P Smoov, Slow Dance, The MC Type, Gomez
Rudy attempting to crowd surf to the bar (he didn't make it)
Friday Nov. 25th
Slow Dance has harnessed the infectious, beer-chugging kind of energy that Mad Rad first brought to the scene three years ago, and are going full-throttle at the moment. They have the "it" factor that makes young people flock to their shows, and tell their friends how awesome of a time they had when it's all said and done. Their approach is to challenge the audience to party at their level, and they set the bar pretty damn high. In the party-rap game, where performance is king, music can simply be the excuse to get up on stage and get crazy, and the spectacle can cover up a shaky foundation for a time. The gimmick can be fun, but unless the music can stand up on its own, it won't be sustainable. Luckily, Slow Dance has an extremely well-done debut album in Risk It All (out Friday), and looks like they've got all their bases covered.SD actually ended up playing second-to-last, with Mad Rad/Fresh Espresso music man P Smoov filling the headliner's spot with a supergroup live band set that featured drummer-about-town Trent Moorman on the kit, Wild Orchid Children/Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground guitarist Thomas Hunter, and Mad Rad's DJ Darwin. Seeing Smoov work an accomplished, less-shock-value set than he would have rocked a year or two ago really lent perspective to a night that saw Slow Dance officially take the Rowdiest Act on the Scene baton and run with it.
About those rowdy boys: Rudy (beats) and Murder Dice (raps) brought on a hype man (who's name I don't know) for their set, an addition that has cheapened many good hip hop sets, but actually worked here. Having somebody there to ground the performance freed Rudy up so he could be the wild man that he's supposed to be. While Murder Dice was on his job, firing his cool left-field rhymes over the top of Rudy's heavy space-slap production, Rudy was alternately crowd surfing in an inflatable Sea-Doo raft and giving himself beer showers. At one point, he lit an over-sized (I'm talking the better part of a foot) Zippo-style lighter and tried to ignite one of the stars-and-stripes balloons (there were tons of balloons and it was awesome) he had on stage, which caught the attention of a security guard who took Rudy aside momentarily for a talking-to. Rudy then expressed his understanding by launching himself into the crowd.
With balloons, fog machines, rubber boats and the works, the atmosphere was somewhere between New Year's Eve and the last night of Spring Break. It was a fucking rager of a party, and it happened to have a killer soundtrack.