- Raekwon (Photo: thecomeupshow via Flickr)
Musicians are typically starting new bands or taking a break from their main gigs to conceive a side project or solo tour. There are a ton of those shows this weekend, so take a look and see if you recognize these musicians:
Chain & the Gang
Thursday, Apr. 12 at the Black Cat Backstage, $10
You know Ian Svenonius from his long pedigree of DC bands (Nation of Ulysses, the Make-Up, and Weird War) as well as his DJ nights around town. His other project, Chain & the Gang, has released two albums: 2009's Down With Liberty and last year's Music's Not For Everyone.
Raekwon's certainly well-known by his own name now, but he started out in 1992 with the Wu-Tang Clan. We're still not quite sure why Wu-Tang has such a tie to the State Theatre in Falls Church — the venue seems to host the band every year. That connection apparently holds for Wu members' solo shows, too. (Unrelated bonus: the State Theatre has recently finished building a nice extension to its balcony!)
Friday, Apr. 13 at IOTA, $18
Amy Ray has had a fairly extensive solo career outside the Indigo Girls; she's released four solo albums (and a couple of live albums) since 2001. She's released them all (including her most recent, Lung of Love) on her own label, Daemon Records, which has also released albums by Girlyman and the Athens Boys Choir (note: not an actual boys choir).
Remember when Prince changed his name to that funny symbol? Or when Johnny Cougar changed his name to John Cougar Mellencamp and then dropped the Cougar altogether? Add Mos Def to the list of solo artists who have changed names: he's now performing under the name Yasiin Bey (that's still not his real name, which is Dante Terrell Smith). He's been dropping albums — both solo and with Talib Kweli as Black Star — since the mid-'90s, and he's back in town after a sold-out show at the 9:30 Club this February. This show was originally billed as "a Tribute to Gil Scott-Heron," although that text is now gone from the Howard's web site.
These and other show listings can be found on ShowListDC.