EVERETT — The Black Lab Gallery is back to showcasing up-and-coming musicians.
Black Lab on Hewitt Avenue touts itself as a place “where the art doesn’t suck.” The gallery, run by a mother-daughter team, has become one of Everett’s go-to spots for live music, from folk-rock to hip-hop. Before COVID-19 hit, there were shows by local musicians nearly every weekend.
Since reopening in September, Black Lab is bringing music back in two ways — Black Lab Sessions and LP Nights — so that it doesn’t have to wait until Snohomish County is OK’d for Phase 4 to provide live entertainment.
“We depend on numbers coming through the door to support the artists. Now that’s not happening,” gallery owner Isabella Valencia said. “We’ve had to readjust ourselves and be willing to find ways to engage the community, which included investing in streaming equipment.”
Black Lab Sessions feature live-stream shows via Twitch at 8 p.m. Thursdays. LP Nights are listening parties at the gallery featuring long plays of two up-and-comers’ latest albums. LP Nights are from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The Black Lab Sessions show on Oct. 1 will feature hip-hop artists Emanuel Brown and KingDow.
LP Nights kick off Oct. 9 with Greet the Sea’s album “Whatever Intended” and Fauna Shade’s album “Baron Rouge.” Playing Oct. 10 will be Bad Optics’ album “Warm Strokes of Pragmatism” and Black Ends’ album “Stay Evil.”
There is no cover charge for the listening parties. But Black Lab will offer beer and wine — on tap next weekend will be Hale’s Ales Brewery — as well as a limited menu from Sol Food. Showing on the gallery’s walls are Alex Vincini, Amber Pulley and Matt Will.
Valencia said her staff has worked to meet state and local health and safety guidelines. Masks are required. Staff will conduct temperature checks. Tables are spaced to maintain 6 feet of distance. Parties are limited to five per table. Menus are laminated and wiped down between uses. A sneeze guard is installed at the register. Hand sanitizer is available at the door.
“With our listening parties, we are booking bands as if they are ghosts on our stage,” Valencia said. “But you’ll just be hearing them. Our booker puts together two LPs a night. We want to bring back the feeling of a live show, but in the safety of the COVID guidelines.”
Along with Black Lab Sessions and LP Nights, Black Lab has revamped its website so that it serves as a local arts hub. Go to www.blacklabgalleryeverett.com to check it out.
Emanuel Brown performs a mix of hip-hop, R&B and neo-soul. Brown, 31, grew up in Newport News, Virginia, but moved to Marysville with the U.S. Navy. He served in the Navy for four years.
After his mother died when he was 12, Brown found solace in rap. He decided to stop playing instruments — he played the tuba, trumpet, trombone and saxophone — and start singing.
“The thing that drew me to music more than anything was the way an artist can say anything that can truly shift the way you look at your day or your life,” he said. “It just blew my mind how someone can use their words to change your whole demeanor. That’s what I wanted to do.”
Brown has one album and two EPs to his name. The 14-track album “The News” was released in 2019. His follow-up EPs, out this year, offer four tracks on “Red Winter” and another five tracks on “Vibes.”
Many of his songs reflect his experiences growing up in Virginia. He witnessed a lot of hurt and loss on the East Coast.
“It wasn’t the hardest, but it wasn’t the easiest either,” he said. “I come from a lower-middle-class family. My dad raised me and my sister. I’m the oldest. My dad did the best he could with us. My sister basically grew up without a mother.”
King Dawidalle — his stage name is KingDow — draws from the hip-hop, rap, soul, reggae and world music genres. Through his music, the Mill Creek resident explores spirituality and his own life experiences. He also likes to write songs about anime.
Dawidalle, 26, has 29 singles to his name, including the latest, “Joelle.” He also has six music projects: “My Time,” “Codes,” Vootakin,” “Energy” and “TopDow Part 1.” The latter two are five-track EPs released just this year.
“I bend genres,” he said. “I create my own sounds out of everything I’m influenced by. You can hear hip-hop, but it’s way beyond that.”
He grew up playing bass and drums with his father’s bands, formed two of his own, and also performed in the jazz bands at Jackson High School. While playing upright bass in the pop band Strawberry Mountain and the rock trio Joey Hauck Band, Dawidalle launched his solo career as KingDow in 2018.
“As long as you speak your truth and you stay honest to yourself, you can make anything happen,” he said. “It’s nerve-wracking because you are taking a risk and a leap of faith, but the world will recognize it — just like it did for me.”
The Black Lab Sessions kicked off Sept. 24 with a show by Everett-based singer-songwriters Jess Coram and Lu Hernandez. If you missed it last week, you’ll soon be able to watch the recorded performance on YouTube.
If you stream
Hip-hop artists Emanuel Brown and KingDow will perform a live-stream show 8 p.m. Oct. 1 at Black Lab Gallery via Twitch. This show is part of Black Lab Sessions, meant to bring live music to your home on Thursday nights. Go to www.twitch.tv/blacklabgallery to watch the show. Donate to the bands via PayPal tip jars. Call 425-512-9476 or find Black Lab Gallery on Facebook for more information.