House Party: Where New Talent Keeps NYC Hip-Hop on Its Toes

Courtesy of Webster Hall Photo: Carlos Alayo
Vic Mensa works the crowd at House Party.
What do the leading artists in 2015's rising class of hip-hop talent have in common? How are Vic Mensa and his house-inflected hit "Down on My Luck" connected to Tinashe and her luxe anthem "2 On," or the moody revivalism of Joey Bada$$ with Rae Sremmurd's anarchic, weirdo ecstasies? You don't need a thinkpiece to figure out the answer: They've all played Webster Hall's House Party, helping to break their records to a New York City crowd while cementing the venue's weekly dance party as the spot for hip-hop fans to catch the next wave of stars before everyone else gets a piece of them.

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Tonedeff's Making an Album in Four EP Steps

Categories: Webster Hall

Chad Griffith
August 2013 saw the end of an era for New York underground hip-hop as beloved indie rap collective QN5 hosted their final annual QN5 Megashow. With the reasoning behind ending the spectacular rap staple basically being what an undertaking it had become, Tone expressed his excitement for being able to spend his post-Megashow life focusing on new projects.

Fortunately, Tonedeff's as busy as ever.

See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time

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Daft Punk-Endorsed Kavinsky Isn't A Musician, Has 30 Million YouTube Views

Categories: Webster Hall

Photo by Vincent Desailly

French producer and DJ Kavinsky has provided a song for Grand Theft Auto IV, shared the stage and studio with members of Daft Punk, and amassed over 30 million YouTube views for "Nightcall," which scored the opening credits to Nicolas Refn's 2011 film Drive. That's a pretty impressive CV for a 37-year-old man who goes by Vincent Belorgey by day, admits to producing only four singles in a decade, and still doesn't think of himself as a musician. "I don't know how to play piano. I can't read sheet music. A true musician can do that," he tells me in the second-floor lobby of the Soho Grand over a glass of Balvenie whisky. "Logic is just a big trick. Everybody can make music with that kind of software."

See also: Live: Daft Punk Smash Puny Humans

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Twin Shadow - Webster Hall - 9/27/2012

Yep, that's a cutout.

Twin Shadow
September 27, 2012
Webster Hall

Better than: A cardboard cutout of Twin Shadow.

Sporting a white-sleeved leather jacket, slicked back mohawk, and carrying what appeared to be a wine bottle, George Lewis Jr. wobbled out onto Webster Hall's stage on Thursday a few minutes late. "Thank you for being with us tonight, I love you," he said, pausing for a moment as he stared out over the sold-out venue. This was his return to New York City as Twin Shadow after a country wide tour, and he seemed happy (and surprisingly grateful) to be back. Immediately, his band popped off into "Golden Light," the first track from the artist's sophomore record, this past July's Confess. Lewis and his big, bright yellow guitar wiggled around as he proclaimed, "Some people say there's a golden light, and if I chase after you, doesn't mean that it's true."

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Live: Lucinda Williams Sets Everyone Adrift On Memory Bliss At Webster Hall

Lucinda in Ithica, very much doing a Diane Keaton sort of thing.

Lucinda Williams
Webster Hall
Saturday, March 12

Better Than: The "80s Prom Night" party going on next door.

You know what you don't see 'round these parts that often? Drummers coming out onstage rocking a washboard. Not that Lucinda Williams would know what's going on around here, but still, you gotta respect someone willing to open a show with a folksy back-porcher like "Well Well Well" instead of one of her numerous upbeat country-rockers, which allows us the rare pleasure of watching someone rock a washboard in Webster Hall without irony. Really, it's such pleasantries that make you thankful Williams is still touring heavily and, in this case, playing a venue like this, by all means a tiny space for the woman who gave us Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.

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Live: The Get Up Kids Battle PA Blowouts And Crowd-Surfer Fistfights At Webster Hall

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Just don't get too close to the stage.
The Get Up Kids
Webster Hall
Wednesday, March 2

Better Than: Kickboxing while listening to Mineral.

The lead guitarist didn't flub all his parts. The crowd did not react with eerie, motionless indifference to every single new song. And the vast majority of the overamped dudes crowd-surfing in the front row did not basically get into a fistfight with a roadie at the show's conclusion. That much I know for certain. Nonetheless: a lotta flubbing, a lotta motionless indifference, and, yes, some good old fashioned fisticuffs to dramatically conclude this, a cheerfully nostalgia-soaked emo show. This was a weird one, folks.

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Live: The Dismemberment Plan Do The Standing Still (And Flail Around A Lot) At Webster Hall

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Travis Morrison, in a rare break from his stand-up-comedy routine. Pics by Jena Cumbo.
The Dismemberment Plan
Webster Hall
Saturday, January 29

Better Than: Back when they played shows with Death Cab for Cutie as the "Death and Dismemberment" tour.

Travis Morrison, frontman for freshly reunited D.C. post-punk dudes the Dismemberment Plan, resembles a bearded Alex P. Keaton ill-advisedly attempting a career as a battle rapper. He's a manic, giggly, charismatic, erudite, volatile guy, his lyrics often a neurotic jumble of in-jokes, insults, sordid confessions, and profound expressions of longing, none of which distracts him from also unleashing an unceasing torrent of between- and even in-song banter. Any crowd member who catches his wandering eye is a potential target. "Do your shave your chest?" "Are you Harry Potter? Daniel Radcliffe is going off the fuckin' rails." And, most notably, during the already monumentally goofy inclusionist dance-party anthem "You Are Invited," there's this: "Is that a can of Heineken? Maybe you aren't invited." INDIE-ROCK REUNION BURN.

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Live: The Jayhawks Serenade The Back-Slapping Country-Rock Faithful At Webster Hall

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Mark Olson, perfectly imperfect. Pics by Nate, more below.
The Jayhawks

Webster Hall

Thursday, January 20

Better Than: A trip to the Detroit Lakes DMV to get tags for Uncle Brian's Civic, though maybe not an Uncle Tupelo reunion.

So after all these years, here we were -- the 80-percent male, 30-percent divorced, undeniably (if not yet unashamedly) balding Jayhawks loyalists -- as odd-couple Jayhawks bandleaders Mark Olson and Gary Louris picked up their guitars and started in on the ragged, pleasantly dissonant opening chords of "Waiting for the Sun." For the band's faithful, this reunion was a long time coming. The Jayhawks - the real Jayhawks, not the incomplete facsimile that had soldiered on for several records too many under Louris' sole leadership, but the real fucking deal, the unspeakably influential country-rock pioneers - were right there before our eyes. After the better part of two decades, Louris, Olson and a dream lineup (bassist Marc Pearlman, keyboardist Karen Grotberg, and drummer Tim O'Reagan) culled from the band's extensive history commenced a front-to-back recreation of 1992's Hollywood Town Hall, the record that -- argue among yourselves, but we're sticking with this one -- invented alt country as we know it.

And how we hollered. How triumphantly and perhaps a little too forcefully we clapped one another on the back. How we purchased $8 Budweisers without regret.

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Gang Of Four Streaming Their New Record Content In Full, Playing Webster Hall Next Month

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Given our current climate of heated rhetoric, it's pretty much the perfect time for a new Gang of Four record, particularly one with song titles like "It Was Never Gonna Turn Out Too Good" and "You'll Never Pay for the Farm." So please welcome the excellently named Content, in stores next week and streaming in full at NPR right now, should you somehow find yourself short of cash at the moment. The band is playing Webster Hall on February 8; hopefully Andy Gill is still doing the microwave-smashing thing. The video for "Farm" is below; it basically sounds like super super angry Hives, which is nothing to be mad at.

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Photos: globalFEST 2011, Starring Red Baraat, La-33, And Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda

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Say hello to the Rhythm of Rajasthan. All pics by Ben.
What do you get when you take a dozen or so internationally hailed acts and dump them all in the East Village? The annual mind-expanding musical fete known as globalFEST. Thirteen acts from places as far afield as India and the Congo converged on Webster Hall last night for the show's ninth anniversary, splitting time between three stages over the course of a five-hour affair. While each act brought something unique to the table, the true standouts were New York's own "bhangra-gone-brass-band" outfit Red Baraat, Haiti's RAM, and nearly every Latin American act, especially Brazil's Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda and Colombia's La-33. Here's a sample of what there was to look at.

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