There’s a special magic about sold-out 7th Street Entry. Maybe it comes from having seen so many shows with thirty/forty people in there max, but a packed 7th Street Entry has a electrifying energy to it. It’s got that I-think-we-are-on-to-something-here feel. It’s got that tangible feeling that the band you are about to see, the music you are about to hear, the vibe you are about to experience, you probably won’t ever experience again. At least not in the same way. It’s that sense that band you’re about to see, packed on that tiny stage will no doubtedly have graduated to a bigger stage, bigger venue and bigger crowd the next time they roll through town. It’s that punch-to-the-gut feeling of seeing a band who is on the brink of something huge, bursting with so much talent, it feels as if the room can barely contain it. It’s that intoxicating buzz that makes live music just that – intoxicating. That was definitely the case last night for the incredibly sold out Anna Wise and Lewis Del Mar show.
Anna Wise is a name that I haven’t been able to ignore the past couple months. From Twitter to the endless list of music blogs I consume daily, Anna Wise’s name is a.) memorable and b.) inescapable. Wise’s name first came to my attention, like so many others, as Kendrick Lamar’s independent darling. Classic come-up story, musical wiz-kid living in Brooklyn, songs on the internet, gets discovered by none other than Kendrick Lamar. Collaborates on mega-hits, wins a Grammy and the rest is history.
There’s always a bit of anticipation seeing an artist who is buzzing pretty hard. Will they live up to the hype? Will they exceed the hype? Wise was definitely the latter last night at The Entry. Anna Wise took to a hazy stage with a confidence that just dripped off her every move. Wise wasted no time jumping into her set which featured Coconuts, Self on Fire and Boss Bitch all off her most recent album The Feminine: Act II. A stand out from the set was definitely BitchSlut which so poignantly addresses the double-standard for female sexuality. It’s the damned if I do, damned if I don’t, “say no I’m a bitch, say yes I’m a slut” curse of “putting out” as a woman. An undoubtable thread through Wise’s set was not just a “pussy power” or “girl power” message, but rather an admonishment to the girls in the crowd to own their sexuality, whatever that looks like. After witnessing Wise live last night, I have no doubt she will continue to be a prominent voice not only in music, but in cultural and society at large.
Lewis Del Mar has been on heavy rotation for me since a friend of mine in D.C. (where Harwood and Miller met), told me to check them out. One part acoustic guitar, one part Latin rhythms, one part noisey samplings, and plenty of percussion. Lewis Del Mar is beach music, kick back with Corona and watch the sunset music. Their worldly, surfy sounds stem from both Harwood and Miller’s diverse backgrounds, which they spoke about on Wednesday night. Miller’s family is from Nicaragua and Harwood’s, Panama. Their homes, their family, their diverse cultural backgrounds and their friendship with one another are clearly all deeply special to Harwood and Miller. “That’s my best friend in the world right there,” Miller said during the set pointing at Harwood. Later in the set Miller sang Puerto Cabezas about visiting Nicaragua to see where his family grew up. Miller spoke about the journey to self-realization, embracing the dichotomies that exist within himself and within all of us, and just being good and decent people. “We get to build this community every night that embraces one another, but make sure you respect each other when you leave here,” Miller charged the crowd towards the end of the set. A message that will hopefully spread beyond the sweaty walls of 7th Street Entry.
I walked away after Lewis Del Mar’s set with that buzz. Not from booze (or any other substance of choice). That buzz of being a part of something bigger than myself. But that intoxicating buzz of live music. That buzz of witnessing these two incredible acts, surely on the cusp of even bigger things.
Anna Wise and Lewis Del Mar continue their massive American tour tonight in Kansas City. Stay tuned as we will no doubt be seeing plenty, plenty more from both.