You guys, it’s important to note that I’m writing this on 4 hours of sleep. That…that is not a lot of sleeps. I don’t want to complain though, I knew that this 52 shows thing was going to lead to a lot of late nights. Of course I never imagined that I’d be at a show that would go until 1 in the morning. Luckily as is almost always the case the show was worth the tired.
This is another one of those shows I probably wouldn’t have gone to last year. I’m a fan of hip hop but I tend to prefer it be socially conscious and to be honest I’m every couched in the old school. By which I mean the mid to late 90s, those were my Hip-Hop halcyon days and ever since my friend Taki moved out of state I’ve lost my number one connection to new Hip-Hop. Luckily my other friend Sarah (that’s right I’m name dropping people you don’t know like crazy here!) knew about my quest and invited me to this show.She brought along her friends Natalie and an Aussie girl that will, for reasons I can’t go into, be referred as The Delinquent one.
Okay, names dropped. Now, I guess I should talk about musics. Before that though I want to apologize about the video quality here. There weren’t a ton to choose from in most cases and Hip-Hop is much better when experienced in person. The live performances don’t translate that well to video.
These guys started the night off with a very entertaining set. They were a rotating group of six emcees with usually two to four performing at the same time. Their stuff had a very fast flow, which I’ve always been a fan of, and they had a ton of energy. They performed with a DJ and live drummer and I really felt like the drummer added a lot to what they were doing. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that they are Boulder based. As I said, I haven’t followed Hip-Hop regularly in a while and when I did it tended to be more mainstream artists so I never knew what kind of Hip-Hop scene existed locally. If these guys are any representation of it I probably need to check out more of it.
Speaking of checking out more local Hip-Hop the next group to take the stage was Prime Element based right here in good old Denver. I think they were the group that I enjoyed the least last night. Which isn’t to say that they are bad, because they aren’t, it’s more that their sound had the most radio like quality to it and it just didn’t play as well. Their flow was much slower than the Microphone Militants, which again isn’t a bad thing, but just isn’t as good to me. Though their beats were well produced. I don’t know something about them just didn’t work that well for me. It’s also worth noting here that these two were really hand obsessed. By which I mean they were very conscious of the audiences hands and what they were doing with them. They also made a lot of hands based demands of us. I get that that is part of, well, pretty much every show but they were doling out hand instructions almost every song. It was kind of funny by the end.
This guy was listed nowhere on the ticket or the venue website’s listing for this show. It was revealed later that this is because he came on this tour free of charge. He just wanted to get out there and share his music, which is pretty damn cool. He is a solo emcee which I always find impressive because it’s fairly difficult to keep up a lyrical flow by oneself. The first song he did was basically just him rapping over Sail by AWOLNATION, which was a little odd because it didn’t seem like he’d done anything to the original and that just made me want to hear the original. After that though he broke off into much more original stuff all of which was very good. He did quite a few raps over guitar infused dubstep tracks that completely kicked ass. And he did all of it for free, then when he was done performing for free he gave away free CDs. It’s kind of cool to see someone who just wants to share their music like that.
Many thanks to The Delinquent one for telling me that I had originally spelled Ceekay’s name incorrectly. Now there is a wonderful link to his website up at the top of the post, and the video below. Not the greatest video but it’s something.
This guy is a natural show man, which is actually something that a lot these guys have in common. I actually think you kind of have to be a natural showman to put on a good Hip-Hop show because you have to carry so much of it yourself. He performed with a live band that consisted of keyboards and drums and he brought in a lot of old school singalong moments to get the crowd going and it was a lot of fun. He also brought two bewildered youths from down front onto the stage. It was kind of hilarious to watch them awkwardly dance on stage in a position they never thought they were going to be in.
Fun fact, that start of Bib B’s set was when the Hell’s Angels showed up. Three of them to be exact. It was weirdly unexpected. The Hell’s Angels, along with a lot of other people in the crowd seemed to be very familiar with his body of work which centered a lot around embracing the White Trash moniker and lifestyle. Nothing he presented was all that revolutionary but it was good and it was fun which is really all you can ask for at a show.
Bliss N Eso
Now here is the part where I make anyone from Australia who happens to read this jealous. The Delinquent One, who is a huge Bliss N Eso fan mentioned that you can pay upwards of $100 to see these guys in their native Australia. I paid $12.50 It was also mentioned that they play to crowds of six to seven thousand over there. Here they played in a tiny venue for about three hundred or so. The three hundred were rabid fans but they were still only three hundred. These guys were clearly why everyone was there because the electricity in the room, which was already pretty damn high, seemed to triple. Everyone was dancing, everyone was jumping, and most people were singing (rapping?) along. Their songs were a nice mix of slow and fast and they threw in some introspective shit, which is always nice. They also broke out a but of beatboxing which gave everything a nice old school feel. In fact arguably the best moment of the show was when they had a technical difficulty with their turntables and broke out a bit of a free flow beatbox number. They also made note of the chandeliers at the venue, which…I don’t even…why the fuck are their chandeliers at this place? The venue is small and intimate but it’s also kind of shoddy so the chandeliers seem really out of place. But they are pretty gangster. Those chandeliers.
There was a weird moment about half way through their set, while their DJ and Big B’s drummer were mixing it up, when these two scantily clad ladies got on the stage and starter throwing merchandise like lanyards and t-shirts into the crowd. It, well, it was just odd. It was like suddenly we were at a basketball game or something. I’m not even sure if the merchandise was for Bliss N Eso or if it was for Jagermiester, who was sponsoring the show. Either way it seemed weird and out of place.
That being said though Bliss N Eso put on a really great show. They had a ton of energy and a bit of an old school vibe that really worked for me. I had a hell of a good time. Now I don’t know that I’m that qualified to judge Hip-Hop or Hip-Hop shows (not that I’m qualified to judge anything else either) but this was an excellent show and if these guys come to your town you should go and see them. At the very least you’ll make some Australians jealous.