Live Review and Picture Book: Dark Time Sunshine, Edison, and Hail Mary Mallon (Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, and Dj Big Whiz) @ The Loft, August 7th!
Being the son of a radio DJ, I used to think my ear was always listening to the latest and greatest hip hop circulating the streets. Boy was I wrong. Around 2003 a high school friend told me that I may have known the hits on the radio, but I was isolating myself from alternative hip hop. I challenged him stating that I was a fan of Arrested Development and other old school legends, but he responded with the cd, Bazooka Tooth by Aesop Rock. That one moment 9 years ago transformed my mindset about hip hop and the spins the genre can play. It also created a musical bucket list. That list including Aesop Rock was happily checked for me and many other fans at the Loft.
The first opener was Dark Time Sunshine. The duo consisted of Onry Ozzborn on the mic and Zavala mixing up the beats. Since I’m a fan of Onry’s other group Grayscul, I expected my first listen of this project to be pleasurable. As the crowd filled the floor, many were instantly captured by the feel good flows and Zavala’s chilled out beats. When the crowd filled, Onry declares that it’s in his contract to have everyone’s hands in the air. Those hands stayed in the air until their set ended.
Appearing next was an instrumental artist named Edison. After making a quick introduction, the San Francisco artist activates his 256 button monome. The device confused many in the crowd. Some were asking if it was just a huge MPC or sampler, but all of those questions were quickly dismissed by Edison’s quick turntablist like hand motions on the sequencer. There was a live feed recording his movements on a screen behind him so all his motions were visible to the crowd. After a couple of tracks he asks a member of the audience to name his next untitled track. Edison hands the mic to a person in the front row and after a spacey 30 second dialogue the track was called, “a song”. To close his set, Edison introduced DJ Big Whiz to join him on the stage to perform an improvisational jam. The scratching capabilities combined with the unconventional electric progressions made the close a very enjoyable end.
The final act of the show had our headliner Aesop Rock ready to perform from his new album Skelethon, but he was performing with rapper/producer Rob Sonic and DJ Big Whiz. When their powers combine they are known as Hail Mary Mallon, so Aesop Rock let the audience know that the Skelethon tour would have many of HMM’s tracks from their debut album, Are you gonna eat that. After performing the tracks Meter Feeder and Smock, Aesop and Rob pause to remind everyone to remain hydrated. Good call. They must have the seen the sea of extremely sweaty fans heating up the crowd. After the disclaimer, Aesop announced that Rob Sonic will be releasing his new album, Alice in Thunderdome with a track called Happy Land Disco. They transitioned that into a word game and the screen in the back played in the alphabet (with a hip hop twist) perfectly segueing into the new Aesop Rock track, ZZZtop. The rest of the main performance went on switching between the 3 albums, each giving a Rhymesayers flavor most of the fans have grown to love over the years. To close out the set, Aesop played a number of his old fan favorites like Big Bang and Daylight/Nightlight.
The evening could be summed up as a great hip hop show employing complex and futuristic sounding beats with lyrics discussing unconventional commentary on issues of the day, society in general, or the best donut shop in town. Just how I like it.
Full Gallery after the jump…