Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Live Music: Don Crescendo; Xiuhtezcatl; Mystery Meat; Jeanette Harris

Great shows to check out this week

Posted by Vincent Harris and Heath Ellison on Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 5:37 PM

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SOUL-JAZZ | An Evening with Jeanette Harris
Wed. March 7
8 p.m.
$20-$130
Souls Jazz Bar

Saxophonist Jeanette Harris is typically classified as a smooth-jazz artist, and there's some truth to that description. On her most recent album, Chocolate Vibez, there are certainly some highly polished, languid grooves that wouldn't sound out of place nestled between Kenny G and Grover Washington, Jr. (one of her early influences) on the radio. But smooth jazz is not a term she's entirely comfortable with, because she makes forays into danceable R&B almost as often as she takes it easy, creating bouncing grooves with hot solos and popping bass lines. "I think 'smooth jazz' is the broad name for it, but I don't think it's technically correct," she says. "I think what I do isn't typical smooth jazz; I think it's more soulful. In fact, I call it soul-jazz. The audiences that I play to, they love R&B, they're a slightly different crowd than a smooth jazz crowd, and the beats are very similar to soul music. And that's why the audience can connect to it." —Vincent Harris WEDNESDAY

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COMEDY HIP-HOP | Mystery Meat
Fri. Mar. 9
10 p.m.
$8
Theatre 99

Rap just lends itself to comedy so well, doesn't it? Sure, there's all the socially conscious stuff we love to listen to, but so many rappers drop witty and sometimes hilarious rhymes in between songs about disenfranchisement and racism. Jordan Edwards and Joshua Christian are taking that line of thought and running with it in their hip-hop comedy show Mystery Meat. "It's more absurd, outlandish stuff," says Edwards. "We kind of make fun of a lot of stuff in hip-hop culture." Mystery Meat is sketch comedy, rap music, and musical comedy put together. One skit the group does is called Hip-Hop Spelling Bee, which makes fun of ad libs in rap. "You do a rap song and just have somebody yell literally anything in the background and it'll be a hit," Edwards laughs. On the side, Edwards and Christian are recording a mixtape as their Mystery Meat personas BLKPAPA and White Smoke. The planned tape will be a 50/50 split of comedy and serious content. —Heath Ellison FRIDAY

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POLITICALLY AWARE RAP | Xiuhtezcatl
w/ Nahko and Medicine For The People
Sat. March 10
8 p.m.
$25
Music Farm

Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced Shoe-Tez-Caht') Martinez is still a teenager, but he's busier (and more politically conscious) than most adults. He's a passionate environmentalist who's spoken around the world about climate change and fracking, and he's the Youth Director of the Earth Guardians organization, a group formed to combat environmental pollution around the world. But he's also a dazzling rapper with a lightning-fast flow, as revealed on his two recent singles, "Blu Ink" and "One Day." "I grew up listening to a lot of political artists like KRS One, and also a lot of Tupac and NWA," he says. "They had a message and they were talking about some real shit. They allowed me to see that it was about more than just the style, to see it as a tool for the resistance and a way to tell stories." But becoming a great rapper is about more than just having a message, and Xiuhtezcatl spent some serious time woodshedding before he was even able to drive. "I feel like I can write really good verses, but every song you write, you have to learn how to perform," he says. "Where are you taking your breaths, where you can drop words if it's flowing really fast. I spent a lot of time really evaluating my style." —Vincent Harris SATURDAY

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SPACE POP | Don Crescendo
Jonathan Brown's Aggressively Vulnerable Tour
w/ Jonathan Brown, Marcus Amaker, Bass Ghost
Sat. Mar. 10
8 p.m.
$7
Purple Buffalo

Local pop artist of the final frontier Don Crescendo has been working on his stage presence. "I think I'm taking a lot more risks," says Crescendo. The space-pop singer-songwriter's latest string of performances comes right off the tail end of a trilogy of mixtapes that portray his evolution as an artist. And his changing live shows fit in line with his experimental last mixtape, Ready. "Now I think I kind of want to try to do different things with songs, remix them live, perform it live, and just show more of the musicality — and show that I'm not just a guy playing songs on a computer," says Crescendo. In the coming months, the sound space-cadet will take his show on the road, while seeing how far he can push his live performances. "[I'm] really just trying to expand what a show could look like," he says. —Heath Ellison SATURDAY

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