Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Just in time for sweltering days ahead, king of summer jams Wiz Khalifa is rolling through town to get everyone in the backyard BBQ, sunny-day cruising state of mind. If your head's not there yet, crank up the mash up "Say Yeah", last year's epic "Black & Yellow" (84 million Youtube hits!), and this year's chilled out "The Race", a smooth magic-hour anthem about not needing anybody and just stuntin' on your own.
Listening to songs like "Day 'N' Nite" or "Pursuit of Happiness" by Kid Cudi, one of the best hip hop artists dropping music right now, you can hear the sadness, the bravado, and the paranoid stoner in his voice–the kind of multi-faceted dude who'd rarely rap about an obsessions with money, cars, and women. And it's not just the people who are buying his records who love him for that. He's got legions of fans in the industry, from Kanye to Snoop, scrambling to get his laconic wisdom on tape.
Wondering about the whereabouts of the Walkmen? The band -- not the dusty cassette player buried beneath that crusty sleeping bag, past-sell-date condom lei, and smudged mix tape of Minor Threat, Leaving Trains, and Saccharine Trust. You know, the dudes who strolled on past those New Yawk new rock tags and decided to carve out a sound of their own, choosing clattering, left-of-center arrangements crammed with rickety instruments and closer in spirit to Arcade Fire than the Strokes. I caught up with the Walkmen’s droll vocalist-guitarist Hamilton Leithauser via e-mail on the cusp of the group’s show tonight, May 21, with Kings of Leon at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.