Scholars2.jpg
Nick Feldman
Blue Scholars broke out their classic cuts at the Paramount.
Blue Scholars, Macklemore, etc.

The Paramount

Wednesday, Oct. 20

Some of Seattle's biggest

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Blue Scholars and Macklemore Shine In the Spotlight at the Paramount Theatre Last Night

Scholars2.jpg
Nick Feldman
Blue Scholars broke out their classic cuts at the Paramount.
Blue Scholars, Macklemore, etc.

The Paramount

Wednesday, Oct. 20

Some of Seattle's biggest hip-hop stars took the stage at the Paramount last night and they all shined brightly in the spotlight at the historic and regal venue.

Anchored by scene stalwarts Blue Scholars the nearly five-hour concert was as much a celebration of how far the scene has come as it was a positive indicator of where it could go. The show felt like a celebration of local hip hop where the whole city was invited, whereas last year's Go! Machine shows at the Crocodile (which were unfortunately canceled this year) felt like parties strictly for scenesters. It was an all-ages show which added to the citywide celebration vibe and also created a palpable enthusiasm and energy for the show. The youthful crowd also likely helped with ticket sales, as the Paramount was nearly at capacity.

The 90-minute set by the Scholars set mixed old and new material from Geologic and Sabzi's catalog with older hip-hop heads and kids in their teens rapping along to Geo's every word. A very animated Sabzi stepped out from behind the ones and twos several times to act as both hype-man and awestruck performer commenting on the elegance of the venue and the importance of local hip hop headlining the theatre. During the set he flipped both Owl City and Modest Mouse, making them sound as natural with the Scholars' music as they do within their own pop genres.

New material from the upcoming Cinematropolis made the set but the highlight was hearing classics like "Inkwell" and "The Ave." being blared by the Paramount's soundsystem. At times the bass was so loud it seemed like the gilded crown molding might crack. There were a few guests during the set including the Massive Monkeys and Bambu during "Slow Down." Geo and Sabzi seemed both happy and humbled by the show.

Macklemore1.jpg
Nick Feldman
Macklemore and his dancers 'The Mackelrettes"
Prior to Blue Scholars and a set by Minneapolis' Brother Ali, Macklemore delivered the best performance of the night. Anyone who doubts he will be the next big thing to come out of Seattle's hip-hop scene (if there is such thing as a big thing that's come out of the burgeoning scene) should've seen his set. Accompanied by violinist Andrew Joslyn, trumpeter Owour Arunga and DJ/producer Ryan Lewis, Mack received the biggest response of the night and nearly outperformed the headliners. Celebrating the release of the Vs Redux EP which includes remixes by Fences, P Smoov, Jake One, Sabzi and more, he masterfully prowled the stage with passion and intensity.

Macklemore gave a genuine thank you mid-set, sharing his vulnerability with the crowd by telling them that a year ago while living in his parents' basement recovering from addiction he was "scared as fuck to put out any music." Two cuts from the new release made the set list including Sabzi's "The Town" and the Fences remix of "Otherside." For the latter Chris Mansfield's prerecorded vocals were played. Macklemore finished off the set by crowdsurfing during "Irish Celebration" and earlier he broke out his British alter ego Raven Bowie for "And We Danced." The performance proved Macklemore is hands down the city's best showman.

Earlier in the night Fresh Espresso was in fine grime and glamour form. As expected, Glamour tracks like "The Lazerbeams" and "Diamond Pistols" were included in the set, but the standouts were by far the b-side "Bedroom," new cut "Green Windows" and the aggressive financial anthem "Gettin Money." Mash Hall opened with a set that was filled with energy but unfortunately only lasted a brief 25 minutes.

The crowd: A spirited and youthful all-ages bunch. Lots of teens, which is a good sign for the future health of hip-hop in The Town.

Overheard: "That's the KOMO 4 guy. Steve Pool," shrieked by an excited teenage girl at the merch booth who purchased one of Macklemore's My City's Filthy shirts.

Random notebook dump:Macklemore threw his Air Jordans in the crowd after "My Nikes" and fans scrambled to get a shoe, Who would want one of Macklemore's shoes? I know it's an Air Jordan, but what are you going to do with a single Air Jordan? And to quote Austin Powers, 'Who throws a shoe?'

Good use of technology: The Blue Scholars brought a laptop on stage with a webcam and broadcast their set live on Ustream. "When we first started at UW everything we did was homemade," Sabzi told the crowd. "So we figured it would be cool to dome something homemade here. A homemade TV show."

Scholars1.jpg
Nick Feldman
Blue Scholars

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Nick Feldman
Macklemore
 
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