When I go to a hip hop show I look for a few things. I look for a variety of styles, energy, and passion. A good artist will get you clapping, a great artist will inspire you with his or her passion. Luckily living in the twin cities we have a lot of great artists. On August 2nd was the Wesley Opus CD release show at Honey in Northeast. It definitely didn’t disappoint when it came to variety, energy, and passion. Especially when hosted by the one and only Ernest Rhodes and featured I Colossus, Vision the Kid, and Crunchy Kid while Katie Kroeck painted.
Andre Mariette, founder and owner of Crucible Records, was spinning before the start of the show. He played a lot of local artists, including a bunch of Prof, but he also threw in a lot of other music which kept it super fun and us on our toes. After that Ernest Rhodes stepped up to the stage and announced that he was going to do something other than hip hop to start us off. And, wow, he sure did. The DJ started playing Echo and the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” and Ernest started singing. As a rapper he doesn’t normally get to flex his vocal chords so it was awesome when he the falsetto notes. Who knew he had that in him?! And of course he just had to air drum along with the song.
By the time the first act came on, I Colossus, the crowd was promising, about 40 or more people were there and as varied as the MPLS music scene itself. It was an 18+ show so there were young and old (by that I mean late 30′s though that really isn’t old) alike. There were also a few local artists that were there right away including Moonlight Grammar and FDR, who has a CD release show at Cause on the 31st.
So here comes I Colossus. As they start their first song the girl next to me exclaims “I love this song” and darts up to the front of the crowd. The band was undoubtedly dancey, poppy, and energetic. it may not be my favorite music but they sure had fun and got the crowd moving. I will say that I give them mad props for musicianship as well. The singer played the guitar, the bassist played the drum machine, and the keyboardist had a crazy setup and also played the guitar. If you dig indie electronic music, go see them, you’ll like them.
By this time there were a bunch more people there and folks were starting to loosen up. Probably because of the amount of alcohol that was being served, which makes me wonder why MPLS isn’t the drunkest city in the nation. I started to see more notables from the scene show up as well, such as Levi Leviticus, Bobby Phisher. Botzy of Culture Cry Wolf, Sophia Eris, and none other than Big Zach.
Vision the Kid was next up. He walked on stage with a ‘fuck it’ attitude, but ‘fuck it’ like let’s have a damn good time and party. He had a great flow and was very passionate on stage. The beats were great and I really loved the first song, especially when he talked about hipsters not being able to zip up their pants because they were too tight. I thought it was appropriate for the evening. The crowd ate up his party jams and went crazy when he performed “Live from the Midwest” which he just did a music video for on his last tour. Before he got off stage he said a few ‘I love you’s’ and hollered at the other performers. He also made sure that people were grabbing up his free CD’s, and also took the time to make sure I got them. Isn’t that nice?
So then Ernest Rhodes gets back on stage and graced us with a song he has never done live. It’s called ‘Time Machine’ and it sure was a treat to be able to see him perform a brand new song, complete with a revised second verse. The crowd loved it and pleaded for another track. Instead, Ernest welcomed Crunchy Kids to the stage.
What I can tell you right now is that I love it when hip hop is performed with a live band. There is just such a great energy that comes from it. Crunchy Kids delivered it. They had a fantastic mixture of what seemed like blues, classic jazz, and reggae, all mixed successfully to give a unique hip hop style. I’ve never seen a bass player that moved to the music like theirs did. The energy and passion spilled into the crowd which packed as close as possible to the stage. They had two vocalists that played so well off one another that it was hard not to dance and just plain have fun while they were on stage. With every song they played the crowd got more pumped and danced more too. It may have been the alcohol, but I’d like to say it was the great music. They got an encore so they decided to play us a newer song and absolutely killed it.
After that came the reason we were there. For Wesley Opus. Most of the people were outside getting cancer but as soon as the music started they rushed back inside and crowded the stage. He started with a feel good song that seemed pretty true to a lot of MPLS’s hip hop roots. I will also say that he is one of the most articulate artists I’ve seen, even live, which you can’t always say about live hip hop, or any other music for that matter. Throughout the show Wesley and his DJ had everyone’s hands up and folks were dancing and having a blast. When he performed the single from the Best Love is Free I know I couldn’t help dancing and singing along because I do love that song. They did encounter some technical difficulties, however, they kept the crowd entertained, and picked up on a different song, no hesitation. Everyone seemed to love the set and at the end Wesley was very generous with his ‘thank you’s’ to the performers, the crowd, and to Ernest Rhodes for hosting.
I have to say, it’s pretty rewarding to be able to know a lot of local artists on a personal level because then I get to see what kind of people they truly are, and I can tell you, they really appreciate all the support they get. They are forever grateful for they love they get from their friends, fans, and other musicians in the area. The support for music in MPLS is unparalleled by any city I’ve ever lived in which is one of the reasons I love it so much here.
Hope you enjoyed!! And if you have any questions please feel free to shoot an e-mail to MinnieApple@catiblog.com