All Good Presents...
901 Wharf St SW
Washington, DC, 20024
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:30 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
Adam Deitch: drums, percussion
Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff: guitar
Erick “Jesus” Coomes: bass
Ryan Zoidis: alto, baritone and tenor sax, Korg X-911
Eric “Benny” Bloom: trumpet, horns
Nigel Hall: vocals, Hammond B-3, Rhodes, clavinet, keyboards
LETTUCE is (a) the prime ingredient in a salad, (b) a slang for cash, (c) a green herb that can be smoked, (d) a genre-busting six-member funk/jazz/soul/jam/psychedelic/hip-hop/art-rock/ambient/ avant-garde/experimental collective formed in 1992 by four alumni of the prestigious Berklee College Of Music, or (e) all of the above.
If you answered “e,” then you’re on to the ever-changing musical palette and all-inclusive goals of LETTUCE’s sixth studio album, Elevate, and its ongoing re-interpretation of the band’s name as “Let Us.” In their earliest days as students, they would roam the cities of the Northeast, and implore others to “Let Us play.” Starting with their 2002 debut album, the phrase has been affixed to their first four albums, as in (Let Us) Outta Here (2002), (Let Us) Rage! (2008), (Let Us) Fly! (2012) and (Let Us) Crush (2015). Elevate (2019) is the band’s first studio album since 2016’s Mt. Crushmore and the follow-up to its 2017 live effort, Witches Stew.
Recorded at Colorado Sound outside of Denver, near the home of New York transplants and band co-founders, guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff and percussionist Adam Deitch, with legendary engineer Russ Elevado (D’Angelo, The Roots, Erykah Badu), Elevate shows LETTUCE touching on its past while moving full force into the future. The band explores its funk roots in the Tower of Power like punch of “Ready to Live” (the cover of a song by Cold Blood’s Lydia Pense), the Prince-like swagger of “Royal Highness” and the OG blues-soul of “Love Is Too Strong,” while expanded trip-hop sounds of the space age audio-scapes like “Trapezoid,” “Gang 10” and “Purple Cabbage” show the influence of sax player Ryan Zoidis’ Korg X-911 synths and Nigel Hall’s Rhodes keyboards.
“This album definitely stretches the boundaries,” says chief composer/percussionist Deitch, whose chance meeting with co-founder “Shmeeans” while 16-year-olds at a summer camp before their freshmen year of college proved momentous. “The idea was to keep exploring the different areas of funk and hip-hop beats, then writing melodies to those songs that made sense.”
The more progressive/spacey vibe, with elements of Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, Eno and Miles Davis, also comes naturally to the band, according to founding member and bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, an Orange County native whose father, Tommy Coomes, is a successful musician with a number of albums to his credit.
“We’re big improvisational music and arts fans,” Erick says. “We consider them part of the same world. It’s like painting live with five other people, one arm and a single brush.”
Guitarist Shmeeans compares the group’s eclectic, free-wheeling approach to “the modern NBA and its position-less basketball,” Nigel Hall, the band’s resident singer, also takes vocals on the album’s two covers, Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (one of the album’s two focus tracks, along with “Krewe”) and Lydia Pense’s “Ready to Live.” “As long as you listen, play your part and remember where the ‘one’ is, you can thrive in this band,” says Nigel.
Trumpet and horn-player Eric “Benny” Bloom, a Rhode Island native who has been a full-time member of LETTUCE since 2011, notes, “This isn’t just a funk band anymore. We’re playing every style of music in every song. You can’t categorize it. We have the freedom to do whatever we want that’s appropriate for the song.”
Much of the futuristic, yet warm and analog feel, of Elevate can be attributed to sax player, Portland, ME native and co-founding member Ryan Zoidis, who continued to explore the limits of his new toy, a vintage Korg X-911 synth.
“I was still figuring it out on the last album, trouble-shooting how it would work,” says Ryan. “It’s responsible not just for the ways the band has changed musically, but it’s improved my life in general. It’s great to have have a lot more options with my sound rather than just relying on the one standard timbre of the dry saxophone. There are now a bunch of different voices I can pull up.” He points to “Trapezoid” as a piece for which he recorded himself playing the synth over a click track and then sent to Deitch, who turned it into the song on the album.
Other album highlights include Smirnoff’s nod to Carlos Santana and Trey Anastasio on the Latin-flavored and playfully named “Shmink Dabby,” the spaghetti western meets ‘60s Ethiopian funk by way of the French Ethiopiques compilation albums in the focus track, “Krewe” and the Marcus King cameo vocal on the B.B. King/Al Green gospel blues of “Love Is Too Strong.” The latter is reminiscent of other guest appearances in the past by the likes of John Scofield and Fred Wesley on LETTUCE’s debut, Outta Here, or Dwele on Rage!
“There’s always something new to be learned as musicians and as people,” adds Shmeeans. “We’re trying to get a little bit better every day.”
Says Ryan: “We realize more and more that this band is a gift we’ve been given. Everyone contributes, like a successful sports team. We’ve really become family over the years. We’ve known there was magic in this from the moment we first got together as 16-year-olds.”
That magic continues to grow with the band’s new album, a democratic ensemble in which there is no leader, but a complete unit that functions as a single entity, with plenty of moving parts.
All together now… Let us Elevate.
Formed in Brooklyn, the musical collective known as Antibalas’ new studio album, Where The Gods Are In Peace, is an epic Afro-Western Trilogy searching for solace from American political opportunism, greed and vengeance. Through its battle cry of resistance against exploitation and displacement, Antibalas’ long-form compositions investigate oppression in 1800s America that eerily mirror the current state of the country. Three explosive original arrangements cultivate an urgent call to heal a broken system. Ultimately, the sonic excursion lands on an island where love is our first instinct. A new ideology is born opening our hearts to the possibilities of living as one unified people, where all gods are equal and together we prevail.
True to traditional form, Where The Gods Are In Peace pays respect to the forefathers of Afrobeat with compositions spanning nine to 15 minutes in length. With a blessing from the Fela Kuti legacy early in the band’s career, Antibalas has long been revered for re-popularizing the classic Afrobeat sound while adding their distinct New York City grit to the mix. Influences of punk rock, free jazz, and hip-hop seep into their expansive works to define a truly 21st century translation of the Afrobeat genre and beyond.
Antibalas is a force of nature celebrated by both music connoisseurs and a wide array of renowned artists alike. Antibalas has served as the backing band for high profile tribute shows at Carnegie Hall, including Music of Paul Simon (2014), Music of David Byrne & Talk Heads (2015), and Music of Aretha Franklin (2017). Antibalas members have also appeared alongside some of today’s biggest stars, such as Beyonce, The Roots, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Angelique Kidjo, Zap Mama, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Tony Allen, Davido, Arcade Fire, Lady Antebellum, and many others. In 2012, Antibalas made their late night television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and have appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
HEADED BY SNARKY PUPPY’S MULTI-GRAMMY–WINNING PERCUSSION DUO OF ROBERT “SPUT” SEARIGHT AND NATE WERTH, GHOST-NOTE IS AN EXPLOSION OF SOUND. WITH AN EXPANSIVE ROSTER OF NEXT-LEVEL MUSICIANS—REPRESENTING MEMBERS OF PRINCE, SNOOP DOGG, ERYKAH BADU, HERBIE HANCOCK, KENDRICK LAMAR, MARCUS MILLER, TOTO, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, AND MORE—THE BAND IS PUSHING FUNK MUSIC INTO THE FUTURE, BUILDING ON THE UPLIFTING, PIONEERING FOUNDATIONS LAID OUT BY THE LIKES OF JAMES BROWN AND SLY & THE FAMILY STONE AND INFUSING THEIR FRESH TAKE WITH TASTES OF AFROBEAT, HIP-HOP, PSYCHEDELIA, WORLD FOLKLORE, AND MORE.
WITH THE RELEASE OF 2018’S SWAGISM, GHOST-NOTE HAS MADE THEIR MISSION CLEAR. THE ALBUM PUTS RHYTHM AT THE FOREFRONT, WITH IRRESISTIBLE, HEAVY-HITTING BEATS UNDERLYING THE GROUP’S WILD, RICH MUSIC. FEATURING NUMEROUS GUEST COLLABORATORS, INCLUDING KAMASI WASHINGTON, KARL DENSON, BOBBY SPARKS, NIGEL HALL, TAZ, AND OTHERS, SWAGISM SHOWCASES THE BAND’S STUNNING ABILITY TO MELD AND AMPLIFY SOUNDS, ULTIMATELY ADDING TO GHOST-NOTE’S SHARP, COMPLEX COLLABORATIONS.
FEARLESS, BOTH IN SWAGISM’S SONIC DEPTH AND CONSCIOUS SOCIAL COMMENTARY, THE BAND EASILY TRANSLATES THIS ADVENTUROUSNESS IN A LIVE SETTING. GHOST-NOTE’S LIVE PERFORMANCES ARE BOLD AND IN YOUR FACE, WITH THE GROUP OFFERING UP NONE OF THE TIGHT-LACED PRETENSES FREQUENTLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE BAND’S JAZZ ROOTS. FOCUSED ON CREATING SEDUCTIVE DANCEABLE GROOVES AND A CONTAGIOUS FEEL-GOOD ENERGY, EACH SHOW IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LET LOOSE AND CONNECT, FOR BOTH FANS AND THE MUSICIANS ALIKE.
AFTER FORMING IN 2015, GHOST-NOTE HAS ALREADY BEGUN TO TAKE THE WORLD BY STORM. THE GROUP’S TWO STUDIO ALBUMS—2018’S SWAGISM AND 2015’S FORTIFIED—HAVE EARNED CRITICAL ACCLAIM AND POPULAR SUCCESS AROUND THE GLOBE, WITH BOTH ALBUMS HITTING THE #1 SPOT ON THE ITUNES JAZZ CHARTS. FURTHERMORE, THE EVER-GROWING FAMILY OF MUSICIANS HAS MOUNTED SUCCESSFUL HEADLINING TOURS IN THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, AND JAPAN AND PERFORMED AT HIGH-PROFILE INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVALS AND EVENTS.