It’s been awhile since I’ve attended a concert solo dolo. No complaints, I made acquaintances and thoroughly enjoyed my night with a tireless fist-pumpin’ fan by the name of London and a beautiful drunk Moroccan chick named Helen who traveled from Chapel Hill, NC. Waiting for entry, I observed the line of diverse looking individuals. One was sporting a self-made #FlyAmerica tie-dye tee. It seems to me that people who work the doors at shows love to be a hassle, then again, maybe it’s just me. Either way, karma made her way around when dude wasn’t even able to get into the doors himself, amused concert attendees jokingly stated “this is their way of letting you know, you’re fired!
Relieved from my wait, I walked-in to find Mark Battles & Derek Luh (pronounced Lou) during sound check. Running through small portions of their upcoming set on the venue’s sound system, it was apparent that an ordinary rap show just wasn’t what they had in mind for us. They all flew out to Charlotte, NC to turn it up.
Performers exited stage left and the audience was admitted. I quickly made my way to the bar for my usual buy at The Chop Shop, a long island iced tea, which I financially regretted once sober. Taking center stage first was DJ Fame, with an invitation into his world of Electronic Dance Music:
Next up, Charlotte’s own T Malicious took the stage with assistance from a few of his ‘Young Kingz’ comrades: Reason and A Fresh. Let me not forget to mention, I went to high school with A Fresh ( he’ll always be Alex to me ) and seeing a bunch of girls screaming for him was just testament that not much has changed since our days at Myers Park. They appeared full of confidence and ready to show us just why they deserved their spots as openers.
Rockin’ a really dope “DESIST” shirt, Jay Terriani was one artist I felt got looked over. Even during the meet-n-greet, he just kind of stayed in the cut. however, the energy of his set picked back up once joined on stage by Mark Battles & Derek Luh for their performance of the “Fly America” theme song.
King F.A.M.E. might’ve been onto something when he referred to Derek Luh as “the hip-hop Justin Beiber”. I mean, he’s easy on the eyes and…he’s easy on the eyes. I felt like his set was too short; the only song I recall was his piano driven smokers joint “Blow It Out”.
Can’t stress enough how important it is for performers to say their name at least once during the performance, I had no idea who I was enjoying until I sat down to write this. Hailing straight out of Brooklyn was R&B singer, Devvon Terrell. Despite this particular song not being performed, “I Don’t Like Your Friends”, has to be one of my favorite tracks of his and it’s accompanied by some equally as impressive visuals:
“Best performance of the night” award would have to go to Futuristic. Alongside DJ Kode Break, He came out hype as fuck, told us a little bit about himself and his whereabouts, in brief: He’s from arizona and apparently, it’s illegal to have “Swag” there, they have “Sauce!” instead. The one thing that struck a chord in me during his set was the usage of the word: Nigga and his approval of the audiences cooperation. Who could forget the uproar surrounding Gwyneth Paltrow when she dropped the N-word on twitter? As African Americans, we feel entitled to use the word in everyday language amongst each other, but what happens when it’s in the music..Do we expect people outside of the culture to not say it? To me, it tells a lot about this current generation, the power of words, who can say them, and how much intent matters when they’re said.
Taking precautions became imperative once they pulled out super soaker water guns, cans of silly string and began to stage dive. Bringing his hyperactive set to an end, dimmed lights set the tone for his intimate rendition of Frank Ocean’s “Pink Matter”, which Futuristic titles “Listen To Me” which in my opinion is reminiscent of Childish Gambino. There’s always a first time for everything, Demrick managed to get kicked out of his first concert for smoking on stage. I suppose he took “I Guess, I’ll Smoke” too literally:
After a few crowd flicks with the fans, Derek Luh returned once more and got us all hyped up again with the “Battles Chant”, which brought Mark Battles presence to the stage. The night before the show, I dabbled into some of Mark’s music — Black Einstein. For someone who doesn’t feel he needs a co-sign, I’d say the notable list of guest features: Curren$y, Joe Budden, Wale, and King Los doesn’t hurt his reputation one bit. Leading into “Wake Up”, Mark was determined to get the crowd moving at all costs. Even if that meant flying home without his retro Patrick Ewing basketball sneakers.
Am I the only one who thinks Theotis Beasley and Dizzy Wright share an uncanny resemblance to each other? It’s probably because they smile so much, haha. Anyhow, around this time I was getting a bit antsy and took a trip to the ladies room where I got caught up in conversation with Helen about the importance of diversity. Random? Right. Therefore, I didn’t catch much of the Sin City representative’s performance. From what I gathered, he performed “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, “Step Yo Game Up” and I can only hope “World Peace” from his latest tape, The Golden Age, was amongst those few. At the end of the show, most of the performers functioned with fans who purchased VIP tickets. This included a few cyphers, autographs, photographs and a humorous conversation with them about my recent Dom Kennedy review. Although, this is only my second reviewed show, rest assured, these guys currently hold the title for the hypest show I’ve been to this year. ‘Sound Travels’ is just an attempt at bringing you all along on my concert escapades, but more often than not, you would’ve had to been there to reciprocate this amount of energy. No word on when Fly America will be back in the Queen City, but they do plan on re-visiting. If you weren’t at this show, you definitely missed out. Let us hope another show in Charlotte, NC sees fruition and when that time comes, we support and leave them feeling even more loved than before.
I miss Charlotte already!