DOM KENNEDY and SKEME at the Hoxton, Friday, January 31. Rating: NNN
Dom Kennedy's first visit to Toronto has been a long time coming - like, half a decade (the L.A. rapper's been on the scene since he dropped his 25th Hour mixtape in 2008). Accordingly, prior to showtime, the Hoxton lineup wrapped around the block.
Early-scheduled hip-hop shows are rarely, in fact, early, but because of another event at the venue later that evening, opener Skeme was slated to start at 8:30. He appeared on-time and performed a short engaging set to prime an already packed house. When Kennedy emerged, donning his classic L.A. Kings Gretzky jersey, he wasted little time with banter - a necessity since his set clocked in shy of an hour.
While material off his latest studio album Get Home Safely was received warmly (especially Still Callin' and the album's title track), people went nuts for songs from Kennedy's Yellow Album mixtape (My Type of Party, We Ball) - Pacific Coast driving music at its finest. It was nice to feel that, for a brief while, during harsh Toronto winter.
The only problem was the briefness. Kennedy's material is fun, easy and free-flowing and onstage his natural charisma and laid-back demeanour shine. With good vibes flowing, it sucked to have to snap out of it so soon. The crowd wasn't ready. On the upside, it won't be six years till we see him again. Kennedy promised to return in 2014 before telling everyone to get home safely.