After a long and exciting day in the studio and a successful test run of the Spanish 2’s around, I was looking forward to riding the coat tails of my trip into what was guaranteed to be an experience to behold. After a few FB back and forth’s with LIS’s own Caeli La, I found myself brushing off the dust on my voice recorder and digital camera.
Alas, tonight’s experience is going down in the annals of LIS, a time to pay back some effort to the transcontinental music community that had been so good to me the last 3.5 years. Donning my fresh journalist socks and Basscraft proof under pants, I feel an anxious draw that hurries my preparations. With a final shot of Black Velvet, a slap or two from la güera and a final double down of the newly confirmed contraband, I step out out into the evening a little earlier than normal to catch Two Fresh open the festivities.
Flash back to Camp Bisco 8, I was frying balls on doses and random lot kid pressies, and I had a fever of 104 degrees. Twin brothers Sherwyn and Kendrick Nicholls graced the late night stage for a short showcase. As my body’s limit reached its boiling point, I began to swoon, and their beats stuck in my head as I made it back to my truck to take a possible life saving dose of Advil. As I laid down and commenced the most intense visuals I have ever witnessed “My Friend the Genius” echoed in my head. It’s kinda been there ever since, truly one of my favorite songs ever.
Flash forward to tonight, March 25th at the Arcata Theater Lounge. Despite a successful early departure to catch Two Fresh’s opening set, I find myself sitting next to a one Danny Beall on the tour bus that served as house, kitchen, studio, bedroom, and night club for the NiT GriT and Two Fresh Tour. A cross country wallop of 39 cities in 42 days has allowed the 8 person crew to grow close, to say the least, however has left our friend Danny in a rather road wearied state. This is why I could not bare to ask him for an interview, knowing how little he likes doing them and seeing how tired he was. Instead we shared a nice 20 minute candid conversation involving life on the road, favorite cities of the tour (Denver and SanFran), why it’s good to make sure Capri Suns are on the next tour rider and what it’s like to be a mega super star. (My words, not his.)
Despite being extremely tired and exhausted, he was sure to say more than once how amazing it is to be doing what he is able to do every night. “Living the Dream.” Seeing people freak out on the dance floor and reacting at times as if star struck upon meeting him is enough to keep him coming back for more, and he will for sure will be touring again. “I’ve had a blast on the road, but I’m ready to get home and start writing new tracks, like immediately.” That is if he can go a week without getting booked somewhere in the US. If you’re a fan, be sure to check his website to stay on top of his tour dates and new releases. Things to look out for from NiT GriT include “Pizza Party“, a collaboration with lazer bass cannon specialist Stehphon Jacobs and a set at this year’s Coachella.
Being on the bus allowed me to imagine, if only for a second, what it takes to make a cross country tour happen. The logistics, the long, long hours and tight quarters, the short supply of Capri Sun and over supply of “friends of friends” raging on the bus night after night. The relationships artists leave at home; the new ones they make on the road, and the sacrifices they make to bring one night of rage to a lucky city, just to keep it on moving down the line. There is a powerful sense of inertia in that bus, and there is a shrapnel trail of melted faces, wet underage panties and ringing ears across the entire US behind it. I thank these and all touring artists for putting up with the cramped conditions for all our enjoyment.
“Oh shit, Two Fresh is almost done! Put the oil rig away, Yuge. We got some raging to do.” We make our entrance with the average hugs to homies and homettes, and just in time to see the duo finish up their set. The lighting and visual arrangements they are on tour with with now are more than impressive and fill the enormous stage perfectly. The VOIDs are on point, and the live drummers percussion mic’s are well-balanced with the PA, something that doesn’t always happen in live sets. Although disappointed that I missed most of their set, I was glad to catch the end which involved a lil’ crafty Emcee work from one of the twins. Two Fresh’s beats served as a perfect opening act, who’s head-nod hip-hop rhymes and MPC style sample work is perfect for a psychedelic blunt cruise or a welcoming soundtrack to a night of great music. Beautifully raw, like the sound of angelic gangstas, again their song lingers in my ears after they leave the spotlight.
Conspirator was next to grace the nearly famous stage of the ATL after a brief interlude to set up their arrangement of live equipment. As they got going into their set, I felt an instant shot of energy to the lower parts of my body, and a bouncing wave penetrates my legs from the floor, up my chair and into my rump. Not dancing is just not an option! The jammy vibe has a growing sense of momentum, with guitar and keyboard riffs exchanging the lead as they build into their highs and crash down into the lows. During the lower moments the well lit stage allows me to analyze their body language and their eyes as they follow keyboardist Aaron Magner‘s lead. The ability for a live jam group to communicate is massive, and these guys are definitely on the same page when transitioning rhythms and tempos. Having a drummer the likes of K.J. Sawka sitting behind the revolving kit certainly never hurts in the rhythm section, and I was really hyped when the tempo got up to some 174’s for a lil’ live DnB’s onstage. (Another flash to that Bisco 8 and KJ’s mind blowing set, his and my first festival.) Not being on the official NiT GriT tour, Brownie, the bassist of Conspirator (and Disco Biscuits) was sure to thank the touring artists in between songs for letting them sit in on the Arcata and Lake Tahoe stops on the tour.
Other parts of the Conspirator set, described as “hippy house” by one concert goer, involved the use of poppy vocal samples and live remixes. This has its place, as the crowd for the most part was feeling it, and the dance driving force was still there, however I felt this to be a little washed and cheesy. Not going very hard bass-wise and focusing on those spinner-esque guitar lines that just kept going seemed to drag on a bit, and I found myself sitting again, although watching their every move. I was losing interest just as their set was finishing, and a rush of anticipation for Danny’s use of the 60,000+ watt robot warfare cabinets standing overhead took over. (Basshead?…guilty.) I was outside for some fresh air, a doobie and hijinks before NiT GriT took to the VOIDs.
With a “What’s up, Arcata?! I love this City” NiTGriT appears behind a transformed stage, now cleared of all live instruments. The next portion of the evening’s sonic journey, in fact, involves very little live elements. However, when you combine the wallop of a NiT GriT bass line, the power of the VOIDs by BassCraft and an epilepsy inducing visual assault of their 2 story light racks, there is little to be missed. Ableton being what it is… and me being who I am musically….well, let’s leave that at that.
The most notable aspect of Danny’s performance is his unmistakeable stage presence. He has true “swag” up there, with his trademark bangs and black wife beater, his long arms swooping across mixer as he tweaks the EQ’s on the Xone92; he looks like a pro, the headliner on a national tour. He has really come out of his shell and I must say that this increased energy and confidence on stage allows the crowd to interact with him more, and provides for a quality show experience. This was even more impressive after seeing how tired he looked before hand, a true performer. The lighting technician on tour has Danny’s set synched PERFECTLY, allowing each buildup and bass drop to be accompanied by an arrangement of jaw dropping pupillary punishment. As always, my favorite part of a NiT GriT set is when “Mr. Herman” comes on, precisely at the moment when that tempo starts to move from 140 into the 174 region. Every time it’s a guaranteed shit show. Hands to the sky… booties to the floor….. cue the face contortions.
Well, World Famous productions did it again with another interesting and entertaining night of music. Diverse and powerful, beautiful and funky, chock full of fun and debaucheries alike. The Arcata Theater Lounge shook and vibrated the neighbors upstairs till close, and I don’t imagine many of them minded the irie vibes. Signing off until another time, this is Dyaphonoyze urging the use of heads and giving a special shout to everyone in the LOSTinSOUND world. Cheers.