Saturday night at Propaganda in Lake Worth, rapper Jabrjaw threw one "hell" of a party complete with satanic imagery projected behind the stage and a slew of hip-hop and electronic-tinged experimental acts associated with the former music collective Black Locust Society. He also premiered his new project with the Astrea Corporation's Mike Astrea, 7Steps2Hell.
For the first hour or so, Jabrjaw was absolutely killing it on the tables, stepping out now and again to dance a bit and say whatever he felt at that moment, like: "It's my show. If you got a problem with it, come talk to me."
Throughout, his DJ set was an eclectic mix of schools old and new, he really hit his stride with some down-tempo tracks steeped in abysmal darkness. He did however get comfortably "Golden-Era" enough to allow for some dope breaking dancing from the guys of Catalyst.
When the bar hit critical crowd mass, he evidently decided that the time was right for the real show, one with a microphone.
Jabrjaw has an energetic boom-bap era style of rhyming with a bit of raw aggression thrown in for taste. He would sound just as at home on a Dre beat as any Rage Against the Machine track. His lyrics are verse based with anthemic hooks that encourage crowd participation.
Setting the tone for the night, he presented beats with bass heavier than a solid gold rhinoceros. He finalized his set with a song featuring the two emcees that followed him: Bluebird and Ichabod, presumably called "Fuck with You."
Ichabod performed his own set with a bronze bird statue perched atop his head. The whole, likely intentional, look for him was that of a rapping maniac. He started by leading the audience in a rousing chant of "Fuck Ichabod! Fuck Ichabod!" while his logo [FUCK$] was emblazoned behind him in glaring black and white. (Incidentally this same logo was easily found on peoples clothing, hats, and the restroom wall that night.)
This dude insists that you hear him rhyming at the top of his lungs. His music has the same spirit as punk rock once did. It is loud, angry, beautifully incomprehensible, and raucous as fffff (middle fingers here). There was a moment somewhere in there where he was riding a large man's shoulders while screaming. His set ended with such abruptness that is was as jarring as the music itself. Well played, friend.
Bleubird has been around for a long time. He is seriously a Florida hip-hop veteran at this point. Apparently, his style is ever-evolving. Way back when, around the time he moved to Montreal, he was out there. Nowadays, he's still out there, but he seems, at least superficially, to fit right in with contemporary indie and even radio rap.
To the kids at Saturday's show who had never before heard his work, he was perfect, like the best, man. He was loud, fast and witty like a latter day Samuel Clemens with a delay pedal attached to a microphone and an odd preoccupation with foosball.
He had such momentum, that when his mic stand started acting up, he knocked it down like a tank without breaking saying, "I fuck shit up on stage." He followed that up with a supremely skillful a cappella number that ended in the words, "Fuck a blogger!" Gee whiz, bro.
Incidentally, he's got a new project coming soon with production by none other than Jabrjaw himself. He played a little of it, not to be slept on for sure. Thank Bambaataa this man is still stringing words together. The world needs him.
Sort of last but not in any way least was the Astrea Corporation. The crew has been around for a minute but, has never lost momentum. These days, the band's got a kind of post-rock/no wave meets trip-hop sound. Lavola's Julian Cires' guitar is loud and dreamy juxtaposed over jazzy drums. Mike Astrea (otherwise known as Orion Pax) is as always a killer producer providing electronics that, forget otherworldly, come from about three universes removed from our own. Then there's Carly Astrea whose voice was as beautiful as ever, if not a little buried in the mix. When you've got a vocalist of her caliber on your stage, truly, pump up the volume. Astrea Corp plays shows fairly often and blasts the internet with its work so type that name into your search engine of choice and get to listening.
As if three different emcee sets and a band were not enough to satiate him, Jabrjaw just had to roll back to the stage for a second set, this time with Mike Astrea as their new project, 7Steps2Hell. It served to bring the audience into a wholely grimier world than the celestial Land of Nod to which they were carried by Astrea Corp.
The duo is dark and gritty as promised. Believe that. 7Steps2Hell is almost sure to be on whatever list you have of top new local projects this year. It is the perfect music for any slow drive to a pagan ritual you might take down a dark alley.
Do whatever you need to get on any of these acts. If you've heard most of it before, be sure to enlighten yourself on the 7Steps2Hell and Ichabod tips. Really get to it now!
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