B Real, Bizzy Bone, Smooth Vega, Qween $ching & Clark Perry, SKS, Steve Victory.
June 20, 2009
Better than: just slowin' down in an Escalade to peep.
Live hip-hop is what it is: Pound-for-pound against traditional live music, it's a step-sister of the karaoke family--vocals set to a recording.
It's a crapshoot, at best, for how entertaining it's going to be. And this night was, no matter how you slice it, a bad night for live hip-hop.
Or so it seemed at first.
At nearly 1 a.m., after four acts warmed up the small crown (and not a single headliner was anywhere in site), Purgatory's "Hell" room cleared out frighteningly quick, and the DJ began filling the void of delay with turntable songs for an uncomfortable amount of time.
Turns out, B-Real had canceled his performance--and, when Bizzy Bone arrived, he took his act upstairs, to the already-crowded "Heaven" level of the club, treating that room's club patrons to a free performance--whether they wanted it or not. A drink-in-hand, impromptu performance, starring a parade of collaborators... and the crowd went wild.
Earlier, the opening acts were sentenced to start in the tinty echo of the "Hell" level, to a sparse, unenthusiastic crowd. But, by 1:30, Bizzy, following a brief, impromptu live set upstairs, had taken the charge back down "Hell" (Oh, sweet irony..), and finally drawn a crowd of people in that room.
He hosted a re-presentation of practically every artist on the bill--at breakneck speed, too.
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In short, the star of Bone Thugs 'N Harmony came through in fine form, and delivered a professional, cutting set of good lyric-spittin' groove--even continuing to perform through the menace of last-call house lights.
No bones about it, Bizzy saved this event from certain disaster. He led a high-pressure, last-minute showcase that was actually entertaining. And was well worth the wait.
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By The Way: SKS stood out among the openers, with a notable and threatening drive in delivery. Worth closer inspection, I'd say.
Random note: Sad to see this show fall to (circumstance) relocation, and relegated to Purgatory, instead of the top notch production--and wide open space--of The Max. It could have truly been an all around good night in its original venue.