The District Sound: Previewing upcoming local shows

Young the Giant

The 9:30 Club
March 11

In a recent concert review, Rolling Stone compared Young the Giant lead singer Sameer Gadhia to both Chris Martin and Bono, and even praised him for “Coldplaying” – which is apparently now a verb – to the crowd. Not bad for a band beginning its first major headlining tour. Young the Giant sprinted onto the scene last year, when the group’s sleeper hit “My Body” saw a sales increase of more than 220 percent after an MTV Video Music Awards performance. Since then, the band’s trajectory has seemed unstoppable. While many songs have a driving rhythm section that almost borders on frenetic, Gadhia’s clear tenor has a beautiful quality to it that allows him to flip from soothing to rocking instantly. This progression allows for massive emotional shifts that should make for a dramatic and engaging live performance.

Score: These guys are on the up-and-up. Stadiums are next. At a venue like the 9:30 Club, the energy will be high – and they’re known to deliver.
Bore: First headlining tour means there will be some kinks in the performance. Technicalities, song choice, yelling the wrong city name, whatever. Expect at least one thing to go wrong.

William Fitzsimmons

Sixth and I Historic Synagogue
Feb. 23

Courtesy of Erin Brown
William Fitzsimmons

It’s difficult to describe what makes William Fitzsimmons so amazing, but I’ll give it a try.
Fitzsimmons was born to two blind parents, both of whom were recreational musicians. Starting at a young age, he learned to play multiple instruments, including the pipe organ his father built by hand. He released his first album, “Until We Are Ghosts,” in 2005 while working as a mental health therapist. His music deals with difficult topics, most notably both his and his parents’ divorces. Yet, through all of this raw emotion is a sense of honesty that few other artists possess. It is a quiet confidence in the music being made. His 2008 release, “The Sparrow And The Crow,” was named the iTunes U.S. Best Singer/Songwriter Album of the year and spawned a series of remixes that Fitzsimmons eventually released on the album “Derivatives.” At a small venue like Sixth and I, he is sure to absolutely shine.

Score: The quiet and beautiful confidence in every song makes this real, honest musicianship.
Bore: It has the potential to be very, very sad.

Boyz II Men

Rams Head Live, Baltimore
March 2

By far one of the biggest R&B names of the ‘90s, Boyz II Men is experiencing a resurgence after Shawn Stockman became a judge on NBC’s singing competition TV series “The Sing-Off.” Though the group is one member down – Michael McCary left the group in 2003 due to health issues – the Boyz can still sing. Their newest album “Twenty” was released in October and brings the group’s first new music in over five years. There are few things as pure as three voices singing a cappella, a genre that the group is credited with bringing to the mainstream. Classic hits like “End of the Road” and “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” inspired a number of similar artists who grew to be part of the genre’s finest, among the likes of Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync. These guys are masters, and they definitely still have it.

Score: They are international superstars and genuinely talented performers with a catalog of hits to prove it.
Bore: They were big before some of you were born.

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