- Patti LaBelle performs a free MLK Day show at the Kennedy Center tonight. (Photo: Publicity photo)
"We already know what she can do with the National Anthem — her extended, vocally muscular versions of it are now legendary. So, here's hoping that at this free concert in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Ms. Patti will break out a spectacular take on the black national anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
In December, when D.C. celebrated all of the area artists who snagged Grammy nominations (Chuck Brown, Raheem DeVaughn, Carolyn Malachi), they also cheered for honorary Washingtonian Eric Roberson. The King of Independent Soul, who was nominated in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category for his track “Still,” went to Howard University and got his start in the nightclubs of D.C., so whenever he comes back into town, it’s a huge deal.
Wednesday: David Sánchez at Blues Alley
David Sánchez — the saxophonist, Grammy winner, dreamboat — has been infusing straight-ahead jazz with African and Caribbean sounds for more than 15 years now. The most recent album from the native of Puerto Rico was 2008's Cultural Survival.
Children's book author Jacqueline Kelly doesn’t have the sort of juggernaut behind her as, say, a J.K. Rowling, but her book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate has still become a hit. The story details the life of Calpurnia “Callie” Tate, an 11-year-old growing up in turn-of-the-century Texas — think one of those American Girl books, but without the cheesiness. Perhaps readers are so taken with Tate because she loves learning about the natural world around her — after more than a decade of a magic-wielding young wizard dominating children's literature, it's a welcome change.
Thursday: Tokyo Police Club at the 9:30 club
In 2010, Tokyo Police Club released an album called Champ. A few months later, they played at a D.C. RedBull Soundclash — an event that has two acts from two different genres engage in a musical battle — and vanquished beloved D.C. rapper Wale on his home turf. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe the Canadian indie rock group will be engaging in a lot of ass-kicking, name-taking, and stage-ripping this year.
Strathmore's outside-the-box Friday Night Eclectic concert series is off to an amazing start this year: The first show of the season features rappers X.O. and Ra the MC, with AB the Pro, who has worked with both artists. X.O., the uptown MC who is 1/3 of the acclaimed Diamond District, is still riding the wave of his 2010 release, One.One.Ten, and Ra just dropped a brand new mixtape,Victory Lap.
Saturday: U.S. Royalty at the Rock & Roll Hotel
Clothes don't really make the man, but do they make the band? Esquire named U.S. Royalty the best group band at 2010's CMJ; In November, the Washington Post ran a profile of the D.C. four piece that focused mainly on its sartorial choices. Is the music is on par with the glamour? Are the band's shows more about working the stage or walking the runway'? See for yourself.