Last year I was able to catch one of the best hip-hop shows I’ve ever been to when I scoped out the 4th annual “How The Grouch Stole Christmas Tour” in San Diego. That line-up included opening acts named Los Rakas (who did their set entirely in Spanish, yet the predominately English-speaking crowd never lost interest), Brother Ali, Eligh, special appearance by Lucky of Living Legends, and of course The Grouch. It was my first chance to see everyone on the bill, but seeing Brother Ali live had been a goal of mine ever since I first caught wind of his music. He truly didn’t disappoint and I still joke with my girlfriend to this day that I got to touch Brother Ali. (He was in the crowd talking to fans as I was on my way to the bathroom; had to squeeze by him and some concert goers and I put my hand on his back to brace myself against the throngs of people.)
All-in-all, that was, and still is, the best hip-hop show I’ve seen. I ended up seeing Zion I and The Grouch a few months later based on how dope of a show The Grouch had orchestrated prior, and again I was far from disappointed. Fast forward to this “holiday” time, and The Grouch has the 5th annual “How The Grouch Stole Christmas Tour” in full swing. I had planned on hitting up the Santa Ana, California show but that day I had to pick-up my lady friend at LAX, and I doubt she’d want to see a concert after a week with her family back in Rhode Island and coming off a long flight. Their next show was the following night in San Diego, my old hood, and I figured what better way to fight my unemployed depression than shooting down the I-5 one-hundred miles and scoping out some raps.
This leg of the relatively short tour featured San Diego’s Blame One, which really sealed the deal for me. When I first moved to San Diego a few years ago I had just missed Blame do a show just a few blocks from my house and then I never had another opportunity to catch one of his local shows. It figures I’d get to catch him once I move away from the 619 but I’m really grateful I finally got a chance to check him out live. After Blame One opened, next up was Evidence, and then this time around The Grouch employed the last two projects he’s worked on to come together as one. Zion I (Zumbi and Amp Live) and Eligh all came out with The Grouch and they alternated between each others work to perform. Amp Live and Eligh have an album out together now, Therapy At 3, which, as crazy as it sounds, I’ve avoided all the singles and video from because I’m looking forward to hearing it all for the first time at once, when I cop the album.
See employed, un, for further reasons why I still haven’t grabbed it.
The venue (Porter’s Pub, UCSD) had many downfalls, but overall the show was pretty dope. I have to say, if you’re in the remaining cities here on the West Coast that these guys are about to visit, you’d be crazy to miss it. Evidence was live and moved the crowd more than anyone who is 33% of a trio can do alone. Blame One, who like I said opened up the night, was fresh and started off his set with his verses from “Disturbed,” which houses one of my favorite Sean Price verses ever, and then went into “Bomb Drop” and “Glass House” among others. Then the quad-fecta of Amp Live, Zumbi, Eligh, and The Grouch came on and did their thing. Zumbi has some of the highest energy I’ve ever seen live and it’s infectious as both The Grouch and Eligh play off of it. Amp Live had his own solo set which he ALWAYS kills with an MPC-guitar that he shreds.
As a fan, and hack-ass blogger, my favorite part of the night was when, from one-hundred miles and away via text, my lady gave me the courage to go over to Blame One and introduce myself. Indie artists push their own merch and man their own merch table, which a lot of people don’t realize, and Blame was no different. I went over and shook his hand and since my soft-spoken natural voice doesn’t play well in loud clubs I pretty much just handed dude my business card. Thankfully he either heard or read my lips when I said “this is me!” and he was real enough to say “oh shit!” and bring it in for a thug-hug.
Then I awkwardly slid away into the night. Nice work.
Even if I didn’t get to meet Blame One the show would’ve been a success for me. It had been awhile since I’ve seen a live hip-hop show and it was just what I needed during some shitty personal times. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it one-thousand times more, Chris and I are fans of hip-hop first. All of our blogging and subsequent promotion of said blogging will always take a back seat to our love for the music.
Support local/indie acts, buy music, go to shows, and awkwardly hand over your biz-cards to artists you write about and listen to. Simple rules to live by.
Filed under: Events, Hip-Hop, Music, News | Tagged: Blame One, Dilated Peoples, Eligh, Evidence, How The Grouch Stole Christmas, Porter's Pub, San Diego, The Grouch, The Grouch and Eligh, UCSD, Zion I, Zion I & The Grouch | 4 Comments »