View From the Front Row, 10/4/10
On Sunday, I went and saw Qwel & Maker's "Master Your Machine" tour for it's stop in San Francisco, at the Farmer's Block at 111 Minna Gallery. The Farmer's Block, as I understand it, is a monthly event that occurs at SF's 111 Minna to promote a wide variety of artistic endeavors, which include painting, food, fashion, design, and of course live music. This adds up to a pretty refreshing atmosphere of thriving artistry inside the venue, but the downside is that it occurs in the early afternoon from 2-8, which leaves us poor weekend workers with a bit of a dilemma. Fortunately, I managed to bounce from work a few hours early, and the timing worked out super well. I got to the venue, scoped out the stands, bought some tasty Chinese tidbits and a Red Stripe, and before I knew it Qwel & Maker had hit the stage with DJ SPS as their backing DJ.
I've seen Qwelly live like a dozen times at this point, but it had definitely been a minute since I'd last seen him and Maker and it was really great to watch them bring their A-game yet again. All of the tracks they performed were from the three Qwel & Maker full lengths, and the majority of them were from "So Be It" and "Owl" which I hadn't really seen done live before. It seemed like both Qwel and Maker had sharpened their live rap show game a bit, as everything about their set felt very polished and fluid. Qwel spit his rapid-fire flows effortlessly, rarely missing a beat and impressing folks with the amount of skill and energy he brought to the table. Maker threw down some excellent transitions between songs and added subtle nuances to the beats on the spot using his production equipment. DJ SPS (which stands for Second Place Sucks) was the only one that I'd never seen live before, and he was mighty impressive as well, laying down some really serious scratch interludes and cutting up different pieces of the tracks while Qwel laid down the raps. It was a really terrific set that seemed to fly by all too quickly, even though they did perform a decent number of songs. Definitely a trio that you should see live when they pass through your hometown. The only really negative part of the event was that they were sold out of the sick-looking black and white Owl T-shirts in Large... ended up caving in and going for a red and black version anyway!
Here's a video of Qwel & Maker performing the track "Holler," off of their new album "Owl." Which you should buy. Yesterday.