Posted on August 28, 2017
Sometimes, when I go to a show with BRZOWSKI on the bill, I expect a dark and stormy night. Saturday wasn’t particularly dark or stormy, but for the sake of narrative I’ll roll with it.
It was a dark and stormy night at the Space Gallery. I had finished my shift at the hospital and had raced home to file paperwork and change before coming back into town. Walking up the street, I kept getting messages from a certain Kid Kai, asking where I was and how much longer it would take me to arrive.
I walked into Space to an interior that was dark with lighter lines tracing boxes on the wall. Combined with the lighting, I felt that I was almost in a trip “Tron” movie. Maybe I was still anxious, but the mood felt heavy like a cloud ready to burst. I grabbed a drink and set my white balance while listening to the moody music in the background.
I had missed the introduction, but I want to say that Quiet Entertainer had started us off. Lights from a projector beamed on their face as their beats floated through my ears and eyes. I don’t believe I’ve photographed anybody with a projected image on them, and it’s making me curious about how to utilize it in the future.
Myles stepped up next. Along with a couple of friends to accompany him, he laid out candles and set up shop. I wish I had better pictures of the set, but just watching them play in the darkness was entertaining and being forced to listen instead of see held me in the moment.
Stay on Mars hopped up as per usual. Watching him start to get his set down pat has been interesting, sometimes when I think I’ve been over saturated, he surprises me with something I hadn’t noticed before. I’d tell all you guys but maybe ya’ll should just watch all his performances for yourselves… On Greater Good, he pulled Kid Kai and Sarah Violette into the mix and it was amazing, honestly. I hadn’t seen Kai in awhile and watching her with Sarah was something I didn’t know I needed.
Spoken Nerd stepped up to the stage next and played his own unique sounds for us all. He was entertaining and humorous and I loved his set. Watching his piece with Ceschi was amazing, and fun and I don’t want to type it out because it will get stuck in my damn head again. And now it’s back so I guess being a big guy isn’t all that bad.
To everybody who decided not to watch Ceschi, I’m sorry for you. I’m relatively new to hip hop and everything is new and I feel severely uneducated but how have I never heard Ceschi before? That’s a damn crime honestly. He filled the room with his voice and listening to him perform acoustically was mind altering. The emotion and energy flowing from him will never be done justice by the photographs I grabbed that evening. Portland, you missed out.
The night became dark and stormy as BRZOWSKI with VINYL CAPE got onto the stage. Maybe it’s because the first time I saw VINYL CAPE, it was October, but it just reminds me that fall is coming. Their sound, at times aggressive, comical, and haunting, always catches me off guard. Just when I think I’ve heard everything, BRZOWSKI blows my mind again, with his observations.
I was exhausted and barely remember the trip home, the Burger King I ate, and getting tucked into bed before being woken up for work at 6am the next morning. I was completely fried and I’m sure if it wasn’t for my awesome coworkers that day, I would’ve been done for. As it stands, it was all completely worth it.
Posted on August 17, 2017
Let me start off this post by asking a question, how far will thirty dollars take you? It could get you a pizza and drinks, maybe a new outfit, but what if that’s all you had? I’m gonna back this up a little bit.
Wednesday in Washington D.C, was bright, it was hot, and it was humid. My hair clung to the back of my dress that stuck to my back. I vacillated between feeling like I was in a sauna and being plunged into the freezing depths of the air-conditioned museums.
What does this have to do with the Monkey House in Vermont? I’m getting there, I promise. After a fun filled tour of the museums, Zack and I made plans to grab a cold drink, wait out rush hour and drive back. We started to walk towards a small market when I heard the words one never wants to hear in a major city. “Have you seen my debit card?”
We backtracked, we searched, nothing. Zack cancelled his card and then we sat; and we sat some more. I was kinda stumped; what happens now? I had to be in Portland, Zack had to be in Vermont.
This wasn’t good, I checked my balance, thirty dollars. I had frolicked a little too hard on this trip, I had thirty dollars. Oof. Okay, we can transfer funds, that’s no big deal, how long does that take? Oh, just 24hrs or so, give or take. We had camping equipment, and we had food in the trunk, so that’s okay. It’s just a matter of exactly how far thirty dollars will take a pair of untalented buskers?
So how far? Just a little bit outside of Gettysburg. We made it to Pennsylvania and camped in a forest. I was sick, and feeling pretty deflated, defeated, and maybe it was the effect of having a war memorial so close, but I couldn’t stop thinking “Will I ever see home?”
Bright daylight greeted us in the morning and we started driving once the funds became available. We weren’t going to make it to Maine in time, so we made a stop at the Monkey House.
Vermont is close to Maine, it feels like Maine, add in Lake Champlain and it feels like home. The Monkey House immediately felt like home. I entered the venue feeling like Odysseus returning to Ithaca, minus killing all the suitors trying to marry my wife, so maybe that’s a poor example.
I was greeted by a horde of familiar faces; DJ Myth, Ben Shorr, Taylor the infamous Linck, Jarv, Eyenine, Hate Ph34r, and honestly, the list goes on. Everybody was happy and it felt like the previous day had been a dream. Maybe I felt a little more like Dorothy, than Odysseus?
We wrapped up the trip by having an enjoyable night, beer was cheap and friends were on fire (lit?). The lighting was great, and I really hope I get invited down again. I am honestly so happy to finally share all this with you guys out there!
Posted on August 12, 2017
Picking up where I left off, we arrived in Roanoke, VA. Driving down the highway, I was reminded of what a beautiful area Virginia is. The sun filtered through the leaves on the trees, and the heat was cut by a soft breeze as the hills rolled by our little car.
Arriving at the Coffee Pot, I realized that I had misjudged Roanoke. Driving down, I was under the impression that Roanoke was small, sleepy, maybe a little like Portland. Roanoke is surprisingly urban and the Coffee Pot was nestled on what felt like an outer edge of the city. It’s a historic place, and the building resonates with character. The walls were covered in pictures of visiting acts and eclectic pieces including the hind quarters of a deer jutting from the wall.
Walking in, we were greeted by Casey Jaffa and Poe Mack. I was not suspecting this because I am woefully uninformed and should probably read our itinerary a little more. They run a tight show down here, it was one of the more packed shows that we attended on tour.
Posted on August 10, 2017
Next up, Rhode Island! We arrived in the late afternoon and set up at a little campground about 20 minutes or so north of Providence.
Driving in was a little confusing and led to some heated discussions and foul language delivered to our less than trustworthy GPS system.
After hiding my gear in the trunk, Zack and I explored a little of Providence. Like most New England cities, there were many brick buildings overlooking scenic water views.
We made our way to Psychic Readings around 8 and set up shop. The art space was eclectic and for lack of a better word, cool. Zack put up his Martian exhibit and went to get some Mars Bars from the trunk. He came back inside and asked me where the cooler was. I realized at this moment that our cooler must be on some sidewalk in Providence, since I had moved things around to hide my gear.
Not gonna lie, I was slightly emotional but Zack assured me that life goes on and it was a cheap cooler from Walmart anyways. The Mars Bars imported from Canada however….
Onto the show; We started things off with James Grant. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see so many familiar faces last night. The whole night felt like Monday of the Minds.
Anyways, James. JG on the mic brought everybody in and set the mood for the night. He was in charge of his space and owned the mic. Watching James grow over the last few shows has been an experience to say the least.
Peace Out Pat came up next. I was so happy to see Pat, he’s been absent from the last few shows and his presence has been missed. His beats remeniscient of the SNES, matched the scenery of the venue and brought levity to the night. Come Back Pat!
Stay On Mars was almost a little subdued. I suppose he was missing the Mars Bars. That said, he delivered, bringing his atmospheric brand of hip hop to an eager audience.
Up next we had Pink Navel. I had met Pink Navel at a previous MOTM about a month or so ago and I was happy to hear them again. Sporting a Hamtaro backpack and a wry wit, I really enjoyed his performance.
Jesse The Tree was an interesting fellow. Earlier, I believe he said something about sampling Spongebob and I laughed it off. After hearing his set, I honestly think he may have a track somewhere that does in fact sample Spongebob. He was at times funny and serious with a sense of humor that carried his set. I can’t wait to see him at a future MOTM.
After all this, I was starting to fade and fast. My tent was calling my name and I realized I would be thankful for my pillow and the hard, cold ground after this long day. The night wasn’t over though. Next up we had Drent and Illiterate Wordsmith. They killed their set and alarmed my camera as they explored the entire venue with their performances.
I will admit, I dozed off for a bit, there was a lovely couch in the back and the temptation was too hard to resist. Thankfully, everybody was more than understanding and I don’t think I snored.
We closed up the shop as we were surprised by a visitor; Eric Ruckus of the New England Zulu Nation. Stay On Mars and Ruckus are collaborating on The 5th Annual Maine Hip Hop Summit this August and it was nice to have a meeting of the minds. Seriously, everybody should check out the Summit next weekend!
After all this, we were exhausted and tried to find a Wendys to no avail, thanks to our lovely GPS (seriously, we need a real one, this is old.). Eventually, we got back to our tent a little after 2am and guess what? On the picnic table there was a very familiar looking cooler with some Mars Bars in it.
And so it goes.
Posted on August 9, 2017
Yesterday was one hell of a ride. Zack and I started our days by realizing that not everything ever goes according to plan. When we finally packed up and reached our campground in Andover, MA, it was 7:30 and night was coming on fast.
Luckily, thanks to a few nights alone on the first leg of the tour down to Brooklyn, Zack was a pro at setting up the tent. I worked to get food on the table while also eyeing the clouds and our slightly moldy, slightly wet tent. After eating a quick camp meal consisting of potatoes and sausage, we made our way to the Ward 6 Social Club.
The club was situated on a dimly lit street in Lawrence, MA. At first, I was sure we had taken a really wrong turn, this felt really residential and our GPS was on the fritz. After a few tense moments we finally found it and parked down the street.
When we made our way indoors, I was instantly reminded of the Griffin Club in South Portland. The bar had a homey feel with local people and cheap beer ($1?!?). We met up with our group that consisted of Graphic Melee, Fellbane, and Murka before making our way down dimly lit stairs to the basement.
The basement was large and the walls were painted to resemble a watermelon; splashes of green or pink on the alternating background. There were a few people playing pool and entertaining themselves with small talk. We set up and got started.
Doc Pliffington greeted us in the basement. He is an interestering person. Larger than life, he has a charismatic smile and big ambitions for his Tuesday nights. His hope is to show the community that there is fun to be had in a safe space. He was friendly and set things off with a few of his tunes.
Not everynight is jam-packed. It is always important to remember this and to also not let this impact your performance. True to form, I was proud of our little group. We brought an action packed line-up and decimated the mic. I believe that it says a lot about a performer when they can bring it, regardless of the size of the audience.
I am proud of the showing that we made. Fellbane stepped out of his comfort zone and performed a few written tracks for what I believe may be the first time. Grabbing the wireless mic, he bounded up the stairs like a hyperactive wolf, telling everybody what they were missing out on. I’m actually pretty amazed by how far that mic travelled without any sort of feedback. I’m also impressed by how far Jake can run and freestyle at the same time, I know I would sound pathetic, wheezing and grunting after just half as many stairs.
Murka played a few new songs that featured some beats from our very own James Grant. He also played some oldies on some Peace Out Pat beats.
Graphic Melee really brought the house down with the first half of his new album “From Ashes”. Honestly if anybody has time to listen to his album, I really recommend it.
I may be partial, but Stay On Mars was an absolute joy to listen to as always. His vibes brought a whole different atmosphere to the night. I heard at least one new song that I haven’t heard before and I hope to hear it again on this tour (hint hint).
Overall, This wasn’t a bad start to my leg of the tour. It should have been on a Monday night.
Posted on August 6, 2017