My REVERB: Victor Shade Hollas Back, JFK Doesn't Draw, Hobosexual Slays, and I Swear Virgin Nearly Impregnated Me

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Ben Harwood of Hobosexual is the man hidden behind all that hair.
Let's get this out of the way, Hobosexual is a band that needs to be on your radar.

The duo of guitarist/vocalist Ben Harwood and drummer Jeff Silva showed a packed room inside a sweltering 2 Bit Saloon that they're more than simply a clever name. Not quite metal, not quite garage rock, the group is just one hairy, sweaty mass of amplifiers, drums and guitar that exudes the essence of rock 'n' roll. The band's raw and unpolished style is its secret weapon and it will leave you with your jaw on the floor. Rob Reiner didn't know it at the time, but Hobosexual is the reason why Spinal Tap's amps go to 11.

After witnessing that much rock the acoustic set by Lincoln Barr of Red Jacket Mine at Hattie's Hat provided a nice pallet cleanser. During "Showponies" a group of audience members provided Barr with some unplanned percussive accompaniment by hitting a table with their fists and clanging a glass of water with a knife. It was a charming and spontaneous moment that went over well in Hattie's cozy back room. Earlier during Barr's set a drunken female heckler shouted out that she'd never have the balls to get on stage and sing. He playfully sniped back by saying "I'm actually pretty sure you don't have any balls at all." Thankfully that comment shut her up because hearing Red Jacket Mine songs stripped down to their bare essentials is something that should go uninterrupted.

The colorful danceclub lighting and open space of the New York Fashion Academy made for a nice all-ages venue with a great atmosphere for the hip-hop it housed. Unfortunately for the musicians that performed there the venue was never really full. Or at least it seemed that way the three times I dropped in. Crowd size didn't seem to bother Sol who won over a sparse group of hesitant youngsters with his singles "Spliff" and "Dear Friends." Near the end of his set he performed a new song called "Need Your Love." Its backbone is a beat that wouldn't sound out of place on a Black Eyed Peas record. The youthful crowd ate it up and the once hesitant audience started to get its groove on.

JFK aka Ninjaface didn't fare as well in the crowd department. In fact, it would be tough to say he fared anything at all considering there were no more than 12 people in the room during his set and that included me and the five people on stage. However, that wasn't a reflection of JFK and his crew. Despite the poor turnout the group performed a passion that made if seem as if there were hundreds in the room, so kudos to you JFK aka Ninjaface.

After seeing some hip hop I headed to the Sunset to check out Virgin's brand of classic rock. Simply put, Virgin plays baby-making rock 'n' roll that's so full of sex appeal I swear it could've got me pregnant if I had the right parts. After an inspired solo that saw the guitarist hop on the bar and proceed to melt faces I moved to the back of the packed Sunset (which was at capacity) where I ran into Brent Amaker. We briefly chatted and then he made his way to the front stating:"I don't want to miss Virgin because this shit rocks." There you have it kids, straight from the cowboy's mouth.

Later in the evening Victor Shade picked things up at the New York Fashion Academy. Thankfully more than a dozen people were in the room. If I had to guess I'd say there were easily more than 100 on hand to watch Ra Scion spit his superhero rhymes. Those who came early witnessed Ra unleash a new song he debuted the night before while opening for Shabazz Palaces in Bellingham. The song includes the uncharacteristic chorus of "If you all about a dolla holla back bitch" and features a slick beat that had the kids hopping. After he finished Ra flashed a triumphant grin and stated the obvious: "Damn, ya'll are all like he said bitch." While anything using holla back in its hook smacks of Gwen Stefani, this song is fierce and just like everything else I saw at REVERB it definitely ain't harajuku girl material.

 
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