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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kendrick Lamar to bring Kunta's Groove Sessions tour to New Orleans

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Kendrick Lamar performs at the Civic Theatre on Oct. 28. - ICM
  • ICM
  • Kendrick Lamar performs at the Civic Theatre on Oct. 28.

Kendrick Lamar's Kunta's Groove Sessions — a short run of concerts from the rapper in more "intimate" concert venues — lands in New Orleans on Oct. 28. Lamar announced the sessions earlier this month with the first handful of shows booked at smaller-sized venues and backed by his band The Wesley Theory. Lamar performs at the Civic Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Rapper Jay Rock opens.

The West Coast rapper's critically acclaimed 2015 release To Pimp a Butterfly follows his breakthrough 2012 album good kid, m.A.A.d City. Butterfly incorporates experimental jazz, funk, soul and Lamar's whirlwind wordplay — sometimes in spoken word — addressing the politics and realities of race and black life, inequality, fame and his role within those themes.

Lamar's performance at the Civic will be among the smallest of the Kunta's Groove shows — he's also performing in Atlanta's The Tabernacle, which holds 2,500 people, and South Side Music Hall in Dallas and Oakland's Fox Theater, which hold 1,500. The Civic holds 1,200 people, with standing room on the floor and seating in the balcony. Lamar's last performances in New Orleans were on grand stages — at the 2013 Buku Music + Art Project, opening for Kanye West at the (pre-Smoothie King) New Orleans Arena later that year, and closing the 2015 Essence Festival at the Superdome.

Live, Lamar is equally fierce and meditative. At that Essence Fest performance (and at recent shows following Butterfly's release), Lamar turned the empowering anthem "Alright" into a massive, Dome-wide chant, which has served as a rallying cry at demonstrations nationwide, including the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington D.C. earlier this month.

Tickets are $50 in advance, $150-$350 VIP and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday Oct. 23 and are available online.

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