by Giovanni Russonello
The coolest new music venue/art exhibition/multi-floor experimental space in D.C. right now is easily the church at 1st and H Streets SW. And CapitalBop’s getting in on the action with our own three-week concert series there, starting this Sunday.
The folks behind the ArtWhino gallery commissioned the Atlanta-based graffiti artist HENSE to cover the whole exterior in wide flares of color; and the first floor’s various rooms are decked out with hundreds of street-art pieces. The second story has a large stage (also adorned with a mural) and a big dance floor. Ready to check it out?
As part of the fourth annual G40 Art Summit, which is headquartered at this amazing venue, we’ll present a three-show series featuring some of the most thrilling contemporary bands from D.C. and New York. They’re early shows, on Sunday evenings. For the next three weekends, you can come out in the afternoon, check out the artwork, have a drink or two, and catch a couple hours of music featuring two successive bands — all before dinnertime.
Here is our schedule. Scroll down further for a brief writeup on each act.
The Young Lions
Joe Herrera Afro-Funk Quartet
Sunday, Sep. 29, 4-6 p.m.
Lyle Link Quartet
Sunday, Oct. 6, 4-6 p.m.
Akua Allrich’s Tribute to Nina Simone & Miriam Makeba
Greg Boyer Quartet
ABOUT THE MUSIC
Aside from the awesome setting, delicious drinks and energizing artwork, the music is set to be absolutely brain-busting.
This coming Sunday, the 22nd, we’ve got the Young Lions, a powerful trio featuring all D.C. residents who spend lots of time performing around the country and around the world with international stars. (The drummer Quincy Phillips has been in the great Roy Hargrove’s band for years; the bassist Kris Funn records and tours with Christian Scott, a.k.a. aTunde Adjuah; and the pianist Allyn Johnson plays with Warren Wolf and Tim Green.) They’ve been playing together for 15 years, and the level of synergy they reach — whether on a hip-hop groove or a gospel passage — will take away your breath. Before they go on, don’t miss Joe Herrera’s Afro-Funk Quartet, basically a pared-down version of the Funk Ark, the Afrobeat ensemble that managed to tear the roof off an outdoor venue at our New Vintage Fest last month.
The next week, on Sep. 29, some of jazz’s most buzzed-about innovators will come through D.C. The band is Kneebody, and their debut release on major label Concord Records is due out on Sep. 24. They’re on an international tour, and we’re honored to be hosting them for their D.C. show. Their sound goes in all different directions — toward funk, house, trip-hop, metal and so much else. Before Kneebody’s set, catch Lyle Link, a saxophonist who has probably blown you away in one setting or another if you’re a regular on the D.C. music scene. He is an incredible player, and he’s always getting hired for gigs — but what you probably didn’t know (unless you caught him at the D.C. Jazz Loft last year?) is that he also writes searing tunes, and knows how to coax a band to high-octane thrills.
And finally, make sure you don’t miss Akua Allrich’s excellent tribute to Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba — it’s one of the most body-moving, soul-stirring, happiness-inducing shows you’ll see all year. Promise. Right at the nexus between D.C., Harlem and South Africa, she can channel the spirit of her foremothers, but it’s her own generous helping of energy that will invite you in, sweep you up, and leave you no choice but to sing along. Before she goes on, the amazing Greg Boyer — a prodigious, soulful trombonist — will lead a quartet. If he was good enough to play for years in Chuck Brown’s band, he’s good enough for us.