Educated Consumers - Day 13 of this fully booked experiment called February where I am doing a show a day. A night like this pushes me into little explored terrain such as hip hop, which is good. Keep in mind, this would be like many of you trying to review Val Lewton movies or Jim Thompson novels. Although a few of you may be up on that, most of you would not do a lot better than I in the hip hop world. But I'll try to learn by doing. So with that, we have a rapper and a live drummer who also pushes some buttons for electronics. I like the live drums and the raps are fairly fast and fluid enough. The topics are interesting, as they are fresh. I really tune out the cliches in this world and I really did not detect any in this set. The best topic was the wimpy way people in DC handle winter. That has been overdue for a song or a rap. Fresh and a nice start.
F. Stokes - This is just one guy on stage with a great crescent moon hair and beard combo. The electronics are not overwhelming which is fine by me if he is up to handling it mostly on his own. He was. Again, the topics and lines I pick up on show a much better intelligence and broader ability to communicate than what one may expect. He had a hilarious Rhianna story which lead into a rap over electronics that for some reason he mostly repeated without the electronics. I liked his attitude and positive vibe that he embraced. He was warm and the crowd connected easily with his raps and banter. And this crowd in near capacity at this point and have a nice balance of enthusiasm and respect. Good night so far.
Doomtree - We start with Doomtree's Lazerbeak doing about a ten minute solo electronica set that is certainly heavier than anything thus far. He tells us that the rest of Doomtree will join in for a two hour rap party. That may be a bit much for me with my cold, but I will certainly stick for some of it. There is one more guy on electronics and one men and one woman doing the raps. It has more energy than anything thus far and the crowd is pumped. There are at least two great rappers up there and one or two that are ok, but I really don't understand the need for so many. The rock comparison would be like the time I saw the Brian Jonestown Massacre playing at some festival. Although I liked a song they were playing, never had I seen four guitars that sounded like one. It was really distracting. I would much rather see the Screaming Females guitarist sound like two guitarists, not even using loops. But aside from this, Doomtree was doing well. There was a rap/song lead by the female rapper that had a lot of musical drama going on which was a nice change from the expected styles. What I saw of their set did not overwhelm me, but like the earlier acts, they kept a good vibe going. A pretty good Monday, all things considered.
Quote of the Night: The opening rapper introducing his drummer... "He used to drum with the Kings of Leon--he still wears the shirt."