BASEMENT BEATS Team Strange Famous at the Grant.

Two big names in music are doing big things locally within the upcoming week: world-class lyricist and Strange Famous Records CEO Sage Francis will host another SFR office party (inside the Grant Building, downtown Bucket) and, later in the week Dropkick Murphys' frontman Ken Casey will officially unveil the Whiskey Republic, with a special performance by Against Me! Tickets for both events are nearly sold out, so plan accordingly and make it happen.

Don't forget to set your clock ahead on Sunday morning and don't sleep on the Strange Famous throwdown at SFR HQ. Their first basement show last month was such a success that Francis immediately signed on for another edition. We connected with Sage at the last minute via email and he filled us in on everything from the gig to his recent life-altering trip to South Africa — and of course his thoughts on Team Sheen.

ANY PLANS FOR A FULL SERIES OF BASEMENT PARTY SHOWS AT THE SFR OFFICE? This will probably be the last SFR Basement show we throw in 2011. I wear many hats but I'm not entirely interested in adding a "show promoter" hat to the collection. It's a great way to make use of our office space, break new material, and watch people perform in a place with zero frills. It feels like a family gathering with how small and intimate it is.

TALK ABOUT THE LINEUP, AND THE UPCOMING COLLABO WITH PROLYPHIC AND BUDDY PEACE. Prolyphic sent me demos of the new project with Buddy last week, and I absolutely love it. Ceschi is headlining, and he's my favorite up-and-coming rapper/musician. I'm really excited that he agreed to play this event. He mixes rap with guitar playing and singing, but in a good way. A lot of people try this combination and fail at it. The last time I played with Louis Logic was back in 2000, and in recent years he has evolved from being just a technically great rapper into a more eclectic performance artist. The first band taking the stage is a new "art-rock" band from Newport called Castle, fronted by an ex-roommate of mine, Mike Celleme. Mike is an amazing guitar player, writer, and performer, and what he's doing with Castle could really catch on in a big way.

CAN YOU ELABORATE ON YOUR RECENT JOURNEY TO SOUTH AFRICA? In January I was in Durban, South Africa, as part of a program to help HIV-infected orphans get treatment, which was all filmed for a documentary. Part of this treatment included poets giving them moral support with "praise poems." I have a book worth of material from this trip, but I don't know where to begin or end right now. I learned a lot about the world and myself during this trip, and I learned a lot about people, government, and the pharmaceutical companies in general. At the last SFR basement show I actually performed the song I wrote about my experience in South Africa. I hope to release that song and tie it into a fundraiser by the end of the year.

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