March was a great month, specifically because I got to write about my simultaneously cursed and blessed hometown of Cleveland twice leading up to my birthday, which is also always very much a celebration of the place I was born.
Fellow Aries Clevelander, Ben Baker-Billington, invited me to a Cleveland Tapes Revue show at this neat new venue, the Facility Theatre, and it was an incredible time. I got to sit at the merch table with LaToya Kent and RA Washington and speak with them informally about Cleveland, the work they have been doing for over two decades, and ways of teaching about race in America through literature in more effective ways. (I may have eschewed the classroom, but I am never done thinking about Great Future Seminars.) Then there was an amazing opening set from je’raf, who I cannot recommend seeing live more highly. They kept announcing they were a bunch of bands they definitely weren’t (like the Offspring and Blink 182), so I had to ask one of the members while waiting in line for the bathroom what they are actually called.
Following that, there was an incredible set from Children of Artists, whose tape I chose as the release to get new listeners familiar with the label. Chris Szajbert performed a super sultry stripped down version of “Unisex Flex,” which I loved so much, I very actively pursued getting a recording of that version. Very significantly, I also managed to get name-dropped in this new version. Tune into my summer mixtape, “summer 2022//a sound is still a sound around no one,” to hear “Unisex Flex (strip down 4 EMD).” 😀 It felt like live music normalizing, this relationship between performer and audience being intact again: being able to hear something live, communicate a desire, and have it responded to with fervor. I really recommend this tape, another great track to check is “PS,” but I listen to the whole thing all the way thru both sides regularly–the mark of a well-crafted cassette!
The Grand Finale was LaToya Kent and RA Washington coming in hot with some inspiringly poetic futurist soul music, inciting an enthusiastic dance party, and getting the brass section from je’raf to get their horns back out for Cleveland, the birthplace of Albert Ayler. Definitely peep the work they have been doing, including LaToya Kent’s tape Nothing on (iN)Sect Records.
Check out the report here!
© COME AWAY WITH EMD 2022