Music Park: GEMS @ U Street Music Hall — 10/23/15

GEMSGEMS (Photo Credit: Kristen Wrzesniewski)

Just one week before the release of their first full-length album, Kill the One You Love (out October 30th), GEMS captivated the U Street Music Hall crowd with a bountiful selection of their dream pop infused new songs.

GEMS, or Lindsay Pitts, on lead vocals and a few instruments, and Clifford John Usher, on everything else, were almost too excited to start. The music began to grow and pulse two minutes early, before the lights flashed on precisely at 8:00pm. Then they unleashed the first song of the night, “Scars”.

At least five of the songs they performed were from the new album. After “Scars”, they played “Heartbreaker”, which is a gradually building, aerial song.

The duo is originally from DC, but moved to LA after they released their first EP, Medusa. When Lindsay told the crowd they were from DC, the venue lights lit up for a heartbeat. Welcome back. If only briefly.

Two previously released songs from Kill the One You Love, “W/O U” and “Living as a Ghost”, were highlights of their brief 7-song set (they opened for Autre Ne Veut). Both are ethereal, entreating laments to lost love.

There was a respectable crowd at UHall, that grew to not quite capacity by the time they were ready for the last song.

They ended the enjoyable set with “Sinking Stone”.

They have a few New York dates this week, before wrapping up their tour in Atlanta and Austin.

Stay vigilante and catch them the next time they come to DC! And come early.


You can still pre-order the album before it is officially released, via iTunes and Carpark Records. It’s good.

Music Park: Autre Ne Veut @ U Street Music Hall — 10/23/15

Autre Ne Veut - Arthur Ashin
Arthur Ashin, aka Autre Ne Veut, throws himself into song at U Street Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo by Peter Hutchins)

Arthur Ashin is a man of unusual aesthetics. As a singer, he sounds a bit like a Sam Smith. As an artist, he looks a bit like an Eminem. As an American, he adopted a stage name from an inscription in French found on an ornament in The Cloisters — Autre Ne Veut (“I want no other”).

Let’s add another layer to this puzzle of a man: As a performer, he throws his whole body into his stage act, belting out his bluesy voice while fervently enunciating his words into the microphone.

Autre Ne Veut released his third full-length album, Age of Transparency, on Oct. 2 via Downtown Records, and the alternative R&B artist made a tour stop in support of it at U Street Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 23.

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Don’t Miss: Autre Ne Veut @ U Street Music Hall, 10/23/15

Autre Ne Veut (Photo courtesy Downtown Records)

Hey, tonight is a busy night at U Street Music Hall. In the early show, alt-R&B artist Autre Ne Veut is headlining with support from former DC-based dreampop duo GEMS. Earlier this week, we told you a little bit about GEMS.

Well, we are overdue to tell you a little bit about Autre Ne Veut — French for “I want no other!” He’s actually American Arthur Ashin, hailing from Raleigh, NC, and he released his most recent full-length LP, Age of Transparency, via Downtown Records on Oct. 2. He performs tonight, Friday, Oct. 23, at U Street Music Hall in support of the album.

Listening to Age of Transparency is like watching a movie gone awry. It starts out traditionally enough with first track “On and On (Reprise)” but then the music warps and Arthur starts repeating himself as if a record is skipping. His voice slides up next to you like a smooth modern rhythm singer but the melodies tap you on the shoulder and say, “Uh, excuse me, but there might be something wrong here.”

In September, Autre Ne Veut released “Panic Room,” a smooth ditty that compares locking up love to being in a secure panic room.

The clever video places Arthur in front of a panel of judges who listen to him sing a capella. But they judges are more like psychological counselors than American Idol rockers. Is he seeking acceptance or parole? This really kinda sets the stage for listening to Autre Ne Veut in more ways than one.

Watch the official video for “Panic Room” by Autre Ne Veut on YouTube:

In his videos, Arthur is typically clad in dress more akin to a hipster hip hop artist rather than an R&B crooner, occasionally appearing as a sort of super-villain, whose motives cannot be trusted.

He’s an intriguing fellow, and he’s sure to be a captivating singer tonight at U Street Music Hall.

Tickets are available online and at the door.

Autre Ne Veut
w/ GEMS and Mazed
U Street Music Hall
Friday, Oct. 23, 2015
Doors @7pm
All ages

Don’t Miss: GEMS (Opening for Autre Ne Veut) @ U Street Music Hall, 10/23/15


GEMS brings their ethereal, dream-pop sound to the U Street Music Hall on Friday, October 23rd. They open for Autre Ne Veut.

Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher comprise GEMS. Currently based in LA, they are originally from DC.

Now they return to DC with their first full-length album, Kill the One You Love, set to be released on October 30th via Carpark Records. They previously released an EP, Medusa, in 2013.

Having had a chance to preview the album before its release date, it is easy to predict their upcoming show will be one to remember.

Their first single, “Living as a Ghost”, premiered via NPR, who said, “GEMS is that special group for me, a former hometown band about to be discovered by everyone else.”

“Living as a Ghost”

Other songs currently available, “Soak” and “w/o u”, show off the dramatic, hopeful lyrics and melodies that define GEMS.


GEMS has been compared to other bands like Beach House, the xx, Sleigh Bells and Purity Ring, but Stereogum says, they have planted “a flag in distinct territory of their own, a winsome mishmash of ‘90s pop/alt-rock/R&B sounds.”

Tickets are available here.

Pre-order the album, Kill the Ones You Love, via iTunes and Carpark Records.


GEMS (Opening for Autre Ne Veut)
w/ Mazed
U Street Music Hall
Friday, October 23
Doors @ 7:00pm
All ages

“w/o u”