KEXP is proud and excited to be partnering with the 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival to bring the Gathering Space Stage. From the words of Folklife, "The Northwest Folklife Festival is the place to learn, to dance, to play, to try something new, and to discover arts and cultures that inspire celebration of one another and our big neighborhood. From yodeling to beatboxing, square dancing to Bollywood, – the Northwest Folklife Festival celebrates the global traditions of local, independent artists. Presenting more than 5,000 performers, the Festival draws from the 100+ cultural communities that Northwest Folklife collaborates with year-round. The festival is more than a celebration of the diversity of the Pacific Northwest, it’s a chance to engage directly with the many communities that make up our region. The Northwest Folklife Festival is our key annual event bringing up to 250,000 people over four days to the Seattle Center. In keeping our commitment to remove any economic barriers and ensure that everyone can experience and share in cultural traditions, the 46th annual Northwest Folklife is presented without admission charge, creating the most inclusive, wide reaching arts experience."
Taking place Memorial Day Weekend, May 26th-29th, we're staying true to our roots by bringing a diverse array of local artists that you may or may not be familiar. Let us introduce you.
Kicking the fest off for us at 1pm on Friday are The Black Tones, who recently rocked their performance at Upstream Music Fest + Summit. The Black Tones describe themselves as "a goody bag of BLUES, PUNK and BLACK POWER" and it's very apt. The epitome of "local," The Black Tones was started by twin siblings Eva and Cedric Walker who were born and raised in Seattle and are first generation Seattleites. Bassist Robbie Little and occasionally blues bassist, Giordan Montero round out the rest of the band. This year, the band will make their first television debut on Band in Seattle (a great resource for finding new underground local music!) which airs on CW 11. You can also catch Eva in the upcoming film documentary “Nice & Rough: Black Women in Rock” produced by Sheila Jackson.
Make sure to head back to the Gathering Space at 3pm for Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio. Another band who did a great performance at Upstream, DLO3 are known for filling rooms with their grand and lush sound. With a blend of soul and jazz, the three are aptimprovisationalists who are on the level of Soulive, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and legends like Lonnie Smith, The Meters.
On Saturday we've got Falon Sierra who was introduced to most in the Sound Off! finals. Sierra has been singing since she was a child but started releasing music two years ago on Soundcloud with mature, minimalist covers of Amy Winehouse and Ari Lennox. On her 2016 debut, Beauty in Danger, she takes that raw talent and infuses it into beats that range from neo soul to jazz and r&b.
Then at 5pm the iconic Grace Love will be joining us on the stage to share her vibrant sould music with us. Love is a multifaceted artist, delving in everything from spoken word to culinary arts and has a heart for service.
Sunday afternoon we've got (fittingly) Sundae Crush who sound exactly like what their name implies: the feelings of eating ice cream sundaes and the unrequited love of having a crush. The Seattle via Denton, Texas dream-pop act weave chat room laments with IRL sadness, resulting in a vibrant sound that’s just as easy to dance to as it is to wallow in your own feelings.
Later on in the evening we've got Potion who are shrouded in mystery which means you'll just need to show up to find out what they're all about.
Monday afternoon Jason McCue will be taking the stage, fresh off his amazing win at Sound Off! 2017. Seattle Weekly called him "transcendent" and said of his performance, "Within his short, 30-minute performance, he embodied at least a half-dozen different personas. He crooned for his paramour and mean-mugged his enemies, which included, in a turn worthy of the late, great Phil Ochs, our current commander-in-chief and his supporters. He was, in the most literal sense of the word, playing music. When it was all done, he had filled up the entirety of the Sky Church with a banquet of characters and emotions and, I believe, the soft buzz that emanates from a group of people trying to hold onto a moment. It was overwhelming. And it was surprising."
Capping off the weekend will be Versing, the Pavement-esque Seattle four-piece whose latest release Nude Descending got a lot of attention locally. Northwest Music Scene said of it, "The cohesiveness and pacing of this release is fantastic. After multiple listens, I never found myself wanting to skip any tracks. A great soundtrack for a late night or a long drive, for sure."
Friday, May 26th
1:00 PM : The Black Tones3:00 PM : Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio aka DLO3
Saturday, May 27th
1:00 PM: Falon Sierra5:00 PM: Grace Love
Sunday, May 28th
1:00 PM: Sundae Crush5:00 PM: Potion
Monday, May 29th
1:00 PM: Jason McCue3:00 PM: Versing
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