Beyond the Books

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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Regina Park and Crystel Sylvester

Hip-hop and classical music are coming together at the Kennedy Center next month.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar is set to perform a collaboration with the National Symphony Orchestra live at a one-off concert on Oct. 20, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Lamar and the NSO Pops will perform classical remixes of hits from Lamar’s acclaimed third studio album, “To Pimp a Butterfly”, which was released last March. The album contains hits like “King Kunta,” “Alright” and “Wesley’s Theory.”

A Compton, Calif. native, Lamar is also known for his collaborations with famous artists and verses on popular tracks like Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” and “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.

Although this will be the rapper’s first collaboration with the NSO, the orchestra has performed with several other artists before, including Phish’s lead singer Trey Anastasio. Last year, rapper Nas performed a setlist that inlcuded his hit “Illmatic” with the orchestra at the same venue.

Tickets will go on sale to Kennedy Center members this Tuesday at 10 a.m. and will open to the general public Wednesday at 10 a.m. Prices start at $35, with the best seats going for $99.

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Drake pumped up the crowd at Landmark Festival on Saturday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Drake pumped up the crowd at Landmark Festival on Saturday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

From Coachella to Lollapalooza, some summer music festivals have become an event where talented artists are overshadowed by obnoxious, and often underage, crowds.

But perhaps because Landmark Festival, which made its debut this Saturday and Sunday, stood for a cause, the crowd seemed more tame. Alongside the flower-crown-and-flannel-wearing millennials were young couples pushing strollers and even a few guests that appeared to be the same age my own parents.

Over two overcast days, Landmark brought together about 40 artists with ticket proceeds going toward the Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service devoted to preserving the Mall.

Some booths around the festival grounds at West Potomac Park allowed guests to take trash bags that they could use to clean up littered beer cans; they could return the full bags at the end of the day to receive prizes. Other vague appeals to activists in the crowd included the “What do you march for?” wall on which guests scribbled down causes and issues that inspired them – everything from “women’s rights” to “dad bods.”

But it was clear that most people just came for the music.

Drake, Saturday night’s first headliner, captivated the crowd with his powerful stage presence. After a day of running around the festival grounds, I didn’t think I had it in me to withstand the tightly packed horde of high schoolers surrounding his stage for two hours. But as soon as the Canadian rapper hit the stage, I miraculously found the energy to sing and dance to every song on the setlist.

Drake didn’t miss a beat as he breezed through a repertoire of his most popular songs and verses, both old and new – from “Headlines” to “Hotline Bling” and “Back to Back,” his latest diss track against rapper Meek Mill. Some of the onstage gimmicks – like fireworks, excessive airhorns that punctuated each song and his (probably) insincere declarations that this performance was his favorite one yet – were harmless, but grew tiresome after a while. He also apologized, on behalf of God, for the rain. Thanks, Drake.

The Strokes, led by front man Julian Casablancas, headlined Landmark Festival. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Strokes, led by front man Julian Casablancas, headlined Landmark Festival. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Closing out the festival on Sunday night, The Strokes lived up to everything you’d expect from a headliner, rocking out with powerful vocals and guitar solos on classics like “Hard to Explain” and “Last Nite.” In between tracks, frontman Julian Casablancas – who was inexplicably sporting sunglasses at 9 p.m. – provided entertaining (albeit mumbly) banter with the audience. The performance wasn’t reserved but it definitely wasn’t over-the-top. The band arrived on stage more than 15 minutes late and left the stage about 10 minutes early, without responding to audience chants for an encore.

Alt-j’s performance drew one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, but the band lacked the stage presence that makes concerts memorable. Even during fast-paced songs like “Left Hand Free,” the band remained stiff and motionless. Performing at the same time on the other side of the park, English folk singer George Ezra played a much more lively and intimate set, which included his soulful radio hit “Budapest” and a crowd-pleasing cover of Macy Gray’s “I Try.”

Some of the smaller, lesser-known bands offered the most memorable performances. On Saturday afternoon, The Mowgli’s were all smiles, bouncing around stage at a down-to-earth performance of feel-good love songs like “Whatever Forever” and “Say It, Just Say It.” On Sunday evening, CHVRCHES’ synthetic beats, accompanied by lead singer Lauren Mayberry’s sweet vocals, were electrifying.

The D.C. Eats food tents, curated by chef Jose Andres, attracted some of the largest crowds at the festival, offering

CHVRCHES drew one of the bigger crowds at the weekend's Landmark Festival. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

CHVRCHES drew one of the bigger crowds at the weekend’s Landmark Festival. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

everything from sushi to vegetable-infused lemonade. I decided to skip the more popular vendors like Shake Shack and Ben’s Chili Bowl, and instead headed over to the tent for Duke’s Grocery, an East London-style eatery in Dupont Circle. The $9 “posh” BLT sandwich – with avocado and garlic aioli – and $8 corn-on-the-cob – with tangy cotija cheese, spicy sauce and cilantro – were pricey but satisfying takes on two classics.

Because of Landmark’s toned-down take on activism, anyone seeking a crowd that was passionate about saving the world should have probably taken the trip to New York for the weekend to catch Global Citizens Fest. And die-hard festival-goers expecting to rave came to the wrong place. But for everyone in between who just wanted to enjoy the music, Landmark made a promising start as a new tradition for D.C. residents.

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Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 10:35 p.m.

MØ and Holychild draw crowds to Fall Fest

Updated: Sept. 6, 2015 at 2:57 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Regina Park.

With her dreamy, drawling vocals, MØ, the newest darling of electropop, filled up the lawn of University Yard, effectively sealing this year’s Fall Fest as a success.

MØ, the Danish Music Awards’ “Breakthrough Artist of the Year,” was preceded by alumni band Holychild.

When the doors opened at 3:30 p.m., it was clear that Fall Fest would be much the same as the years before, aside from the high-profile lineup. The usual booths representing Monster Energy, Dominos and the 9:30 Club were present with employees handing out complimentary goodies. The free Fall Fest shirts would be handed out later on in the day.

The swarm of students that flooded University Yard was a diverse mix of every grade level, with seemingly more sophomores and juniors present.

Junior Eli Rudy speculated that this was because of the wide appeal of MØ’s style.

“It’s not one specific genre. There are different layers to it,” Rudy said.  ”You can dance to it, you can listen to it in a more quiet environment.”

Although MØ first hit the Billboard 100 with Iggy Azalea’s 2014 single “Beg for It,” the Danish popstar became a household name after her collaboration with Major Lazer in their international hit “Lean On”.

Danish singer MØ headlined this year's Fall Fest. Nicole Radivilov | Senior Staff Photographer

Danish singer MØ headlined this year’s Fall Fest. Nicole Radivilov | Senior Staff Photographer

MØ’s wistful, ethereal voice and synth beat is a far cry from last year’s headliners the Cold War Kids, but what they both had in common was their energetic stage presence. MØ was natural, unscripted and loose and was clearly comfortable with her role on stage.

Not everyone came for MØ, however. Opener band Holychild came with their fair share of fans, like junior Claire August.

“Holychild is one of my recent favorite bands, so when they announced this lineup I was really excited,” August said.

Holychild singer Liz Nistico, an alumna, said that she felt a special connection with the GW crowd. Nistico and instrumentalist Louie Diller met while they were at GW.

Liz Nistico and Louie Diller of Holychild met while they were at GW. Nicole Radivilov | Senior Staff Photographer

Liz Nistico and Louie Diller of Holychild met while they were at GW. Nicole Radivilov | Senior Staff Photographer

“Usually when we play a show, you can’t sympathize with the 2,000 people in front of you as much, you know? I don’t really know what their lives are like that much usually,” Nistico said. “But now it’s like, I know what library you go to study and I know what buildings you hang out in and I know probably where you go out to eat and to bars.”

The duo formed when Nistico took a music class where Diller was a musical accompanist. After she heard Diller riffing off of Radiohead’s “Pyramid” during class, Nistico approached him and the two bonded over their musical tastes.

While they were first starting out, the band would play at house parties around the District. They played their first show at a crowded house party on Pennsylvania Avenue, where Diller and Nistico said the house was bouncing and guests were hanging from the roof.

“It was my first time singing live, ever,” Nistico said. “I was like, ‘Well, I definitely want to do this more.’”

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
A previous version of this post misspelled Liz Nistico’s last name. We regret this error.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 1:47 p.m.

Hall & Oates to perform at Alumni Weekend

Hall & Oates will headline GW's annual Alumni Weekend in September. Photo used under the Creative Commons license.

Hall & Oates will headline GW’s annual Alumni Weekend in September. Photo by Flickr user Gary Harris used under a CC BY-SA 2.0.

Rock and roll duo Daryl Hall and John Oates will perform at the Smith Center during Alumni Weekend, according to a University release.

Hall and Oates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year and are the No. 1 selling duo in music history with 11 top-10 singles.

They are best known for songs like “Rich Girl,” “You Make My Dreams” and “Kiss on My List.” They also received an Icon Award in 2008 during BMI’s annual Pop Awards.

The pair will take the stage Sept. 19 at 8 p.m., a year after pop star Cyndi Lauper performed for the same event.

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It took about three songs during Ellie Goulding’s sold-out show at Echo Stage on Sunday before the crowd fell into a trance, dazzled by her signature upbeat, electronic dance songs and impressive light effects.

Elli Goulding in concert last night. Erica Christin | Photo Editor

Elli Goulding in concert last night. Erica Christin | Photo Editor

By the time she began her third song, “Goodness Gracious,” the audience was singing along to every word and every arm was bouncing in the air. Goulding conducted her congregation like a hypnotic preacher, and every body roll and punchy drum solo she performed led to crazed roars from Goulding’s evangelists.

“Who here is shy?” Goulding asked the audience. “Tonight, you’re allowed to go crazy,” she instructed, and people obeyed.

Her performance was nothing short of spiritual. She opened with a powerful rendition of her single “Figure 8,” resembling a genie on stage as she bellydanced in billowy pants, a bustier top and a sparkly bindi that brought attention to her long, golden mane.

Halfway through the set, the pace changed from electric to haunting when Goulding traded her band for an acoustic guitar. During a somber rendition of “Guns and Horses,” the fans took over singing the chorus while Goulding accompanied on guitar.

Goulding applauded the D.C. audience for their enthusiasm during the show.

“I’m pretty shy, so when the audience is shy, I’m even more shy,” she said.

The British singer-songwriter made her audience laugh when she announced that her “trousers” were falling apart and she needed to buy more expensive clothes.

The song that was greeted with the most applause was her rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song,” which reached No. 2. in British charts back in 2010 and she also performed at the Buckingham Palace wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

Goulding also incorporated a remixed version of MIA’s “Bad Girls” as the background of a thrilling drum solo, which then transitioned to “Salt Skin,” a melody from Goulding’s first album.

The climax of the evening was Goulding’s last five songs. From “Anything Could Happen” to “I Need Your Love” and “Lights,” the energy in the room was at an all-time high and her un-choreographed outbursts of dance reflected the energy of each song.

Fans chanted Ellie’s name for an encore performance that ended with a fiery rendition of “Burn.”

Goulding proved that she is not a singer, but a rock star.

The audience was surprised at the beginning of the evening when a petite, blonde woman got onto the stage, who turned out not to be Goulding. Conway, the unannounced opener, was greeted by maniacal cheering that quickly turning to silence after the crowd realized that this is not who they were at Echostage to see.

Conway looked and sounded like Gwen Stefani, with her platinum blonde hair, toned arms and deep voice. Her songs were full of angst and musical grunts. The audience was relieved when her half-hour set was over.

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This post was written by senior staff writer Jenna Bernick

Halfway through the set for, Autre Ne Veut dragged a large black box to the front of the stage to use as a-two-foot-tall platform to stand on for his song, "Gonna Die." Jenna Bernick | Hatchet Photographer

Halfway through the set for, Autre Ne Veut dragged a large black box to the front of the stage to use as a-two-foot-tall platform to stand on for his song, “Gonna Die.” Jenna Bernick | Hatchet Photographer

Autre Ne Veut may have found the key to gaining attention as a new artist: Do weird shit. Arthur Ashin, the man behind the pretentious French name (which means “I want no other”), never wants to conform to the audience’s expectations.

“And I said, baby” from the song “Play by Play” are the first words we hear – both on his first full studio album “Anxiety” and at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Friday night. They set the tone – sexy, angsty and balladic. Ashin wails and writhes onstage, equally undermining and accentuating his infectious pop/R&B with jumbled, simplistic lyrics.

Before playing “Don’t Ever Look Back,” he asked the venue to turn on some lights that shine on the audience, not the stage. “Now you guys are here, too,” he told us. He edged into the crowd after the song began, following a path the audience created for him and perhaps acting like a bigger artist than he possibly could be.

But from the start, Ashin wanted you to think he was in his own world. From his initial delayed appearance on stage, to his specific ticks, like his robotic dance moves and falling-to-knees-dramatically at the end of several songs, new layers were added to what on the album felt slightly homogenous.

The smooth falsettos he quickly switches to on the album often translated to whispers into the microphone due to his overworked voice, which by the end of the short 11-song set couldn’t muster many sounds.

He belts and oversings, but knows it. He never put perfection over emotion.

His voice became one of the few instruments you could see on the stage, with so much of the music’s intricacies coming from the MacBook’s prerecorded tracks. Pop music’s computer-generated components are a reality, but it seemed like a cop-out for Autre Ne Veut considering that even some of the female vocal sounds on the album came from a computer on the stage. Maybe they were never even derived from a human voice.

For an artist just really getting attention this year though (thanks to positive reviews of “Anxiety”), his risky performance was refreshing. Ashin adjusted the tempos and styles of some of the songs dramatically for the stage: Sometimes these moves seemed intentional while others were less calculated – perhaps from inexperience or a drug-filled pre-show routine.

Autre Ne Veut saved his closest thing to an anthemic pop hit, “Counting,” for an encore. The whole room belted with him to the most discernable lyrics on the album: “I’m counting on the idea that you’ll stay” – helping Autre Ne Veut to defy expectations one last time. This time, it probably went over most heads, in a song not about an impending breakup as it might seem, but his dying grandmother.

Below: Autre Ne Veut plays an acoustic version of “Counting” for Pitchfork.TV

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Julie Alderman.

Photo courtesy of Noah Markus under the Creative Commons License.

The 9:30 Club sold out for the second night for Matt Nathanson’s “All Night Noise” tour with special guest Vanessa Carlton Wednesday. The venue was packed with people waiting for hours just to hear the two singer-songwriters perform.

Vanessa Carlton opened with six songs off her new album, “Rabbits on the Run.” Carlton prefaced many of her songs with personal stories offering insight into her song writing process. Carlton explained that a song by the band The Doors inspired her song “Dear California.” Per audience request, Carlton ended what was a very emotion filled performance with her 2004 single “White Houses.”

Nathanson took the stage next to a large amount of fanfare, opening with “Mercy” off his new album “Modern Love.” Nathanson then traded his guitar for a maraca and segued into the title track of his new album.

Nathanson interacted with the audience, making the show an overall bonding experience for him and his fans. At one point, Nathanson successfully got a man in the front row to take his shirt off in exchange for Nathanson to put a piece of gum that fell on the floor in his mouth.

Before going into his song “Room @ The End of the World,” he spoke of the supposed rapture that is said to take place next month. He said he hopes the track can become the theme song for the terrifying event.

Nathanson is also a big fan of mash-ups. He merged his song “Princess” with the Soft Cell’s classic “Tainted Love.” He also took his new song “Queen of (K)nots” and combined it with Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl,” which the audience sang along to seamlessly.

Nathanson closed with his new single “Faster” followed by his biggest hit, “Come on Get Higher.” He and Carlton continue their tour tonight at Terminal Five in New York.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011 10:39 a.m.

Jazz series strengthens ban on alcohol

Jazz in the garden, a free summer concert series in D.C., is stepping up its enforcement of outside booze being brought in the park.

The jazz event has always banned concert-goers from bringing in outside liquor but this year, guards are taking more aggressive precautions to prevent the smuggling of alcohol, the DCist is reporting.

Several of the garden’s entrances are now closed and guards are in place to check attendees’ bags upon entry.

Alcohol will still be sold at the event.

The National Gallery of Art hosts the weekly event every Friday night from 5 to 8:30 p.m. This year marks the 11th season for the community jazz series.

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Brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall, of JEFF the Brotherhood, went on tour in April to promote their latest album "We Are the Champions." Photo courtesy of Chad Wadsorth.

Jake and Jamin Orrall, the two brothers in the heavy-touring Nashville-based band JEFF the Brotherhood, will hit the stage tonight at the Rock N Roll Hotel as the opening act for Fucked Up.

The guitar and drums duet released its most recent album, “We Are the Champions,” June 21 and was greeted with starry-eyed accolades and praise from Paste Magazine, Rolling Stone, Altered Zones and Spin Magazine.

Comparisons to legends ranging from The Ramones and AC/DC to Weezer and Sonic Youth have not dazed the brothers, Jamin Orrall explained.

“A lot more people see our stuff and see us play,” Jamin said. “We don’t care if the comparisons happen or not.”

The band recently played Bonnaroo in their home state of Tennessee, an experience Jamin describes as “really horrible then really fun…the actual show was really fun.”

The band travels across the country but has global aspirations as well. Jamin said Japan is the duo’s most sought-after performance destination. Their album will be released there in August, so like their childhood dream of forming a rock band, serenading Japan could also come to true for them.

Tickets are $15 and doors open at 8 p.m.


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Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010 7:42 p.m.

Matt & Kim take over the 9:30 Club

Correction Appended

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Naomi Jean Camacho

Photo taken by Francis Rivera | Hatchet Staff Photographe

From bouncing balloons to booty dancing across the crowd’s hands, the sold-out Matt & Kim concert at the 9:30 Club Friday offered a unique performance that didn’t disappoint.

“Everyone keeps telling me that this is one of the craziest shows they’ve ever seen,” said freshman Paul Organ of the band’s penchant for energetic performances.

Donnis, a rapper from Atlanta, opened for the Brooklyn-based duo and got the crowd pumped for the headlining performance.

“D.C., let’s make some noise! Let’s take it to the next level,” he urged throughout his set.

But it was Matt & Kim’s simple and upbeat rhythms that appealed to all ages – drawing tweens, high schoolers, college students, parents and even a few grandparents to the performance.

To start off what Matt called their very own “Friday night dance party,” the band entered with a definite crowd-pleaser, “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare,” from their 2009 album “Grand.”

“Yea Yeah” from their 2006 self-titled debut album was also a highlight of the night, garnering applause and lots of head banging from the audience.

“D.C. is going by so fast,” cried Matt during the performance. “I wish we could play all god-damned night!”

To introduce their last and most well-known songs, “Daylight,” Matt shared that he’d had fans tell him that the song helped them get out of bed in the morning.

Matt cried, “To anyone here who had a bad day…take these next 3 and a half minutes to let it go!”

The band, which has been touring the country since mid-September for the release of their third album, “Sidewalks,” which comes out Nov. 2.

This article was updated on Oct. 24, 2010 to reflect the following:

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Matt & Kim had performed the song “Cameras.” An audience member said the band did not perform the song at the concert.

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