Kick back with any of Gonjasufi’s recorded works, and it seems pointless to watch him perform in a club. Those half-busted, bottom-of-the-crate grooves? The chalky, desert-baked vibe? The delicately bugged-out voice? A set of threadbare curtains seems like enough to contain it all. It’s living-room music, for sure. But Gonjasufi (the half-Mexican, half-Ethiopian-American otherwise known as Sumach Ecks) came up on ’90s hip-hop, and he’s got a stage presence that’s capable of swelling to the size of the room. The visage is one part “authentically dreadlocked frontman” and one part “weird-but-lucid dude in the cypher”—which means he understands the value of a performance. Maybe that’s why he lives in Las Vegas these days.
Gonjasufi performs with Refugee, Hootie B., and 00Genesis at 9 p.m. at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. $8. ustreetmusichall.com. (202) 588-1880.