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Ecstatic Sunshine, Ohmega Watts, Cadence Weapon, White Williams

January is a barren month when it comes to shows, so Schuba’s Tavern decided to throw a pointless festival in the middle of this ice-chilled month for some good times (seriously, nobody gave me a good reason as to why they did this. It was just “we figured we should have a fest during January…” …Whatever.). The Tomorrow Never Knows festival spanned about a week, featuring a nice load of indie rock. I made sure to check out the acts yesterday, let me share those with you now:

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Ecstatic Sunshine

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I’d heard of this band from Anathallo’s Matt Joynt, he has great taste in music, so I was expecting good things from this opener. These three guys really knew how to make noise. It’s similar to the instrumental pyschedelics of Animal Collective and the experimental confidence of Black Dice. It was actually my favorite act of the evening, and they barely played 15 minutes. But check them out in your town if they’re coming your way, you’ll get inspired to create art.

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Ohmega Watts

I think it’s fair to call this “Christian rap,” but in the best form I’ve ever heard. Ohmega Watts is not much of an evangelist, but his lyrics definitely suggest that his faith is strong. He’s clean and quick witted, fun and cool. It’s great, because most “Christian rap” has the worst reputation for being cheesy and cliche. Hearing Bible verses forced into rhyme behind a ghetto beat is typically just embarrassing, for both the rap genre and Christianity (both should be loaded with creativity and engagement when put into good practice.) So for all of the Christians around here who really wish that Christian rap could be better, check out Ohmega Watts. It comes highly recommended from Tower (he was at this show too.).

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Cadence Weapon

And then there’s this other side of rap. It certainly isn’t cliche, but I’m not sure how seriously I can take Cadence Weapon either. Every time the guy swears he puts so much effort into that one-syllable four-letter-word, and it just makes me giggle. He coughs them out like hairballs. But I’ll definitely take this over the tired sounds of “the Game” or the pimpin’ junk that mainstream rap seems to revel in. Cadence makes music videos that shout out to classic video games, has a Mexican wrestling masked DJ, and likes to walk around in his crowds at his shows. He’ll definitely keep your interest, but don’t expect too much depth from the guy, he’s not trying to be Lupe Fiasco or anything.

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White Williams

The Headliner! White Williams tightly packed the crowd into Schuba’s for some hipster synth pop. I didn’t mention earlier that Matt Joynt was actually at this show (Anathallo’s new album is finished by the way, no release date set though. But I’ll keep everyone up to date, don’t worry.), and he aptly described this music as something that sounded like a John Cusack movie from the 80’s. I nodded at him in agreement, savoring the nostalgia he had just served me (Better Off Dead anyone?).

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I guess the concert season is back? Well, if this first show of my new year is any indication, we’re off to a good start. Until next time, we’ll see you at Schuba’s!

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