The mark of a true artist can be a refusal to be pigeonholed. Charlottesville’s favorite hip-hop band, the Beetnix, have been considering new ways to express themselves, and to give their audience a new experience. This Saturday, May 12, the Beetnix will perform an “unplugged” show at The Gravity Lounge. Sometimes, “unplugged” means simply turned down, but in this case, the band is truly going after the concept.
|Listen to Dap Me Up by the Beetnix:
They have invited Andy Waldeck to produce and direct the event, as well as a number of interesting local musicians to join them on stage. The ensemble will include Tucker Rogers on acoustic guitar, Jerel Jacobs from Acoustic Groove Trio on upright bass, Andy Roland on sax and Betty Jo Dominick playing keyboards. AGT’s Lester Jackson and Anonamys will also provide backing vocals. And, Waldeck has plenty positive to say about the young drummer named Wade, who Waldeck says, is a very aware musician. “He has a very humanistic feel, but he is also conscious of the kick drums parts, and can give you the syncopation that the music needs,” says Waldeck. But the icing on the cake, according to Waldeck, is a string trio, two violins and a cello, that will back up Glitch, Bovay and Waterloo on at least half of the 10 Beetnix tunes. Waldeck says that he is writing charts for the strings with Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye in mind. Former Hackensaw Boy David Sickmen will also be on hand to perform a tune he cowrote with Damani Harrison.
Musical melting pot: Start with three hip-hoppers, add two violins, a cello and a dash of Nina Simone and you get the Beetnix unplugged at Gravity Lounge on May 12.
“The Beetnix are a high-intellect rap group, and that is what draws me to them,” says Waldeck. The band, with the help of manager Chas Webster, seem to be exploring the possibilities of getting a hip-hop act into theaters and listening room situations. Part of the plan at Gravity is to film the show for a future documentary.
Gravity Lounge Lizard: Andy Waldeck produces this week’s Beetnix show and plays his own tunes with the Green Light Tour on Thursday.
Although you won’t get to hear Andy Waldeck perform on Saturday night, you can catch him playing some of his own tunes at Gravity this Thursday night. Waldeck will be on the bill with three acoustic artists who go under the name Green Light Tour. Waldeck was in Austin, Texas, recording and met one of the songwriters, Jen Woodhouse. Woodhouse has teamed up with Todd Sapio and Leslie Sanazaro. On its Myspace page, Green Light says that during the 22 dates on the road, “[the] Tour will be taking action in each city we play to offset the impact of our own CO2 emissions. We will do this by planting trees in each city we visit, with the help of local and regional environmental groups, city planners, local press and radio.” Green Light says it also will “provide information to be disseminated to all our audiences about the simple things we each can do to lessen our everyday, individual environmental impacts. We feel that as performers and songwriters we have a responsibility to further the progress of social development and sustainable living for the generations ahead.” Woodhouse contacted Waldeck about the gig here, and, as he says, “Bill Baldwin stands by me when I ask him for a gig, and it usually turns out very well.” On top of that, Waldeck is down with the cause. “It is time for people to start thinking about this stuff. This is not a one-party issue any more.”
The folks at 214 Community Arts Center, formerly The Prism, are bringing back two great Irish acts who used to come regularly when Fred Boyce was in the house. On Tuesday, May 8, uilleann piper and rock ‘n’ roll personality Paddy Keenan, who, word has it, would have been one of the owners of The Prism if the move to Gordonsville had panned out, will bring his signature style back to Rugby Road. Also on the calendar is fiddler Kevin Burke, who made several trips here and has a number of fans. Here’s hoping that more Prism performing regulars return to 214 in the future.
Hey, I like that new Amy Winehouse CD too. I especially like that she picked up Sharon Jones’ Daptones as the band, who play with a deep love of that style of soul music and can get that sound. But what I don’t get is why The Detroit Cobras, who has trolled the old school, soul songbook long before Winehouse, is not better known. The band parties twice as hard (local photographer Aaron Farrington has a hilarious story about one of their gigs in New Orleans), and singer Rachel Nagy takes no back seat to Winehouse’s great voice. The Cobras brand new CD is out on the excellent label Bloodshot (as well as are new discs by Graham Parker and The Silos). If you like Winehouse, go get it.