Vibes | Creative Loafing Charlotte

Friday, October 27, 2017

VIDEO PREMIERE: Charlotte's Th3 Higher Share "Lessons" in Their New #1SongAWeekChallenge

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 12:40 PM

Charlotte rap duo Th3 Higher have released a video centering on the life lessons the two have learned, not just as musicians, but as friends and fellow human beings, during their time together honing their craft from their teens to early adulthood. Produced by Shane Hush, the video for "Lessons" — which begins with the words "The woke must free the sleep" and "The conscious must enlighten" —  is part of the group's #1SongAWeekChallenge, in which they have released one song on Soundcloud each week for the past six weeks, and are currently at Song No. 11. "Lessons" was the first in the Soundcloud challenge, and this clip is the first video the group has released for the series.
"This song is a culmination of everything that we've learned over the years," says Th3 Higher's Tizzy Farragami, "and the video is the first of many [to come]. It symbolizes the time and effort we've put into developing our craft. We feel as though we've put in the hours, and now it's time to start harvesting the fruits of our labor."

Shot at a secret wooded area of Charlotte by @AntxShotit, and directed by @AntxShotit and Buddha the Shoota, the setting plays up the duo's nature-based worldview. In it, Tizzy wears an ankh — the ancient Egyptian symbol for life — around his neck as he and his cohort Kizzy slash their way through the woods with a sword.

"We know our time is coming and with this video we plan to take advantage of every resource in our network to reach our goals," Tizzy says. "Once we hit 50K [views], Part 2 comes."

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

VIDEO: The Eyebrows Set to Perform in Conjunction with Birdsong Beer Release

New Red Dress ESB Hemp a nod to local trio

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 11:40 AM

Charlotte rock trio The Eyebrows are now the latest local musicians to be honored by Birdsong Brewing Company with a brew of their own: Red Dress, an ESB Hemp style beer. The brewery will tap Red Dress this evening in the lead-up to a 7 p.m. Eyebrows performance that will surely include the song the brew was named after.

In the video (above), released earlier this month, Eyebrows frontman Jay Garrigan rocks his own little red dress (or his wife's, rather), alongside Charlotte-based drag performers Kiana Layne, Macy Alexander, Andrea Carlisle, Aurora Carlisle and Skylar Michele-Monet. The song is a single from the band's upcoming full-length album, Volume, expected in 2018.

As for the beer, an ESB — which stands for Extra Special Bitter — is an English-style beer that, despite its name, is not all that bitter if balanced well. Red Dress is brewed with toasted hemp seeds, which "provide a toasty and slightly nutty flavor that pair well with specialty malts and a dry finish."

“I love English beer, and an ESB is one of my favorites," says Eyebrows drummer Shawn Lynch. "A few years ago Birdsong made a short run of ESB and I was lucky enough to try some. I’ve basically been asking them to make it again ever since, and it looks like I’ve finally got my wish.”

The beer taps at 5 p.m. tonight and The Eyebrows take the stage at 7 p.m.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Charlotte's First Black Alternative Music Festival Rocked Camp North End

Posted By on Sun, Oct 22, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Charlotte singer-songwriter LeAnna Eden's Bla/Alt Music Fest drew hundreds to Camp North End on Statesville Avenue on Saturday, Oct. 21, for a full day of Afropunk, Afro-centric food and other merchandize, and some of the area's top rock bands of all kinds. Bands ranged from the shoegazy dreampop of Winston-Salem's Foxture, to the art-punk of Charlotte musician Lenny Muckle's Lofidels, to the indie-pop of The Business People, the rock-based hip-hop of Nige Hood and the alternative rock of Eden's outfit, LeAnna Eden and the Garden Of.

Camp North End seemed almost like a Garden of Eden as music lovers danced and sang along to familiar local songs like Eden's "Protest Song" and The Business People's "From NC With Love." Muckle played bass, sang and mixed up electronics during a compelling set of experimental punk, and Chocala blended Latin rhythms and experimental rock into a glorious stew of highly danceable sounds.

Behind the decks between the bands, DJ SPK crafted a dynamic mix that ranged from the sweet sounds of early Santana to the ska-punk of No Doubt's "I'm Just a Girl" to Cardi B's money-moving "Bodak Yellow." And acting as MC — ubiquitous Charlotte poet Bluz kept the crowd pumped and wanting more.

But most exciting was the mix of people — folks of all ages, races and gender identity strolled through the Camp North End corridor dancing, talking to each other, listening to music, and generally having a good time amid good vibes and a gorgeous fall afternoon and evening.

If you missed it, check out this slideshow and pray there will be a Bla/Alt 2 in 2018.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Halsey leaps into headliner status

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 1:08 PM

Spectrum Center
Oct. 17, 2017

On Tuesday night, Spectrum Center played host to singer Halsey’s first-ever headlining tour. She’s visited the city in previous years as the opening act for major players like Imagine Dragons, but this was the first chance for diehard Halsey fans to get more than a musical snapshot from the singer. They were treated to a 24-song setlist spanning an already impressive career, some songs of which were voted on by the fans themselves.

Halsey, or Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, got her career start in 2014 after releasing original songs on social media. She was signed by Astralwerks and toured with heavy hitters like The Kooks on the strength of her EP Room 93 and debut album The Badlands. Her young career was rocketed to new heights when she was featured on The Chainsmokers track “Closer” last year.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

AUDIO: Foxture Says Charlotte Music Fest Will Prove Alternative Sounds More 'Relatable' to People of Color

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 2:32 PM

In the lead-up to the Black Alternative Rock Festival, or BLA/ALT, at Camp North End on Oct. 21, Creative Loafing has asked some of the artists to talk about why they're playing the event and what it means to them. Today, the Winston-Salem dream-pop band Foxture talks about why they believe more people of color should gravitate to the safe zone of alternative music and culture — and why BLA/ALT can help lead listeners to that space.

But first, listen Foxture's brand new song "Distance" from the band's upcoming EP, E D E N.

"BLA/ALT is important because it helps strengthen the presence of people of color within alternative bands and projects," the band wrote in an email to Creative Loafing. "The representation of PoC  within the alternative genre is fairly slim, and BLA/ALT shines a light on these talented and innovative artists.

"We decided to play BLA/ALT not only because the motive of the festival is astronomically beautiful and artistic, but because festivals such as this one aren't as common," the band wrote, adding that it "promotes the realization that alternative music can be more relatable to listeners of color."
Foxture is (from left) bassist Ross Barnes, drummer Andrew Irving, guitarist Eddie Reynolds and singer and keyboardist Marlon Blackmon. (Photo by Jim Pica)
  • Foxture is (from left) bassist Ross Barnes, drummer Andrew Irving, guitarist Eddie Reynolds and singer and keyboardist Marlon Blackmon. (Photo by Jim Pica)

"We hope to reach out  not only to fans of  alternative music, but people who normally don't listen to alternative music for skepticism of being able to relate," the band wrote. "We are looking forward to the first BLA/ALT festival, opening minds in the beautiful city of Charlotte, and rising up each year to become a staple in North Carolina's history."

Hit up Foxture on Bandcamp (, Facebook (, Instagram (@foxtureband) and Twitter (@foxture). Also, search for the band's releases on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

VIDEO: SunQueen Kelcey Says Recent Unrest is Why Now is the Right Time for a Black Alternative Music Festival in Charlotte

Posted By on Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM

In the lead-up to the Black Alternative Rock Festival, or BLA/ALT, at Camp North End on Oct. 21, Creative Loafing has asked some of the artists to talk about why they're playing the event and what it means to them. Today, Greensboro-based SunQueen Kelcey, the front woman of SunQueen Kelcey and the Soular Flares, tells why she believes Charlotte is the right city for North Carolina's first black alternative music festival.

But first, watch Kelcey perform a solo version of her song "Thick Girls Do It Better."

Creative Loafing: Why do you think Bla/Alt is so important right here and right now?
This is the first festival in Charlotte created by a local black alternative musician just for the black arts and music scene. It will show the true variety of talent in the black community, making sure that people know that you cannot put black culture in one box. Black culture spans across many avenues including the social. political, musical, scientific and artistic realms.

Why are you and the Soular Flares playing it?
We are performing to be a part of such a groundbreaking movement. We are based in Greensboro, but we love the Charlotte music Scene. It's always so welcoming and feels like home to us. Given the recent unfortunate events that have occurred in Charlotte, it is everyone's duty to participate in something that uplifts and empowers the people of marginalized and oppressed communities in any way we can.

What are your hopes for the festival?
We want it to extinguish and overcome the negative stereotypes of what society deems as "black culture." In turn, this will provide a safe space for anyone to attend the festival for free and for black/POC artists and business owners to showcase their art, and network and sell their products to the public.

Hit up SunQueen on Instagram and Twitter (@sunqueenkelcey) and Facebook (SunQueen Kelcey).

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

VIDEO: Chócala Brings a Latin Tinge to Charlotte's BLA/ALT Black Alternative Rock Fest on Oct. 21

Posted By on Sun, Oct 8, 2017 at 9:00 AM

In the lead-up to the Black Alternative Rock Festival, or BLA/ALT, at Camp North End on Oct. 21, Creative Loafing has asked some of the artists to talk about why they're playing the event and what it means to them. Today, Chócala talks about the importance of bringing a Latin tinge to the black alternative rock fest in Charlotte.

But first, watch this live clip of Chócala performing "Rompecabezas."

"We're playing the festival because we believe in the organizers, artists and the values that BLA/ALT stands for," singer Liza Ortiz says. "If we hadn't been asked to join, we would have been attending and supporting anyways. The fact that we're performing is icing on the cake for us. It's also an honor for us to represent the Alt.Latino music genre."

To Chócala, whose members are also involved in expanding the Charlotte audience for Latino musical fusions, BLA/ALT represents the city's changing demographics in a way that directly combats bigotry in the larger world of divisive politics. "We think BLA/ALT is important because it enriches Charlotte's cultural landscape by showcasing everything this city's PoC artists and bands have to offer," Ortiz says. "We're excited because we're seeing independent artists and creators of several different cultures coming together and supporting each other in the music and arts community as a whole in Charlotte, which is invaluable given the current political climate. BLA/ALT is a culmination of all the growth, support and positive energy that LeAnna [Eden, BLA/ALT's organizer] has been able to focus into an entire festival. We think it's amazing."

Like other artists performing at the festival Ortiz says she hopes this will be the first of many BLA/ALT festivals to come over the next several years. "We want to see it grow," Ortiz says. "It would be fantastic to see events like this happen around the state and region. Afropunk only happens in New York and Atlanta, and there is a whole coast of states with independent black and other PoC musicians and artists that deserve being put on blast."

Follow Chócala — which also includes Ortiz's brother Claudio, as well as Michael Anderson and Davey Blackburn on both Instagram and Facebook: @chocalamusic

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

VIDEO PREMIERE: Cuzco Releases New Video Exclusively at 'CL' Vibes

Posted By on Sat, Oct 7, 2017 at 5:59 PM

Just before the final song of Cuzco's set Friday night at Snug Harbor, the band did what it had announced it would do: played the brand-new video for its song "Those Are Z's," from the band's 5-song EP A Medicine for Melancholy, released earlier this year. And just as Creative Loafing promised we'd do earlier this week, we're premiering the video exclusively here on the Vibes blog.

The video — directed by Mark Borja, Jake Rothwell and Tori Silinski — is a gentle and serene meditation on nature, melancholy and love set to Will Schoonmaker and Arman Serdarevic's delicate and precise guitar interplay, which often conjures the early-1980s progressive work of King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. As the musical and visual narrative unfolds, a love story emerges, and Cuzco's unconventional shifts in tempo follow the story's sometimes jarring twists and turns.

But the transitions flow smoothly and naturally, thanks to the spare yet complex playing of Cuzco's rhythm section, drummer Dylan Robbins and bassist Matt McConomy. And then there are sweet, aching brush strokes of saxophone, from sax player Kevin Washburn, driving home the sense of melancholy at the heart of Cuzco's sound.

Books and balloons serve as signposts in the video's narrative — and as part of the band's performance on stage at Snug Harbor Friday night.

"The atmosphere [at the show] was awesome —  we decked the place in purple balloons," Schoonmaker says. "Before our last song we premiered the video and everyone seemed to love it. It was a magical night and playing Snug is always a medicine to our melancholy."

Washburn, Schoonmaker and Serdarevic get intense at Snug Harbor on Friday. (Photo by Savannah Woodell)
  • Washburn, Schoonmaker and Serdarevic get intense at Snug Harbor on Friday. (Photo by Savannah Woodell)

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VIDEO: Favelas Talk About the Importance of a Black Alternative Rock Fest in Charlotte

Posted By on Sat, Oct 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM

In the lead-up to the Black Alternative Rock Festival, or BLA/ALT, at Camp North End on Oct. 21, Creative Loafing has asked some of the artists to talk about why they're playing the event and what it means to them. Today, Favelas tell us why a black alternative rock fest in Charlotte is essential.

But first, watch this clip of Favelas doing their song "Weedman."

"BLA/ALT is important to Favelas because we know the importance of making sure that everyone’s voice is heard," the band says.

"It’s imperative that artists get to properly express themselves in an environment like the one that’s been created here, especially for artists of color. We’re more than hopeful that this is the start of something revolutionary in our hometown."

Don't miss Favelas at BLA/ALT on Oct. 21. You can connect with the band on Instagram (@favelasoffical) or Facebook (Favelas Band).

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Friday, October 6, 2017

VIDEO: 'Long Overdue' is How Nic Robinson of The Business People Describes Charlotte's BLA/ALT Black Alternative Rock Festival

Posted By on Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM

In the lead-up to the Black Alternative Rock Festival, or BLA/ALT, at Camp North End on Oct. 21, Creative Loafing has asked some of the artists to talk about why they're playing the event and what it means to them. Today, singer and guitarist Nic Robinson of the terrific Charlotte indie-pop band The Business People tells us that a black alternative rock fest in Charlotte is "long overdue."

But first, watch Nic and the guys do an acoustic version of "From NC With Love,"  the standout track from their EP, Dirty Feelings.

"It's seemed lately to me that if you were black in an alternative band you were viewed as a part of the marketing," Robinson says. "This celebrates black alternative musicians and their band mates, showing the power behind a passion. That nothing matters once the music starts — no race, no gender, no cares except the music you are creating in that instance."

For Robinson, looking at black alternative musicians as "good marketing" is cynical. "For most of our career we've been told our diversity was marketable," he says. "[But] put simply, we are not commodities. We are not the latest fashion to be sold off to masses like new shoes."

And the BLA/ALT Festival, he says, aims to clarify that faulty logic. "We want to support a festival that respects and understands that having PoC members means a different altogether approach to music," Robinson says. "There are bars you can't play, and festivals that won't have you. There will be different standards and treatments for different members. These, and so many more things, happen to bands every day. We just wanna put one tally in the column for the good guys. Boiling down to this: LeAnna [Eden, the organizer of BLA/ALT] is passionate and talented, so we believe in the vision.

"The hopes are that [BLA/ALT] starts a wave of festivals in itS like, as did Afropunk before it," Robinsons says. "To spread and multiply, allowing other musicians who simply don't have the money, resources, or connections to be a part of a festival. One that has the FUBU mentality with a slight difference: Instead of 'for us by us,' it's For All By Us."

Hit up The Business People — which also includes drummer Anthony Pugliese and bassist Hyatt Morrill — on Twitter (@thebusinessppl) or Facebook (@thebusinesspeople).

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