February 12, 2012, 5:31 PM
so i worked the rap show at the big fiddle on thursday, recording the acts for some live videos matt ingraham is putting out. locals has followed rap for a long time, since before its humble beginnings in the jah prophets days. royce da 5'9 headlined with swollen members, and a slew of local openers.
in today's world, sydney's port is facing troubled times. there was a piece in the paper about mounting financial troubles at the big fiddle, the question of whether dredging is the answer to all of our problems, and the continued outflux of our island's young people in the face of failed provincial and federal initiatives to keep 'em here.
but things aren't all bad. locals is about to turn 15, it's not going anywhere, and i hope to start filming some skateboarding and snowboarding this year, possibly to make scenery 3.
so there you have it. the good and the bad. are you going to review this show or not, harry? that's a great question. i now have my 15 year rock journalism certificate, and this entitles me to certain things such as long winded retrospective posts, and also license to review major label acts on my holier than thou indie rock website. even if the acts aren't rock (see paragraph 1).
captive promotions put this show on at the joan harriss cruise pavilion. this is the same group who hosted snoop dogg two years ago, and also the all ages ballroom massacre show in fall 2011, which i also recorded. i think in my younger, more hardcore days, i would have been skeptical of any event that costeded (heh) more than 10 dollars. steve tobin and matt ingraham get top marks for being good to deal with, not shiesters, put on quality events that run smoothly, etc. they do not have any punk rock credentials to speak of. but having witnessed good events with ballroom and royce, i'm interested to see what their next move will be.
the show started on time at 7:15 (thanks in no small part to stage manager colleen macisaac) with a guy named kyle mischiek for his first ever on stage performance. i'm not sure how he got in on this show, possibly through andrew mortimer's 'next big thing' talent co. some of this was good, and considering a first ever show a decent peformance. maybe hold the mic a little closer next time.
i've never heard of trax cordero. his delivery was good even if his voice is not yet fully polished. anyway, timing good, pitch could use a bit of work. also just learned he has a song on itunes now featuring brittany coombs. these guys also tie in to next big thing.
ah, ag the local motivation. i gotta hand it to this guy. i would normally be deterred by his unfortunate rap video and almost total lack of delivery. time to hit the lab and get your skills up. but for all of this, i want ag to win at this rap game. he has one of these personalities that makes him a complete natural on stage. it's endearing really. so let's see what happens over the course of a year.
as kind of an aside, my question here is where do the beats come from for all these guys? back in the day beats were kind of this rogue art but now everybody's got them (with autotune choruses and all of the fixins). do the guys from the dj scene provide anything to these guys?
initial aka ryan porter up next. played a good set, including one of my fav local rap tunes: what happened. ryan is behind glace bay label ini records, and also the bay boy clothing brand which has a bunch of killer designs.
mista mack next. he has been rapping for a lot of years now. performance was polished throughout with great timing and pitch. i swapped records with him at a show a few months ago. and i saw him before the set and he was like hey harry great record i just ripped it to my ipod. i was like thanks a lot man, guiltily thinking of his record, still in the shrink wrap on the dresser in my bedroom. i am sheepishly adding it to my itunes now. oh, and ripping onto the stage with the leather jacket diggs. classic.
quake is from halifax, and i am not familiar with his work. a polished performance promped me to consult google, who told me that he just put out a record with contributions by royce, choclair, and others. interesting. also props for playing a show with a sinus infection. god damn. is it just me or does halifax have a disproportionate amount of breakout rappers?
mischif next, probably the smoothest and most technical guy we got. good beats and interesting lyrics make his album come recommended. also, his anti rap fashion is amusing. ironic rap artist, prolific outputter.
i might mention that dj gary boudreau has been providing the back beats and intros for the whole show up to now. there has not been more than 2 minutes between acts so far, a 20 minute set by gary notwithstanding.
royal kush next. now with rob rushton on drums and jt mitchell on bass. this opens things up considerably for rap vet nokes who wins most original style. keep an eye out for rushton, who is getting scary good. the 70's funk thing gets old quickly for me, and jim's guitar tone leaves much to be desired. i would try using an amp. otherwise solid set.
ok now time for the big boys. swollen members rocked it. mad child gave one of the most interesting performances. this is an errie looking guy, older than his years perhaps. slamming vocals from all three of them will blow your head off.
royce da 5'9, of course, closes. and you may wonder what makes a guy like this world class. it's like making a movie. every word is hit correctly, and every word counts.
so all in all a good show that went off without a hitch. a lot of people went, and a lot of people got exposed to local music, which is good. especially people who don't typically attend shows.
as a bonus review.. bush da 5'9. where are you at? your flow is unrivaled. you have dropped off the face of the earth. or maybe you are still making mp3s, secretly.
update: just wanted to make a few things clear about this review. 1) if you are not familiar with locals, you may not understand how my reviews work. any critical remarks aren't intented to offend. this was a good show which i enjoyed throughout.. 2) i was working this show as a contractor. my views are mine alone, and do not represent the people at captive promotions.