Friday, August 3, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Monday, February 28, 2011

Fake Four Fest at Echoplex 2/24/11

The Echoplex served as the platform for an epic event in independent hip hop history Thursday night. Fake Four Fest was poppin with a diverse line up of 14 different artists. It all kicked off at 6pm so by about 11pm the crowd was pretty sloppy (along with some of the rappers too.)

K-the-I??? was wrapping up his set at about 7pm following Open Mike Eagle and Mad Gregs. DJ Factor and Gregory Pepper are the two parts that make up Common Grackle who graced the stage next. Gregory rocked out on the Korg and keys and belted out lyrics ala James Murphy while DJ Factor laid down the booming backbeats. They will meet you at the intersection of indie and hip hop whenever you want.

Common Grackle

Next up was Philly native ICON The Mic King who’s super energetic set got the crowd all stirred up and ready to pop. He did this found object freestyle where he asked people in the crowd to hand items up on stage after he tied a t-shirt around his eyes. ICON The Mic King proceeded to flow effortlessly about chapstick, a tampon, someone’s boot, Vaseline, and an empty can of beer. A great party trick!

The multi-instrumentalist Cars and Trains from Portland slowed things down a bit, which lost some interest from the masses. He still provided a killer set banged out with loops of acoustic guitar, MPC, xylophone, a melodica (keyboard harmonica), and his trusted Mac. Watching him create the sound is half of the fun and he is incredibly talented to boot.

Dark Time Sunshine brought a new tangible energy to the stage. Onry Ozzborn of Grayskull was backed by Chicago based producer Zavala and they came together seamlessly. Like lyrical velvet lyered on top of a bed of electro sci-fi fat drum & bass beats. The crowd was quickly enamored with Dark Time Sunshine.

Dark Time Sunshine

The night really started to take off when Ceschi & Anonymous Inc. hit the stage. Ceschi Ramos founder of Fake Four Inc. record label sat in a chair with a guitar and was backed by a full band. He is the man that orchestrated the Fake Four Fest and anyone can see how much he loves music when you watch him play. Ceschi’s abilities as a singer, songwriter, and rapper are apparent if you pay attention to the epic tales he spins with each song.

Ceschi & Anonymous Inc.

Gregory Pepper, AWOL One, and Ceschi

“I came up from San Diego just to see Astronautalis” a girl in the crowd said as she pushed her way up to the front. His rich, thick and raspy vocals are reminiscent of Tom Waits. Seattle based Charles Bothwell’s spastic spirit moves his dedicated followers as he shakes and gyrates across the stage. Incredible passion pours out of him while rapping in a screeching preacher-like style.


Sole and The Skywriter band killed it. You can pretty much always count on Sole for a thought provoking and emotionally charged show. He definitely delivered. By the end of his set it looked like he had just stepped out of the shower. He was drenched in sweat and left a little piece of himself with the fans that night.

The Shape Shifters are skilled at commanding a crowd and pumping them full of electric energy. They almost make it look easy. The whole crew jumped around on stage feverishly rappin their hearts out. Talent and style are limitless with these guys. At about 1:00a.m. the crowd was chompin at the bit waiting for Freestyle Fellowship.

The Los Angeles legends of independent hip hop were on fire when they hit the stage. Their set wasn’t very long, but they left everything they had up on the stage that night. You can tell that Freestyle Fellowship is bound like brothers when you watch the dynamic show they put on. Their lyrics filled the air as fans sang along to every word.

And as quickly as it began, it was over. People abruptly poured out of the Echoplex as soon as Freestyle Fellowship wrapped up. If you missed this event then you were sleepin. Make sure you get to the next Fake Four Fest. Hopefully there will be another one soon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Har Mar Superstar and P.O.S. at Satellite 2/18/11

It was one of those rare rainy Friday nights in Los Angeles, but we decided to head out to Spaceland (now known as Satellite) in spite of our innate Angelino fear of precipitation. The main objective was to see Twin Cities native POS or Pissed Off Stef (Stephan Alexander) who is a part of the Rhymesayers Entertainment family and a founding member of the Doomtree label/collective.

P.O.S. is a Minneapolis native with musical roots planted in punk rock. After an initial hostility towards hip-hop, Stefon quickly graduated to rap as a musical expression and outlet. POS has an alternative approach to hip hop music. Sampling punk rock bands and drum & bass loops masterfully mixed into diverse beats with luscious lyrics laid on thick.

Har Mar Superstar was the other main act that night and he is holdin down a residency at Satellite until the end of February. Minnesota born Sean Tillman is Har Mar Superstar. A live band made up of a local guitar player, bassist, and drummer backed him on stage. Sean looks like a mix between a young Ron Jeremy and Jon Lovitz, the antithesis of a leading man. And in spite of his looks he has an incredible commanding presence and a confidence that is apparent with each note he hits.

Har Mar Superstar

Little did we know that this Jackson 5 inspired soul funk deliciousness would wind up with Har Mar Superstar parading around in his Paul Frank briefs. Jumping back and forth between humping the speakers and waving his junk in the faces of those in the front row. Super danceable, fun, and incredibly entertaining all together. And surprisingly, the ladies (and the fellas) love Har Mar!

Har Mar Superstar

Har Mar Superstar was a tough act to follow, but P.O.S. and Mike Mictlan of Doomtree were headlining that night. They bounced around on stage and basically took turns doing their own songs as well as a few together. Their emotionally charged lyrics were captivating and the crowd was singing the songs as soon as the beat dropped. Large grins graced the faces of P.O.S. and Mike Mictlan while they could tell they were amongst the diehard fans that night. They knocked it out the park and left everyone wanting more.

P.O.S. and Mike Mictlan

P.O.S. is in LA finishing up a new album this week. Hopefully this means that he will be touring again soon when the album drops. If you’re a fan of underground or alternative hip hop, you will love P.O.S. In the meantime check out P.O.S.’s last two albums “Never Better” and “Audition.” If you‘re up for something funkalicious, fun and almost comedic, you should go check out Har Mar Superstar with the debut of Samantha Ronson’s live band this Friday September 25. This will close out Har Mar Superstar’s residency at Satellite (Spaceland.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yelawolf, Das Racist, Rob Roy and The 87 Stick Up Kids at the Echoplex Feb 2, 2010

Photo by Lee Shaner at

First off, if you have never been to the Echoplex (below The Echo) you should hit up a show there for sure. It’s a way better stage set up and layout than The Echo in my opinion. The Echoplex is a really rad smaller venue to catch some up and coming artist before they blow up and start playing at Staples Center.

So the 87 Stick up kids kicked it off with a super dynamic set. I had seen them once before at Crazy Girls in Hollywood and that was when I fell in love with the boys. They are explosive on stage and have an incredibly infectious energy. The bass is always loud & thick and makes me wanna shake my booty. Not to mention the clever lyrics and stylish flow delivered by Squish, Deacon, Nashville and DJ Rockwell. The three strippers on stage were like the cherry on top.

Rob Roy slowed things down a bit with a more soul filled R&B flavor in his slick ass suit. The live drummer gave a special pop and flare to his presence. His voice is like warm honey layered over some sexy beats.

Having heard a lot about Das Racist, this was the first time I was hearing them. They were good, but they seemed a bit tired or drunk or something. Their producer, Diplo, was up on stage reppin and dancin. Their quick-witted lyrics were crackin me up. You could tell Himanshu Kumar Suri, Victor Vazquez and Ashok Kondabolu were having fun.

And finally Yelawolf came on stage with mad photographers crowding the side of the stage to snap a shot of this crazy talented Alabama native. His flow is fast like a Chevy and smooth like whisky, two of Yela’s favorite things. You can feel the “Heart of Dixie” reach out, shake you up and pull you right into Catfish Billy’s world. Everyone was throwin their hands up, singing along and shakin their moneymakers. His distinctive southern drawl is hypnotic and makes your skin tingle. Yelawolf’s raw style and unapologetic lyrics are what set him apart from other rappers and put him somewhere close to Eminem. It's no wonder that he just signed with Shady Aftermath.

If you didn’t catch him in LA you can still cop tickets to the show in Costa Mesa at the Detroit bar Feb. 3 on (see post below.)

Check it out on TicketWeb - Yelawolf at Detroit Bar on 02/03/11

Check it out on TicketWeb - Yelawolf at Detroit Bar on 02/03/11