After a brutal winter that left us all frozen and grumpy, Washington City Paper is ready for a big, bad summer kickoff. In honor of our flossy-glossy Summer Arts Guide, which drops next week, we’re hosting a concert at one of the D.C. area’s newest music venues: AMP, Strathmore’s just-opened North Bethesda joint. The show will take place on Wednesday, June 24.
I don’t usually have a say in City Paper‘s events (we keep our editorial and business ops as separate as possible) but I did get to choose this lineup, and I’m giddy at the thought of these two extraordinarily talented local acts coming together at a City Paper party.
First up will be Kokayi (below), a Grammy-nominated electro-hip-hop producer who’s an equally dope singer and rapper. His beats are weird and hypnotic, his rhymes are clever as hell, and his charisma makes his live shows even more danceable than his records.
We’ve also got the El Mansouris, a new-ish experimental-pop fivepiece, on the bill. The local supergroup is fronted by two vocalists, Fiona Kohrman and esteemed live-looper Margot MacDonald, and includes sound artist and multi-instrumentalist Alex Braden (also of Young Rapids, formerly of Bella Russia), bassist Drew Hagelin of Cigarette, and Sam Raymond, formerly of Rival Skies, on the drumkit.
The El Mansouris kept quiet about their act until February, when they performed hour-long sets at three sold-out shows in D.C. arts spaces—Hole in the Sky, Transformer, and Studio 1469. It was a deliberate, carefully positioned debut that made it seem like the band had dropped straight from the heavens with a full repertoire of rich, synth-y grooves and heartrending vocal runs. If you were unlucky enough to miss out on their first shows, come out to AMP to hear their skilled melding of electronic and analog elements, polyrhythmic percussion that comes from all sides, and winding, mutating melodies. They’ll make you into an El Mansouris evangelist, too.
Not sold yet? What if I told you there’d be food? AMP boasts a full menu from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., they’ll offer free snacks and beer tastings from D.C.’s Bluejacket Brewery.
Tickets are $15. Find more info on Facebook.