Game Rebellion at SXSW 2007
Five Wonderful Moments in Austin:
Reminiscent of the amazing days of DJ Q-Bert, Shortkut and the rest of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz proving their world turntablist supremacy. For those who witnessed this spectacle, it was nothing short of transcendent. A-Trak isn't the only ill Canadian DJ.
2. Game Rebellion.
Damn, damn, damn. Best punk rock group of the show, and best new band I've seen this year so far. There is a song that remains unrecorded, and it is called "Off With Their Heads." Its brimstone-fiery, apocalyptic, slash-and-stab rhythm drilled into my head deeper than almost any rock song I've heard in ages. Their whole set was soul-piercing, like their hilarious crowd participation bit: "Put your 2's up! Two for Tupac! Two for peace! and V's for vagina!" This 7-piece black punk Rastafarian and African-American collective recreated Tupac Shakur's "Hail Mary," Jay-Z's "PSA" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Their own songs were something like Black Sabbath meets Bad Brains with some Slayer thrown in for good measure. As I said, I hear the future, and its name is Game Rebellion. I bought their disc, called Searching For Rick Rubin, and I must say, Rick would be a wise man to invest a mountain of money into these air-tight insaniacs. Discover them.
3. Pride Tiger.
There you are. Just walking down the street, when something grabs you by the ears, and doesn't let go. You are compelled by the force and the finesse of the music to not concentrate on your previous destination. Your attention is owned by some wyld stallyns on an excellent adventure that Dogstar could never create. I loved hearing Pride Tiger. I loved it twice as much when they said "we are from Vancouver." And their drummer/lead vocalist Mike was very pleasant to meet. I'm instantly a big fan. If their recorded stuff is anything like their show, it's over.
4. Eddie Blue.
Know the name. Know one of the next biggest blues guitarists of the future. I saw him with my own two eyes, this 11-year-old prodigy, cast a magic spell over all with the electric guitar that became an extention of his imagination. This kid is going places that haven't been imagined yet. Eddie Blue, I said. Eddie Blue.
5. Seeing Graph Nobel sing back up with Talib Kweli in front of thousands of party-goers in a huge field overlooking a peaceful river and plush foliage.
Her sweet and supple voice carried 'Get By' in a new way, and having Philadelphia's secret R&B jem Res sing along was just more honey on top of the icing on top of the cake. Toronto: best kept secret? For how much longer?
Five Disappointments in Austin:
1. Not seeing The Wailers.
I was just too burnt out on Saturday night to muster the strength to go experience the vibes inside this potentially monumental occasion. I know being burnt out seeing par for the course, but words cannot describe the level of energy one needs to take in all there is to offer at SXSW Austin.
2. The increasing police presence downtown on 6th St. every day of the festival. Bummer, dude.
3. Missing Del tha Funky Homosapien because of a lackadaisical cab driver (compounded by my own folly). I don't care if Del was a bit drunk and not at his highest energy, rappers like him are not appreciated and respected like they eternally should.
4. Missing B.O.B., rising Southern rap new jack.
I wanted to see if the hype on this guy was real or not. The Cool Kids weren't all that and a bag of coke, and I'm always ready willing and able to show love to the real thing when I hear it. I just don't rate a lot of these new school MCs because they don't have what it takes to make it last in rap, and just because the bar for standard lyricism has lowered so much in 2008, I'm not going to respect these fly-by-night pop ringtone rap sensations because they made some catchy dance or are super-rich off some endorsement deal or whatever. Values may have changed, but my standards haven't. These BET hits still can't compare to 'The Humpty Dance'.
5. Not seeing Melissa Young.
A beautiful girl promoting her debut album, her regular speaking voice was warm and melodic and her smile was magnetic. I read her song titles on her flyer, got intrigued by her natural confidence, but alas, I didn't make it to the show. As the guy in the colorful music memorabilia store said: "So much music, so little time."