The District Sound: Previewing upcoming local shows

K’naan

Nov. 3 | Rock and Roll Hotel | $25

K’naan’s politically-charged lyrics sound deceptively gentle and lighthearted when delivered in his smooth, Bob Marley-esque vocals. Don’t be fooled – this Somali-Canadian rapper delves into weighty topics, chronicling tales of oppression, civil violence and poverty with intelligence and urgency. The poetic narrative is grave, but somehow, amid the sobering lyrics lies levity. K’naan’s persistent themes of hope and positivity manifest themselves in the easy-going, reggae-inspired instrumentals which frame his music – most recognizably in 2009 hit “Wavin’ Flag.”

Score: While some facets of the rap genre glorify violent, criminal lifestyles, K’naan uses his musical platform to illuminate these struggles and problems in a relatable, inspiring manner.
Bore: K’naan’s set may prove too chill for concert-goers seeking an energetic, rowdy performance.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Media Credit: Photo courtesy of Diana Broeders used under creative commons license

Nov. 9 | Black Cat | $16 in advance and $18 at the door

You may not have heard of The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, but you more than likely have heard their music. With music featured on iPod Touch and Heineken International commercials and an episode of Gossip Girl, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour have more than marked their presence in the pop culture realm. Bending the parameters of pop music, the Danish duo revitalizes jazz, swing and big band to produce a distinctly buoyant, peppy and effervescent sound. Most captivating is singer Mette Lindberg whose jazzy alto vocals emulate the styling of Amy Winehouse.

Score: When performing live, the band is backed by a six-piece horn section that brings an eclectic variety of old-school genres and a fresh, energized sound.
Bore: The duo isn’t particularly well-known to U.S. audiences – even though their music resounds in dozens of ads – so concert attendees may struggle to connect with unfamiliar tunes.

The Who

Nov. 13 | Verizon Center | $51.80 – $148.85

Few bands have so molded the landscape of rock music like The Who. Fusing the rhythmic technicality of guitarist Pete Townshend, the vocal prowess of lead singer Roger Daltrey and the reckless, bombastic musical antics of the band’s late members, drummer Keith Moon and bass guitarist John Entwistle, The Who performed the works that characterized the burgeoning rock scene of the ’60s and ’70s. Responsible for classic rock staples “My Generation” and “Who Are You,” the band’s rock-icon reputation is indisputable. Decades after their formation, only half of the band’s members remain, but The Who’s indelible impact on the rock genre persists.

Score: The Who represent a golden age in rock music few believe can ever be recreated. Take advantage of experiencing these rock legends live before old age and the toils of touring keep them off the road for good.
Bore: Don’t expect Daltrey’s signature crisp vocals or Townshend’s irreverent guitar smashing: As the two rock legends have grown older, so have their performance chops.

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