Haute Tension will be causing a riot at Laser Wolf this Sunday in Fort Lauderdale with their unapologetic punk rock and Khalid will bring his Free Spirit album to BB&T Center for Y100’s Jingle Ball in Sunrise this week.
Before the film Hustle and Flow was released in 2005, there wasn’t much thought about the Memphis hip-hop scene if you weren’t a Tennessee resident. But as the digital world began to consume the globe, we started to hear all sorts of artists bubbling up from the underground. The internet decentralized the music industry just like it did to everything else. And in pops the artist Xavier Wulf hailing from the eastside of Memphis, Wulf has been bringing that southern rap flavor since he released Lame, with Bones, in 2013. Songs like "Persian Palace" show the comfortable style Wulf expresses when he raps. Flash forward to his most recent album, East Memphis Maniac from 2018, where a song like "Request Refused" mixes Wulf's casualness with top-quality storytelling. This past November, Wulf dropped the single "Whatever Mane," with Pouya, and he’s rapping harder than anything we have heard him on before. It’s a nightmare beat with the two firing off and before you know it the track is over, because with hip-hop, sometimes you just have to go in. 6:30 p.m., Friday, December 20, Kelsey Theater, 700 Park Ave., Lake Park; 561-328-7481; thekelseytheater.com. Tickets start at $20 via ticketweb.com.
No best-concert list would be complete if you can’t find a new-age rap group that is dropping rhymes to their own pace and style. Islnd Mob’s SoundCloud account is a collection of tracks that members of the collective have recorded, and it feels like the early stirrings of an Odd Future or ASAP Mob type group. This is how hip-hop is supposed to happen — a collection of artists with something to say get together and bring their own flavor to the record. We have finally left the era of the solo artist in hip-hop and now we can look forward to young artists coming together and moving in a unit for a common cause. It’s a sentiment that can be found everywhere, not just in music. Whether it’s political protests arising or labor unions re-energizing, our era is made for gathering to speak out — and art imitates life. Hopefully, Islnd Mob can expand on the energy they are giving off on SoundCloud, songs like "Next," with Zoe Zamor and Atom the Mighty, and the track "Rico Suave," with Zoe Zamor and produced by False Ego, both scream South Florida, mixed with serious bars for the heads. With TEEJAY3K, D Blair, and Sad Generation. 7 p.m., Saturday, December 21, Dream House Studios, 1109 Old Okeechobee Rd #17, West Palm Beach; 561-572-5726; facebook.com/dreamhousestudiospalmbeach. Tickets cost $15 at the door.
Solar Reef is a local South Florida band that formed to bring you good times and raucous tunes. Songs like "Grind" off of their eponymous EP is an intense and fun song, full of riffs and enough speed to cause convulsions on the dance floor. Or a song like “Wrong Way” that feels like a ride through galaxies where there are no words to describe the experience other than the relentlessness of Solar Reef. Drink responsibly when going to see Solar Reef live because their single "Wine" is a great record that takes the band’s sped-up style and blends it with vocals that fit right in pocket with their playing. There isn’t much that can be found in the way of recorded music, but Solar Reef is everywhere. They take their chops to bars and venues all over South Florida. With Jupiter Troupe. 9 p.m., Saturday, December 21, Mad Robot Brewing, 2621 N. Federal Hwy., Suite Y, Boca Raton; 561-368-4643; madrobotbrewing.com. Admission is free.
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In 2017 Khalid landed like a pop meteorite with his debut album, American Teen. A true R&B firestarter for the new age, Khalid — who's among the headliners for Sunday's Y100 Jingle Ball at BB&T Center — couldn’t have been born in a better era. You can hear the glory of artists ranging from Michael Jackson to Genuwine and even Drake in his music. Khalid’s 2019 album Free Spirit is a 17-track project that has driven him even deeper into the minds of pop fans the world over. American Teen was released when Khalid was only 17; this latest LP starts off in a bit of a different direction. Where his debut starts off more upbeat, Free Spirit feels deeper. With growth comes more understanding and when you are a giant pop star at the age of 21 that understanding can come out melancholy and that is exactly what you find with songs like the intro and "Bad Luck." On songs like Free Spirit's "Talk," Khalid is at his best. As the production creeps along, his magnetic voice pours its soul out and consumes the track. For such a young artist, there is so much soul in his songwriting. We are much better off with pop artists that give the listener so much more than a catchy song. Khalid is that artist. With Jonas Brothers, Ozuna, Zara Larsson, and more. 7 p.m. Sunday, December 22, at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Pkwy, Sunrise; 954-835-SHOW; thebbtcenter.com. Tickets start at $36 via ticketmaster.com.
I don’t know what is causing all of this rock ‘n’ roll chaos that I am finding in South Florida, but it would appear Tom Waits has crept into the ears of Floridian artists and given them the power to make the wildest shit-show music I’ve heard in a long time. Could it be the duality of the Caribbean weather mixed with the dystopian economic reality in the tri-county area? I am not sure. But here we have Haute Tension and their wonderful bizarreness. Songs like "Dano," off their self -titled debut album, prove there is so damn much to enjoy about this band. From track to track, they are all over the place. One minute they are slowing things down to a crawl and the next, their drummer is speeding up the tempo until the listener is in a manic frenzy. With Bleubird. 6 p.m., Sunday, December 22, at Laser Wolf, 901 Progresso Dr., Fort Lauderdale; 954-667-9373; laserwolfbar.bigcartel.com. Admission is free.