I said, "It's Northern State. Haven't you heard of my crew?"
We rock the stage any way we want
Hell, I'll rock this party like a debutante
Had a blast at the Northern State/X-ecutioners show tonight at The Dame. There was a nice turn-out; the club was packed. And I must say, this is one of the best triple bills I've been to in a long, long time. So often the first act sucks and the second act is mediocre, but tonight, all three groups grabbed and held the attention of the crowd.The first band was a group called The Wylde Bunch, a 14 piece group consisting of bass, guitar, keyboards, drums, a three-piece horn section, four MC's and three back-up vocalists. Very high energy mix of rock with Carribbean rhythms and rap.
Fitting that Northern State should make it to Kentucky early in their career after dropping Wendell Berry's name on their first album. I don't think Lexington disappointed them. It was obvious that a lot of the people in the audience were the for the X-ecutioners, but I think they made a room full of new fans tonight. Maybe after their album drops in August they'll mount a small headlining tour and come back. Their set was about 50/50 of material from their first record and from the forthcoming one. The new material sounds really good. One of the hard things about taking Northern State very seriously is that their first record almost seems like a novelty, like a throwback to 1986 in terms of its lyrical structure and language. They utilize rather simple couplets with a minimal amount of internal rhymes, giving it an old-school feel. The new material, however, has a more modern feel to the lyrical flow.
All the way on Avenue D
Looking for Katie Cassidy...
They play with a live band; a bassist, drummer, turntable/keyboards, and the savagely cute multi-instrumentalist Katie Cassidy (guitar, hand harps, all manner of percussion). My only beef with the musicians is they don't play with an increible amount of enthusiasm and at times seem unsure of themselves and their ability (particularly Cassidy). This may be by design, as to not detract from the stage presence of their bread and butter, however, it'd be nice to see them loosen up just a tad.
Before I saw them play on New Year's Eve in Brooklyn, Sprout was my favorite of the MC's, both lyrically and her voice. After seeing them live, it was obvious the Hesta was the "hawt" one - but on stage she's just annoying. Watching Sprout, there is an expression of determination in her face and her vocal performance is simultaneously energetic, yet precise - in a word, she works and gives her all up there. Having seen them twice now, she still is my favorite of the three. After their set I caught Sprout outside on the sidewalk and got a hug. Altogether now, awwwww. But I just wanted to let one of them know how much I appreciated them coming to Lexington. The hug was just gravy.
I was looking forward to seeing the X-ecutioners as well, even though I'd never heard any of their music. The X-ecutioners are a turntable group consisting of three members. I'm not a huge fan of turntabling, but I've listened to enough to be mildly interested in it. Turntabling recordings can be really sonically challenging for the listener when done well and a complete mess when they're not. The latter is typically the case, but I've had more than a few pleasurable experiences with the genre (particularly the Invisibl Skratch Piklz records). Some music-minded friends who are more in the know than yours truly told me that the X-ecutioners had made some impressive recordings. To wit, once they got past some technical difficulties early in their set, their show was a lot of fun. They utilize digital video cameras mounted on microphone stands sending feeds to a screen above the group so you can see their vinyl trickery. Some of it was kinda hoakey at times - one dude would manipulate the fader with his nose. All in all, it was an interesting experience, but like turntabling albums, after a while, the uneven structure and lack of melody can begin to wear on you and you're just ready for it to be over.
I still haven't been reading journals. Shame on me! But I've been busy trying to finish up this CD burning project (I'm almost done) and I've been working on lyric annotations for the the little website. My copious amounts of free time are nearing its end and I want to have these two things off my plate before I go back to work.