The idea of ‘safe spaces’ has become controversial, but in nightlife it’s increasingly important

When Kate Ross first came out, she would go to lesbian bars and parties by herself. She didn’t exactly get a warm welcome. At the lesbian dance party She Rex, which used to pop up at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room, she says a fellow partygoer took one look at her high heels and long hair and called her a “confused straight girl.”

“I shaved off all my hair and had a mohawk,” she says. “No one questioned me after that.”

Read more in the Washington Post.


Rapper Aminé brings his addictive hooks and zig-a-zig-ah to the Howard Theatre

Amid all the rock stars and Black Beatles of hip-hop, Aminé is perhaps rap’s biggest pop fanatic. You can hear the signs all over “Good for You,” a debut album that finds the Portland rapper flexing and finessing old and new flames with clever wordplay, a playful energy and beats so bright you might need shades.

Read more in The Washington Post.

At the Anthem’s opening night, a rock-and-roll clinic from Foo Fighters

If the 9:30 Club feels like a warehouse turned into a rock club, then the Anthem feels like an airplane hangar that mutated into one. And when it was time to officially open the venue — the centerpiece of the redeveloped Wharf on Washington’s Southwest Waterfront, owned and operated by the team behind D.C.’s world-renowned 9:30 — the Anthem called in the only band with the local roots and international fame that could pull it off: Foo Fighters.

Read more in The Washington Post.

Manila Killa brings his own dreamlike EDM world to U Street

On the eve of summer last year, D.C. DJ-producer Manila Killa released “Youth,” a breezy but propulsive bit of electronica that’s a microcosm of his sound — singalong melody, windswept synthesizers, EDM pulse. The song features breathy vocalist Satica, whose “is this really real?” is less a lovesick lyric than a rhetorical question about Manila Killa’s recent ascendance.

Read more in The Washington Post.

Solange sings like she means it at the Kennedy Center

Solange’s masterful 2016 album, “A Seat at the Table,” was released a day and a year before her Sunday night show at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, but it felt no less important or impactful than it did last fall. If anything, its messages of black empowerment, self-care, and turning pain and grief into love and joy are more poignant at a time when neo-Confederates march on the streets and the president calls any NFL player protesting police brutality a “son of a bitch.” Solange said that all she expected from the album was a chance to heal some of her trauma; onstage, she helped heal a couple thousand people.

Read more in The Washington Post.

A$AP Mob continues the legacy of the New York hip-hop crew

The four-decade history of New York hip-hop is a story of crews and cliques, from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to the Wu-Tang Clan to Bad Boy and Dipset. Continuing that legacy for much of this decade has been A$AP Mob, the Harlem collective fronted by A$AP Rocky that brought its Too Cozy Tour to a sold-out Echostage on Wednesday night.

Read more in The Washington Post.

A rocking Arcade Fire overloads the senses at Capital One Arena

On tour in support of an album whose press campaign spawned fake news, fake reviews and fake corporations shilling fake products, Arcade Fire came to the stage Saturday night with an equal dose of unreality. Introduced as the “undefeated, undisputed, heavyweight champions of the world,” the band made its way to the center of the Capital One Arena floor to an in-the-round stage surrounded by boxing ropes as a Michael Buffer-esque announcer humble-bragged about the band’s countless awards and honors.

Read more in The Washington Post.

U Street Music Hall to house the multisensory dance vision of Fractal Fantasy

Plenty of DJ-producers start record labels. For Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones, that wasn’t enough. Instead, they would need a multimedia platform to house all their audiovisual work — tracks and mixes, animated 3-D graphics and interactive apps. That platform is called Fractal Fantasy, which since 2012 has been home to the pair’s vision for the future of club music.

Read more in The Washington Post.