Concert Reviews

JMBLYA Fest Helped Dallas High Schoolers Kick Off Summer with a Bang

Deep Ellum Outdoors, Dallas
Friday, June 19, 2015

ScoreMore Shows' JMBLYA Fest, in conjunction with Dallas organization Support Our Students, gave out 200 free tickets to high schoolers to attend the student-oriented festival last Friday. In honor of the occasion, we invited one recent high school graduate, Xavier Freeman of Dallas Skyline High School, to write a review of the festival. Then we sent regular contributor H. Drew Blackburn to check out the after party, hosted by at Ash Studios. Here's what they found. — The Editor

The festival:

JMBLYA 2015 was my first ever music festival. I was more than elated when my mentor Taylor Toynes, a teacher at Bushman Elementary School in Oak Cliff, told me about the opportunity to attend. When I arrived to the festival I did not know what to expect. I saw things going on all over the place while rapper Mick Jenkins controlled the crowd: There were food trucks, merch tables and drink stands. Other concert attendees, mostly around my age, ran back and forth around the dusty lot across from Epocha on Elm St. where the festival was set up. 

After I was given a brief rundown of the layout of the festival I was eager to explore. The energy in the festival was great, but I believe that the artists playing at JMBLYA were great as well. I was able to see some of the best up-and-coming musical talents in the country. I initially thought that Flatbush Zombie set the tone for the show until Travis Scott came out and kicked things up a notch. It was fun to see how the artists engaged the crowd and  kept everyone excited throughout the show.The heat was blistering, but that wasn't enough to deter people from raging and vibing to the great performances taking place.

JMBLYA was a great experience and I am thankful that I was able to attend and represent Skyline High School. I believe that the location of the concert was perfect. There is just something special about seeing Vic Mensa perform "Co-Co Butter Kisses” with the backdrop of the Dallas skyline behind the stage. Overall I could not have asked more from JMBLYA, but if I had one critique it is that not many of my friends were informed about the festival. I asked many of them if they had heard about the festival and only a handful knew about it. Next year I believe the show should be marketed more to the DISD high schools so that these students could enjoy what I experienced. XF
The after party:

There was Vic Mensa, holding a huge handle of Tanqueray gin and rapping “Faneto” to a friend in Ash Studio’s backyard. He was gesticulating and knew every single word, which of course he did because it’s a song by fellow Chicagoan, Chief Keef. Throughout the night starstruck fans circled by and talked to him. I thought about introducing myself, telling him I’ve been a fan since his proto-jazz-rap-fusion band Kids These Days, then grilling him about the garbage line — ”But, if she bad, might hit a bitch in an elevator like Ray Rice” — from his new single, “U Mad.” I didn’t, because we were all here to have fun, and fun was had. The social justice warrior in me drowned with each sip of trash can punch.

A good chunk of the performers at JMBLYA ended up coming through to Ash Studios for 16.Bars.XXX’s after party. I saw PartyNextDoor with a du-rag on. Apparently G-Eazy was there blending. Travi$ Scott had a huge entourage that walked through the place like a Soul Train Line of assholes. Scott played a new song, “Antidote,” that ended up being officially released Sunday night. It’s a fun song and elicited a strong reaction just from being played by on speakers, so should absolutely light a crowd on fire in a live setting. Alas, it sounded quite familiar, like the work of another artist, as Travi$ Scott songs tend to do. He’s a brilliant cover band.

The main event was of course Metro Boomin’s DJ set. If you aren’t familiar, Metro Boomin is one of rap’s current it-producers. Metro Boomin is responsible for a slew of tracks like Travi$ Scott’s “Mamacita,” Future’s “Honest” and “Karate Chop.” His set on the one’s and two’s was a great party facilitator and he played hit after hit. It’s not too often you have a house party where one of the hottest producers in rap plays modern masterpieces (“Codeine Crazy” has to be registered by the Library of Congress as soon as possible). But hell, it happened on Friday and it was a helluva time.  HDB

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H. Drew Blackburn
Xavier Freeman