My third week in November—second on a $30 entertainment budget—included only one outing. I was scheduled to attend an Omega Psi Phi Founders Day event for the odd price of $16.24; however, plans changed. A friend of a friend’s mother died, which required immediate attention. 2012 forever will be remembered for me as the year of parental death. So many of my friends and former classmates had parents die this year. This is especially difficult because childhood friends’ parents have more of an indelible mark on your life than current friends’ parents, due to the fact you remember eating at their houses, seeing them at outings, watching them drive you around. It’s a different relationship.
For my lone outing I attended the Gentleman Jack’s Art, Beats + Lyrics. I typically never wait in line, outside for anything. Even, Black Friday (post forthcoming), I just arrive right before doors open and just glide in. So this event tested my patience. I arrived not at the start, 7p, because I heard the lines are long and figured that arriving later would allow for the line to die down. This was remarkably untrue. I began to lose my patience after about 30 minutes of waiting in the cold and my lack of knowing anyone important enough to let me cut the line. However, I discovered that friends were slightly ahead of me and got an impressive 30-40 people jump, which isn’t worth telling. The event was a mix of art, music and drinks. Free drinks have an amazing ability to go quickly. Upon entering, we immediately entered the drink line, where we received the last of the last of the specialty cocktails. Good thing for that 30 person jump.
The first act was Mansions on the Moon. A casual onlooker remarked that they sounded a bit like U2. I could hear that slightly. They had a rhythmic guitar sound that is reminiscent of the Irish band. It made for great background music to view the art on display. Next, was Shock G of Digital Underground, the fun hip hop group from the 90’s, which sadly is best known for launching Tupac. He prompted a contest amongst my friends to name all of the Digital Underground songs that we could. Boy, was that a sad output. He could actually play an instrument, which impressed me more than his attempts to get people to jump up and down. People waited in line too long in the cold for this to actually happen, maybe if it was a beach concert. He did more songs than we remembered as we forgot Kiss You Back, which is shocking (no pun intended) because I owned that song in high school, back when you could buy singles on cassette for .99 cents, pre-iTunes.
Finally, we were treated to Scarface, whose songs I definitely remembered. He came out playing the guitar!!! This was awesome. Then he sang some Led Zeppelin, thanks Twitter as I don’t know 70’s rock music at all. It really is a black hole of my music knowledge. This was not as awesome. I became concerned that since this was a free event we would be treated to those weird artistic shows that Billy remarked on in Purple Rain that only satisfy the artist. However, Scarface said that he was just bullshitting and moved on to the hip hop he was famous for.
As for the art, it wasn’t my taste. It verged a bit on the kind of artwork you see on t-shirts at festivals and fairs. However, I love faces and these items were my favorites. I thought Mansions on the Moon made a better backdrop for perusing arts, as Shock G and Scarface took attention away from the exhibits, the make your own art installation and the not sure if it was ironic opportunity to take a group picture (the kind you saw in clubs in the 90’s and that my college crew refused to take). Meanies! Now, I have absolutely nothing capturing that part of my life.
I might go again if I can find the will to stand in line again. However, it was free, which means more money for next week. Yay!
My sympathies to both you and your friend, what a tough year to have. 😦 That is an interesting insight, though, how different the relationship feels between the parents of your friends growing up vice as an adult.
The Gentleman Jack’s Art Beats & Lyrics event sounds awesome, lucky you got that jump so you didn’t miss out on the drinks. Even though Mansions on the Moon sound like they were the only ones really good for perusing art to, it still sounds like an interesting format — having the mix of artists would offer enough variety that there’s probably something for everyone. (I guess that explains the ridiculous line in the bitter cold.) Glad Scarface and Shock G didn’t disappoint, even if they distracted from the art.
Because apparently I’m a moth attracted to anything that vaguely glows of U2, I looked up the Lightyears EP by Mansions on the Moon on Spotify. I sat there thinking: “I like this, but what is this really reminding me of? It does have the echoes and guitar that’s a bit reminiscent of U2, and then some electronic, synthy aspects — but there’s something else too.” And then, sitting there, sitting there, I figured it out — shoegaze! The vocals sound very shoegaze, like My Bloody Valentine. (Digging that term out of my head really brought me back, but also reminded me of a sweet, mellow shoegaze tune I loved but forgot about, “Vapour Trail.”) But I’m struck because they’re clearly not afraid of the folksier sound, as the harmonies on Mansions’ “Rest of Your Days,” sound like the lost companion to “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes“. (I’m crossing my fingers that WordPress allows HTML in the comments. Apologies if the links don’t work!)
Anyway, I’m very excited about the new music find, and thanks as always for writing about all the cool things no one knows are happening in DC!