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Thursday, February 23, 2017

How do you HipHop

This is not just a post about a performance, but a little sneak peek behind the scenes of the Austin Hip Hop Awards (AHHA). I am very proud to have been behind the scenes and part of it as a contributor.



So here is a quick insight to the process. The decision was made on what dates were to be included for the award nominations from the prior year to current. The link was then opened up to nominations for each of the categories. Once the nominations were closed the next step was to sort through the nominations for what was legit, and what was shit. Some clowns out there just made up stuff as a nomination - not a real group, performer, or even part of hip hop or Austin. Once all the bogus stuff was tossed out this is where the committee I was on came in.

We had the task of setting up what would go out to the web for voting. For example, did the nomination qualify in that category? There were a lot of one off nominations to be sorted through for validity and worthiness. The committee was diverse with some having video production skills, writing and lyrical skills, performance skills, and media skills. We also had to kick around the fact there was talent in Austin that didn't get a nomination, but deserved the respect of being on the ballot. Any of those nominations had to be vetted by all of the committee and agreed upon to be added. There were websites, videos, and songs to sort through....and we all did our part. This was a massive pain in the ass. This was a labor of love as the committee was not compensated for our time, effort, or knowledge.

After all of our final deliberations were done and turned in the voting lists were created and went live.




Moving forward a few weeks to the awards is were it all came down and this is my specialty. Helping unpack the awards and get things set up was when I had a sneak peek at the winners. NOPE! I did not see them all, but I did see some. That was some pretty exciting shit.

NOW, let me talk about the night of the awards itself and the 11 performances. From solo performers to group performances. There was spoken word, a rap battle, and a DJ battle. It was pretty damn much everything you would want and expect, and EVERYONE was dressed to impress!

This was also my first time at The Vulcan Gas Company (https://www.facebook.com/VulcanATX/) which is located on 6th St. I loved the Steampunk theme of The Vulcan Gas Company. There was a great stage with a riser, a large dance floor, and a DJ booth tucked away in the corner. There was also a very large bar that provided service 360 degrees as you entered the venue. The service was good, but would have been better if the one female bartender with the stick up her ass wasn't having a bad night, otherwise it was great bar service. The upstairs area provides nice seating, another bar, and a great view of the stage and riser downstairs. I would really like to check out The Vulcan Gas Company again...either with a live band or just to grab a couple of drinks at in the future.

As for the entertainment of the evening, it rolled very smooth. I will litter this post with my criticism, as well as my suggestions (same thing I guess). But this is what I want to do for the success of something that is good for Austin and the Austin music scene. First bitch and gripe about the AHHA, it started to damn late...like doors at 9ish and first performance around 9:30. Damn son...not all of us are young cats with no job on Monday morning!


None the less, Dante Maurice  (https://www.facebook.com/TheDanteMaurice) was a last minute addition to start the awards show and he was perfect. His voice and flow was just right to set off the evening. It was worthy of mention and worthy for the awards.


The next two artists up were Big Tree and Bigg John of East 35  (https://www.facebook.com/Bigg-John-Of-East-35-113463072100418/). The both performed seperately and were very stylistically. Bigg John was different enough form Big Tree it felt like almost a duel as they were back to back performances. The crowd cheered and stayed in the moment.

There were several awards given out and here is where another piece of criticism lands. I was hoping and thinking (and looking back, I agree with myself) there should have been presenters. The distribution and announcement of the awards was handled by the President of the Austin Hip Hop Awards himself, George Corbin. I am just thinking I wanted a little diversity  - either the artists giving out awards to other artists - or even special guests. My suggestion for the next upcoming awards show.

G-Flame performed at this point. I can't comment on the performance aspect because I simply do not remember the performance. Sorry, BUT Anya with the Cake Project stormed the stage and lit up the crowd. It was a stellar performance by all of these women. What I do know here is the stunner performance of all of these women was Lady Shacklin (https://www.facebook.com/LadyShacklin/) DAMN! Her rhymes and flow was electric. The overall performance of all was outstanding and flowed mercilessly through our ears.




After a few more awards we had Krypol Haze (https://www.facebook.com/krypolh/) get onstage. Here was another performance that was so bad ass..it was just mesmerizing. With an almost hypnotic video projection going on behind him, Krypol Haze just rolled us up the crowd and lit the fire. With all of the performances of the evening, here is the one which absolutely stood out to me the most. I really look forward to seeing him again soon and doing a whole set.



NOW after the previous artist did his thing, here was the halftime show PERFORMANCE. I did not have any idea of what was happening and had no forward knowledge of this performance. George Vondoom   (https://www.facebook.com/jeanyus.corbin) came out and did a stunning performance piece. Wheelchair, sledgehammer, costume, and all the theatrics. Even though the mask muffled some of the vocals, it was not about that. It was about the whole crowd taking a step back and giving out a collective"WOW!" Good job G, this was worth the whole night right there, to me! AND THE NIGHT WASN'T EVEN OVER!




Ndeo The Blindsider (https://www.facebook.com/NdeoTheBlindSider/) hit the stage next. Although this may have been a tough spot to be in, following the previous electric performance, Ndeo hit the crowd hard, like a heavyweight champ, with what he had...and what he had was great. Here is another artist I look forward to seeing around Austin again!

Another piece of criticsm for the performances of the night. The musical performances overall, could have been kept to two songs only. This would have allowed for more time to celebrate the achievements of the winners and what they won for!


SpokenWord AB  (https://www.facebook.com/SpokenWordArtistAB) came on stage, and before a hushed crowd, opened our minds, peeked inside, and collectively blew our minds all at once. A stellar spoke word performance indeed!




One of the two battles of the night happened next. With no microphones, two minutes each x 3 rounds - David Coleman (https://www.facebook.com/david.coleman.39501) and  Foolish Karlito went toe to toe. As thrilling as the rap battle was between these two men...it was only the smallest of things that made one man stand out. David Coleman dished out some verbal hits in the first round, taking the won like a bull. But he stumbled at the end of round two when he repeated the same lyric to close out the two minute round - oops, giving it to Foolish Karlito. With what would seem like a tie battle going into 3... the most shocking thing happened during David Colemans two minute finale...someone in the crowd was repeating his battle rhymes in the same time and tempo as he...WHA WHA WHAT the fuck! Apparently this was more rehearsed, used up old lines, than it was a battle responding to the opponents verbal jabs ... Match ... Set ... Point ... Foolish Karlito takes the win!



And finally...to end the night an EPIC!!!! The DJ Battle between DJ Crash  (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009971946550) and DJ Dbest  (https://www.facebook.com/Dabest1out). This was as exciting, ripping, spinning, cutting, and crazy as you would expect...until DJ HellaYella cut in and BAM! it was all done then.



I leave these words and sentiments. It was a great evening. It is something the city of Austin should be proud of and embrace.


Laters

Friday, February 3, 2017

Over the Rainbow

Yes, the title has nothing to do with the fact this is a year end review...it just came to mind while I was writing.



It was another fun year for Live Music In Austin. As I look back I once again surprised myself at what I saw and where I went. Made new friends, listened to new music, and enjoyed some favorites.



I saw 47 bands from January to December. 32 brand new bands I have never seen before! That was a surprise. Of the 15 venues I lurked around, 6 were brand new places to me... Meh! I have worked harder and been to more new places before. But the question remains...How many new places did YOU go to last year where you had never set foot in before, to enjoy some live music?




I only saw two bands multiple times last year.





















Apparently the One2One   (http://www.one2onebar.com/) remains at the top of my list as most frequented, with The Rattle Inn (http://rattleinnaustin.com/) coming a very close second - and it was new to me!




As I look back, I realize this is the first year where I have not done any photo or review of a national touring act. There were definitely some touring bands I saw, but SXSW always brings new faces.







It was a great year for a variety of music again. From some metal sounds at The Dirty Dog (https://www.dirtydogbar.com/) of Silvertongue Devil  (https://www.facebook.com/silvertonguedevil666/) and Fear Control (http://www.fearcontrol.net/) to the country sounds of the Zach Willard Band (http://zachwillardband.com/) at Wagners Backyard   (http://www.wagnersbackyard.com/) and The Cody Bryan Band  (http://www.codybryanmusic.com/) at The Rattle Inn. There was the Pop/punk music from   Forever Starts Today (https://www.facebook.com/FSTofficial/) at The Lucky Lounge (http://www.theluckylounge.com/) and the scandalous sounds of The Dead Love Club  (http://deadloveclub.com/) at The Mohawk (https://mohawkaustin.com/). A lot of American type sounds with The Warplanes (http://www.thewarplanes.net/) at the One 2 One to wild hip hop of Boombox ATX at the same place.






















So to sum it up, I averaged experiencing just a hair over 2 new bands every 3 weeks, 1 new venue every 2 months. I averaged listening to live music every 10 days and I was at a venue supporting the live music scene better than every 2 weeks as well...and you know what, I did pay to see some of these bands. If I got in for free, I spent my money at the bar, bought a CD or a hat. Better than that most of the shows were FREE.







 



I will tell you this, if you are gonna spend money at the door to see a band, the One2One remains my hands down pick for supporting live and local with the best sound system, and 100% of the door goes to the band(s)!