"KEXP celebrated their 50th year of music last Saturday night at the Tractor Tavern. The crowd was undoubtedly hungry for live music and an exciting lineup of local artists made for an unforgettable show. Curated by the night's headliner, Shaina Shepherd, the bill was stacked with talent, and each act that took to the stage captivated the audience with their own unique flavor.
First up was the psych-jazz trio, Afrocop. Watching this band play is like diving deep into an experimental jazz wormhole with full on visuals that made you feel like you were in a moving painting. Entirely instrumental, the band performed their inventive set front to back without stopping and kept the room in a trance and set the tone for show.
Next to take the stage was All Day Trey. Although the artist only performed one song, he immediately had the crowd bobbin' their heads to his sunny rap, slick rhymes and killer backbeat.
After that, Terra Nobody rocked the house with their unique blend of catchy power pop, jazzy trip-hop, and anthemic rock. With the recent addition of Matt Kusche on drums, the Seattle band's sound felt heavier and groovier than ever. Ali's vocals soared and snarled through the mix and got the crowd riled up on more than one occasion. Brett's guitar work weaved effortlessly back and forth between punk edge and soulful sustain. This KEXP celebration show followed the release of the band's latest single "Runnin on Empty", which comments on mental health and finding balance amidst the craziness of our world. Terra Nobody's infectious energy and powerful stage presence produced an electrifying performance.
Next up was rapper and singer Da Qween, who was recently featured in the KEXP studio for a live session. Dripping with confidence, Da Qween kept the crowd on their toes with their imaginative flow and driving instrumentals. You couldn't help but move your body to their intense raps complemented with rhythmic switch-ups that showcased the artists dynamic style.
Almost seemingly out of thin air, poet and spoken word performer Jamaar Smiley appeared at the microphone and used his fearless words to cut through the room with conviction. With clever wordplay and powerful messages, Smiley's impactful set had the room hanging onto every single syllable. The artist showed exactly what he was capable of when he ended his set by asking the room for a word for a freestyle moment with the headline band.
When Shaina Shepherd arrived on stage, she stunned the room and commanded the audience. Her masterful key playing and powerful voice shot straight to the heart of every listener. After the first song or two, you may think you have Shepherd and her band's sound pegged, but every song brought something interesting and unexpected. Flowing between soulful and groovy, to heavy alt-rock, Shepherd and the band electrified the crowd and suspended a moment in time. A surprise appearance by Acid Tongue for a duet with Shaina Shepherd was the cherry on top. It was an excellent night of music to honor KEXP and all they’ve done for independent artists over the past 50 years. The Tractor Tavern was the perfect setting to highlight the station's accomplishments and this dynamic group of artists.
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