Arts Desk

Get the Gang Together, We’re Putting on a Show

Kokayi

What are you doing Friday, Sept. 14? Nothing? OK, we've got you covered.

Each month, the Smithsonian American Art Museum hosts Luce Unplugged, a best-kept-secret of a concert series that's featured stripped-down sets from great acts like John Davis, Birdlips, Deleted Scenes, Aaron Thompson, and more. The setting is the museum's intimate Luce Foundation Center for American Art, and each month, the musicians select an artwork from the Luce collection to "pair" with their performance.

For the series' September installment, the Luce folks reached out to Washington City Paper to lend a hand. Easy. We picked three acts we've shown plenty of admiration for on this blog: Grammy-nominated rapper/crooner/producer Kokayi, whom you may remember from the time he freestyled on our parking deck, and who's released a handful of excellent albums and mixtapes; The Caribbean, whose disarming, short-story art pop yielded one of the most arresting albums of 2011; and Alex—aka Alex Minoff—a veteran of bands like Weird War and Extra Golden who's recorded the year's best unreleased album of sardonic love songs.

An eclectic line-up, sure, but what unites Kokayi, The Caribbean, and Alex is music that bristles with intelligence. They're the kinds of acts you'd want to see in an art museum.

The evening—which is free—starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14, at the Luce Foundation Art Center on the third floor of the American Art Museum.

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