020, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, earning praise from the New York Times for its “slinky funk backbeat” and “gospel determination.” On the eve of the presidential election the band strategically released the single “Justice 2020” (featuring Chali 2na and Trombone Shorty), which became an unofficial anthem of the social justice movement. The powerful music video led the New York Times to name “Justice 2020” one of the “Top 20 Songs of 2020,” in part due to the music video’s strong message alluding to social injustice, systemic racism, police brutality and the need for change, while also demanding lyrically that as human beings “We Are All Beautiful.” Dumpstaphunk will release a remix of “Justice 2020” by Cut Chemist this Friday, January 15th.
The band’s arsenal of classic and modern influences can be heard throughout the new album, a distinctive mix of genuine New Orleans funk, old school R&B and guitar fueled modern rock; from the slap-bass rave “Make It After All” to the band’s contemporary renderings of NOLA R&B rarities (the 1975 Blackmail gem “Let’s Get At It”) and early Seventies classics (Sly and the Family Stone’s “In Time”). One song with an unexpected genesis is the band’s urgent cover of Buddy Miles’ 1973 Hendrix inspired “United Nations Stomp,” which features searing guitar solos from special guest, rising blues guitar phenom Marcus King.
“We hope people can hear the new songs and are inclined to dance, and inspired to think at the same time,” says Ivan, speaking to the new album’s delicate balance between topic material and dance-floor rockers.
Over the past 17 years, Dumpstaphunk has earned its reputation as a highly respected next-generation New Orleans musical institution, the type of band whose live performances have attracted sit-ins from legends like Carlos Santana, Bob Weir, George Clinton and members of Phish. Alongside original core members Tony Hall and Nick Daniels, and the new additions of Alex Wasily, Ryan Nyther and drummer Devin Trusclair, Ivan and Ian Neville (the sons of Aaron Neville and Art “Poppa Funk” Neville respectively) have built upon their family’s iconic NOLA legacy as they’ve transformed Dumpstaphunk into the city’s pre-eminent 21st-century funk-fusion export, resulting in recent career highlights like their July 2019 opening gig for the Rolling Stones on their home turf at the New Orleans Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Modernizing and reinvigorating the Neville/Meters family groove has been one of the driving forces of Dumpstaphunk since the band spontaneously formed during New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2003. Where Do We Go From Here is perhaps the best evidence yet of Dumpstaphunk’s ability to strengthen and transform their singular Crescent City roots in combination with the deeper outside musical and philosophical influences on which the band is founded.
“Obviously, the New Orleans history is just embedded in us, but we manage to incorporate all the other stuff we’ve listened to over the years,” says Ivan. “We’re representing a legacy, but we’re reimagining a lot of it, too.”
Sammy Rae & The Friends
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Sammy Rae & The Friends