November 6, 2008

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Rap with reason
DJ Logic headlines Music Hall benefit

By Dana Unger dunger@hippopress.com

Portsmouth’s Music Hall brings back its annual “The Event” on Saturday, Nov. 15, a downtown dance party to benefit the Music Hall and its programs. This time, they have a musical ace up their sleeve: DJ Logic.

“We usually try and limit our tickets for this event to 400,” said Mary Horigan, director of corporate and foundation giving for the Music Hall. “In the past, ticket sales have been good, but with DJ Logic, I think we’ll blow past sales in no time.”

An internationally renowned musician, turntablist, producer, and electronic music ambassador, DJ Logic (whose real name is Jason Kibler) has made a name for himself for using turntables in a live band setting , often with his own group, Project Logic, or with acts like Medeski, Martin & Wood and The John Popper Project, which he helped found. He’s become known for his unusual textures and combinations, whether it’s adding tabla beats to electric blues riffs and salsa grooves, or coming at hard rock and punk with a jazz sensibility.

“We knew we wanted a DJ, and have had them for our past Events,” Horigan said. “But we wanted a national name — we knew we had to get DJ Logic. I’ve been at the Music Hall for five years and we’ve never had a guy of his caliber perform. It’s really exciting.”

DJ Logic grew up in the early days of the hip-hop scene in New York, and in 1990 he started playing turntables with live musicians. By 1996, he was appearing with the funk trio Medeski, Martin & Wood, making him a hit in the jazz, jam band and hip-hop worlds. In the late ’90s, Logic was one of the most sought-after DJs in New York City.

His first gig as a bandleader was as part of Project Logic, which helped introduce the country to turntables in a live band setting. Logic has since toured all over the world, including shows in France, Brazil, and Japan, doing solo DJ gigs, as well as recording his own albums. He has produced for and worked with such artists as the Allman Brothers, Phish, Roberta Flack, Mos Def, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and Maroon 5.

Mixing music is “like chess to me,” Logic said in an interview last year with the Aspen Times. Logic has performed at New York’s Harvest Festival and JVC Jazz Festival, the Honolulu Music and Arts Festival, as well as at Jazzfest in New Orleans, and has even taught at Boston’s Berklee School of Music.

The Music Hall’s annual “The Event” has become a popular benefit for the arts venue over the years, featuring music and a live auction as well as refreshments and food from provided by several Seacoast restaurants.

“The buzz about it has never stopped,” said Joanne Francis, co-chair of the organizing committee. “I am constantly asked when we’re doing our next ‘Event’ — people want a place to dance.”

This year’s theme is “Denim & Diamonds” and the event is sponsored by Bellman’s Portsmouth, Mojo Boutique, New England Audio Tech, Portsmouth Brewery, Springer’s Jewelers and WXGR.

Some of the items up for bid this year include a Vespa LX50, diamond jewelry, a Hybrid Trek bicycle, a “Celtics Night Out” in Boston, and Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins tickets.  Also featured are condo stays in the Dominican Republic and Grand Caymans as well as vacation stays in Key West, Rye, and Bavaria.

“It’s all about the getaway this year,” said Kathleen Soldati, director of marketing. “It’s all about the escape.”

For the partygoers, it will also be all about seeing DJ Logic spinning on the Music Hall stage.

“This really is a dance party where everybody just comes in, throw their coats down and just dance,” Horigan said. “This year with DJ Logic, it promises to be better than ever.”


“The Event” with DJ Logic
When: Saturday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m.
Where: The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth.
Tickets: $75, at 436-2400 or visit www.themusichall.com