Black Locust Society Florida Tour - Speakeasy Lounge, Lake Worth - August 23 | County Grind | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Black Locust Society Florida Tour - Speakeasy Lounge, Lake Worth - August 23

See also:
Slideshow: Black Locust Society Kicks Off Florida Tour at Green Room

Black Locust Society Tour
with Bleubird, Protoman, JabrJaw and Dee Dubs, Astrea Corporation, and Gaps
Speakeasy Lounge, Lake Worth
August 23

Better Than:
Watching a Yo! MTV Raps marathon

Last night, the Black Locust Society made its second tour stop at Speakeasy Lounge on its way up through the Sunshine State. Arriving in droves for a five-set showcase, the audience and crew of performers showed no signs of exhaustion -- on stage -- despite the previous night's kick-off show at Green Room show ending at 3 a.m.

The dimly lit backroom of Speakeasy Lounge was filled with BLS family, friends, and a colorful variety of Lake Worth scenesters. As the clock neared 11:30, the room grew seemingly anxious waiting for the first performer to take the stage. Lucky for us, two completely random MCs were more than happy to fill the time with an impromptu freestyling sesh. What began as, "We're just going to perform one song" ended up turning into a 10-minute set. Although a bit completely awkward at times, it certainly made the audience slightly less antsy.

Kicking off the five set marathon was Gaps, a rapper who lately has been known to pull off some pretty amusing stage antics like getting a haircut or showing up as the Tupac hologram. However, for this performance he kept it simple, it was just about the music. Opting for a space on the floor, surrounded by the crowd, Gaps opened the set with "Sunshine State of Mind." This seemed fitting and appropriate for the tour, as it's the rapper's love letter to the place that he calls home. Full of energy, Gaps belted out his hard hitting lyrics over experimental, spacey beats -- produced by Pax of Astrea Corporation -- on newer tracks like "A Vampire's Hustle." Having just released his EP, Music for Modern Living and Everyday Situations, Gaps is quickly finding his way back into the hip-hop world after a brief hiatus. 

Bleubird is the type of performer who could be doing a show for a room of five or a sold-out venue of 500, and you'd never know the difference. And last night's set was no exception. Taking the stage in a suit, yes a suit, the charismatic rapper stepped on stage, whiskey in one hand, a mic in the other. While some rappers are backed by DJs or an entourage, Bleubird is a one-man show, whose talent is undeniable. Going from the melodic spoken word-esque song, "Hello Hallow" to the raw and gritty interpretation of Ace Hood's "Hustle Hard," Bleubird took the room's vibe from zero-60 in seconds. A fireball of energy, his on-stage presence, breath control, and stamina results in an electrifying performance. In between songs about family and heartbreak, Bleubird's chatty interjections bordered on a comedic stand-up routine.

The duo of JabrJaw and DJ Dee Dubs is basically what you would call a match made in hip-hop heaven. Even moments before dropping the first beat, the smokey room was packed with folks standing idly by, waiting for the first song. As they performed such infectious tracks as "Soul and "One," the crowd couldn't help but bounce along, hands raised up in the air. Despite being a MC of few words, JabrJaw still commanded the crowd's attention with his rhymes, seamlessly moving from song to song. Between DJ Dee Dub's scratching talents -- something you rarely see nowadays --- and JabrJaw's fast-paced lyrical style, their powerful set throws you back to the days of classic '90s hip-hop.

Off-stage the local hip-hop wordsmith Protoman is seemingly shy, but when performing he's completely in his element. It's as though he was born to be in the limelight. Wearing a shirt covered in puppies and sporting a Marlins cap, the tall rapper hopped on stage, immediately going into his first track. Pacing back and forth, spitting out lyrics faster than a machine gun, Protoman's spirit was at an all time high despite the time being nearly 2 a.m. While the transitions between songs appeared erratic, his clean, solid verses kept the crowd on their toes waiting to see what track he'd churn out next. Whether he was backed by a beat, or going a Capella, Protoman was an unstoppable force last night. Performing (my personal favorite) his recent remix of Kavinsky's "Nightcall" from the film Drive was definitely one of the high points of his set.

In the final hours of the night, Astrea Corporation took the stage. And while we have nothing but love for the previous performers, the experimental, trip-hop group completely stole the show. Within moments, the soulful and haunting voice of front woman Carly filled the room, making it impossible to even take a bathroom break. Her ethereal vocals are reminiscent of singers like Florence Welch and Portishead's Beth Gibbons, which are complimented by the talent of partner and beat-maker Pax. The group performed mostly newer tracks, ones that have shown a complete evolution in the Astrea sound. Backed by drummer Sandor Davidson of Ketchy Shuby and guitarist Julian Cires of Lavola, the group is sounding better than ever.

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Betsey Denberg

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