Cherub @ 9:30

Courtesy of Cherub

Image Courtesy of Cherub

I was first introduced to electronic pop duo Cherub on accident when, along with some friends, I stumbled onto their set at a music festival. I was instantly hooked by their funky guitar riffs and falsetto vocals. Fast forward two years later, the duo has released two EPs and an LP, all having that distinct Cherub feel, focusing around themes of drug use, sex, and living in the moment. This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing them for the second time, this time at 9:30, and once again it was a great show.

Opening for them on their “Champagne Showers Tour”, was Gibbz, a producer and vocalist based out of Brooklyn, followed by electronic pop duo Ghost Beach. The highlight of Gibbz set was his last song, Tilt Mode, which was produced by the electronic super group Exmag (which includes Gramatik an Illumntr), and features his smooth vocals which the crowd, albeit small this early in the night, absolutely loved. Ghost Beach didn’t disappoint either putting on a good show, showcasing their array of pop-tracks with an 80’s vibe.

Finally, the act everyone was there to see came on and put on an impressive show. The duo from Nashville had the whole place moving as they played some of their biggest hits including Do I, Obviously, and of course their de facto theme song Doses and Mimosas. What impressed me most was their energy as they exuded the essence of what their music is about, having an awesome time and living in the moment. Cherub appeared to be having a blast on stage, and this, along with their funky tunes, had the sold out 9:30 club moving. It was clear they had a connection with their fans as they often spoke directly to the crowd, and Jason Kelly, who makes up half the duo was outside before the show with a huge smile on his face looking for the after party. Cherub once again, put on a great show that had the place filled with funky vibes, sexy vocals, and most of all a banging time.

MØ @ 9:30 Club – A Photo Review + Interview


All photos: Lotanna Obodozie

Lotanna: If anyone told me before this show that Karen Marie Ørsted (nom de guerre, MØ) was going to be dancing on bars and crowd surfing, I might not have believed them. MØ makes pop music, but pop music with a harder edge. With her musical beginnings originating in the Danish punk scene, her stage antics are not entirely unexpected. The show was lively, with an energy that radiated throughout the entire room. The entire crowd was dancing, I was dancing, and I couldn’t see them, but I’m sure the bouncers and bartenders were probably dancing too. MØ’s stage presence is larger than life, and the 9:30 Club was hardly big enough to contain her effervescence.

Jordan: In my eyes, the one factor that distinguishes a good singer from a good performer is their stage presence. I look for someone who makes it impossible for me to take my eyes off them. MØ never stopped dancing. From the bar to the crowd, MØ danced with the greater majority of the audience. I give credit to anyone who can light up a room that way.

- Jordan Farley and Lotanna Obodozie

Be sure to listen to our interview with her here.





















Die Antwoord @ Echostage


Courtesy of Cristian Zuniga Photography

After an internal debate lasting several hours and a lot of encouragement from commentators on a Facebook status concerning the issue, I decided to go to the Die Antwoord concert at Echostage the Wednesday before last…by myself. If you’re not a fan of the South African rap group this probably seems like a rather trivial dilemma, and to you I’d recommend googling any of their music videos at this point. You can probably see why I was hesitant — but I’m glad I worked up the nerve to go, especially since I’d already missed an opportunity to see them live in my hometown a couple years ago.

My mental quandary lasted long enough that by the time I got to Echostage the opening act — newcomer on the techno/house scene, Alex Young — had already finished his set. As I attempted to muscle my way through the crowd, one asshole literally spread his feet, squared his shoulders, and asked me why I “didn’t get there earlier if I wanted to get a decent spot.” What? Shut up and get out of my way, shitbird. I have an 8 am class tomorrow. Thankfully this guy was pretty much the only unpleasant part of my Die Antwoord concert experience.

Known for their crass, dancey, and at times truly creepy music videos, Die Antwoord’s Ninja and Yolandi were able to translate the asinine energy of their songs and videos quite well to the stage. Given that their “zef” philosophy rests on a style-over-substance approach, it wasn’t surprising when a giant blowup doll with an equally huge erect penis showed up on stage a few songs in.

As far as the music was concerned, it was exactly what I’d expected: a play through of their biggest hits, with a few songs from their latest album (Donker Mag) scattered throughout. The as-yet-unidentified DJ Hi-Tek opened with “DJ Hi-Tek Rulez,” a slur-laden track composed entirely of Mike Tyson quotes. With the assistance of the two female back-up dancers (who wore different masks throughout the show, never revealing their faces) and a lot of hip thrusting, Die Antwoord got into their element very quickly. . Ninja and Yolandi’s stage presence was masterful, bombastic, and a lot of fun. Though I’m not a fan of mosh pits myself, I was disappointed that a group of security guards in the middle of the hall were preventing a pit from forming — I’d figured a huge pit would be inevitable, a given part of the experience of seeing Die Antwoord live. Ninja did manage to crowd surf, but when members of the crowd tried to follow suit, they were blocked by the guards.

My favorite track from the night was definitely “I Fink U Freeky,” during which Ninja took an audience member’s phone and shoved it down his pants. The atmosphere was very much that of a club or rave scene.

Ultimately, seeing Die Antwoord in the flesh wasn’t nearly as crazy as I had pictured their live show to be. In fact, it was quite tame (they were done with their encore by 10:30!). Even though I didn’t have friends there to get down with, I’m super happy with my decision to see my favorite South African rappers live.

-Eleanor Dickinson

Grouplove & Portugal. The Man @ Merriweather Post Pavillion


Photo Credit: Press Line Photos

Photo Credit: Press Line Photos


The music industry has always been characterized by its community. Artists, record labels, and even fans are always coming together sharing ideas, songs and experiences. Perhaps was there no place where this community was on fuller display than on this year’s Honda Civic Tour featuring Grouplove and Portugal. The Man.  As Hannah Hooper (AKA Lady Grouplove) put it during the tour’s September 12th stop at the historic Merriweather Post Pavillion, “All of us here on the stage are a bunch of best f**** friends just doing what we love to do.” Read the rest of this entry

Sylvan Esso @ The Howard Theatre

Photo credit: Lotanna Obodozie

Photo credit: Lotanna Obodozie

Sylvan Esso is a band that is very hard to lump into one genre. With songs that span from slower ballads to those that are fit for a nightclub, it is not difficult to understand how their show at The Howard Theatre (originally at the much smaller Rock & Roll Hotel) sold out long in advance. Sylvan Esso, a duo comprised of singer Amelia Meath of Mountain Man and Nick Sanborn of Megafaun, had the crowd dancing and singing along to every song during the final performance of their US tour.

Read the rest of this entry

An Interview with The Walking Sticks

D.C dream pop trio The Walking Sticks (composed of Chelsea Lee and brothers Spencer and Max Ernst) are coming off the excitement of having released their album Send The Night in December of last year, and are now ready to drop a new five track EP. The band has been finding great success within The District’s music scene, having just played the 9:30 Club two weeks ago, and Black Cat previous to that. Now, amid a schedule of festival and club dates, The Walking Sticks are planning a pre-release show on September 27 at DC9, complete with a live music video shoot for their new song “One Sweet Thing”. WRGW catches up with them outside of The Library of Congress, where they are taking a break in between sets of a private gig.


Elliot Greiner: How long have you guys been working on this new EP?

Chelsea: We’ve been writing these songs for a year. We started writing last July, and started recording in April.

Max: We actually just wrapped up the songs a couple weeks ago.

EG: Have you released the name for this new EP yet?


Max: Oh yeah, yeah we got it.

EG: Can I hear it?

Max: Yeah, you ready for it? It’s Pop Dreams. We don’t have an answer to why we’ve called it Pop Dreams quite yet though do we?

Spencer: Sort of do.

Max: I mean the obvious answer is that dream pop is the genre of the album- but then a good buddy of ours in MH and His Orchestra, he was like “You guys are ‘Pop Dreams’ and we thought it was kinda funny. Then we had this concept for our EP cover- I’ll show you now.

Max pulls out his phone with a picture of the new cover.

EG: Wow that’s pretty cool.

Max: Yeah, you’re the first to see it. We really wanted Chelsea’s eye make up to pop out, the make up artist went crazy on us. Do you want to know the track listing?

EG: Yes that would be great.

Max: Okay. The first song is called “Bang”, the second is “Senorita”- which is our Justin Timberlake cover, and then the third song is “One Sweet Thing”, the fourth is “Take Me Up to The Sun”, and the fifth is “Name on It”.

EG: How would you compare Pop Dreams to Send The Night?


Chelsea: We solidified our sound. We were just starting out with our new equipment on the Send The Night EP, and now I think we have final honed in on our sound and figured out how we are going to move forward.

Spencer: It’s a little dreamier I’d say too.

Max: I think we really upped our drum game. In our last EP the backing tracks were sparser, and in this one we’ve kind of filled it out a little more.

EG: When you’re making these albums- and I mean look, you’ve already covered JT- are you more influenced by past or contemporary artists, or is it a mix of both?


Chelsea: It’s a mix of both. I’m really influenced by the eighties and they’re really influence by the seventies as far as past influences go. But we are always hearing new artists that we really love, like recently we found Jungle and we are obsessed with them; Tame Impala is also a great band. Really we are always looking for new artists, and they are always inspiring us just as much as the old songs.

EG: Do all three of you weigh in equally on the song writing?

Max: I’d say yeah we do, we all kind of contribute differently in terms of the writing process and how the song is produced.

Spencer: The key is that all three of us are always involved in the process, and everyone’s input in respected. We all shape the songs.

EG: Do you guys have a tour planned?

Max: Not currently, we are definitely going to play New York. However our first priority is to promote the EP.

Spencer: We’d like to hype it up in D.C.

Max: Yeah, we’re going to do a big cd release show. And for right now we are just really trying to get our music out on YouTube and online and just try to get a buzz going.

More information on the September 29th show and video shoot can be found here:

And for those interested in being a part of the music video, this tutorial will come as a bit of help:

Songs of Brilliance: U2 in the New Decade

Courtesy of Forbes

Only the Rolling Stones can claim an evolution as variable as U2’s; Bono himself has gone from baby-faced new waver to long haired 80’s rocker to international rock star to tongue in cheek pop shocker, and now in this past decade, to sunglass wearing celebrity. Some criticize bands like U2 and The Stones for continuing to play music well into their years, but why should they? Proper rock musicians have only been around for the past fifty years as it is; there has never been a precedent for retirement. At 95 Chuck Berry still plays a regular once a month gig at a local venue in St. Louis, and B.B King has never stopped touring despite having already surpassed the average American life expectancy by ten years. In comparison U2 is still youthful at 38, and despite rumors of splitting the band has just come out with an album of post-apocalyptic proportions in every aspect. As of yesterday it stands as the only record in history to have been owned by 500 million people at the moment of its release, and as the band’s first album in five years its unexpected arrival could not have created more of a global flurry. In a letter to fans Bono wrote that U2 is “collaborating with Apple on some cool stuff over the next couple of years, innovations that will transform the way music is listened to and viewed.” If this is truly the case, then the album might be the impetus of a new direction for U2, albeit a currently foggy and unknown direction.


As a free, preloaded download on ITunes, Songs of Innocence represents the largest album drop of all time, and is now theoretically owned by every ITunes customer in 119 countries. In recent years U2 has attracted the misguided dissent of millennials who claim Bono’s extensive humanitarian work to be something akin to a long-played publicity stunt (which is an argument for another time), however it would be foolish for even them to ignore what has been done by both the band and Apple. Music is losing its viability as a commodity with applications such as Spotify and Pandora about; this move on U2’s part regards the future of music sharing to be something far more accessible than what the previous decade has let on. It may only be a matter of time before Apple starts to revamp the role of ITunes as a music provider -or perhaps creates a more ‘Spotify-esque’ player- and of course, as Apple does so will others. While premature, it seems that the expiration date fixed to the current practice of music commerce may soon pave way for the wet dream of former LimeWire-ers; free, widespread, and legally provided music. And Apple couldn’t have picked a better album to spur on this new age.


Songs of Innocence, which has been described so tactfully by Noisey’s savvy Dan Ozzi as “a gross confluence of self-promotion, commercialization of music, and corporate dick-suckery,” stands as a testament to the genuine lack of taste held by Ozzi. The record is distinctly U2, standing as a bittersweet and autobiographical narrative of the band’s past forty years. Bono sings with the same lyricism that crafted the landmark success of 1991’s Achtung Baby, while touting an intimate maturity that has only occasionally come out in previous albums (“Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” “Moment of Surrender”). Keeping true to their arena-rock sound of the 1990’s, anthemic guitar and militant percussion abound, and are joined by a distinct and polarizing pop-rock production value that can occasionally overpower the album. There is no hiding that U2 is progressing towards a new immediate sound, one that relies on ambience and the glittery churning of keyboards and distortion. It is by far the pop-iest of U2’s albums -surpassing the glossy aims of 1997’s Pop- yet traverses territory distant from the majority of 21st century pop. These truly are songs of innocence; reflections on growth and relationships that ultimately resolve with the bleak prospects that come with age. Unlike their previous albums Innocence concerns itself little with love, as one of the most powerful tracks- “Iris”- details the death of Bono’s mother when he was 14, and the most haunting- Raised by Wolves- chronicles the aftermath of an Irish car bombing. Innocence draws significance from its discomfort, not caring to sell itself as a universally palatable album. It is arguably the most direct work the band has yet made, and easily the darkest.


However much melancholy Songs of Innocence presents, Bono has already risen hopes for the release of a sister project called Songs of Experience. No date has been set for it, and as it stands there is no indication if anything has yet been recorded. But with a tour coming up, and the physical release of the new album set for October, U2 is gaining a forceful momentum, possibly enough to propel them into the next decade.


One can only hope.


-Elliot Greiner

Gucci Mane the Businessman


Over the past couple of days I’ve found myself listening to a lot of Gucci Mane. Not The State vs. Radric Davis, but NEW Gucci. His collaborations with the likes of Young Thug, Migos and Peewee Longway have shaped modern Southern hip-hop. Although known for his rapping and antics Gucci Mane is also a great businessman. From smart signings to consistent content, Guop has been a staple of hip-hop for better or worse.

People love Gucci Mane. Almost any time I tell people about a new Gucci discovery they are intrigued. Something about the beat selection, interesting flows and trap lyrics make the combination oddly pleasing. Do I relate to Gucci Mane? Honestly no, but the catchiness of his music has been the reason he’s still in the spotlight. It makes me excited and ready for anything, whether it be a party or a test. It’s not always quality music but his gems are known throughout.

Gucci Mane has to be one of the best businessmen in the game. Gucci does it his own way. Who else can continue to direct the release of content for a record label from jail? Sentenced to 183 days in prison, Gucci keeps churning out material. In his sentence he has released a solo mixtape, four collaborative mixtapes and a handful of singles. With Gucci at the helm this new sound has started to appear throughout the rap game.

1017 Brick Squad have definitely started to expand their collaborators. Wiz Khalifa and members of 1017 joined up on many songs off the notable mixtape 28 Grams. Metro Boomin, 808 Mafia and Zaytoven make production appearances on the mixtape. More recently, 1017 was featured throughout Travi$ Scott’s Days Before Rodeo. Features from Young Thug, Pewee Longway and Metro Boomin have made the mixtape a huge hit and have boosted the G.O.O.D. Music artist’s status.

But Gucci has been in the game for a while and his 1017 Brick Squad has signed other big names too. Waka Flocka started with 1017 Brick Squad, however issues between the rapper caused the two to break their ties. But, while early connections helped Gucci sign Waka, his negotiation skills were on display as he also nabbed Chief Keef at the beginning of his popularity. Amidst rumors of Keef committing to G.O.O.D. Music, Gucci convinced the young rapper to join his expanding record label.

While Gucci Mane has appeared to be co-sponsoring or collaborating with mostly recently discovered artists, his ability to release his own music and find new artists have kept Gucci and 1017 relevant. Since 2005 Gucci has produced content that has helped both himself and his affiliates. As long as this recent stint in prison doesn’t change anything I see 1017 Brick Squad continuing as a successful record label for a long time.

Show We’re Stoked For: Wings of Apollo, Albino Rhino, and Bencoolen at Rock and Roll Hotel

Wings of Apollo

This Friday, September 5th marks a monumental night celebrating DC bands, EP releases, and most importantly, good old rock and roll. The appropriately named venue, Rock and Roll Hotel, will feature Wings of Apollo, Albino Rhino, and Bencoolen for an electrically charged evening.


Wings of Apollo are a Nashville based rock band who headline this event in celebration of their newly released By Force EP. Originating from NoVa, the trio has created an electric hard rock sound reminiscent of the mid 2000’s.


Albino Rhino

Albino Rhino hails from Arlington, VA but is no stranger to the DC music scene, having performed at the Lincoln Theater earlier this year. Combining blues rock, and funk, Albino Rhino’s music ranges from songs about beach life, social justice, and of course, rhinos. Their sound is one not commonly heard in the District, and offers a harder, bluesier edge to the city’s audioscape. With an upcoming album and additional show dates, Albino Rhino is an act to stay tuned for. Check out this track they performed at the Howard Theater back in April.



GW student band Bencoolen have come awfully far in the past year.  They’ve conquered the Velvet Lounge, Wonderland Ballroom, and DC9 in their efforts to solidify their presence in the historic DC music scene. Their old school meets modern indie rock vibe also showcases their metal inspired drummer, funky bass, and sassy saxophone. They also just dropped their first EP.


To buy tickets:

To RSVP to this event:

Trillectro 2014 @ RFK Stadium

Photo credit: BYT/Franz Mahr

Photo credit: BYT/Franz Mahr

For the third year in a row, Trillectro took center-stage in the D.C. hip-hop and electronic communities. Food trucks, clothing vendors and eager music fans filled the RFK Stadium parking lot for a rainy day of music. Although it rained early on, the weather finally held up for a great night of acts like Migos, Big Sean and Baauer among others. However, this wasn’t like Trillectros in the past, as the change in venue provided a bigger space than the H St. Fairgrounds. And with this bigger space came more clothing vendors, more food trucks and even bigger acts than last year. So what did we at WRGW think about Trillectro 2014? Check out what we thought below:

Read the rest of this entry


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