The Local Current team will be heading down to the Cedar Cultural Center Wednesday evening for our first-ever installment of Local Current Live, which features live performances by three acts we’ve been championing on air in recent months.
To give you a little more insight into what you can expect, here’s a quick rundown of why I’ll be in the front row for the musical portion of tonight’s event:
I’ve been following Chastity for a few years now, and was enamored with her voice the very first time I heard it. In that time she has worked to refine her songwriting abilities, and has made great strides; her earlier albums like Sankofa were beautiful but a bit meandering, in need of some editing and structure. Her latest album, Back-Road Highways, however, is a triumph in terms of both composition and musicianship, with a stellar backing band complementing Brown’s soulful voice and filling out the layers of her lush Americana songs.
And live? Well that is where Brown has always shined. If you think her voice sounds powerful on tracks like Current favorite “After You,” just wait until you hear it expand and fill every inch of the Cedar tonight. It’s going to be such a treat.
This band was an immediate favorite of Jon Schober’s (the man behind the scenes of the Local Show and author of our weekly Local Radar blog), and for good reason: There isn’t much coming out right now that sounds like Van Stee. In the past I’ve tried to describe the band as psychedelic and ’60s-inspired, but that really only picks up on a small slice of their sound; they are also experimenting with electronic elements and vocal harmonies to create and enveloping aural attack.
I’ve only seen Van Stee live once so far, and it was at the Kitty Cat Klub for the first installment of their month-long residency. For how new the band was at that point, I was impressed — they are trying some ambitious things and their music is undeniably fresh.
And based on what I’ve heard about their forthcoming debut record, which is being finished now, we’re only at the beginning of Van Stee’s journey. Get in at the ground level.
It’s not often that a single song is enough to sell me on an entire group, but The Chalice did just that with their track “Push It.” We’re talking quintessential driving-around-with-the-top-down summer jam, here — undulating underwater basslines, TLC references, and three unique and equally compelling vocalists teasing the listener with tongue-twisters and earworm melodies.
But still, I was nervous that the trio would either 1) be too green to pull it off live, or 2) only have the one song to their name. Thankfully, when we invited them into the studio for a session both of those reservations were immediately squashed. These ladies are just as charismatic live as they are on tape, and additional songs like “Mama” had me hooked by the end of the first verse.
As with Van Stee, I feel like The Chalice are on the precipice of something big. Which is part of the reason we wanted to throw Local Current Live — this is your chance to see some fantastic bands who are just now starting to make waves.
Plus, the whole shebang is free and open to all ages. See you there!
Local Current Live
Wednesday, June 27th
At the Cedar Cultural Center
Doors at 7pm
7:30pm The Chalice
8:30pm Van Stee
9:30pm Chastity Brown
Free, All-Ages, standing-room show