Live: Dirty Dem and Party Monsters at Radio-Active Records, September 30

Dirty Dem Office Music: The Mixtape Release Party
With Party Monsters and the Astrea Corporation
Radio-Active Records, Fort Lauderdale
Friday, September 30, 2011

For a slideshow from the concert, click here.

Better than: Actually watching Dora the Explorer.

One of the most important aspects of an excellent hip-hop show is dynamism. If you're gonna have the nerve to get onstage with a microphone and just some dude behind you DJing, there had better be some moving parts, some plot twists, and some torn clothing. The multi-purpose evening at Radio-Active Records Friday celebrated the release of jovial Dirty Dem's Office Music: The Mixtape, toasted the birthdays of Protoman and Gaps the Man Beast, and got the three aforementioned rappers onstage with their buddies Jabrjaw and Bonus to form the Broward County supergroup Party Monsters in a live setting for the first time. Intrigue!

With KEMS handling beats for the evening, things moved along steadily with a stream of dirty jokes from all corners, blaxploitation films on the TV, and a crowd that drank a bunch of Busch beer at some point. Dirty Dem, known to many earthlings as Dan Duarte from Coral Springs, was ready to take some razzing for wearing flip-flops and socks, but it didn't slow his lyrical flow. Many of his songs are knotty, clever commentaries on pop culture -- including a lengthy run through nearly every '80s TV show -- and with a Mike Tyson tee, he was ready for some verbal punchouts for the assembled crowd. After not receiving a loud enough response regarding which members of the audience watch some TV, he added "who here eats food, make some noise!" Was that a Clay Aiken reference in there? Anyhow, his "Office Music," which samples the theme song from the NBC comedy, wrapped things up and prompted a "Michael Scott!" shout-out from the back.

Astrea Corporation kicked off the night with an MPC clinic to get everyone nodding their heads while new galaxies formed inside them. Mike Astrea and Sandor Davidson worked their contraptions into frenzied, glitchy spots as Carly Astrea went thick with emotion.
Later on, it was comedy hour featuring birthday boys Protoman and Gaps the Man Beast. Apparently the red Ecko T-shirt that Gaps, AKA Ricardo Tejeda, had on was a bit too outdated for the night. Thus, his cohort promised him a gift as long as the offending tee was ripped to shreds, and it was replaced with a black one emblazoned with the Black Locust society (a "size medium in women's"). The red fabric served as rags to wave, and wrap around heads for the rest of the night.

Party Monsters were definitely in a celebratory mood, though. With the five emcees -- now including Bonus and Jabrjaw -- crammed in a line on Radio-Active's cozy stage, they traded verses, jumped into the crowd, and did some of the most unspeakable things to a Dora the Explorer doll that was the surprise guest for the evening. After rapping over beats from M.O.P.'s "Ante Up" and Lords of the Underground's "Chief Rocka," the guys launched into several tracks that have popped up on the County Grind of late. "Unsignable," brought Bleubird out of the audience for a guest spit, Protoman bumped his "Gucci Gucci" rant against hipsters, and the whole posse got together for the ode to one of the finest actors of the '80s, "Richard Grieco."

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: Area hip-hop heads, boozehounds, no bad hipsters, and ladies looking to get autographs on their breasts.

Overheard: "Dora's popped up on Xanax."

Personal Bias:
All artists should go this far to keep their audience involved in a show -- even if it means they're covered in beer and have a life-sized Dora doll up in their grill.

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Reed Fischer
Contact: Reed Fischer